Help! My resume needs a makeover.

We have already received many email inquiries from folks who could not get through to one of our job coaches during last week’s two-day job-search advice call-in.  We truly wish we could take every call that comes in, but unfortunately a limited number of phone lines and available counselors make it impossible.  Hopefully, some of you will find answers to your questions on this blog.  We will be trying to answer questions here without getting into getting into the specific (and private) details associated with each individual question.  Please be sure to check older blog postings, as we may have also addressed similar issues in the past.

A common theme among the first batch of emails is that many of you would like help with your resumes.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to personally review everyone’s resume.  And, I wish we could provide the secret formula to the perfect resume that guarantees a job interview every time you send it to an employer.  Alas, there is no secret formula and there is no such thing as the perfect resume.

There are a lot of great sources on resume writing to be found on the Internet, at the bookstore and at your local library.  Keep in mind that much of the material on resumes is written from the professional interviewer’s point of view, which in many ways is directly opposed to your goals.  The professional interviewer wants to screen you out – to limit the number of candidates.  Your goal is to get past and sorted in through the professional screening process.

You should view the resume simply as an advertising brochure designed to get you in the door of a  potential employer.  It should be designed with the concept that is selling a product by mail or email; and the product is you.Resumes are written in hundreds of different styles.  Everyone has their own ideas on how to write a resume; and their suggestions are tied to their favorite styles.  Since there is no correct or incorrect way to write a resume for everybody, you should write your resume in the way that best highlights your strengths, skills and experience.

Following is some useful information on how to create or improve your resume so it becomes a marketing brochure that speaks highly of your professional accomplishments.

Length of Resume: Generally, length of resume is not an issue.  It could be one, two or even three pages.  Most of your resume should concentrate upon your work experi­ence in the last five to ten years although your entire work history should be provided.

Aesthetics:  The “look” of the resume is important.  If it does not invite the reader’s eye, you will not be considered.  Consequently we place a lot of emphasis on indented para­graphing, wide margins, spacing, bullets, underlining, italics, and boldface print and short paragraphs.  Paragraphs over six lines dull reader interest; a page with only one margin could create an overwhelming feeling of too much text. You attract attention with titles or captions hoping that one or two paragraphs, if not more, will catch the interest of the interviewer sufficiently to arrange an interview; even though he may not read the entire presentation.

Accomplishments: In forming your resume please remember you must share your successes.  Accentuate your strong qualities, skills and abilities.  Emphasize them to their fullest. Remember, your resume gets you invited into an office.  Unless it leaps out at the reader by stating, “Read me! I’m excellent!” you will sit home longer.

Word Usage:  Use your own words whenever possible.  If you use a phrase a certain way, try to retain this flavor in the resume.  Do not write a resume that will look mass-produced by a professional resume writer.  We want it to reflect you and your views, your feelings and your mode of pre­sentation throughout.

Summary Statement: The Summary Statement is listed at the top of your resume and should be a short snapshot or sound-bite that gives the reader a quick and accurate understanding of you and what you could do for an employer.

Personal Section: Avoid appearing excessively involved in something and avoid mentioning potentially dangerous hobbies.  Instead list positive and productive hobbies, volunteer work, altruistic activity, etc.

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About CGC Coaches

The latest workplace news/trends/issues from global outplacement and business coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
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