2017-08-01 by Carolyn
Your resume is the defining feature of your application. At a glance, employers need to know who you are and why they should hire you. Your resume should not only list your skills but show how they make you a great fit for the job at hand. As many successful candidates, and recruiters, will tell you, your advantage is not in your qualifications, but how you present them.
Depending on your industry, you’ll carry a specific skill or qualification no one else has. At the top of your resume, include a small section called “summary statement” that briefly outlines who you are, what you are looking for, and why you stand out.
Your past work history will lend itself to one of several resume formats. If you are a job-hopper or looking to work around gaps in employment history, you may choose a functional resume that groups your qualifications together by skill.
If you are a senior worker who has steadily moved up in an industry, a chronological resume is your best bet; this lists your complete job history in reverse order. A mixed format combines the best of these, making sure the qualification you are most proud of stands out. A good rule of thumb is to put whatever you want your potential employer to know about you first on the page.
Language is important on a resume. Few things give more concrete meaning to certain words than numbers. Your accomplishments and goals have greater weight when figures back them up. Review your past jobs and tack on a number whenever it gives a recruiter a clear picture of what you did; “managed the sales team” is less impressive than “managed a sales team of 100 and increased revenues by 25 percent over two quarters.”
In most cases, your words should stand out more than the text font. But this is also largely dependent on your audience. If you are a graphic designer you may be expected to submit a portfolio and demonstrate eye-catching and impactful text placement; if you are an accountant, you may be expected to stick with standard business font. Speak with career mentors and recruiters in your industry to see what format is appropriate in your circumstance.
Most candidates think their resume should be about their education and work experience. While these elements are crucial, they don’t always encompass the full scope of your qualifications and transferable skills.
Before sitting down to write your resume, brainstorm about other things you have done that add to your appeal as a potential employee. This is particularly helpful if you are new to the workforce or if you are changing careers. Extra-curricular activities, such as participation in prominent athletic competitions or volunteer work, demonstrate drive and commitment. Any group you take an initiative to manage or develop, such as a charity drive, shows leadership.
Whenever you are sending out a resume, you are trying to promote yourself as a valuable employee. To stand out from other candidates it’s essential you know your own worth and make it a prominent feature of your resume. When time comes to choose candidates to interview, you want recruiters to have a solid idea of who you are and to consider you a positive new addition to the team.
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