Our nation’s current economic woes are a stark reminder of the difficult circumstances facing our families and communities. Many are looking for any and all career opportunities because of these difficult economic times and are doing everything they can to get them. Persistive, relevant and compelling resumes are now more important than ever to differentiate one candidate from the other.
A compelling resume will often grab the attention of the reader and provide a basis for deciding whether a candidate is in or out. David Alan Carter, a former recruiter and resume expert, admits that “[Resumes] are used to] screen candidates from further consideration.” They are more effective than those resumes that do not screen out their owners . How can you ensure that your resume is not screened out? There are some basic rules that you can follow to create a compelling resume. If they are followed, you can also create a representation of your life and skills, which could be appealing to future employers.
Resumes that are truly persuasive:
Accentuate Relevant Career Experiences
Most resume reviewers and recruiters spend between 10 to 15 seconds on an initial assessment of your resume. This has many implications. The most important is that you will have less time to impress the person. The resume that you submit must be relevant to the job opportunity you are applying for.
It is a good idea to list the most relevant work experiences and career history when listing your career experience. Remember to list the most recent job experience in the first position. You give the reviewer an opportunity to examine your resume more thoroughly by listing relevant experience first. This will allow you to make those precious fifteen seconds count.
Identify Volunteer & Charitable Work
Contrary to popular belief, “good guys (and obviously ladies) don’t always finish last. It has been a common belief in the employment recruiting community that candidates who participate in charitable and volunteer work are more likely than others to make a positive contribution to a pleasant work environment. These candidates are also more likely to do more than their job descriptions, thus becoming more valuable for the organization.
In the past ten years, it has become acceptable and advisable to highlight leadership experience, skill development and other positive past occurrences in order to boost the candidate’s experience standing in the eyes. My experience is that these experiences do not matter if the applicant was not paid. It actually strengthens their selflessness, loyalty, and commitment.
Are Error Free
Regularly, resumes are destroyed by grammar and punctuation mistakes. Misspelled names or an errant comma could put off a reviewer, and move your resume to either the bottom of the pile or the top of a trash basket.
Contrary to popular belief spell check on your laptop or desk computers is flawed and can fail you in the most unexpected ways. I recommend that you at least have your resume professionally edited and reviewed if you don’t plan to have it professionally written.
One of the most common mistakes in resumes I’ve had the pleasure of developing is “run on” sentences. These sentences could easily double as paragraphs. A few sentences that describe your experience will suffice. A reviewer will only be able to read your resume if they are interrupted. Remember that bulleted references to work experience are not a resume. That is what we call a list.
Have Correct Contact Information
Many people today want to make their lives easier through the use of social media and forums. However, they are often making their professional lives more difficult by their reckless online behavior.
It is important to delete any derogatory information from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social networking accounts. My resume clients are advised to stop accepting new “friends” or followers while they are seriously considering a career opportunity. This is because you should not engage in any activity that could disqualify your application for the job.
Simple is better when searching for a job in the real world. The most difficult part of any job search is the choice of an email address. I don’t understand why an email address should contain references to birth dates, social insurance numbers, or any other personal data that could be used to steal your identity. You can create an appealing email address by simply using your first and last names.
If you are listing your home address, I recommend that you go to the Postal Service website at www.usps.com and click the residential tab. You can check the official address from the postal service and use it for your resume. It is a good idea to have an answering machine associated when listing your home phone number as your primary contact number.
I don’t advocate using mobile numbers to create resumes. This is because it allows people too much access during your downtime. You should have enough contact information as described above.
Recent Educational Achievements
If you have degrees or other educational experience that you wish to list on your resumes, list the highest degree first. If you have a graduate degree, your high school is not necessary. If you have an undergraduate degree as your highest degree, listing your high school is not necessary if you graduated within the past ten years. This is to ensure that you don’t get involved with anyone. It makes sense to give as much volunteer/charitable experience as you can if your high school diploma is your highest academic achievement.
Be sure to include any certificates you have received or any training that is unique. They will give more insight into your skills. Remember that grade points are generally not important to reviewers, but that they will be interested in academic honors (cum-laude, dean’s list, honors graduate, etc.) that you have earned.
Remember that your resume should reflect you. It should be well-written and comprehensive. These admonitions will help you find the right career opportunity for you.