In today's job market, resumes are flying through the doors of companies and businesses from thousands of applicants.
So how do you get your resume noticed? One word: marketing.
The following hints, wording examples, and formatting suggestions will make it easy for you to call attention to your resume (Ed note: also see How to Write a Cover Letter) and help land you that dream job:
1. Resume Formatting - While rules are made to be broken (we'll go to that just up ahead) the traditional resume format is as follows:
Use a typeface that you would use with any business correspondence (such as Times Roman, Ariel), and no larger than 12 pt. size.
Make your resume as short, clear and compact as possible so a busy hiring manager can quickly go through it. Editing it to two pages is good. Keeping it to one page is better.
Now let's see how we can set you apart and make your experience, education, and skills shine in the best possible light:
2. OBJECTIVE: here is where you describe in one simple sentence the job opportunity you're after, for example:
"A position as a customer service manager where I can utilize my expertise in customer relations and project management at Blue Widget Company."
"To obtain a position that will enable me to use my strong experience, organizational skills, and educational background in corporate communications at XYZ Company."
"Day care position that utilizes my experience in teaching and child development at the ABC Center."
Notice that you've neatly wrapped up your major selling points. Also note that the specific company is named in the objective. The more targeted you make your resume, the more attention it will receive.
Of course, you may want to skip the Objective line altogether, depending on the job requirements. If they call for 5 years of experience you don't (formally) possess, get creative! Highlight your education, awards, or volunteer work that match the requirements.
In other words, there are no hard and fast rules for formatting your resume, so always put your best foot forward by, in this case, listing your educational background FIRST.
(Did we say these rules were meant to be broken? Well, maybe "massaged" a little...)
3. EXPERIENCE: In contrast to the Objective, the rest of your resume is basically a chronological list.
To format this section, type your most current experience first, and list all other job titles and descriptions after that, with years that covered the time period, for example:
(2003-Present) Public Relations Manager
example wording: "In this increasingly responsible position, developed and implemented an expanded syllabus for training new hires and interns, while supervising a staff of 12 and acting as chief liaison with national media outlets."
Notice the "action" verbs?
Since you want it to jump off the page at the viewer, how you communicate your experience is of utmost importance. You want hiring managers to imagine you in the job.
To do this, describe your responsibilities and contributions with words such as... led, handled, supervised, demonstrated, implemented, organized, acted, maximized, made, wrote, researched, monitored, scheduled, updated, improved ... and there are lots more.
Search online for a list of "resume action verbs" and see which ones best color your experience.
4. EDUCATION: Similar to the EXPERIENCE format, list your education pursuits in chronological order, starting with your most recently obtained degree or certificate. If you can boast special honors for extra-curricular activities by all means list them under another heading called AWARDS.
5. SKILLS: Here list any skills you think might land you the job including, "organizational, time management, and customer relations skills". List any word processing skills under the heading WP/DESKTOP: "Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint" etc.
AFFILIATIONS: (optional) - If you belong to any clubs, guilds, or professional organizations that may enhance your chances, list them here.
6. REFERENCES: Here you can either include available contacts such as former employers, professors and the like, or simply state "Available upon request."