The upcoming Career Fair (9/15-9/17) has motivated many of you to stop by my office to help make your resume float above your competition. (And yes, this is just a lame excuse of a sentence to allow me to use a photo I took of a hot air balloon floating above my neighborhood last week!) Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you tweak your resume:
1. Identify what makes you unique. Before you begin composing your most important marketing tool, you have to know why someone should hire you. What do you have to offer an employer? Keep in mind that on average your resume will receive 30 seconds of attention before the prospective employer will move to the next one. What will he/she find on your resume to make you stand out in a positive way?
2. Write with your audience in mind. So many times, resumes are composed from the writer’s perspective. For example, an objective that states, “To obtain a position in which I can further develop and utilize my skills,” says nothing about what you can do for the prospective employer. As harsh as it sounds, no one really cares (except maybe your mother) about your development. Your audience is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Write every word with your audience in mind.
3. Use design elements and arrangement to engage your reader. Fonts (no smaller than 10-point), emphasis techniques (bold, italics, size), white space (give your reader a break), and parallel structure (patterns) help your reader move through your resume pleasantly and quickly. Hold your resume out at a distance and see what “pops.” It should be immediately evident what makes you unique. Arrangement matters. In other words, it’s not just what you put on your resume, but it’s how and where you put it too.
4. Proofread carefully. It’s easy to write principal when you mean principle, or manger when you mean manager. Review each word. Give yourself enough time to proofread carefully. The most important rule to an effective resume is to make sure it’s error free.
And if you still need help getting your resume off the ground, schedule an appointment with me. I have appointments available through September.