Components of a Winning Resume
WHAT IS A RESUME SUPPOSED TO DO?
It’s NOT to get you a job. It’s to get you a phone call inviting you in for an interview. If you go into an interview dressed in jeans, sneakers and a cut off T-shirt, in all probability, you won’t get the job. If you’re not qualified for the job, you won’t get it either. The resume is seen BEFORE you are. It better convey the information the company is looking for. If it doesn’t, it’s just like wearing a T-shirt.
DO WE NEED AN OBJECTIVE? MAYBE?
An “Objective” on a resume should be there for an entry-level position. As one acquires years of experience, an Objective becomes restrictive, giving the impression that “I want to be this…”. as opposed to “I am this….” For example if you say “Seeking a Position as an Accountant………,” what you are really saying is; if you don’t have a job in this company for an Accountant, I’m not interested. If you insist on using an Objective, it would be much better to say “Seeking a position utilizing broad based experience in accounting………………,” which is the same as saying “ If your company is looking for someone with an accounting background, I would be interested in discussing options with you.” Another way to handle this is to start with a “Summary of Qualifications,” which is a 3-8 sentence overview on your background, as follows: “A results oriented financial industry professional and operations specialist. Strong analytical and planning skills. Demonstrated ability to develop…………”(Strong action words).
KEYWORDS: WHY DO YOU NEED THEM?
Everyone’s talking about “key words.” Put them under a category of “Areas of Strength.” Key words are what it is about the various positions you’ve held over the years that you do really well, such as: Contract Negotiations, Budget Development, Wage & Salary Administration. On the technical side, consider them to be Hardware and Software. Large organizations scan resumes into their computer and when needed, retrieve them. They are retrieved using key words, which should be focused on your industry or skill set. When someone does a key word search, your document will be missed, if you do not use them. Tell me the last time you think a company did a key word search on “gets along well with people”.
WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT SKILLS?
What you do and how you do it at your current job, and what and how you did it at the previous jobs. Don’t itemize work history back to the beginning of the flood. Maximum 15-20 years. And the way we handle that is in the Summary of Qualifications. It should state.“ A senior executive with over 18 years (etc. etc),” and when the resume is written, don’t go back any further. If they see 30+ years of work experience on a resume, they will figure out how old you are immediately and you will have about as much chance of getting that interview and/or job as this writer has of being the next President of the United States. Now you say they’ll figure it out when they see what year I graduated from college. Don’t indicate when you graduated from college, just list the school and the degree.
IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM HOW GREAT YOU ARE, WHO WILL?
Now, if you see a position that you think you are qualified for, you and 212 other individuals think so also. How does an organization make the decision as to who to invite in or not to invite in; what separates you from everyone else with the same skills? It’s “Accomplishments.” How did you make money for your current (or last) employer, how did you save them money, increased their efficiency, and reduced their costs. That’s what will make you stand out from your competition. If you don’t think so, think again. Remember that a resume’s function is not to get you a job, it’s to get you a phone call inviting you in. If you get that phone call, you have the opportunity to build on what is in the resume and get into more detail to sell yourself.
YOUR RESUME BETTER VISUALLY LOOK GREAT
After explaining all of this, the resume’s format (visual presentation) becomes as critical as content. The format for the Internet doesn’t matter, because we convert everything into ‘text”, however, the format for the rest of the world is very important (every job out there is not found on the Internet). If you want that interview, your resume better look as good as you do. Believe me, this is as important, if not more important than the content. When those 212 resumes or more come in on a job posting, you get 15 seconds of fame. The information literally MUST jump off the page and grab the “Gatekeeper’s” attention. The gatekeeper’s job is not to screen paper in, but to screen it out, so it better look great. All of this should be presented in two pages or less, if possible. This resume MUST be a marketing tool, not an obituary.
For a free critique/price quote, email Career Resumes® at Peter@career-resumes.com.
Peter Newfield is President of Career-Resumes.com®, one of the premier resume writing services in the United States. He is The Resume Expert for BlueSteps.com, ExecutiveRegistry.com, NETSHARE.com, DirectEmployer.com and the former Resume Expert for Monster.com, Spencer Stuart Talent Network and the Career Center on AOL. View samples at: www.career-resumes.com