I have done lots of resume creation and editing in the last few years, and the more I continue to do it, the more compliments I get from my clients and the more opportunities I get to improve my skills through helping others. Along the journey I have learned quiet a few do’s and don’t’s for resume writing that I hope you will find informative.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly)
Okay, so I censored that a bit, but you get the point. When it comes to resume writing, you don’t want to over do it. Trying to get in enough power words, keywords or articulate verbs is all well and good, but it can take away from the attractiveness of your resume if you go to far. Sure you are trying to appeal to the needs of the position and you want to make sure they see the value you can offer them, but you don’t want to turn away a potentional employer with too much reading.
The simple truth about resume writing, is that resume readers don’t want to have to spend any more then five minutes reading your resume. They want to be able to quickly find areas they are looking for, such as previous employment or current qualifications, and not have to do a bunch of searching to get there. They want to see that you understand the complex needs of the job, but that you won’t over complicate the position. Your resume should give accurate information that is easy to access and digest.
In the latest development of technology, most applications for employment are completed online with resume submittal. Being that this means that your resume is going to be united into a database, that means that most employers will be using keywords to look for the right candidate for the position they need filled. Because of this factor, it has turned into the new craze to make sure that resumes are chuck full of keywords that employers use to search for potential employee’s.
This is a great technique, when used in moderation. If you only have a few key words, your application won’t come up in the database very often, if you have too many keywords, then you’re resume will be hard to digest and won’t be wholeheartedly considered by the reader. The trick is to remember that even the most educated business person who might read your resume, probably doesn’t want to have to read anything over a 9th or 10th grade reading level. Sure they would like to see that you don’t use the same verb every time, and a little bit of flare to your resume never hurts. It’s just that anything over a 10th grade reading level takes quiet a bit more concentration to read, which means that it also takes time. Taking away a business persons time is like taking away their money, they won’t have it.
The best keywords are ones that you can easily slip into a sentence without detracting from the sentence. You don’t need more than one or two keywords per paragraph, so don’t try to fill up each sentence with only keywords. Try to sit down and think about what things you would be seeking in a potential employee, if you were the employer. Often it is simplier words that you will want to use, as opposed to uber complex ones.
Skills and qualifications are a vital part of any resume. They are a place where you can utilize power words for sentence enrichment, as well as a place to show off a bit. Feel free to write out a super long list. You can always down size it a bit later and edit out repeated skills. Feel free to embellesh things a little, but don’t be dishonest. This is where you want to sell them on your abilities, as well as opening up an opportunity for keywords that fit well.
You’re not allowed to not add these to your resume anymore. It’s a no brainer for resume readers, so it should be a no brainer for resume writers. Even if you are simply going into a hard physical labor job, you need to put down your technilogical proficiencies. Do you know how to use Microsoft word? Windows 98/XP/Vista? Mac? Excell? Write down what programs you would feel confident using on a regular basis. Have social networking skills? Put it down. Know how to publish a mean .doc? Put it on there! It counts.
A cover letter is a great way to highlight everything that is fantastic about you and everything you can offer to your employer, without all the jazz in the middle. It’s your introduction, your first appearance, your grand enterance. If you use one, it also gives you a chance to be more descriptive in your resume and less restricted. With a cover letter, if they just want to glance and skim, they can go over the cover letter and leave the resume for later. If they want more details and descriptions, they can browse through the resume. On top of all this, a cover letter gives a good opportunity to get in more keywords without taking away from the whole things.
Customize and Update
Sure, you could very easily just create one resume to send to all potential employers. It is definitely easier in some ways. The sad truth though, is that it doesn’t show a unique dedication to the specific position you are applying for and sometimes it can create confusion for the reader. If you take the time to edit your “objective” to be specific to the position you are applying for at the time, you’re application will be more attractive. Do this each time for every resume you turn in. It only takes a few minutes to tweek your resume so that it fits each specific job, and it’s worth it if you really want to get the job.
Resume writing really doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Keep it within two pages, leave out any irrelevant personal information and try to put yourself in the resume readers shoes. Can you easily read your resume? Can you find information quickly on it? Do you really have to think about what it says, or can you get a good grasp of it within five minutes or so?
Write it out, have a few friends look it over and be confident that it will portray you the way you wish to be seen from a paper perspective. Make sure to get help if you need it http://www.liveperson.com/fontis-the-perciever