Your resume is the foundation of your job search. While a well written resume won’t guaranty you a job, a poorly written resume will guaranty that you don’t land the interview. A successful resume needs to portray your professional history, skills, and strengths in 12 seconds or less. Why 12 seconds? Because that is the amount of time a reader will commit to reviewing your resume before deciding to keep reading or move on to the next resume.
Format is the first area to focus on when writing a successful resume. Is it laid out professionally or is it an updated version of what you put together in college? Common formatting errors include:
- Overuse of CAPS, bold, italics, and underscore or combining them.
- Too many bullet points. Too much information makes it difficult for the reader to identify the most relevant areas of your experience or accomplishments. They may spend that crucial 12 seconds reading information that isn’t relevant to the job.
- Turning your resume into a puzzle. Yes, if you have your experience divided into multiple sections you are forcing the reader work to understand your job history.
- Fonts that are too large, too small, and not easy to read on a computer screen or in print should be avoided.
- Margins that are so small the document won’t print correctly.
Now that you have conquered the formatting challenges let’s discuss content. Content must be concise, relevant, and provide the foundation for the interview. Your resume does not need to list every detail of your job duties, but should provide an overview of your career progression. A resume is not meant to replace the interview, but assist the interviewer with discussing your background.
- Avoid using your current job description as resume content.
- If you are in sales, clearly state what you sell, how you sell it, and who you sell it to.
- Don’t use first person references.
How confident are you that your resume is the best it can be? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your resume or job search challenges.