The most critical element of a successful job search is to catch the eye and interest of the hiring manager.
Unless that person knows you and your skills and capabilities, the only way the hiring manager can “see” you is by the way you present yourself in your résumé.
This article gives you some tips on how to prepare and write your résumé.
How to Write a Résumé
Features of A Successful Résumé
- KISS (Keep It Short and Simple)
- Well organized logically.
- Information is well categorized and easy to find.
- Easy to read—clear type in a good size font (11 point), and not cluttered.
- Not too long.
- People stop reading after a while.
- One page is great, two pages is a good size; three is pushing it.
- Limited to business-appropriate information.
- Printed or copied in black onto good paper.
- Must be absolutely correct and absolutely clean.
- Conservative in style and tone.
- Projects energy and enthusiasm.
- Includes a Cover Letter.
- Resumes are written in phrases, not sentences.
- Leave out less important words—such as a, the, an—and pronouns—I, me, her, him.
- Don’t waste space stating the obvious.
- Show the final accomplishment, not the interim ones.
- An exception would be if the interim steps involve a separate set of skills, such as developing and administering a survey, as opposed to analyzing the results and making suggestions or a report.
- Write numbers as numbers.
- For simplicity use ‘K’ to indicate thousands, ‘M’ to indicated millions.
- An example might be: “Recovered $380K in lost inventory” instead of $380,000.
How to Present your Accomplishments
- Write your accomplishments in past tense.
- Carefully choose strong, active verbs like implemented, initiated, designed, and directed.
- Accomplishment statements are much more effective if they include statistics.
- Accomplishment statements should briefly outline what you did and what results were achieved.
- If no outcome occurred due to a project being scrapped, this does not invalidate your accomplishment.
- Revise, revise, revise.
- Assume that you will need to rewrite your résumé several times until it has enough impact.
- This is time well spent.
Tips for Starting From Scratch
When using a program like Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or another modern program, they will have templates that you can use to help make your presentation professional and clean. For MS Word (but will be nearly the same in all programs), create a new document (File/New) and search for "resume". The program will give you almost 100 templates to choose from. Some will be generic and some will be industry-specific. Click the template that best matches your personality and the position you are seeking, and it will create the basic framework for you to work with.
Have someone proofread your resume. Spell check only works when a word is truly misspelled, but if you spell a word correctly, but it is the wrong word (IE: There, Their, They're), it won't catch it. Having a friend read it over with a critical eye will help you catch these sort of mistakes.