To get an interview in today’s job market, your résumé must stand out, above the pack. One recommended technique used to achieve this type of attention is to build skill headings, achievements, education, and interests sections into your résumé. This process is, in reality, an exercise in “spin doctoring, ” or finding creative and provocative ways to put your career experience into words.
List intriguing and useful skills and skill headings. For example, if you opened a brand new market for your firm, that accomplishment will be much more noticeable under a skill heading that reads Market Penetration than under a heading that simply says Sales. Qualify your skills with hard data – “Drove Ownership of Deliverables” will not be as impressive to a potential boss as “Drove Ownership of Deliverables resulting in a 34% increase in productivity during the first year. ”
Choose the most powerful achievements for an achievements list. Again, if you are using a chronological format, list your achievements within the description of the position you had when you accomplished them.
It is most effective to describe your accomplishments using the SMART format:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Action oriented
R – Realistic
T – Time-based
And don’t be modest. Everyone has done something impressive at every career position that he or she has held… these accomplishments are what make up a career. Otherwise, that position was just another job.
Build an education section of the most important and pertinent information. List the most prestigious and recognizable programs first:
Ivy league college
Rare and unique training
Do not include superfluous or irrelevant entries. Less is more, especially if the list includes well known institutions and programs. Padding the education section will only make you look like you are trying to hard to impress someone.
Fill in any additional sections or information that will help demonstrate your qualifications. This is a sensitive area among the experts. All agree, however, that nothing of a personal, non-business nature be included in these additional sections. For example, under the Special Interests heading, no employer is going to be impressed if you list that you collect stamps or love dogs and cats. If, however, you are looking for a job in law enforcement, and under the Activities heading, you list that you have been a reserve policeman in New York City for the last five years, that would be of interest to your reader.
Circulating Your Résumé
Aside from stuffing your résumé and a cover letter into an envelope, licking a few stamps, and dropping the lot in the mailbox, most of the experts urge jobseekers to use networking and other methods of distributing a résumé, including submitting résumés online and preparing your résumé for computer scanning.
Printing your résumé is not a difficult activity in this day and age. Résumés printed on desktop printers are acceptable, for the most part. Résumés can be printed at print shops directly off computer disks, reducing the risk of a folded or coffee stained original. Prior to printing, always run spell check, and have at least two people proofread the résumé for word usage and syntax. There’s nothing worse than irretrievably screwing up your first impression with a typo or two.
The latest trend in networking among friends and acquaintances to find a new job involves an innovation known as the networking card. Networking cards are the same size and shape as a business card. Your networking card carries all the contact information from the heading of your résumé. In place of a company name and logo, the card lists your objective, your summary of skills, or whatever other brief but impressive highlight you wish to tout from your résumé. At times, such as a social setting, when a résumé would be cumbersome and inappropriate, the networking card will serve as an effective preview and reminder to any job search contact you may meet.
In this computer age, it is vital to create a résumé that will be easily scanned by employers’ résumé scanning products. Keep the fonts you choose consistent within the document, and on the plain side. Decorative or ornate fonts do not scan well at all. Keep graphic elements, such as logos and photographs, to a bare minimum, if they are to be included at all. A very large number of companies scan applicants’ résumés, and store them electronically, disposing of the paper copies completely. Be sure that your résumé will scan cleanly, or you may inadvertently exclude yourself from consideration for the position you want.
Finally, the consensus among professional employment folks is that internet employment services are here to stay, so you would do well to create and distribute résumés online. Certainly, post your résumé to the major job boards, such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and JobNewsRADIO. But there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of smaller job boards that service individual industries, or specific geographic areas of the country. These can, in some cases, be even more effective than casting your bread upon the ocean of résumés in the vast databases of the major job sites.
The bottom line to all of this is that creating an effective résumé is not a Herculean task, or some form of arcane magic. There are very specific techniques, guidelines and practices, which can be learned fairly easily. As a job seeker, you owe it to yourself to explore the information that is available, and perhaps take an independent class on résumé writing, to give yourself yet another advantage in an overcrowded job market. Many community colleges and continuing education centers offer résumé writing classes. There are a number of online courses available with useful and informative tutorials on the subject, and they are reasonably priced, compared with many others.
Don't guess about how to design your resume to create results for you. Plan now to organize it accordingly.
Good Luck With Your Job Search
Mark Baber has 20 years experience as an Executive Search recruiter, with placement background in many industries, including: Retail, Manufacturing, Sales, Accounting/Finance, MIS/IT, and many others. Mark is Recruit Consultant to http://www.JobNewsRadio.com where Jobseekers access 2 Million job transactions monthly, and can submit their Resumes Free and have them distributed freely to Employers they choose by industry, vocation, City or Region. Further JobNewsRADIO offers FREE Job Seeker resources like career and personality assessments, free Trade magazines, free Job Search tutorials that help increase your odds of finding a career job position, and many other valuable resources. Or visit Mark's recruitment web site at http://www.mcbaber.com