A résumé is a brief, informative summary of your abilities, education and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although a great résumé alone will not get you a job, it is essential for obtaining an interview. I have outlined a few pointers to help develop and improve your résumé.
-A typical résumé is no more than one page long. Eliminate information that does not relate to the position to which you are applying. The hiring manager could be reviewing hundreds of résumés, so be sure to keep your descriptions succinct.
-Take time to make your format appealing, as this is their first impression of you. Keep the format uncluttered and consistent, and use a professional font such as Times New Roman or Arial.
-List your up-to-date contact information, including phone number, mailing address and email. Use a professional sounding email address. If your email contains an unprofessional nickname, slang, profanity, etc., create an account that is appropriate for job hunting.
-Describe your accomplishments rather than outlining your job description. Employers want to see how you’ve increased productivity, strengthened sales, balanced responsibilities, etc. Quantify and qualify your accomplishments when appropriate.
-Pay attention to the job posting and utilize keywords mentioned in the listing. It is helpful to print out the description and underline credentials that you can reiterate in your résumé.
-Avoid using personal pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘we’.
-Use action verbs like ‘initiated’, ‘implemented’, ‘managed’, ‘launched’, etc. These words demonstrate that you are a proactive and engaged employee. Visit http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/careers/opia/toolkit/resumes/action-verbs.html to see a full list of action verbs.
-Avoid using flowery or extravagant language. Over-selling your accomplishments can come off as disingenuous. Avoid using too many exaggerated adverbs, such as ‘successfully’ or ‘effectively’, as it is assumed that any task listed on your resume was carried out ‘successfully’ and ‘effectively’.
-Make a strong case for why you should be hired. Tailor each résumé to suit the position you are applying for. Highlight skills and accomplishments that prove you will be successful in the job at hand.
-Proofread your résumé and ask at least two other individuals to look it over as well. Grammatical errors and typos will immediately exclude you from the pool of candidates.
-Consider converting your finished résumé to a PDF to avoid formatting errors.
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