Depending on whom you ask, a resume may be viewed as the single most
important vehicle to securing your next job, or it may be viewed as
an unnecessary nuisance.
actuality, a resume is a professional introduction meant to
encourage a one-on-one interview situation; an opportunity for
communication that can lead to a job offer.
a rare candidate who is hired by his or her resume alone. It is just
as rare to be offered an interview without one.
resume is often the first line of contact. It establishes a first
impression of a potential job candidate's skills, background and
hiring value. If written well, this impression can be a positive
one, offering the reader a sense of the candidate's "fit" for the
position and company being targeted. If written really well, it may
convince the reader that the job candidate is the person most
ideally suited for the job. When coupled with an effective cover
letter, the resume can be a very strong marketing tool.
Preparing a resume may be seen as a nuisance, but having a
well-constructed, well-designed resume is an important part of your
job search. Consider that for each available job opening there may
be as many as 100 to 1000 resumes submitted. If your resume fails to
adequately represent your qualifications (for the specific
position), fails to establish your hiring value over competing
candidates, or is difficult to follow, your ability to compete
against those other 100 to 1000 professionals vying for the same
position will be greatly diminished.
your resume secures an interview, then it has done its job. If it
sets you ahead of the competition in the mind of your interviewer,
then it has given you a distinct advantage and gone beyond its main
objective. Good job! Because that should be your goal.
great resume does what all good marketing pieces do: it sells the
"consumer" (the potential employer or hiring manager) on the
it or not, the act of looking for employment is a function of sales
and marketing. The product you are "selling" is you, and the
"customer" (the person you hope will “buy” the product) has unique
needs and interests. This customer (potential employer) needs to be
sold on the fact that you have what it takes to get the job done,
that you will meet or exceed the needs and expectations of the
position, and you will be worth the compensation.
reader of your resume is going to want to know how you are going to
solve his or her problems, and they are going to give your resume a
whopping 15 seconds, or less, to sell you. 15 seconds is the average
time a hiring manager will spend “reading” a new resume - before
giving it a potential "yes" or "no" response.
your current resume succeed under these conditions?
Preparation is Key
preparing your resume, the more you know about the position you are
targeting, the better. If you know the company's missions and goals,
if you understand the needs and expectations of the position, if you
recognize the target company’s “concerns,” if you understand who
comprises the company’s customer base or target market... AND you
(and your unique skills and experience) can meet these needs and
expectations (you have accurately assessed your own value and are
able to communicate how your skills, experience and contributions
have benefited employers in the past), then you will have the
material necessary to create an effective marketing piece.
any type of marketing collateral, it is important to present the
information so that it captures your reader’s interest quickly. Your
goal is to encourage the reader to stay with your document as long
as possible. Your chance for a more detailed reading increases when
you give the reader information which he or she most wants to
secure, early in the document.
the best ways to accomplish this is to create a Summary Section at
the beginning of your resume. A Summary Section highlights for your
reader those personal and professional skills you possess that are
relevant and valuable to the position you are targeting and allow
you to excel in your chosen field and position.
and skills of greatest importance (from your readers' viewpoint)
should be listed in priority, supporting an impression of both “fit”
and potential success. In addition, these should be aspects of your
background that set you apart from your competing candidates,
particularly candidates with skill sets similar to your own.
are, in effect, showing your reader how you will solve their
problems - better than the competition - and why interviewing you
will be a worthwhile expenditure of their time.
Whom Are You Writing?
let us be very clear about one important fact: you are not writing a
career autobiography. This is not about you. Seriously. It is about
how you can meet the needs, interests and expectations of your
reader and this particular position, at this particular company. It
is all about them: about what they need, what their hopes and
expectations are, and how what you bring to the table will meet
these expectations. It is all about how you will benefit them.
interview stage will be your first opportunity to negotiate; when
you will get a chance to discuss what you hope to get out of the
deal. But right now, the only person who matters is your reader.
They hold all the marbles.
writing your resume, keep in mind what your reader needs to know.
Listing information that will be of no value or benefit to the
position you are targeting or the company in question, is just a
waste of time.
not only does the information have to have value (from your reader’s
point-of-view), but it should be interesting, so that your reader
wants to keep reading. If the information or dialogue feels
repetitive or lacks flow; you will quickly lose your reader’s
for redundancy in your statements. If the positions you have held
are similar, then repeating the same functions, over and over, in ad
nauseam detail, will lose your reader’s interest (heard it, got it).
However, never short-change your accomplishments.
potential employer is most interested in seeing how hiring you will
benefit the company. But keep this in mind, as well: if it were your
job to fill this position, how important would it be to you to hire
the best person possible, knowing this decision will reflect back
upon your own capabilities?
are dealing with a hiring manager or human resource director, you
can bet this person has a lot riding on the fact that, if you are
hired, you are the right person for the job. It is extremely
expensive to recruit, interview, hire and train, only to let an
employee go and start the whole process over again. It is the HR
director’s job to make sure the right person is hired the first
parties involved want to know the right hiring decision is being
made. Make it your job to assure them that hiring you is a very good
most effective way to achieve this is by identifying how your
efforts and contributions have benefited employers in the past. Take
credit for your participation and accomplishments. Know the
quantitative results of your efforts (numbers, figures, dollar
amounts, and percentages) wherever possible.
aspects of your background may seem minor or of little value to you,
they may be seen as a valuable asset to those looking to fill a
Presentation, Presentation, Presentation
layout of your resume is extremely important. Your resume needs to
maintain a “clean” and professional appearance (remember, it is
representing you!). It should allow the reader to access the
information quickly, even at a glance.
margins, adequate "white space" between groupings, and indenting to
highlight text all aid ease of reference and retention of the
material. Use bolding and italics sparingly. Overuse of these
features can actually diminish their effectiveness of promoting the
material they are intended highlight, and can also reduce overall
contact information (how the reader can reach you) is essentially
the most important information in the entire document. Make certain
your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address are clearly
visible and at the top of your document (from habit, this is where
your reader will look for this information - do not make them search
your resume is more than one page in length, be certain that your
name is on these secondary pages, in case the sheets become
standards for resume length have changed. It used to be typical for
resumes to be no more than one-page in length. For candidates with
years of experience, having held multiple positions, or having
worked with multiple companies, or who have outstanding achievements
to present, this one-page restriction can result in a document that
is unreadable, looks “squashed,” or utilizes a font size so small
that the reader is forced to squint (no, they won’t bother). The
one-page standard no longer holds true.
much space as you need to concisely, accurately, and effectively
communicate your skills, history, achievements, and accomplishments
- as these relate to the position and company being targeted. A
two-page document, if presented well, will not diminish the
effectiveness of your marketing strategy, as long as the information
you provide is relevant and valuable to your reader’s needs, goals
three-page resume is requiring much of your reader's time (and
patience), and may not be as effective as a more concise
presentation. In fact, your reader may wonder if you have difficulty
conveying your value and are unable to create a concise and powerful
academic fields and European markets, it may be necessary to go over
two pages in length, because additional detail and information is
required. But only provide this much information if you feel it will
be beneficial and if you are certain your reader will agree with
overly long presentation may leave the reader wondering if you
believe their time is not valuable. Remember, by creating something
in writing (just like this article), you are demanding the reader’s
time and attention. This is fine – just do not waste their time.
Document, in detail, the most recent 10 to15 years of your
employment and/or experience. Longer if the most recent position
extends back 10 years or more. Be certain to highlight growth and
advancement in any company where multiple positions were held,
including identification of promotions and increases in
prior positions in decreasing detail, unless a previous position
more effectively represents your skills and experience relevant to
the position and company you are currently targeting.
want to entice you reader into wanting to meet you (the interview)
to learn more. Current history and recently utilized skills
will hold the most value.
Remember, you will have an opportunity to expand on the information
provided in your resume during the interview. So, in your résumé:
establish your qualifications, indicate the benefits of hiring you,
and entice your reader to want to learn more, through a one-on-one
Photocopy, Fax, and Scan
can never be certain what your recipient may do with your resume
once he or she is in receipt. Therefore, you want to make sure your
resume can hold up to various processes such as faxing, scanning or
Because of this, it is also a good idea to bring along fresh copies
of your resume to each interview. Many interview sessions are held
by multiple interviewers, and each interviewer should have a clean
copy of your resume presentation (not a photocopied version).
a clean copy of your resume with you can also help if you if you are
required to complete a job application or formal company documents.
resume will not, typically, get you a job (well, it has happened,
but it is extremely rare), but it can secure your chances of being
seen and interviewed for a position or company that interests you -
just as it can cause you to be passed over in favor of a candidate
who offers a better presentation of what he or she has to offer.
often your first opportunity to make a company aware of you and all
you have to offer.
with any type of marketing campaign, use your resume as one tool in
your job search. Continue to network, improve your interviewing
skills, and use every avenue available to you to better your chances
when you have secured that next position, do this all over again.
Always be prepared for the next opportunity. Keep your resume
up-to-date and stay career fit.
Sue Campbell, President of 1st-Writer.com, is a professional resume
writer, career strategist and marketing specialist with over 18
years experience. Sue provides powerful resumes and career
strategies for thousands of clients throughout the United States and
over 47 countries overseas. Through her personalized and focused
services, Sue helps job seekers of every level achieve their career
and business goals.
If you would like information on how to structure your resume document
(section-by-section) take a look at the article "Resume Basics."
Should I Hire a Professional Resume
Writer? / 1st-Writer.com Services
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Good luck in your job search!
1st-Writer.com - over 18 years
experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to
with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!