Your resume is the foundation of your job search. Once it is opened, the reader will spend less than 12 seconds deciding whether to interview you or move on to the next resume. I’ve discussed the importance of content every time I write about resumes, but what about appearance? How does your resume compare to your competitors (the other candidates applying for the same jobs)? Take a quick glance at the two resumes pictured and decide which makes the more professional first impression? First impressions matter. Would you walk into an interview or client meeting wearing a suit that was not up to date and professional looking?
TIPS FOR A BETTER RESUME
E-mail yourself a copy of your resume. Open it. Can you view the entire document without adjusting your screen settings? Are the fonts large enough to read even if your vision is not perfect?
Keep in mind that if you make someone work to read or understand your resume, they won’t bother. They will just go to the next resume.
View your resume at a glance. What are your eyes drawn to? Over use of all CAPS, italics, and underscore can create a level of resume chaos. Do you see red and green editing lines? These are major distractions from the content you want the reader to review. Be strategic with the areas you highlight.
Print your resume. Does the content remain in the same format you see on the computer screen? Do you have borders that aren’t printing? When you hit “print” do you receive a message that you have to address before it will print? (Margins are too small, etc.) Shaded boxes may look pretty on the computer screen, but they look terrible when a resume is printed.
Read your resume! This may seem obvious, but the number of significant errors I find when reviewing and writing resumes indicates that candidates do not take the time to do this. Fairly common mistakes include errors in e-mail addresses, wrong phone numbers, wrong dates of employment, and spelling errors throughout the document.
Using your current resume, practice the “take me through your resume” question. Do it out loud and time yourself. This overview should take less than 3 minutes for a two page resume. Do you find yourself jumping around to explain your experience? A well written resume should make the interview easier. It should tell the story of your job history in a way that demonstrates the progression of how you have built your skills and how you apply those skills in doing your job. Always have a complete understanding of what is included in your resume. I have found statements included in resumes that were unrelated to a candidate’s experience or simply made no sense. When I ask for an explanation on these types of statements, I often learn that even the candidate doesn’t know. Explanations include that they “copied it from a friend’s resume and don’t know” or “I paid someone to write it and that is what they came up with.” If you don’t know what something means, don’t include it in your resume!
Is your resume getting the results you want in your job search? A well written resume should easily serve as the foundation for your LinkedIn profile. In addition to traditional resume writing services Clinical Strategies now offers detailed editing services with content and format recommendations included.
Questions about your resume or job search strategy? Contact Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com, resume writer, job search strategist, and interview coach specializing in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and healthcare industries.