Ask anyone who has ever had to select the premier candidates out of a huge stack of resumes, and they will all tell you something along the lines of “Make your resume as concise, attractive and persuasive as possible.” That’s all well and good, but what does this advice really mean? After you have printed your resume on premium paper or formatted it into the most readable font for online viewing, what else should you do?
Perhaps a better question would be this: What should you leave off? Nothing will make a reader’s eyes glaze over faster than too much information. You want every last word on your premium paper to scream “hire me!” Here are five things to take off immediately:
1. Secondary or unimportant skills. If your sights are set on an IT job, no one is going to care that you were the fastest ice-cream scooper at your local soft serve shop. Make every aspect of your talents and abilities relevant to your current employment goal.
2. An inappropriately named email account. It might not seem all that important, but the folks who are working to separate the wheat from the chaff are pretty much looking for any reason to trash a resume, since there are often hundreds in the initial pile. Don’t give them an excuse to discard yours by including an email address that may have served you well in your fraternity or sorority. Beerdude1000@gmail.com or email@example.com might have seemed amusing at one time, but they are seriously outdated now. Get a new email account pronto.
3. Revamp your “Objective” section. In the past, people used this part of the resume to inform their prospective employer about the type of job they were seeking. In these competitive times, you’re much better off talking about how your unique skills and experiences can match this particular company’s specific needs. The more exacting you can be in your wording, the better.
4. Roles and responsibilities. Nothing can make a resume reader’s eyes cross faster than a long and boring list of job duties and responsibilities for work that you have done in the past. Instead of traveling this same tired road, use this space on your resume page to highlight unique skill sets that you possess. What were some challenges that arose in a particular position? How did you overcome them? How did your abilities ultimately benefit the company? If you were able to save them money, balance a budget or earn additional revenue, toot your horn long and loud here. After all, money talks.
5. Finally, leave off the second page. Screeners rarely if ever make it past the first one. If you are concise and use every line of that one page wisely, you will have plenty of room to show the world how you shine.
If you play your cards right, your resume can be the golden ticket that gets you into an interview at the employer of your dreams. Take the time to perfect it and make every accurately spelled, grammatically correct sentence reflect your unique “rightness” for the position. While no resume is fool-proof, taking these steps will help to catapult you into the top tier of candidates.
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