The Resume Renaissance- Basic Information for an Effective Resume
The resume. A critical, yet vastly understated part of the job search. It is a valid statistic that you only have about five (5) seconds to prove to your future employer that you are the right fit for the job. Don’t waste them! This blog is dedicated to the art of the resume and as a professional Recruiter, I can attest that a solid and effective resume goes a long way in portraying you as the best person for the job. It is with this conviction that I feel as though we are in desperate need a “resume renaissance.” So below, I have outlined the resume basics to building an effective and efficient resume to help you out in your next job search.
What’s in a Resume?
- Contact Information: This should be at the very top of your resume. This information should include your name, phone number, address and email at the very least (I have seen LinkedIn links as well, although *spoiler alert* as a Recruiter, I will probably check you out on LinkedIn anyway). I cannot stress the importance of including your contact information. After all, if I can’t get ahold of you either on the phone or through email, how am I going to speak with you about this amazing job opportunity that you have applied for?
- Education: There is quite a bit of discrepancy about what comes next on a resume. Should you include an Objective? Should you go straight into your Experience? My personal preference is Education. Listing your Education experience at the very top of your resume makes your resume all that more efficient and therefore, effective to the employer. This allows for them to quickly view that you meet their minimum qualifications and move on to the beefier section of your resume, Experience. Also, listing your highest level of education only is highly recommended. This tactic gets to the point and also saves valuable first page real estate.
- Experience: aka, Work History. This section should undoubtedly make up the majority of your resume. Again, there are a variety of methods of listing your experience, however, the most effective resumes incorporate bullet points and clear partitions between jobs. This information should also include your position title, place of employment and employment dates. Listed under the titles of your positions should also include accomplishments or job responsibilities that distinguish you as an experience candidate.
- Formats: If you have attempted to write a resume in the past 10 years, you have more than likely have come across numerous template generators incorporated in processors like Word, online templates (some they actually want you to pay for) and other methods of producing the alleged “perfect resume.” First and foremost, please let’s establish that the “perfect resume” is much like a unicorn, my friends- it is a myth! However, there are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the right format for you and an effective resume is almost always a clean one. What do I mean by a “clean resume?” One with an easy to read format that quickly and effectively establishes your previous experience relative to the job that you are applying for.
- Decorative Resumes: Building on the above point, while a resume is a personal reflection of you, employers will generally get a sense of that in an interview. With that being said, I have seen a lot of “pretty” resumes. They look beautiful. Here’s the thing though- employers aren’t really looking at your resume in that way. Employers are looking for hard skills and relative experience. It is also worth mentioning that decorative resumes can sometimes be distracting and spacious, leaving less room for you to articulate your skill set.
- Resume Extras: Should you add an Objective or a Summary? Should you include References or not? These are all valid questions that I feel like a lot of people struggle with in writing a resume. Although some of my clients may strongly disagree, I feel like these sections are irrelevant and are more of a personal choice. Here’s why- I am going to call you anyway. If I need references, I will obtain them after I determine you are a good fit to the job. And as far as the Objective goes, with the process of online internet job searching, ATS and virtual resume submission, I already know what job you are applying for. However, if you are applying for a position that you will need to mail or fax a resume, an Objective is strongly encouraged.
“Have more than you show, speak less than you know” -William Shakespeare:
- Resume Content: Remember, first page real estate in a resume is a high rent district. Take time to review your resume and make sure that the key technical experience desired in the job description is reflected in your resume. Phrases such as “Office Word experience” and “Strong Interpersonal Skills” may be highly desired, however, those skill sets today are considered standard. Relating your actual work experience with specific examples is far more important and more attractive to hiring managers than “soft skills”- which are easily determined via an interview.
- Using Specific Examples: What are some of your most valuable accomplishments through your previous employment? Maybe you created and implemented a simply, but powerful way for your previous company to reduce their cost in some way and save money? Fabulous! Can you tell me what you did and what the outcome was within a sentence? This would be a great bullet point for your Work History. This type of ingenuity is the type of talent your future employer dreams of!
- Work History Through the Years: While you may have numerous years of work history, in order to save valuable space on your resume, the last ten (10) years of work experience is considered the most relevant. The most important advice about this I can offer is to avoid employment gaps and if you do have an employment gap, have a solid reason for that gap. Hiring managers are human too, and they will understand that sometimes things just happen. Also, avoid job hopping, or moving from one job to another. The practice of job hopping only causes doubts among prospective employers that you may not be the right fit for their company, or they may not be able to provide you with what you are seeking via employment opportunities.
I hope this information has been helpful to you in regards to writing your next resume. If you are just beginning your job search, or if you would like some additional advice, please consider visiting www.annwyattrecruiting.com and submitting a resume. If we have an opening that matches your experience, we will be able to contact you immediately with an update. Also, if you would like to provide your own resume advice and what you have found successful, please feel free to comment below. We are always seeking additional tips and tricks to help our candidates find the right opportunities for them.