Posted By Amanda Collins on May 27, 2009
Truly, there is an art to writing a résumé. Too many people think of it as a glorified employment application that is all about the applicant’s past. In actuality, a résumé is a marketing document showcasing the accomplishments, skills, and education you have to offer to provide value to a potential employer. A well-written résumé will include:
Tell the employer who you are for them. Unlike the old objective, a title is clear, concise, and is not about you.
Like the trailer to your movie, this is your “commercial” to highlight all the reasons the employer needs to (A) read more about you, and (B) call you in for an interview. It is the answer to the question, “Why should I hire you?” Focus on demonstrable traits as opposed to soft skills. Everyone will say they’re nice and easy to work with, but only a few will talk about their consistent ability to deliver results.
Keywords are a huge component of a résumé, primarily because that is how employers will search for you among their database of scanned résumés. Make sure you’re including the words mentioned in the job description / want ad, which should definitely be reflected elsewhere on the resume.
Employers want to know where you’ve worked, a little about the company, the dates, the location, your job title, an overall job scope, and accomplishments. When looking at your accomplishments, consider times you’ve had to overcome obstacles to reap a reward. Think about increasing revenue, decreasing spend, improving customer service, or bettering employee morale. If your paid experience is minimal, incorporate volunteer opportunities.
If you’re a new graduate with limited work experience, this should follow the “core competencies” section. If you’re re-careering or a professional, this can go to the bottom, although it will depend on the individual person. Include the degree, major area, school, and location of school. If you’re basing most of your “saleability” on your education, it’s a good idea to list relevant classes or school groups in which you’ve been involved. If you have a college degree (or are working on one), there’s no need to include your high school. If you’ve not yet graduated, list the expected date of graduation.
Some new grads will include professional memberships, community involvement, or other sections that support the career goal.
Remember that everything on your resume should support what you want to be when you grow up. If it doesn’t, it’s not a good use of important real estate!