They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And when searching for a job, your resume serves as that first impression to your employers. If it is unprofessional, filled with errors, or formatted poorly, you won’t even get the chance to meet a prospective employer and actually make that first impression. Here are some tips for creating a professional resume that will get you noticed and hopefully land you an interview.
Choose the Type of Resume: Reverse Chronological, Functional or Combination
The reverse-chronological resume is the most popular resume. It lists all of your accomplishments, education, and experience in reverse-chronological order, beginning with the most recent and working back from there. Choose this resume when you have consistent employment – no job gaps.
The functional resume showcases skills, they will be the bulk of your resume, followed by employment and education. For example, if you are applying for a position as a journalist, you list the your skills for that position in a special section with subheadings that might include: “Editing” “Investigative Reporting”, “Research”, etc.. Use this resume when your job history is less than stellar and/or you’re seeking a career in a new field.
The combination resume is one that, obviously, combines the features of both reverse-chronological and functional resumes. Within the combination resume, you showcase your skills, as you would in a functional resume, but you also include your prior work history to show that you have no gaps in employment. The combination resumes are good not only for targeted job searches, but also for cross-career moves such as a marketing manager applying to become a marketing professor.
Appropriate Page Length
A resume is as long as it needs to be provided it contains only relevant information for the new job search. Most resumes are one to two pages in length. Don’t try to cram all of your information into a one-page resume to reach an arbitrary page length. If the resume doesn’t look good, it won’t be read.
Tailor Your Resume to the Position
Never send a cookie-cutter, generic resume to numerous employers. Many employers see this as lazy, and figure if you did not put much effort into getting the job, you won’t put much effort into performing the job either.
Never use an objective. An objective is telling the hiring manager what you want. Hiring managers don’t care what you want. They need to know what you can bring to their company. Therefore always use an opening summary called a Qualifications Summary. In it, list a recent, relevant, and quantified accomplishment that will prove to the hiring manager that you’re the correct candidate for the position.
Proofread and Proofread Again
Of course we all know that spelling or grammar mistakes on a resume are an instant turn-off. However, one thing you may overlook is proofreading your names and dates. Be sure everything is reverse-chronological, with no overlap in dates.
With these tips in mind, you can create a resume that makes a good impression and stands out from the competition, leading to an interview with the prospective employer, and then, hopefully, a long and fulfilling career.
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