Ten Tips on Improving Your Resume
Today's business environment is so competitive that most resumes receive an initial 15-second glance. To stand out from the crowd, your resume should illustrate your accomplishments which include items such as productivity increases and cost savings for which you were responsible. The resume should demonstrate (by bullet point) your skills which prospective employers are seeking. Common mistakes that quickly knock a candidate out of the running can easily be avoided. The following tips will help create a resume that stands out. These tips will cover the kind of information that should be included and how the resume should look for best results.
1. Sell your skills: The prospective employer wants to see results. Use percentages and numbers to show increases in activity or decreases and cost savings for which you were responsible. Outline the actions you took and emphasize the resulting benefits. In today's business environment it is also important to emphasize your computer skills as well as additional certifications received beyond the typical education.
2. Target your resume: Vague, general resumes that cover several areas of specialization often get lost among the crowd. It is important to tailor the resume to each position you pursue. It is also a good idea to highlight your specific industry experience when it is relevant.
3. Use action verbs: Descriptive words -- such as implemented, organized, prepared, streamlined, organized and established - add power to your sentences. Begin each sentence with an action verb and remember to use the proper tense. (e.g. If describing a position or task you previously completed, you should end the action verb with "ed" as in "prepared". If describing a current position or project, you should end the action verb in the present tense as in "prepare").
4. Be concise: A 10 page resume will not even receive the typical 15-second glance. Best results are achieved with a one to two page resume. A resume which is short and to the point covering the pertinent information will often pass the 15-second glance.
5. Make it inviting: Capture the readers interest by showing them what they want to see. Emphasize your skills which you believe they are looking for. A resume with too much information may seem forbidding to the reader. Make deletions where necessary in order to achieve a readable product.
6. Be complete: A good way to emphasize your professionalism is to give complete information. Spell out all abbreviations, names of schools, companies, organizations and titles.
7. Proofread and edit: Your should always use spell check on your word processor, however, it is important not to rely 100% on it. The spell check will not display words which are actually spelled correctly, but do not fit into the sentence. (e.g. hear used in a sentence which should have been here.)
8. Do not include personal statistics: It is no longer considered professional to include information about age, marital status, height, weight or health on a resume. Requesting this information from candidates violates anti-discrimination laws, and most organizations will be pleased that you did not include that information.
9. Create a visually appealing resume: You can emphasize important points by using the computer to create italics, underlines, boldface type or different fonts. It is also important to check the spacing and margins used for the document. Create the document which will pass the 15-second test, but remember to keep it professional.
10. Ask for others opinions: A second opinion can be more objective and make suggestions which you might not have considered.
Tips on Interviewing
Here are a few reminders for your interview to make you as successful as possible. You may have heard or used some of this before but just in case..... A refresher for your perusal.
Don't get caught in the "tell me about yourself question". The key is to have the interviewer give you as much detail about the position as possible so that you will know how to answer based on your qualifications that fit the employer's needs. You can answer with "I know that you want a --------but in order to make sure that we are both on the same wavelength, what are the primary duties and responsibilities of the position?"
• What is the primary responsibility of this position? The answer will tell you not only if you can do the job, but if you want to do the job. Answer with a few examples of your accomplishments in this area.
• What are the short and long term goals set for the person in this position?
• What are the obstacles that may prevent me from reaching those goals?
• Write out any questions that you may have before the interview.
• Ask “If I perform well, where can I go in the company?"
• Avoid compensation and benefit questions. Side step by answering "Compensation is important but the opportunity to improve my career path is my #1 priority at this time"or "I would like as much as the position will pay" or " I am currently earning----. Although I would like an increase, I don't know enough about the opportunity to answer that fairly".
• Summarize what you've done that ties in with the new position and ask “Do I have the qualifications you're looking for?” Then don't say anything and let them answer.
• If they say “I am looking at other people, you say, "how do my qualifications match the people you're considering?"
• Ask for the Job!
• Your number 1 priority is to get the offer; your #2 priority is to know the next step.