Resumes are worth less than a dime a dozen in today’s job market. In fact they are free for taking. Despite the fact that you are 70 to 80 times more likely to get a job lead from networking than you are from sending your resume into a company, you still need to have one and be getting it in front of people. Here are some tips that reflect a great radio interview I had with Make Your Resume Talk author Dick Hart. (click here to listen)
1. Make your resume welcoming. Sounds funny but many resumes read like they are written for robots. Adding qualifying words like “cheerfully” takes the task of “answering the phone” up a notch. Who doesn’t want a cheerful person answering their phone? Qualifying words show your personality as well as your passion.
2. Pick the best format to showcase your talents. When people think of resumes they automatically assume they must use the reverse chronological format where you list your positions from the most recent position first and then go backwards. That is simply no longer the case. Resume types such as functional allow you to put your talents first and dates worked later. This is a great style for people getting back into the work force. Or, my personal favorite is a hybrid. Click here to see a resume I did for a client that wowed the recruiter and helped get the client hired.
3. Customize Your Resume for Each Job. Those of us who remember typewriters understand why one resume was plenty back in the day. Getting everything perfectly centered and spelled correctly was enough to drive even the most ambitious person crazy. With technology it is both easy and necessary to create a resume for each position you want. (Yes, it is still time consuming but it must be done.)
4. Limit Your Work Experience. First of all, there are no laws that govern resumes and you do not have to put everything on them. In some cases it is best to leave off certain work experiences that are not related to the type of job you are seeking. For example, there is no need to include titles like “hostess,” “house painter”, or “camp counselor” if you are going for a job in accounting. In other cases putting all of your experience onto your resume may show that you are an older worker which is certainly not a bad thing, but may not be something you want to draw attention to right away. Dick’s advice is to limit a resume to 15 years.
5. Match the job description language. If you can get a hold of a job description be sure to match the language so it is the same as long as it reflects the work you actually did.
Biggest mistakes on resumes are as follows: 1. making it difficult to read – limit the font to 11/12pt and keep that one inch border. 2. embellishing/lying – you are an honest person, make sure your resume reflects it. 3. misspellings – at least two sets of eyes should see it before it hits the employers.