When applying for a job, your first step usually is to send in a resume. This will be the first impression your prospective employer will get of you. This is also the point, where a highly qualified applicant might be cast aside, because the resume has made no or even worse, a bad impression. A resume is not just a list of your accomplishments; it’s a reflection of yourself and your skills. It needs to be perfect yet also stand out.
Typos and/or grammatical errors almost always result into an immediate rejection. If such errors are present on your resume, employers either think that you did not take enough care in the preparation of your resume and therefore don’t care much for the job. Or the employer will doubt your academic credentials.
Another easily avoidable error is mistakes in the contact information. How can your employer call you for an interview, if your phone number is wrong? Or you cannot be reached at your address?
Your resume should be to the point yet provide your prospective employer with enough details to understand your accomplishments. Don’t simply make a list of duties you had to perform in your previous positions. You need to highlight your accomplishments and provide sufficient detail for your employer to fully comprehend your responsibilities.
For example, a phrase like “Worked with the department manager in a supervisory function to reorganize the sales process” does not explain much about your responsibilities and personal accomplishments. “Closely worked with the department manager on solutions to streamline the sales process. Successfully trained and supervised three employees in the implementation and use of the new sales process thereby increasing efficiency while decreasing costs.” Employers want to specifically know what you achieved in your previous positions. They know, what general duties your previous position entailed by the job title. They want to see, how and if you successfully utilized your skills for the benefit of the company. This aids them in gauging whether or not you might be an asset to their company.
Try to use more pro-active verbiage in your resume. The phrase ‘responsible for’ is often overused. Instead try to exactly state what you did in a more active manner by using words like ‘resolved’, ‘determined’, and ‘decided’.
Try to be concise yet detailed enough. Most people think they have to limit themselves to one page and cut out important information. However, there is no real rule for the length of a resume. Don’t worry, if your resume is longer than one page, especially, if you have a longer work history. Although, two pages will usually be enough. You should keep in mind a lot of resumes will be reviewed for the position your are applying for and you do not want to bore the employer with the small details. On the other hand, you should provide a full work history. Even jobs you had to earn extra money while you were still in school provided you with skills, which might be valuable to your employer.
Your resume also should be tailored towards the specific job you are applying for. Most applicants tend to send the same resume to each prospective employer. Such resumes tend to be generic. Employers expect you to show your value for that specific position they have open and how you would be beneficial to the company as a whole. Especially your ‘objective statement’ has to be geared towards that goal. A generic statement that could fit any position will most likely result in a rejection. Instead, your objective statement should mention the position you are applying for and how you look forward to applying specific skills you have to the position. Don’t be afraid to market your skills.
Your resume should be easy on the eye. Leave proper margins and don’t cram everything together. There needs to be a distinction between every job you held. Use paragraphs and proper text size. Also, don’t use a lot of different fonts. Your employer should be able to easily find, what they want to look at, especially once you get to the interview portion. Have friends and/or relatives look at your resume before sending it out. They will be able to tell you, if it easy to read, pleasing on the eye, and easy to understand.
You should use proper resume paper for your resume. Try not to use ‘funky’ colors. Those make your resume stand out, but not necessarily the positive way. Additionally, do not add scents to your resume. What you might find pleasing, an employer might find repelling. Decorative embellishments will also likely make a negative impression. Your resume should be clean, neat, and without any wrinkles.
Don’t forget to add a cover letter to your resume. The cover letter should highlight what a good fit you are for the specific position and the company as a whole. You should stress, which skill set and experience will be beneficial for the specific job.