Employers are so inundated with resumes that it often takes weeks or even months to sort through them all to identify qualified candidates. Despite the administrative headaches and delays caused by processing resumes, companies rely heavily on the resumes they receive to screen for potential candidates. Given the choice of two candidates of equal ability the hiring managers will always interview the one with the most attractive resume. For that reason, qualified candidates are often overlooked and companies end up hiring from a more shallow pool of talent; a pool made up of those candidates whose experience is represented by powerfully written, visually appealing resumes.
Unless you can rely on your “reputation” or on the recommendation of a recruiter you will need a dynamite resume. In today’s competitive employment market, your resume must stand out in order to get the attention of the decision maker and create a strong impression. Later on when you meet the prospective employer face to face, a strong resume will act as a valuable tool during the interviewing process.
To help you construct a better, more powerful resume, the following are overall considerations:
- Provide your title and a detailed description of your daily activities and measurable results. Your resume should state exactly what you have done. Titles such as account manager, business analyst, and internal consultant are especially vague.
- Document your work history with accurate dates and places.
- Describe some of the more technical aspects of your past work or education.
- Give appropriate attention to jobs or educational credentials that are importance to the reader. For example, if you are being considered for a position at a bank provide details on your current job as a loan officer rather than unrelated experience. A resume should be reviewed and tailored specifically to each company and position for which it is submitted so that it emphasizes your skills and background relative to the needs of that particular company or position.
- Confine your resume to that which is job-related or clearly demonstrates a pattern of success.
- Describe your experience and credentials explicitly. For example, it is better to write out Masters in Business Administration rather than MBA.
- Your resume should be no more than two pages. This conveys to the reader that you are organized and concise. If your content is strong you will not need more than two pages.
- Check all spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Organize your resume in a clear, concise manner. Use concise action words to describe your abilities such as “formulate and implement strategic plans.”
- Look at the overall appearance and presentation. Select a good visual format, type style and stationery.
Write several drafts and allow yourself the time to proofread for errors and think about what you have written. Ask your colleague or friends for their opinions.