How to create a first-class resume
In today’s highly competitive job market, human resource managers and recruiting professionals are inundated with hundreds of resumes for a single position. If the hiring manager can only spend 10‐30 seconds reviewing a resume before determining whether it warrants further consideration, what can you do to ensure that YOUR resume stands out from the rest?
Research shows that a polished, professionally written resume significantly increases your chances of securing an interview. Your resume must convince the hiring manager that you are a good fit for their open position while simultaneously distinguishing you from the competition. It needs to highlight your work history, achievements, education, and capabilities while answering the employer’s most important questions‐ What do you offer, and does it meet our needs? Here are the essentials for creating a first‐class resume that does just that:
Be succinct. Be specific. Be truthful.
This is key. Your resume should emphasize job, field, or industry-specific qualifications, ideally through measurable achievements, without being too lengthy. A checklist of day-to-day tasks does not provide the employer with any substance or specific examples of your successes. A long‐winded laundry list littered with jargon and acronyms will not convey the right message either. You must concisely demonstrate your skills and accomplishments to generate interest from a potential employer. Give examples: How did you reduce costs and improve efficiencies, and/or solve business issues? Increase your marketability by emphasizing your unique core competencies, talents, strengths, and achievements. Never exaggerate or lie about your capabilities and successes.
Think of your resume as a marketing piece. It must sell the employer on you. It is valuable real estate and must catch the reader’s attention. Do NOT include personal data such as marital status, a photograph, or date of birth. This information is irrelevant.
Before you begin to craft your resume, take the time to compile a list of the positions that you have held and the corresponding duties. From this, outline your accomplishments and results in each role. Compile an inventory of your top 8 hard and soft skills. This process can be challenging but will provide you with the fundamentals to create an impressive resume.
TOP MYTHS AND MUST-HAVES
Must-Have #1 ‐ Include a Headline above your Experience and Skills Summary. A Headline provides a succinct, unique, memorable overview of your focus, functional, and industry expertise.
Must-Have #2 ‐ Emphasize your industry experience‐ Include a company descriptor that allows the reader to better understand your background.
Must-Have #3 ‐ Emphasize your skills‐ Enhance your bulleted job description by using action words such as “Charged with,” “Proven performer in,” “Successful history of,” “Drove,” “Championed,” etc.
Must-Have #4 ‐ List all the titles you held within a company‐ Demonstrate your career progression and success by promulgating all of your titles within a company.
Must-Have #5 ‐ Include a reason for leaving- If your last 3 ‐ 5 positions were less than one year, providing information about the reason for your moves will help alleviate questions. Include a simple clause under the position.
Must-Have #6 ‐ Use consistent fonts and sizes‐ More than ever, it is essential that your resume is well laid out and that it is pleasing to the eye! The layout, fonts, and sizes are crucial in creating that overall impression. Be consistent and provide some visual interest to the page. This can be achieved in many ways: placing a line under your name and contact information, centering headers, using bold for your company name or title. Search the internet for good examples and templates, some to consider are Microsoft, Canva, and Google Docs.
Must-Have #7 ‐ USE SPELL CHECK – TWICE! ‐ Ask at least two people to review your resume for grammar, spelling, and content.
Myth #1 ‐ A resume must be one page‐ At one time, this was the preferred length, however, this is no longer the case. Two pages are perfectly acceptable, three if absolutely necessary. Do not try and use every inch of the space. Don’t pad it with unnecessary information. Make sure you leave margins (this is a perfect space for the interviewer to write notes). Your name, contact information, and page number should appear on every piece of paper.
Myth #2 ‐ A resume should include an Objective ‐ Everyone has the same basic objective, so replace this valuable real estate with a Skills Summary ‐ 6‐9 bullet points in 2‐3 columns that highlight your unique skills & talents.
Myth #3 ‐ “References available on Request”‐ There is no need to include this, it’s a given.