Resumes can pose quite a challenge for jobseekers, especially those re-entering the market after an extended period of time with a particular employer. What skills should you highlight? What structure should you use? While soliciting the help of a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) is often the most expedient way to create documents that garner recruiter/hiring agent interest, there are certain basic principles you can use ASAP to better conform to their preferences. I use the following strategies every day when working with clients. All can be implemented within a matter of minutes and can SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE your chances of making the cut when submitting for jobs:
1) INTRODUCTION-WORK HISTORY-CLOSING
A successful resume is one that has a brief opening in-line with the type of job you’re seeking, a work history that ONLY STRESSES relevant positions, and a closing section or two listing pertinent education credits, certifications, professional affiliations, etc. ANYTHING ELSE will simply distract from the information a recruiter/hiring agent is looking for, and increase the chances of your resume being rejected. While it’s understandable (and necessary) to want to include key career successes, unique job responsibilities, etc. it must be done within the confines of this structure. Be ruthless when editing your resume and make sure it can retain a reader’s interest throughout its duration (which should not exceed 2-3 pages, by the way).
2) SEPARATE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES FROM ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITHIN YOUR WORK HISTORY
Trying to cram in unique responsibilities and successes within the same paragraph results in a cluttered presentation. Look at it from the POV of a reader, who’ll often spend less than a minute scanning a candidate’s resume. List responsibilities in paragraph form (no more than 3-5 lines) and accomplishments in bullets. Keep the latter as quantifiable as possible and always stress the bottom-line benefit first, followed by how it was achieved.
3) REMOVE REPETITIVE IDEAS AND PHRASING
Jobseekers who’ve held the same type of position with multiple employers might be tempted to repeat the same information over and over in their work history to “puff up” their document. This approach almost always backfires! In the event that you’ve held similar positions, be MOST DESCRIPTIVE for the last 3 jobs you’ve held and streamline older ones. Don’t repeat the same responsibilities over and over- instead, look for ways to communicate unique tasks and challenges. And remember: it’s ALWAYS better to be succinct and relevant than verbose and unfocused when it comes to resumes. Best of luck in your job search!
Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Owner at Resume Orbit. 95% of clients report a significant increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 100% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee (in writing).