Jobs: A first step to getting a great job is to write a great resumé

Before you can get a job you need an attention-grabbing resumé. Here are a few tips:

Before you can get a job, before you can even get an interview, you need to have a persuasive and attention-grabbing resumé.

Here are a few tips to get going in the right direction.

Formatting

Like any good brand, your resumé needs to be eye-catching and effective. Choose a professional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and ensure the font size is legible, generally 10 to 12 point, except for your name and headings which can be larger and bolded.

Most hiring managers prefer an at-a-glance format using bullet points, but ensure you keep your sections lined up and consistent throughout the document.

Be cognizant of the length—one to two pages for less experienced and non-management roles and three pages for senior-level applications. Also, proof read, proof read, proof read. Surveys have shown that as many as three out of four hiring managers will discard a resumé with as few as two typos. Don’t put your faith in spell-check; have others review your document.

Chronological or

functional

Most hiring managers prefer a reverse chronological format—listing the most recent job first with previous jobs following. This gives them a more fluid account of your career progression and typically highlights the most pertinent skills in greatest detail.

This may not be the right format, however, if you have any breaks or gaps in employment or if you have a fragmented background with many jobs, professions or industries worked in a short time period. In this case, a functional resumé—summarizing key areas of experience—may be a better solution.

Another option, however, is using a reverse chronological resumé and closing the gaps or fragments in employment. For instance, if you did temporary work or education between permanent roles, list this information. Likewise, if you performed the same job function with several companies in a short time period, group this information together. For instance: Administrative Assistant, Company A, Company B, Company C 2007-2009.

How much

experience is enough?

For older job seekers who fear age discrimination, you don’t need to include your full career summary. While situations differ based on the number of jobs held, think of including either the last three to four jobs or 15 years of experience, whichever is less.

For those lacking experience, it is acceptable to include voluntary, unpaid or relevant educational involvement. If you were a committee member of a student club or volunteered for a non-profit organization, extract those duties and indicate why that experience is relevant in your career progression.

What’s too personal?

As marketing techniques vary by country and culture, so do resumés. What may be expected in some countries is not required in North America, generally because it can lead to discrimination. You do not need to reference your marital status, age, children, ethnicity or religion. Also, don’t include a photo.

Instead include a link to your LinkedIn page or similar where you can include a professional headshot which, through this medium, is an acceptable practice.

List accomplishments, not just duties

Companies are looking to make an investment in employees, in fact, aside from real estate, labour is the highest cost to a company. You therefore need to prove your return on investment.

Instead of simply listing your performed duties, try using CAR statements: the Challenge, your Actions, and the Result.

Use keywords

Many companies, particularly large ones, receive hundreds, if not thousands of resumés, and therefore use a recruitment program to sort applications. They do so by scanning your resumé for keywords that match the requirements.

Review a few job postings that interest you and pay attention to certain keywords that stand out. Ensure you include these throughout your resumé and cover letter. They should appear at least three times, preferably near the top.

Power-up

Reduced, improved, accelerated, launched, identified, eliminated and managed—these are all power words. By starting each bullet point with one of these action words, your CAR statements will have more impact.

What are your priorities?

You’ve identified your CAR statements and used power words to describe them. The next step is referencing those points that are priorities in your desired job. Similar to including key words, ensure that those duties that are most closely related to the job you are applying for are at the top of your experience for each job function.

Target specific opportunities

Just as you customized your cover letter, do the same for your resumé. Consider including a specific career objective or goal that directly relates to the job.

Not all resumés are the same

A resumé for the hospitality industry naturally differs from that of an accountant or labourer. Review examples online to ensure that you are presenting an accurate depiction of yourself and your experience.

Like all good brands, you need to manage your professional profile. With social media making it easier for employers to check up on you, it is essential that you maintain a consistent and professional image. In addition to ensuring that there are no disparaging remarks or unwanted photos, ensure your social media profile supports what you have said in your resumé.

By creating a strategic personal marketing campaign and brand, you’ll enjoy greater success both in your next job and throughout your career.

Source: 10 Tips for a Winning Resumé. BCjobs.ca.

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