Resume Tips for Job Seekers
Before You Start Writing
Here are some important guidelines
that will land your resume in the interview pile:
should only go after positions that fit your experience, skills
and interests.” It wastes everyone’s time when you compose and
send in a resume for a job you aren’t qualified to do. Don’t
apply for one you won’t enjoy either. Time is a very important
commodity. It doesn’t make sense to squander it by either
pursuing or taking a position that’s a poor match for your
skills or personality.
Research a company before your prepare your resume and cover
letter. Find out about the organization’s products, services,
culture, community involvement, affirmative action program,
plans for the future and buzz words. Then use your knowledge to
compose a targeted resume and cover letter.
want to grab a recruiter’s attention in 10-30 seconds, tailor
your resume to a specific position. Most job seekers agonize
over creating one perfect resume that will be all things to all
employers. When they get few responses, they are surprised and
puzzled. They don’t understand that recruiters are ruthlessly
efficient in looking for the best potential matches for their
opening and doggedly determined to focus on achievements and
experience that parallel what their company needs. Unless your
resume concentrates on your relevant qualifications and
eliminates other extraneous information, you are wasting their
time and sabotaging your chance for an interview.
yourself justice, formulate a clear picture of the job
description, pull accomplishments from your background that mesh
with it and choose a chronological, functional or hybrid format
which showcases your achievements to their greatest advantage. A
chronological resume is structured by job title and generally
puts the last job first. This format is excellent for
individuals who have few gaps in their employment, haven’t job
hopped and want to stay in the same career. A functional format
concentrates on activities, rather than jobs and has a lot more
flexibility than its chronological counterpart. Because it often
doesn’t list job titles and have dates marching smartly down the
page, recruiters often dislike it. The hybrid format generally
starts with an function/activities section, then lists jobs and
dates under a separate section called Employment History. It’s a
good compromise between the other two formats.
is no best format for college students. Your experience,
personality and audience will determine which one is best for
you. You may even use different formats depending on the jobs
you are pursuing.
both humans and computer readers in mind when you are creating
the text and format of your resume. Your hard copy should be a
high rag content paper with an easily read type font, a good
deal of white space, no typos, and a number of key or buzz words
that indicate you are familiar with the job and its environment.
Your electronic copy should use a type font with serifs in
regular or bold letters, lots of white space, no typos, no
italics, no underlines and a keyword summary. If you are sending
your resume via e-mail, it’s safer to use a text format than
rely on the reader having word processing software that matches
yours. Pasting your resume to your e-mail can make it easier to
access and print than sending an attached file.
you are considering places to send your resume, take advantage
of your college career center and networking contacts. About
80-90% of jobs are filled through people who know people.
Scanning newspaper and internet ads can also be useful, but you
are a lot more likely to hear of an opening through a personal
you start writing your resume, put together an accomplishments
history. This document should include a detailed outline of all
your achievements, whether you’ve been paid for them or not.
Then, when you have a specific job in mind, you can select the
most relevant items from your history and combine them to form a
years job seekers have put their name, address and phone number
at the top of their resume. It was a simple no-brainer. In the
last few years, telling recruiters where they can find you has
become much more complicated. Depending upon where you are most
easily reached, you may also want to include your cell phone and
fax numbers and your e-mail address. Whatever you decide to use,
be sure all the pages of your cover letter and resume have your
name and fastest contact point prominently displayed at the top.
objective comes next. It should be as specific as possible.
Saying you want ABC job with XYZ company helps the recruiter
know exactly what you want. Many people will tell you a specific
objective cuts your chances of being considered for other
positions. This is bogus advice. If you want to go after more
than one job, compose and send more than one resume. When it
comes to being selected for an interview, you need to focus on
and qualify for the job the recruiter is working at that moment.
- The professional qualifications brief or summary
usually follows the objective. If you are doing a keyword summary, you’ll be
listing the buzz words and phrases human and computer screeners want to see. Of
course, you’ll need to show in your experience section why you deserve to claim
Example for a Human Resources professional:
Compensation and Benefits, Organizational Development, Technical
Training, Recruiting, Change Management, Affirmative Action, OSHA
Requirements, Mentoring Programs
A professional qualifications brief can include experience, skills, personality
traits and philosophical statements that illustrate who you are and what you
have to offer. These summary statements should be a unique personal description
which relates to the job you want. Bland qualifications briefs that talk very
generally about being a results-oriented, hands-on, people person waste resume
space and recruiter time.
Example for an International Business Professional:
Extensive understanding of global
A transcultural individual who is
comfortable with people and settings around the world.
Skilled at bringing a diversity of
people together to pursue a common goal.
Willing to relocate abroad.
Your experience section generally
comes next. You can frame it according to jobs or
activities/functions. If you choose a chronological format, you’ll
list your most important and relevant achievements under each job
title. If you work by function, you’ll put each accomplishment under
its corresponding functional title such as Project Management,
Accounting/ Finance Experience, or Installing Computer Networks.
Rather than describing your responsibilities, which does little to
set you apart from your competition, spotlight the specific
contributions you’ve made in the position or activity.
Developed and coordinated the first annual Basketball Hoopathon,
which raised $10,000 for the local family shelter.
of: Responsible for raising money for charity.
your accomplishment statements with action verbs. They have a
lot more sizzle than “duties included.”
Quantify whenever you can. Talk about amount of money earned or
saved, percent of improvement, day or hour reductions per
process, and number of employees or participants you managed,
coached or trained.
Sprinkle jargonal terms favored by your career or industry
liberally throughout. Using the right buzz words is like
speaking French in Paris. It captures your reader’s attention
and elicits her respect.
Include your volunteer or extra-curricular activities in this
section, if you have little paid experience or your non-paid
work is relevant to the position you seek. As meshing these
activities can be confusing in a strict chronological format,
you may choose to list your activities by name and leave out the
dates, or go with a functional format.
Speaking of dates: they can be your friends or enemies. If you
are worried about how they fit together in your resume, use
number of years or months instead, or delete them.
education goes either below your experience or above it,
depending upon which you think is more important. For many
recent college graduates, their education is more relevant to
their job objective than their stints at Burger King or Kroger.
If, however, your paid or unpaid positions reflect what you can
do for a potential employer better than your degree in
Anthropology, slip education under your experience section.
noted above, you may discuss professional organization and
community activities in your experience. Or you may choose to
put them in an Activities/ Organizations group below
either education or experience. Be sure to list your awards,
offices and memberships, putting the most important, prestigious
ones toward the top.
Finally, don’t list salary history or requirements, reasons for
leaving, or references in the body of your resume. Put them on a