Do it right: Writing the perfect resume

Do it right: Writing the perfect resume

A well-written resume is your best tool to make a good first impression to your potential employer.  A study by an online job-matching service TheLadders says that  it only takes an average of 6 seconds for recruiters to scan your resume and decide right away whether you’re up to the job or not.

Taking time to write your resume is really important, so make sure it follows a clear visual hierarchy to make it stand out above the rest. Here are some essential tips from TheLadders and Business Time, on how to make a perfect resume that can likely increase your chance to get a call on your job interview:

1. Start your resume with a branding statement

Begin your resume with your branding statement that stands out rather than relying on the traditional objective statement.

An objective statement only focuses on the job seeker’s talents in relation to a particular job position, whereas a branding statement doesn’t only focus on a specific position or industry. Instead, it allows the job hunter to sum up his/her talents and translatable skills in a one definitive sentence.

Here’s an example:

Objective statement: “Talented social media marketing professional seeks position as an associate at a small to medium size clothing retailer.”

Branding statement:  “Fashion savvy social marketing wiz with experience running successful marketing campaigns incorporating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.”

There are still posted jobs with the sole intent of filling a single position. Whilst this is still a frequent goal today, employers now seek out talents and create space for well-qualified individuals whom can fit within their organizations. Start your resume with a branding statement that can show how you can be a valuable asset to your target companies.

2. Prioritize your expertise and skills on top

List all these things near the top where the recruiter can easily see them. Use action verbs when presenting your accomplishments and support it with quantitative data if you can. For example, say that you increased sales by 50 percent, or the decisions you made led to a 120 percent decrease in operational costs. This is the area where you can freely go in depth and be specific. Don’t focus on your personal achievement; instead be detailed on your qualifications that can contribute to the company.

3. Tailor your resume for the potential position

Tailor your resume to every job application that responds to the specific requirements your prospect organizations are looking for. It is important to be unique, rather than merely using generic terms you originally apply for or held.

Use keywords that match the job description. These may catch the employers’ attention and probably place your resume at the top of the list.  Don’t make a mistake of just portraying a bio of a candidate but market your skills and strengths for the particular position.

Some companies nowadays use preliminary software that targets specific words or phrases in order to determine which resume should be further assessed or flagged down. If you strategically place keywords on your resume, there’s a greater chance it will be forwarded on to a breathing HR professional.

4. Avoid using creative fonts and formatting

Choose a classic font such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri or Verdana. Avoid using excessive amounts of bold, italics, and other features as this may confuse resume scanning software. If you do choose to use bold or italics in titles and headings, make sure to use it consistently.

Forgo distractive fonts and visuals which may hamper employer’s decision-making and reduce their analytical capabilities.  Create a clear visual hierarchy that is smooth-flowing for the employer’s to read through.

5. Don’t make it too long

There’s no specific length for a resume because it depends on your work experience and education. Yet, there’s a good chance that your employer will give lesser attention to the next page than the first. Hence, include as much on the first page without making your resume appear cluttered.

6. Follow employer’s instruction on making a resume

There’s nothing that will get a resume sent to the recycling bin faster than failing to follow the basic submission instructions. Common directives may include: submitting your resume as a specific file type, using a specific format on file name, including specific information on the subject of the email, using specific font type and size, and/or submitting your resume through the company website instead of email. More often, these instructions are given because of the employer’s special software requirements; however, in other cases, it is used to test the applicant’s ability to follow simple instructions.

7. Be honest

While it is important to maximize certain work history and minimize the others, it is never okay to lie. In some companies, employers require to have a reference person, whether a colleague, or a previous employer because they will check your claims. And when they do, make sure there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.

8. Review your resume

At the end of every resume, you need to evaluate and check for grammatical errors and spellings. Make sure that you updated your e-mail, phone number, and address as much as needed.

Never misspell on your resume. A trivial oversight can make your recruiters take you less seriously. You can ask a co-worker, former employers, teachers, parents or guardians, or other trusted people to check your resume and tell you if something is not right.

You can also have it professionally done. You may want to do the first draft, but leave the final touches to a professional.

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