It is an interesting fact to note that one of the most difficult tasks most people face in their professional lives is the preparation of a resume and cover letter. It transcends age, education and professional standing. I have seen some of the brightest and most successful people in their own right have extreme difficulty in writing a resume.
When preparing a resume, it is important to remember what a resume is and what its’ primary function is – a profile designed to describe ones’ accomplishments and experience in a concise, clear manner, generating enough interest to culminate in the scheduling of an interview.
Simply put, a resume should provide enough information to pique the reader’s interest, without giving away the whole story.
Please keep the following tips in mind when preparing your resume and cover letter: A I D A
Since the primary function of a resume is to assist in marketing oneself, utilize the basic principle of marketing:
ATTENTION – Get the reader’s attention in the first third of the profile. If you do not “grab them’ they WILL NOT READ ON
INTEREST – You must hold their interest…. specific facts and figures to back up opening statements are in order
DESIRE – By the end of the resume, the reader must have the desire to learn more about you, the candidate (product).
ACTION – The desire will culminate in the SCHEDULING OF AN INTERVIEW Format
Name, Address and Telephone/Cell number and email should appear on top center of resume.
E-mail address—Make sure it is a professional email and not cutsey or offensive. Be sure to monitor it frequently You should not use your employer email for job seeking
Do not utilize first person “I,” or third person “he” or “she”. Instead, write in a narrative fact format i.e. “Consistently met or surpassed sales quotas”
Summary Vs. Objective
Most employers would prefer to see a brief summary of accomplishments and experience, as opposed to your objective. Remember, the employer wants to know what you can do for them. They are less concerned with what you want them to do for you.
Write in clear, concise sentences. Accentuate the positive. Describe your specific accomplishments.
Eliminate flowery or verbose language. Four brief sentences are far better than two long sentences.
Bullet Points read easier than long paragraphs
After summary, list work experience, working in reverse chronological order. List months and years of employment, employer’s name and address, title and specific responsibilities and accomplishments.
Omit reasons for leaving and salary history.
Education is shown last, listing last highest degree attained, in reverse chronological order. No need to list high school or grade school (unless very prestigious).
Paper resumes are next to extinct in todays world. Fancy Fonts in different sizes, caps, etc. and colors (paper & ink) are almost impossible to scan. Make sure that your resume includes all of the appropriate phrases and words that will enable your resume to be easily identified via a database search or via AI. It is not uncommon today to format your resume to a speciic position, as long as the information contained is truthful
Spell check, grammar check, proofread and proofread again. After you have proofread, have someone else do it. Sometimes another set of eyes will pick up an error.
Use “buzz” words. This will make it easier for the recruiter and a computer to pick up on your specific experience.
NEVER EVER EVER LIE. Honesty is always the best policy.
Do not omit employers, degrees, titles or stretch dates of employment. It WILL come back to haunt you, and can result in termination from a position. Most recruiters and corporate Human Resources professionals are aware of all the tricks.
Omit personal information (sex, age, race, political affiliations, marital status, etc.) These are all illegal pre employment questions, Therefore, why volunteer the information?
Do not waste space on comments such as “Satisfactory References will be furnished upon request” I have yet to see a resume that read “I refuse to provide references, even if asked”!
TRY TO BE AS CONCISE AS POSSIBLE. If it is too long or verbose it is almost guaranteed that it will not be read. If you have substantial experience that you feel is that important, consolidate it into a one or two page summary, and have a longer version ready to present AFTER the interview.
Put yourself in the prospective employer/recruiters’ shoes. Ask yourself objectively “Would I want to interview me after reading this resume?”.?”
RESUMES SHOULD INVITE QUESTIONS – NOT ANSWER ALL OF THEM
Cover letters should be brief and to the point- Indicate the specific position you are seeking, salary information, why you are qualified, and how you may be contacted.
- Readers’ attention is attracted in first third of page
- Contact information is correct and properly formatted (include e-mail, cell phone and telephone number with voice mail) * be sure to check vm frequently
- Emil address should be professional,,,,, Nothing offensive or cutesy (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com are no nos)
- Resume reads easily and is internet friendly with fonts that are able to be scanned
- Resume invites questions
- Employment history and accomplishments are true and verifiable
- Resume has been spell checked and proof-read for grammar
Interview Check List
Confirm dress policy of company. If you absolutely need to be in casual dress so as not to arouse suspicion of your current employer, advise interviewer before hand to determine acceptability.
Prepare for the interview by learning as much about the company as possible. Visit web site prior to interview.
ARRIVE ON TIME
Turn off cell phone and be sure to focus on the interviewer. Eye contact is important
The purpose of an interview is to learn as much about the specific opening and present oneself in as positive an approach as possible.
The first and second interviews are not the time to negotiate compensation, benefits, etc. If the issue of salary requirement is brought up, it is appropriate to provide current or past salary history (verifiable). DO NOT MAKE SALARY AN ISSUE AT THIS POINT. Indicate that while salary is important, it is one of several factors that should be considered by both sides. Impress upon interviewer your willingness to discuss a reasonable offer at a point further into the process.
Be aware that at time of offer, many companies ARE VERIFYING compensation by asking for w- 2’s or pay stubs. Be prepared for this eventuality.
Be upfront with your referring recruiter on all aspects of your background Post Interview
Always send a brief follow up note to all of those with whom you have interviewed (HR and Line Manager)
- Thank interviewer for their time
- Elaborate on any points that were discussed during the interview that may enhance your consideration.
- Note may be sent via mail or e-mail.
Follow up with your referring recruiter immediately after the interview. YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT.
The interview is part of a PROCESS. It is important to complete as much of the process as possible.