Resume and Interview Tips
In working with jobseekers spanning the U.S., UK, and Canada, I tackle all the major aspects of a resume, from structure and language to formatting and layout. While the needs of every client are different, it all really boils down to 1 goal: landing him or her more interviews. Set aside your resume for a moment and ask yourself: is it working for you? Are you landing enough interviews per week to feel confident that you'll soon be placed in a suitable position? If not, then it's time to STOP SUBMITTING and start revising the document. Here are some tools I use every day in working with clients to diagnose and solve common issues:
1) LACK OF FOCUS
Your target position, as well as key skills/accomplishments that immediately establish your suitability for it need to leap off the page. This isn't an exaggeration: with most recruiters/hiring agents spending less than 1 minute on a first pass of a candidate's resume, first impressions mean the difference between an interview and rejection. This is particularly challenging for jobseekers with extensive work histories. Here's what you need:
-The EXACT TITLE of the position you're applying for, boldfaced, right at the top of your resume. This prevents confusion and keeps your resume from accidentally getting mis-filed.
-A brief opening paragraph describing 3-4 key skills related to the type of position you're targeting. For example, a Sales Management candidate could focus on his/her ability to effectively mentor teams, develop targeted marketing campaigns, and consistently develop territories. Note: Be sure to expand on each of these skills in greater detail within the work history portion of your resume.
-A "Core Competencies" section beneath this listing in-demand keywords. Keywords can be found through analyzing relevant job postings.
-A work history or "Professional Experience" section where EVERY JOB highlights relevant skills. That means, using the example above, that only Sales Management-related skills would be broached for every position. If a particular job isn't relevant, either briefly summarize it in a 1-2 line "Career Note" or leave it of entirely.
2) LACK OF QUANTIFIABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
A resume cannot succeed on soft skills alone. Recruiters and hiring agents are looking for concrete proof of a candidate's ability to succeed in a new job, and the best way to deliver that is to demonstrate prior successes.
-Analyze the last 2-3 positions you've held (these are the ones hiring agents will primarily focus on when deciding who gets called in for an interview). Did you garner exceptional feedback for a particular initiative? Demonstrate expertise in using a particular system or methodology? Did you solve a pressing issue? Create a "Key Accomplishments" section for each of these positions listing them. Expert Tip: take the time to gather relevant metrics if available. This can make an ENORMOUS difference when submitting your resume.
3) MESSY LAYOUT
Don't make the mistake of thinking an ineffective layout doesn't matter. In today's marketplace, PRESENTATION matters just as much as content in that the former must support and enhance the latter. Make judicious use of boldfacing and italicizing and above all, ADHERE TO THE STRUCTURE YOU ESTABLISH. Here's the basic layout:
-Boldfaced title of the position you're applying for
-"Core Competencies" section (a border can be used here)
-A work history section where the company name and dates worked are separate from the job title and responsibilities. "Key Accomplishments" would come last, with successes listed in bullet form.
-Brief closing sections
Expert Tip: Be sure to use a standard font such as Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial and don't use a size beneath 10 pt., as it can strain readability.
Best of luck in your job search!
Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Owner at Resume Orbit. 95% of clients report a significant increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 100% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee (in writing).
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