Four Resume Tips

 

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Resumes are one of the most important tools in your job search.  They are designed to get you into that recruiter’s office so you can sell yourself as the best candidate for the job.  Advice on good resume writing is out there, all with different rules to apply.  However, not everything that you read or will be told about resumes will be accurate.  Here are some simple points that are often disputed that you need to follow when writing a resume.  If you stick with this advice, you will find that your resume is well-accepted by employers.

  1.  Your resume can be over one page.  Do not let anyone tell you that your resume must be only one page in length.  Research has shown that recruiters do say that they prefer one page resumes, but actually call in more candidates with two page resumes for an interview than those with only one page.  Instead of scrunching up all the information on one page, allow it to be two pages.   However, there is a rule of thumb.  If the resume has less than three lines on the second page, make it a one page resume.
  2. Do not add a bunch of soft skills if you cannot back it up with examples and quantifiable tasks. In other words, statements like, “great leadership ability” is much more acceptable if tied with actual job tasks that you have performed in the past.  For example, “Demonstrates leadership ability by leading a group of five employees in a process improvement process, exceeding deadline by one month”.  The soft skill of leadership ability is there, but it is also backed by something you have accomplished.  Both components are important when writing job statements.
  3. The objective statement on the resume should be replaced by qualification statements instead.  The old way of resume writing would have you write an objective that would sound something like this:  “To obtain a job with (X company) to better enhance the company’s reputation”.  These are boring and mundane.  Qualification statements are statements that should be linked with the job that you are applying for and should tell key characteristics about yourself.  For example, some statements might include, “entrepreneurial spirit with 5 years of experience in X industry”, “excellent leadership abilities”, and “ability to strategically plan while paying attention to detail”.  However, since these statements reflect soft skills, you should only have about three to four of them and you should be able to provide a specific example for each one in an interview.
  4. Do not state that “references are available upon request”.  This is redundant.  Employers know that you can and will provide this information if you are asked to come in for an interview.  The statement takes up a precious line on the resume that can be used for something else.  If you are called in for an interview, have three references typed on a sheet of paper that you can provide to the employer.

These four tips reflect the newest information on resumes.  Some people may tell you any of these four tips are wrong.  However, the old way of resume writing has been replaced with new.  Follow thesetips to help get your resume noticed.

What Is a Resume Really For?

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  1. Do you have gaps in your employment?  One of the specific things that recruiters look at is whether or not you have large empty spaces of time between jobs.  If you do, this may be a red flag.  Of course, if you have gaps in your resume, you should never lie and eliminate them.  Simply know that this may be something brought up in an interview.  Have an answer ready for them as to why you were unemployed for any length of time. Be honest.  Reassure them that you are serious about the job and do not plan on quitting it any time soon.
  2. Were you in one position for many years, with no show of advancement or added responsibilities?  If you have been at a job for a great length of time and your resume does not reflect advancement, this may be a red flag for a recruiter.  Again, do not lie, but be prepared to answer any questions about this in a job interview.  If you did advance, but there is no change in job title, reflect the added responsibilities in your descriptions about job tasks.  Highlight any promotions or advancements in responsibilities or tasks.
  3. Do you have the right skills for the job?   Make sure that the skills that the recruiter is looking for and the ones that you have are reflected in your resume.  Concrete tasks and quantifiable results are important to add when possible.  Read the job ad and make sure that key terms and tasks that they identify and you possess are in that resume.  Generic resumes are not well-liked.  You want to tailor your resume to the job posting as much as possible.

When looking at your resume, recruiters are looking for gaps in employment, proof of advancement, and skills necessary to perform the job.  Knowing this, you can easily tailor your resume to reflect what the recruiter is looking for.  Do not lie on the resume, but be able to defend any gaps or lack of advancement in the interview.  Do not put down the reasons for the gaps or lack of advancement in the resume itself, as generally, this personal information can further highlight any negative perceptions.  In other words, the resume is not the place to defend yourself.  It is critical that you know the job that you are applying for and that you know the company and what is expected of you in terms of the job role and you reflect this in your resume.

 

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