Ask anyone who has been in human resources for any length of time what makes an effective resume, and you will inevitably hear the same thing: The best resumes are concise and to the point. This is because a short and well-crafted resume projects a quality which is vitally important in most any business. Efficiency.
That’s right. Success in business is almost always the result of getting the most revenue with the minimal expenditure of money or resources. A job applicant who wastes time and words by waxing on about their educational and professional experience will more often than not turn out to be an employee who wastes company time and money. A no-nonsense resume will always outperform an elaborate resume.
What information should a resume include in order to be effective? There are only three basic things which every resume needs, and that is personal contact information, educational experience, and professional experience. There is no need to be excessively thorough in these departments, since your choice of elementary school or your part-time summer job as a paperboy will probably have little to do with the job to which you are applying.
Another thing to avoid is embellishment. Any awards and accomplishments mentioned in a resume should be directly relevant to the position for which you are seeking. While you may be proud of the two touchdowns you once scored in a high school football game in 1989, this type of accomplishment does not belong in a resume. Interviewers want to see exapmples of past accomplishments that can translate into future accomplishments.
How many references should an effective resume include? It is completely acceptable to put down “references available upon request” on your resume unless you have been specifically asked to include them in your resume. If references are expected, include 3-5 references that include a combination of personal acquaintances and colleagues. For example, if an employer asks for three references, you might want to include one former supervisor, one former co-worker, and one personal friend whom you have known for several years.
Finally, it is important to pay attention to your resume’s appearance. Even an impressive resume looks horrible when crumpled or printed on cheap paper. While it is not necessary to spend a fortune on your resume, a little quality will go a long way. If a resume is longer than two pages, never staple the pages together. If possible, avoid folding a resume to fit inside a business-sized envelope; instead, invest a few cents into a manila mailer. When compared to the folded-up crumpled messes your prospective employer will inevitably receive, your concisely-worded attractive resume will stand head and shoulders above the rest.