How to rock your resume!

how to rock your resumeSo you’ve finished days of reading, hours of studying and pages of term papers and now are realizing that your resume, well, sucks ass.  It still includes that lemonade stand that you made ten bucks with when you were nine.  You also notice some bullet points that frequently make the resume bloopers list similar to these actual excerpts:

  • Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.
  • I was working for my mom until she decided to move.
  • I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.
  • My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I possess no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.
  • Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far.
  • Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job.
  • Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 a.m. every morning. Could not work under those conditions.
  • Please call me after 5:30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job.
  • Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.
  • I intentionally omitted my salary history. I’ve made money and lost money. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I prefer being rich.
  • Qualifications: I am a man filled with passion and integrity, and I can act on short notice. I’m a class act and do not come cheap.
  • I am extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don’t let them know of my immediate availability.

Now that you have taken the huge step of acknowledging how weak your resume is, it’s time to make some much needed improvements.  Here is a list of five tips on how to rock your resume. Follow them and they will help you create a kick ass CV and get you on the right path towards finding the job of your dreams.

Keep your resume simple

In most cases you should try to fit it all to one page.  Hiring managers see hundreds of resumes for every one job that they are looking to fill and they don’t have the time to read through every single 3 page CV that they receive. According to TheLadders research, recruiters spend an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates. Remember, your resume is just the introduction piece, the document that you want them to read and get excited about wanting to learn more about you.  The resume’s goal is to get you to that interview where you can then impress with more details.  Don’t bore them with a 3 pager filled with generic bullet points and a full life’s history that they’re going to read in the other 99 resumes.  Disregard this rule if you are in the technical or sciences fields where more details are most likely required. 

Customize your resume for the job you are looking to get

Better yet, add key words that will excite the hiring manager that you are trying to get a job from.  Research the job you are applying for and try to find out what things the manager might be looking for.  Now a days, with Google and LinkedIn, you can even research the hiring managers themselves and find out information that you might be able to include about yourself that really connects with that hr person. Find which of your accomplishments will really resonate with a potential employee.

Use a maximum of 5 key bullet points showcasing skills or abilities that are important for the job you are looking to get

You can use experience from past jobs to help show how you picked up those skills.  Whenever possible, try to show through examples, how you have a certain ability or passion rather than just saying so.  As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, so show your future employer what you’re all about.

Experience. Label each role and include the important work performed at each job

Include a skill or ability you picked up during that job if you did not include it in one of the 5 key bullet points.  As with the key points before, you should include the skill or ability that you think will really resonate with the hiring staff.  If you do not have many past jobs or internships in your belt of experiences, include some of the volunteer work or other group activities that you have participated in.  The key is to get the reader to say “aha”, this guys got some of the skills, abilities or ambitions that I’m looking that I didn’t see in the other candidates.  And she proves all of them through actions and not just words.

Education. Start with your degree and major, not your University

If, however, you find out that the hiring manager is from the same school, then showcase your Alma mater first to help build that connection.  If you don’t have much experience, include things that you have learned while in class that you think will be important for you to succeed in the job you are trying to get.  Again, try to use specific examples of how you learned and used that specific skill or personality to succeed in the class room.

Of course you should also remember to spell and grammar check your resume, common sense that doesn’t seem to be so common among many university students.  After you have finished working on the master piece of a resume, have some of your peers or career coaches at your schools internship and career center take a look and give you feedback.  In many cases, having an outside pair of eyes helps to give you ideas that you weren’t able to come up with on your own.  Finally, test out your new resume by sending it to a few of the companies on your interest list.  Start with the bottom of your list and see what outcomes you get.  If there is no interest, that might be a sign that you need to go back and make some more adjustments.  Remember, don’t create a generic CV, that 3 pager that looks exactly the same as all the others floating around from desk to desk, eventually ending up in the dumper.  Impress the hiring manager by creating rock star resume that proves you have the talent and drive to really kick ass in the job you are applying for.

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