The job climate is much different today than it was a few years ago. Job hunters have forgotten how to present themselves to a prospective employer. Their job search skills are poor and they are struggling to find employment.
In today's job market, a resume which highlights accomplishments and skills is essential for career success. It is time to get back to the basics. Employers are no longer settling for the average job candidate. The ball is in their court now and they have the upper hand.
Your resume is your calling card. Therefore, it should stand out from the rest and go the extra mile in presenting you as the most qualified candidate.
An effective resume is…
- Your ticket to an interview The resume serves as an introduction of your qualifications. Its sole purpose is to win an interview.
- The agenda setter for the interview Interviewers will use your resume as a gauge for interview questions.
- A reminder Once the interview is over, the hiring manager has their notes and your resume as a reminder of your qualifications. While you don't have control over what the interviewer decides to write in their notes, you do have control over what is written in your resume. For the most part, the resume may be your last word.
- A solid first impression In most cases, the employer will only have your resume to evaluate your job performance. Your resume should position you as the best candidate for the job.
- A Personal Document Your resume should stress what kind of work you are seeking, what you know, what you have demonstrated, and what immediate contribution you can contribute to the hiring organization. Your resume should not include your personal stats, such as height, weight, hair/eye color, etc. It should also not list your birth date, marital status or social security number.
- Easy to write If you have written your own resume or are attempting to write your own resume, you can attest to the fact that resumes are difficult to write. Recalling past achievements and presenting them in a compelling way can be tough. Also, if you aren't objective about your own achievements, this can skew how your career information is presented.
- A one-size fits all marketing tool In resume writing, there aren't any rules. I am sure you have read articles that your resume should only be one page, or that your resume should be in chronological format or it won't be read. The truth is that each job seeker has a different set of circumstances and ironclad rules do not exist in resume writing. It is important that you evaluate your situation and come to a conclusion that fits into your reality.
- A magic pill In order for your resume to be effective, you must know how to use it. Answering want ads or posting your resume on the Internet is not going to get you the results you desire. You have to be an active job searcher and use the resume as a catalyst for your job search - not as your only tool. Your resume must include the type of job you want, what you know, what you have done, and what you offer an employer.
by Linda Matias
Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. She is President of CareerStrides and The National Resume Writers' Association. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com.