By: Whitney Heinrichs
How can I sell myself and my abilities on a piece of paper? What information is pertinent to add to previous positions? Should I add an objective or summary? These are just a couple of typical questions that people think about when they are writing their resume and to be honest, it can be very overwhelming when you are creating one.
A typical recruiter at Bridge Personnel views well over 50 resumes a day for a variety of roles. As experts in career placements, it only seems right to share some of our tips on how to write an effective resume.
On average you have 30 seconds to catch the reader’s attention before they move on to the next resume, so you need to be concise, organized, and specific! So how do we decide what resumes we are going to look at and especially who we are going to contact? It is all about the formatting, length, and information contained in the resume. Below are some key points that will help you get your resume noticed.
What should I put in my resume?
Remember, the reader is looking for an individual who has the abilities and previous responsibilities that apply to the role they are looking to fill. Also, they are looking for someone who is going to make a positive impact in that role. Accordingly, take some time and think of two or three accomplishments you have had in every role. Whether you identified a process improvement that saved your company millions of dollars to creating a new filing system, list your accomplishments in your resume. Make sure you put those accomplishments first, then list your responsibilities for each position.
A lot of companies are looking for individuals who have invested in their future; with that said, make sure you list any continuous courses you have taken or degrees and certifications you have earned. Also, a list of awards presented to you by previous employers is highly recommended as well.
Should I have a summary or objective on my resume?
This is a matter of preference. A lot of times an objective can hurt you more than help you. When you are looking for a role, you are not necessarily aware of every type of position you could qualify for or even be happy in. Many times, a recruiter needs to think outside the box when they are looking for qualified individuals to meet the needs of their clients. If you put that you are strictly looking for a sales role on your resume, that might prevent them from calling you regarding a position that could have been your dream job, but you just didn’t know it. So be careful with the wording you put in your objective if you are open to a variety of opportunities. With regards to a summary, if you have more than eight years of experience in a particular industry, it would be wise to include this on your resume. This should be a couple sentences long describing your abilities and successes. You want the summary to catch the reader’s attention and make them want to look at your resume longer than 10 seconds.
I noticed there are a lot of different formats you can use. Which one is the best?
There are multiple types of formats you can choose from when writing your resume. It really boils down to preference. While you are reviewing formats for your resume, make sure you keep in mind that the more organized and structured the resume is, the easier it will be for the reader to review. I have personally found that if you choose to write your resume in paragraphs, if it is not done well, it makes it very difficult to read, which increases the chances of someone just passing on your resume. Please note that creating bullets on your resume breaks up your responsibilities, which makes scanning a resume easier.
What order should I put my resume in?
Remember, you only have a few seconds to catch the readers’ attention. With that in mind, make sure you put your resume in chronological order with your most current position on top. If you were promoted at a company and held 2 or more positions, the reader can easily distinguish that it was a promotion at the same company and not 2 different jobs at different companies. You want your resume to read cleanly; the cleaner the better! Try to avoid putting boxes and lines randomly throughout your resume.
What type of wording should I use in my resume?
Please remember a resume is a reflection of your writing abilities. If you have any typos or grammatical errors, it is going to deter the viewer from reaching out to you. It is imperative that you put past positions in past tense and current positions in present! Also, make sure you are using the correct words; for example, lead vs. led.
When a resume is posted on a job board, how do you think it is selected for review? It is all about the keywords! When a recruiter is searching for resumes, they plug in keywords that apply for that particular job. For example, if I was looking for a call center representative, I would have the database search for resumes that had the words customer, assist, answer, and multiple calls. If your resume does not have those keywords in it and you have a call center background you may not be contacted for this role, because your resume did not show up in my search. So how do you make sure your resume will show up in multiple searches? Easy! Look at job descriptions for the roles that you are wanting to land and apply that verbiage in your resume. Remember, recruiters are searching for responsible individuals that have held previous or current positions.
How long should my resume be?
It’s a daunting question! “I do not want to sell myself short, so I do not want to eliminate some of my responsibilities that I have held over the years, so is it okay that my resume is three pages long?” No! Your resume should not be a grocery list of every responsibility you have had, it needs to be key points that relate to the roles you are applying to. Rule of thumb — if you have less than eight years of working experience, your resume should only be one page long.
Writing a resume is a difficult task! It is not a task that you should expect to complete in an hour. Before you write your resume, take the time to think of some key points you would like to highlight, your previous accomplishments, and come up with the overall message you would like to create. Once you start writing your resume and you believe you have successfully portrayed what you set out to accomplish, walk away and reread it the next day. If you are still happy with what you wrote, have a few close friends and family members review it. It is always helpful to have multiple eyes proofreading your resume.
Good luck with your job search and remember the professionals at Bridge Personnel are always here to give you tips on writing your resume and can assist you in finding your dream job!