Preparing a resume has become increasingly difficult over the past few years. As the internet evolves and an increasing number of documents are being sent electronically, the focus is shifting more towards content. In the past, it was most important to have a one or two-page resume that was laid out in an appealing, easy-to-read format. But, things are changing.
With the high speed of electronic mail, the process in which people review resumes is also faster. Having a short, organized document that quickly brings the reader to the point is critical. The resume needs to be able to tell the reader why and how you will benefit the company.
The only purpose a resume should serve is to get you invited to interview. Nothing more, nothing less. It is an advertisement designed to convince the hiring official that it is in the best interest of the company to interview you. Some suggestions for preparing a resume for the 21st century:
- Include a "Summary" section instead of an "Objective" section. Companies are more concerned with what tangible and measurable successes you can bring to their organization. If you have particular goals or objectives you want the company to be aware of, bring them up in the interview – do not dwell on them in your resume.
- After the "Summary" section, job seekers can put a list of "Key Words." This list could include 6 to 20 words, in a list going across the page (do not make a list down the page because this will take up too much space on the document). This serves two purposes. It creates a list for the person reading the resume to focus on what you can do. And, having a list in bold letters will be easier for digital image scanners to pick up on your most important information.
- Double and triple check for spelling and grammatical errors. Even if you are the best candidate with the best experience, you will be put aside if your document contains errors that could have easily been avoided. It shows a lack of ability to pay attention to detail.
- It’s a good idea to have multiple versions of your resume. Remember, the purpose of the resume is to get you into the interview. As each interview situation will be different, the corresponding resume should be too.
- There are different philosophies on resume layout. An entry-level job seeker will have their education listed at the top of their resume, while the resume of a person with a more experienced job history will put their education at the bottom. Sales resumes should include very specific numbers or percentages of volume sold to demonstrate a proven track record.
Every resume should explain to its reader in the first few lines why they should want to interview or hire you. Summarize your capabilities and highlight your best achievements. List your key words and, starting with your most recent job, list the name and location of the company, your job title and a brief description of your responsibilities. This should all relate back to the information in your summary section.
Finally, when reviewing your own resume, pretend you are interviewing yourself. Why would you want to hire you? If you can answer that question with only the information you’ve included in your resume, you’re ready to go!