The first thing that an employer usually sees about you is your resume. It is not just a listing of your qualifications, experience, and education. It is an actual extension of yourself. Your resume is your first interview with the employer, and it should be just as dynamic as you would be if you were there – even more so, in fact! You already know how important first impressions are. Since your resume is your very first impression, even more attention needs to be paid to that presentation than to what you wear to your first interview.
Taking this concept even farther, think about your resume’s first impression. What image of you does it project as it comes into view for the very first time? In what way does it stand out from the rest of the stack and draw the reviewer to want to pull it out and read it first? It’s appearance, the paper it is on, not being bent or folded, an attractive layout, all being on one page, and easy readability of the font all contribute to the reader’s experience. And that experience needs to be all positive!
Don’t go nuts on the paper choice, however. It shouldn’t be on super-thick stock or too much of a non-resume color. Go with a nice quality, medium stock, off-white color such as beige or light gray. Do pay attention to the layout and font choice. Arial is probably best. Use bold where appropriate and lead the reader through the document naturally, without having to do any straining. A potential employer should not feel like they have to work to read your resume.
The most important part of the document is your employment objective. This should be right at the top, the first thing they see after your name and contact information. It should be customized for each potential employer! There should be some boldness to it (not just in the type style), tempered with respect and professionalism. For example, if you are applying for a receptionist position at ABC corporation, your objective might be: “To begin my life-long career as a top executive at ABC corporation by being the flat-out most outstanding receptionist in the history of the company. "
There are only two additional sections that are necessary to a resume after the employment objective: Work Experience and Education. And even education may not be necessary in some situations. Which order you put them in depends on your work experience, education, and the type of work you are seeking. For example, if you just graduated from Harvard you won’t have any work experience but you can certainly expect job offers. Your education will be what you are highlighting. On the other hand, if you are an account executive in a niche industry then you could even leave education off the resume entirely, because all anyone cares about is your experience, past production, and contacts.
When writing your work experience, throw a parade for yourself! This is no time for modesty. You were the absolute best at what you did, and you need to phrase your descriptions in that light. Pay no attention to what your previous employer’s stupid job title for your position was – instead, use your own job title that accurately describes what you did (keeping in mind they will be calling your previous employer to verify). For example, if your last job title was officially “Janitor, " on your resume it could be “Facility Maintenance Manager. "
Similarly, in your previous job description you always managed something. Whatever your position, I guarantee there was something you had to manage – so describe it that way. More importantly, I’m equally sure that there were problems which you solved. Be SURE to mention those.
If you received any recognition awards in the past, create a separate section at the end and list them in a less-than-modest manner. End the resume with a line about references available upon request, and do prepare them on a separate sheet. Almost any employer will follow up on references these days. If you have room, you can even list them at the bottom of your resume and save that step.
Remember, you are the best at what you do. Every line of your resume should be written with that in mind, and your resume should be the best one that’s ever been compiled for the position you are seeking. If you can get that through your head, and permeate it unto paper effectively, you ought to be able to get any job you want.
Andrew Kasch is an expert in his own eyes on most business-related subjects. You can get more resume writing tips at his website: http://www.freeresumetips.info