A powerful resume is your foot-in-the-door to a new job. It is your calling card; your first impression.
Your ChosenFew.com consultant can find you the job of your dreams, but only with your help. Employers ask to see your resume before they will grant you an interview. Your resume should be a snapshot of your career, which is a polished, professional overview of your work history. Like an advertisement or sales pitch for you, the resume should entice any potential employer to want to know more about you. Even a highly qualified candidate can be turned away or overlooked because of a lackluster resume. So how can you project an exciting image? How can your resume compete against the bundles of resumes on a future employer's desk?
First, you must understand the employer's purpose for resume reading. The employer uses resumes to screen out unqualified applicants before the interview process begins. The resume also can be used as a study tool: the employer can prepare tailored interview questions in advance about your qualifications and goals.
Reflect. Are you proud of your current resume? Is it up-to-date? Does it need revision? Is there any room for improvement in order to obtain the perfect career opportunity? Your imperfect resume may be holding you back.
Reconstruction. A mediocre resume takes about 3-6 hours to compose while a sensational resume could take as much as 6-10 hours to write, proofread and polish. Be prepared to invest time and thought into the resume writing process. The reward to those 6-10 hours of work could be years of satisfaction with the right employer.
Rewrite. Do not hesitate or put off a necessary rewrite and update of your resume; it's your key to getting job interviews for potential employment.
The majority of resumes circulating with potential employers have misspellings, grammatical errors and poor use of vocabulary. It takes just a few moments for an employer to review a resume layout, observe its quality and decide whether it is likable or unappealing. Make those first few moments count; resumes are usually scanned first, then searched for typos and poor grammar, and then finally looked at for content. Do not eliminate yourself from consideration because of a misspelling that can easily be avoided by spending a little extra time proofreading.
The Chronological Resume is the most popular resume style. It lists jobs starting with most recent or your current job first.
Use a chronological resume if you:
- spent three or more years with one employer
- seek a position in your same field
- worked for well-known, prestigious companies
- have enjoyed a steady expansion of duties and salary; and can get good professional references
While certainly the most common way to organize your resume, other choices might serve you better. Your resume need not be chronological to be proper and impressive.
The Functional Resume lists job descriptions before employment history and better serves people whom:
- changed jobs many times
- re-entering the job market after a long absence
- have been unemployed for over three months
- earn a below-market salary
- hold positions with complicated functions and responsibilities
- are either entry level or fear age discrimination
The functional resume lists qualifications and skills in order of importance and lists job history last. For example, Jane, a word processor, would list the computer systems she has experience with, the office machines she knows how to use and the special projects she has supervised. Her job history would come last. Bob, a paralegal, would itemize his research projects, writing assignments, library and database experience, and deposition work under the heading 'Experience.'
Job History on a functional resume is short and to the point. It lists dates worked, employer, city, state, job title and a list of responsibilities and skills.
Always include the dates of your employment. Employers want to see months and years beside your job experiences. When you omit these dates, employers get suspicious. If you did drop out of the workforce for some time indicate the break, i.e. 1995: Traveled through Europe or 2000: Work sabbatical for care of family member.
Beside each firm name, list the city and state you worked then list your job title. If your title is misleading, long-winded, or non-existent, identify a simplified title that fits the job accurately. Your current position is mentioned first and with the most detail, each preceding job deserves less detail and less valuable page space.
Start by thinking about your average workday and brainstorm duties and responsibilities from everyday, weekly and monthly. Additionally, this is the place to list impressive tasks that you have performed like giving a presentation, attending a conference or writing a manual. Write a short and simple description of each task on your list, making sure you provide accurate and precise information about your specific responsibilities. Avoid generalizations; it's always better to write things like 'presented monthly earnings projections reports' rather than saying 'gathered financial information'. Specific descriptions are easier for your future employer to visualize and allow them to form a better picture of your experience and qualifications.
Once your list is completed, arrange it in order of importance: Impressive accomplishments come first; minor ones should be listed lower on the list. Keep your descriptions short and to the point; one or two sentences at most for each item listed.
A well-written list of accomplishments is literally worth its weight in gold. It can raise your salary worth, open doors to higher responsibilities and make an employer eager to meet you.
This topic should appear below Qualifications. Employers are curious about education. If you have a degree, state that first. List the major, year of graduation, and GPA if it is above 3.0.
If you attended college but did not graduate list the years attended, major, number of credits and GPA (if above 3.0). Honors, of course, should always be included.
You can list relevant workshops and seminars on your resume. When listing a seminar, record its title, the name of the organization producing it, and the year you attended it.
Only list hobbies and activities that cast you in a positive light. Avoid listing things that can take time away from work or in other ways affect your performance. Make sure to list activities and hobbies that demonstrate your ability to be trusted and handle responsibility and be prepared to answer questions about your hobbies if they are unusual.
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