22 Oct

5 things you need to know to make your resumé amazing

There is no such thing as a short-sleeved dress shirt: 5 things you need to know to make your resumé amazing

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away I spent some time as a corporate IT recruiter.  While this was a significant departure from my communications background, it also ended up to be a great learning experience and confidence booster.

Once I found myself being able to intelligently talk about Visual C++, AS 400, LAN and WANs, review resumes with ease, interview IT professionals competently and in some cases, delicately tell candidates that a graphic t-shirt and jeans probably aren’t appropriate for next week’s interview and that clean hair is always a good idea, I felt fairly confident that I could learn just enough about almost any industry to be dangerous.

Interestingly, I also found that my writing and communications education and background (and to a certain extent, even my psychology degree—see my note above re: clean hair and appropriate interview attire) came in very handy as an IT recruiter. I spent a lot of time helping my candidates improve their resumés and even found myself editing a friend’s resumé last week.

So, I thought I would share some quick and easy tips for making your resumé the best it can be—regardless of the industry you are in:

  1. Spell check is your friend. But it does NOT take the place of carefully re-reading your resumé from top to bottom.  Better yet, have a friend review it as it’s easy to miss something you’ve drafted and looked at a thousand times. I would hazard a guess that you probably “worked in the mail room” and not “in the male room” but to spell check, it’s all good.
  2. Keep it real. And a realistic length. A new college grad probably does not have enough meaningful experience to justify a two page resume. Conversely, if you’ve been working for 30 years,  your resume should be a succinct, yet accurate reflection of your employment history, with solid descriptions of your experience—and more than one page.
  3. Provide references right then and there. “References available upon request” is an extra unnecessary step that employers do not want to take. If they are interested in you, they will want to move ahead quickly and easily. Give them what they need. Help them help you.
  4. Explain yourself. Include quantifying and qualifying statements as much as possible. While “I created a quarterly newsletter” is a fair statement “I created a four-page, in-depth quarterly newsletter that was distributed to more than 5,000 people” is a much stronger and more impressive.
  5. Make it pretty. Oh so pretty. Resumés should be professional in appearance, easy-to-read and consistent. Dates should appear the same throughout your resumé and not a mix of July 7, 1992 in one place and 2/13/04 in another. Same goes for headings, addresses, phone numbers, etc.  You may even want to update your old Times New Roman font to a more modern Calibri or Arial if you’re feeling adventurous.

Now, go get ‘em tiger!

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