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The Art Of The Resume - Articles Surfing
In order to maximize the impact of your resume for your targeted audience ' the hiring manager' you must have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.
Pinpoint Your Goal
Before you begin, ask yourself these questions. Are you:
'Making a lateral move?
'Seeking a promotion?
'Pursuing admission into an academic program?
Match Yourself to the Job
When you look at a job listing, highlight the qualifications that are required and the duties that you would be expected to assume. Every match in terms of required qualifications and your experience should serve as a keyword in your resume.
Knowing how you match up to a potential position will provide focus, so that your resume can be tailored to your targeted audience. The more closely the content of your resume matches the content of these postings, the more likely you will be asked to interview. Be careful, though, not to simply repeat phrases found in a job listing. Your goal is to demonstrate your understanding of the role and your applicable experience.
Step Two: Formatting for Maximum Impact
When your resume is reviewed, it must be appealing, while accurately reflecting your industry or career goal. If it's not ' no matter how brilliantly it is written ' it will likely be added to the rejection stack. To ensure that your resume receives the attention it deserves, it's important to adhere to certain formatting guidelines, which address:
'Template and font choice
'Effective use of white space
'Prioritization of data
Be easy to follow
There is nothing worse than a resume where data is presented in a haphazard manner. That's why templates are used. An effective template will present company names, dates, job titles, academic information, and all other pertinent data in a clear manner, so that a quick glance will tell the contact person what they need to know.
Be easy to read
Resumes in bold text or italics are difficult to read and unprofessional. The same goes for fonts that resemble handwriting. It's a common misconception that "jazzing up a resume" will get it read. It's not the font that attracts attention, but rather the overall appearance and the words crafted within it.
When in doubt about font choice, always err on the conservative side. Two good choices are Times New Roman or Arial in 11 points ' no smaller, or the text will be difficult to read.
Step Three: Qualifications Summary & Skill Set
Picture yourself at the market after a long day at the office. You're in a rush, and want only those items on your list, if they're on sale. Hurrying into the store, you glance around for the weekly advertising piece that indicates what's on sale. Trouble is, there's no advertising piece, and no one to answer your questions. If you want to purchase the items you need at a discount, you're forced to walk up and down each and every aisle until you find what's available.
Doesn't sound like an effective use of time, does it? And yet this is the same type of frustration hiring managers are exposed to every time an applicant submits a resume that fails to open with a well-written Qualifications Summary and/or Skill Set.
What is a Qualifications Summary?
It's a brief paragraph that showcases your most effective skills and experience. More importantly, it's your chance to convince a hiring manager of the skills you can bring to the position. This is essential ' hiring managers generally afford no more than 10 seconds to your resume, unless they're compelled to read further.
So, how do you compel them to keep reading?
Let's use this example: You're an accountant who has worked at XYZ Company for nine years and been promoted every time you've come up for review. Because of your organizational efforts, the company is saving $2,500 monthly. You've passed the CPA exam. You're skilled in Profit & Loss (P&L), audits, taxation matters, and internal controls. Now, you want a Controller position.
Rather than including all of this in the body of the resume, where the hiring manager would be forced to look for it (but won't), the wise candidate would write something like this:
Results-oriented, detailed professional with comprehensive accounting experience. Background includes consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility. Skilled in P&L, audits, taxation, internal controls, and streamlining procedures, effecting a monthly savings of $2,500 at XYZ Company. Recently passed the CPA exam; currently seeking a controller position.
In five lines, you've given specific examples of what you can do, quantified an accomplishment, indicated past performance, provided data on certification, and provided your career path. And you've done all of that in a well-written paragraph that's easy to read.
Note that personal pronouns are not used here. In business writing, which includes resumes, personal pronouns such as I, me, or my are never used.
Step Four: Accomplishments & Special Skills
There is nothing on your resume more important than your Accomplishments. Why? Think of it this way: you're a hiring manager with one position to fill and 10 qualified candidates. Each candidate has the same basic educational and professional background. So, who gets the job?
What is a Quantified Accomplishment?
A quantified Accomplishment should include dollar figures, percentages, and time periods. For example: An accountant has streamlined procedures, realizing a $2,500 monthly savings for his company. A dollar figure quantifies the accomplishment, while noting "streamlined procedures" explains how he did it. If he achieved those savings within three months of hire, it might be written this way:
Achieved a $2,500 monthly savings for XYZ Company within three months of hire by streamlining procedures.
Imagine the hiring manager's reaction to the above, as opposed to this entry: 'Streamlined procedures for XYZ Company.' Doesn't say much, does it?
Special Skills should be presented up front so that a hiring manager knows what you can do. In some instances, a special section (i.e. Computer Skills, Languages, Office Procedures, etc.) should be created to showcase these Special Skills.
Step Five: Professional Experience
In the Professional Experience section of your resume, you will list your employers, job titles, and dates of employment in a reverse-chronological order; that is, your most recent job comes first, followed by your next most recent job, and so on. This format is standard and is expected by all hiring managers and admission directors.
Generally speaking, hiring managers prefer years of employment, rather than months and years (i.e. 1999 - 2003 as opposed to May 1999 - April 2003). However, some college admission programs want specifics when it comes to dates, so it's best to use precise dates when applying to graduate school.
In the Professional Experience section, you will also include daily tasks and responsibilities beneath the appropriate employer listing. If you've included a Career Accomplishments section in your resume, you should not repeat that data here. Once data is presented in a resume, it must not be repeated.
To ensure that your daily tasks are presented in an interesting and easy-to-read manner, you should do the following:
Use a bulleted format
This breaks up large blocks of text that could prove daunting to a hiring manager.
Begin each sentence with an action verb
This quickens the pace of your writing and makes the text more enjoyable to read.
Step Six: Education & Training
Data provided in the Education section of your resume should be prioritized (and included) according to:
'Your current career level (entry-level, as opposed to professional)
'The purpose of your resume
'The country in which your resume will be distributed
'Your current career level
The Impact of Experience
If you're an entry-level candidate with little or no professional experience, your education should be presented immediately after the Qualifications Summary and/or skills area. The reasoning for this is that education is currently your most marketable asset. Here, you would include:
'GPA (if 3.5 or above)
'Coursework relevant to job search
If you're a professional with five or more years of experience, Education should be listed last on your resume. GPAs, awards or scholarships, and mention of dean's lists are not generally provided in a professional or executive resume, except for those used for entrance into graduate school programs.
Give hiring managers what they're looking for- a complete, easy-to-read resume that highlights important information which differentiates you from other candidates. By doing so, your resume will stand out from the crowd and get you an interview.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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