Perfect Your Resume!
Everyone knows the importance of a good polished and up-to-date resume. When was the last time you looked at yours and added any missing helpful information? Even if you are currently not seeking a job and are very content in your position, your resume should always be employer-ready. This post will review a few steps you can take to ensure that your resume is in top condition, no matter your current employment status.
1. Make your resume clear.
The truth of the matter is that no matter how compelling or meticulous your resume may be, employers probably will not spend any longer than six to 10 seconds reviewing it. (Why Resumes Fail the 6-Second Test). Essentially, you have one shot: if you do not pass the employer’s scanning eye test, then you are out of luck. Your resume is a reflection you and your professionalism; it can help you in immense ways, but it can also hurt you if it is muddled and vague. Make it count! Do not pad your resume with long, flowery paragraphs. Stick to the essentials and make sure your talents and accomplishments can be easily gleaned from a quick skim. If a piece of information is not completely relevant, get rid of it. Make every word count.
It is worth stressing again: when you apply for a position, your resume is you. It is the only means by which an employer can accurately judge you. You want employers to see someone with an eye for detail, a well-educated person who can write clearly and engagingly without making basic errors in mechanics and grammar. Make any sentences muscular and brief; avoid the passive voice and adopt instead precise action verbs that accurately portray what you have done and how you did it.
Some other resume writing conventions to bear in mind: sentence fragments tend to get the work done so long as they make sense and are as specific as possible. Do not be verbose. Also, unless you are writing about your current job, always write about previous accomplishments and responsibilities in the past tense.
3. Manage Your Formatting!
Just as your resume should be clean in content, it should also be a pleasure to behold. Make no mistake; employers will hold poorly-crafted resumes against candidates if they are messy enough, even if all accomplishments and experiences are neatly listed. Sure, that may be harsh, but think about it: if you cannot take the time to ensure that the one thing that is to boast of you boldly looks as though care were put into it, how can an employer be sure that you will put ample care into producing quality work on the job? Once the resume is on the employer’s desk, you cannot defend yourself, so give yourself no reason to have to defend yourself.
Furthermore, no employer is going to spend time trying to make sense of an overly complicated format. Simple is often best. White spaces create balance on the page, so do not attempt to avoid them. Too many words on a page can actually look cluttered and even haphazard. Skip lines between sections and create generous margins. When appropriate, make use of bold, italics, and underlining to draw attention to separate sections and job titles. But be consistent with your headings. Keep your formatting consistent – Do not underline one job title but then italicize the rest; Do not bold some dates but then leave others untouched.
4. Be truthful and accurate!
Surely this one should go without saying. After all, why would you present yourself as something that you are not? Most people want to be honest and are, carefully noting their achievements—but sometimes without realizing it, they may attempt to overstate something that does not need overstating. It may not be an honesty issue so much as a wordiness one—talking up a past position or award to make it sound more impressive. Truthfully, though, accomplishments speak for themselves—so let them. Briefly describe what an honor was for, but do not try to make it sound loftier than it may be. That is not to say that you should not be proud of your accomplishments; it just means that you should give employers the room to decide what is impressive and what they are seeking. Your job is simply to sell yourself with as few words as possible.
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Does your resume pass the test? Could your resume be revised? Would you like some help in improving your resume? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are a lawyer or legal assistant, learn more about open legal industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.