In this economy, companies receive 100s if not 1,000s of resumes every day. How do you get your resume selected out of those thousands of resumes? It is not easy; you have literally seconds to be noticed. What does it take? Do you have to attach $20 to it to be noticed? No, of course not! If the company advertises a job, posts a job opening or you hear of an opening, you should review the job description and rewrite your resume to match the requirements. How do you get on the “yes” pile? Resumes are marketing or sales documents. To be successful, you need to persuade the reader you are the right candidate in seconds.
Unless you are fresh out of school, you should emphasize your accomplishments at work. What makes you special in your particular job? How can you convey your experience and skills so the reader sees your talent? For example, here is a student who was looking for a part time job, who does not know how to market herself. The student worked in the fast food industry and a retail store. The duties were routine, but she performed them excellently. One of her jobs, she was a cashier in a retail store. I helped her put the details into a form that would get her attention. Part of her job was to order supplies, maintain records and inventory. Open and close the store three times a week. Balance the cash drawer daily with less than a dollar variance. Lastly, she increased sales versus store targets by 10%. These skills attract attention!
People react to results! Can you quantify your results? If you increased sales by 20%, that would be a very effective statement. Your resume should answer the company’s requirements in a way that shows you can do the specific job well. For example, the above candidate would be perfect for a cashier position with little supervision or an assistant manager. Describe accomplishments that show you are a problem solver. Tailor your resume for the specific position which may mean changing it every time you submit it. Word processing makes that easy enough.
There just a couple things that should never be on your resume. Never ever provide references. References are available upon request. You do not give references until they are ready to give you an offer. Your references should be important to you! You do not want your references bothered unless they are serious about you. Never put anything about your past or current salary on your resume. This may exclude you, but you have not had a chance to sell them on you. Salary should only be discussed when they are ready to present you with an offer. A resume is a document representing you and it stands on its own. Spelling or grammatical errors will put your resume in the trash faster than anything else. Resumes should be no longer than one page unless the length of your experience warrants two pages. Now you know what an effective resume should look like. Pick a format that is clear and concise; remember they only take seconds to look over your resume. Believe me, it works, years ago I was a candidate for a executive position at a company that received 4,000 resumes. I was one of 15 that were interviewed. My resume met my expectations, I was selected.
Okay, maybe you are doing well with your career and you do not want to leave your current employer. You can still use what I describe as documenting your accomplishments when you have your review. This is your moment to market yourself to your boss regarding your accomplishments. It is an excellent way to negotiate a better raise or even a promotion. During the year when you do something worthy of including on your accomplishment list, write it down on your desk calendar. Put the accomplishments together in a note. Just before your review, pass it on to your boss as a reminder of your accomplishments. You will be surprised by the reaction. Your boss can use your note as a justification to his/her boss for the raise or promotion. Do you use your accomplishments in your resume? Would you use these ideas in your review?
Phot by: phil schatz