Creating an effective resume
Career Path : Career Tips
Ideally, a résumé is a self-advertisement that showcases how your skills, experience, and achievements match the requirements of the position you’re applying for. Knowing how to lay out the content to highlight your skills and grab the reader’s attention is an art in itself. Here are some tips to create an effective, well-organized resume that should help you stay at the top of the pile and in the top of the hiring manager’s mind.
Format your resume wisely by doing the hiring managers’ work for them
No matter how well written, your resume won’t get a thorough reading the first time through. This might be shocking to you, but various studies have shown that a resume generally gets scanned for about 30 seconds the first time around. Scanning is more difficult if the resume is hard to read, poorly organized or exceeds two pages.
- Use a logical format and wide margins, clean type and clear headings
- Stick to a Standardized font, such as Times New Roman or Georgia
- Selectively apply bold and italic typeface that help guide the reader’s eye
- Make sure to list your school and area of study
- Use bullet points to call attention to important items, such as accomplishments or awards
Identify you accomplishments, not just job descriptions
Hiring managers seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, if you’re able to state how you solved problems in other companies and situations, then you might be able to improve your chances of standing out, as the hiring manager might be looking to solve a problem you’ve already handled successfully in the past.
- Avoid using the generic descriptions of the jobs you originally applied for or held
- Include a one or two top line job description first, then list some acquired skills or accomplishments – measurable, if possible
- Accomplishments should be unique to you!
- If you’ve written educational articles, make sure to list them
Making too many general claims and using too much industry jargon is rarely helpful in marketing you. A resume is a document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than just portray a general bio of the candidate.
Speak with confidence and ease when describing your accomplishments. Try to come across as friendly and open, but also professional, personable and highly knowledgeable in your field to add depth and interest to an otherwise rather dry document.
Resumes are not just a showcase of your experience and skills, but also of your personality.
Replace “Objectives” with a “Career Summary”
A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Most Objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line. It’s just not very telling.
A well-written Career Summary can grab hiring managers’ attentions right from the beginning, by accurately describing you as a solution to their problems. Remember: you only have about 30 seconds to make a good impression!
Clean up your resume regularly
Again, go for a resume that will be easy on the eyes and is formatted well. As the years go by, it’s normal that your resume gets longer and longer, so make sure to review it often, make changes and cut information as needed. Not every position you’ve held needs to be described in depth, some could simply be referred to in your Career Summary. When discussing your education, make sure to point to your school’s listing in canadian college directories.