It is said that human resource professionals only look at a resume for an average of 30 seconds. So you only have 30 seconds to stand out from a crowd and make a great first impression! How do you do that? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
While everyone seems to have their own personal opinion on format, the truth is really it’s about the content. If you need help or a starting point, there are a number of websites that offer different templates and resume suggestions. Here are a few formatting suggestions:
A common mistake that is easy to avoid is an unprofessional e-mail address. Don’t think that this is just students or young professionals; there are plenty of experienced professionals with inappropriate or unprofessional personal e-mail addresses as well. Also, include contact information that you can actually be contacted at. If you are currently in a job, we strongly advise that you do not give out your company e-mail or office phone number as contact information for prospective employers. You never know when an employer may contact you.
Focus on measurables – rather than providing the employer with a job description of past roles, focus on your accomplishments. Use statements that include action words, such as attract, make, save, etc.
Examples of measurable statements:
Some people like to include a career objective or skills profile within their resume, while this is something that is not standard it can sometimes be helpful to quickly give a snapshot of abilities. If you choose to include something like this, be sure that it is tailored to the job that you are applying for. Using keywords in these introduction sections that have been featured in the job posting can be an easy way to catch an employer’s interest.
It can be difficult to know how far to go back in your work history. If you are a seasoned professional this can be particularly important to avoid any type of age discrimination. As a general rule, it is most appropriate to include the past 15 years of experience. As a young professional, if you have built up some good work experience, don’t feel that you need to include your part time work from high school unless it directly relates to the position that you are interested in. If you are struggling for good work experience content, you can use your part time work and try to draw again on the measurable or business skills that you picked up.
If you have a gap in your resume the best place to explain the reasons is in your cover letter. If it was a minimal amount of time you can sometimes cover these gaps by using years rather than months when including dates in your work experience.
If you post your resume to a database, there are things that can be done to get your resume recognized. First of all, be sure to keep your resume up-to-date. Many resume databases will remove or deactivate resumes that haven’t been updated in three to six months.
Use keywords within your resume that an employer might use to search for candidates with your qualifications and skills. You can use current job postings that may be of interest to you -- look at the words used in those and select a few keywords that you can use in your resume. Keywords can be incorporated into your resume in your past work experience and/or your career objective.
While we hope you are happy in your current job and won’t need your resume, it doesn’t hurt to keep it fresh. Updating your resume is much easier as you go. For more information, contact AgCareers.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Getting a Foothold on the Ladder: Advancing Your Twenty-First Century Career
When: October 9, 2009