In the not too distant past, you hired a resume service to help you develop your resume. They put it on some type of parchment paper, and even helped you write a cover letter. You then mailed this out to 100 to 200 companies and waited for the call. While most people understand that today’s companies are taking resumes electronically, a lot of mistakes are still being made that are keeping people from even being considered for a job.
1. Research and personalize.
Do not do “a resume” and start submitting it to every company you can find. Some companies even have electronic scanning that eliminates people who do not include key words on their resumes. If the job description emphasizes “customer service” then make sure you edit your resume to reflect your experience and training in this area. You may even have five or six resumes on hand that emphasize project management, marketing, business development, leadership, etc. Do your research before you ever apply.
2. Layout and appearance are important.
You have all the qualifications, your training and experience are broad and impressive. Yet, all of that does not matter if the person looking at your resume thinks it looks cobbled together by someone in elementary school. Use design elements like white space, nice fonts, appropriate spacing, etc. 8 point font crammed into three or four pages will not get you anywhere. Which leads to the third principle…
3. 60 seconds.
The hard truth is that most resumes initially get about 60 seconds of review time. So, put your most important and impressive information on the front page in a clear, concise manner. IF you get past the first hurdle or two, and to an interview or two, people will spend a little more time looking at the rest of the information.
Do not, however, try to use some gimmick to get attention. I was reviewing resumes a few months ago and someone started their cover letter with “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” I knew this cliche would be followed somewhere by “outside the box thinker.” Yes, there it was a little further down. If we need someone to quote trite phrases to us, we might give him a call.