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Six of the Best for a Winning Resume
1. Be Complete
Make sure that your resume includes EVERYTHING your prospective employer would need to know to be able to offer you an interview.
It is NOT unheard of for your carefully-crafted cover letter to be separated from your CV - if your contact details were only on your cover letter, how will they get in touch to arrange the interview?
Therefore, make sure that your CV includes AT LEAST the following information:
---> Full contact details
---> The position you are applying for or are interested in
---> Employment history
---> Personal and professional achievements
---> Academic and professional qualifications
---> If not included elsewhere, evidence of your key strengths that will make you an irresistible candidate!
And while we're at it, functional resumes are a big NO-NO!! As a professional recruiter, when I see a functional resume, I think "What is this guy (or gal) hiding?". It's like smelling fresh paint on an old car. Just stick with a chronological resume ALL THE TIME and paint any inconsistencies (e.g., career breaks) in as good a light as possible. This will ALWAYS be better than trying to hide it in the first place!
2. Be Relevant
Seasoned recruiters are AMAZED by the number of applicants who have clearly not tailored their resume to the job they are applying for.
Make sure that you put yourself in THEIR shoes. Think about what they are looking for in your resume.
If, for instance, you are applying as a job as an office manager and your experience is in telesales, make sure that you emphasise your team leadership and time management skills.
If, however, you were applying for a sales job, then clearly focus on your ability to get leads, convert leads into sales, and sell more products to existing customers.
If it doesn't, CHANGE it or DELETE it!!
3. Be Recent
As well as being relevant, make sure that your resume content is RECENT.
If you are a seasoned manager applying for the position of CEO in a large company, is your experience managing your university's theatre company particularly convincing?
On the other hand, if you are a recent graduate, that could be exactly the right thing to put on your resume as it will demonstrate that you have some management experience. Just make sure that you back it up with specific accomplishments in the role!!
4. Be Specific
Be as specific as you can on how YOUR performance served the company you were working for.
As an illustration, consider these four descriptions of an applicant's experience managing a sales function:
---> Responsible for 50 people in XYZ Corp's sales department.
---> Managed 50 colleagues in XYZ Corp's sales department to increase sales by 100% over 4 years.
---> Led 50 colleagues in XYZ Corp's sales department to increase XYZ's share of the widget market from 15% to 20% over 4 years.
---> Led XYZ Corp's 50 strong sales team to increase XYZ Corp's share of the widget market by radically overhauling the compensation structure, fostering a more collaborative culture within the team and redesigning the customer acquisition process.
Now, if I needed to make a decision on which of these resumes would be worthy of an interview, guess which one I would choose...
5. Be Clear
Make your resume as clear as you can in five ways:
---> Font: Use an easily-readable font. Verdana is a classic, is easily readable and is easy on the eye. Other favourites are Times New Roman or Georgia. Try to stick to one, or at most two font sizes (nothing less than 8 point and ideally nothing less than 10 point), and do not over-style your text. Italics, bold and underlined words on the same page look clumsy.
---> Format: Make the format of your resume as easy to follow as possible, and consider using horizontal rules across the page to separate sections.
---> Language: Ensure that the description of your experiences and accomplishments is as clear as possible. Test them with your friends. Ask them whether it is possible to make the descriptions clearer or more concise.
---> Consistency: Make sure that you are consistent in every way - this significantly increases readability. For instance, use a consistent date format throughout. If your first position is listed in the order of [date, company, position, achievements] then make sure they are ALL listed like that. When listing your achievements, make sure that they all start with a verb. And make sure that font sizes and styles are consistent for similar words - for instance if your previous employers' names is in bold, then they all should be.
---> Spelling and Grammar: Use your word-processor's spelling and grammar checking facility. A spelling or grammatical error in a resume is quite simply inexcusable and could be enough ON ITS OWN to send your resume to the bin. Once you've checked it on the computer, check it with someone who you trust to pick up any last gremlins in the grammar.
6. Be Brief
Ideally, a resume should be just one page, although if you are applying for a job in which the assessor will need significantly greater detail on your past accomplishments, then the resume can spread to two pages.
So, now you have a winning resume guide! Go back to your old resume and check it against the six easy steps in the winning resume guide, and make sure your phone is on the hook for when those recruiters call!
Jonathan Lewis is the founder and CEO of Careerfriend, a company committed to helping people succeed in their dream careers. His extensive experience of attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing exceptional people in management consulting and investment banking allows him to offer clear, actionable advice which has a great impact on people either looking for new jobs or looking to succeed further in their existing jobs.
The Careerfriend website (http://www.careerfriend.com) contains free career advice articles to help people succeed in securing dream careers, from career and employer selection, through resume and cover letter writing, to interviewing, salary negotiation and ongoing career development.
Jonathan was educated at Cambridge University, UK and has advised major national and international corporations, both in the public and private sectors, on issues of corporate strategy, corporate organization, labor relations, personnel development
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