Looking for a job? For those of you who may have been let go from companies due to down-sizing, layoffs, or restructuring, it is disheartening and stressful to have this happen at any time. The good news is that many new jobs are being created. It is crucial especially today that you have a recent updated resume at your fingertips to email, fax or send to a prospective employer. Keep a copy of it in your car.
Remember, the resume is important; hopefully, it will lead to an interview and you should keep that in mind as you are preparing or updating it.
Due to the nature of our changing job environment in today’s world, I am going to deviate from the formal, 4-page watermark paper resume that has been expected and makes a good appearance. Time is of essence today and you want your resume to be in the hands of someone who is seeking you and your experience; you can be sure there will be many more wanting that same thing!
I usually recommend a one-page resume. Two or three pages are OK, especially if you want to elaborate your skills. However, in these technological times, you should be aware that large corporations (and even time/cost saving small business) employ scanners that look for buzz words that will match up quickly with the job they are trying to fill.
The human resource or personal department of a company receives your resume. The HR assistant may scan them, either by an electronic scanner or manually and see how many buzz words match the job description. If there is a good number of them, the assistant puts them aside to be given to an HR person who will look the resume over.
Here is why I suggest a one-page resume. Due to the large influx of resumes, it may be eye-scanned for how it relates to the open position. Only then, if it could be a fit, will the resume be given to the department head seeking to fill the position. Although the resumes are kept on file for a time, they usually aren’t looked at again.
Make sure your resume is relevant to your objective of career choice. Normally, it is a good idea to put your objective at the beginning of the resume; however, in these competitive times, it may be more prudent not to. You may have skills relevant to another position in the company that they may consider.
Objectives state what kind of work you are most interested as the company may be more interested in getting the best candidate for less. The future employer needs to know what you are interested in doing.
Make sure your History Experience is consistent. The scanning assistant will not include your resume if there are unexplained gaps in your work date history. If there is a good reason why there is a lapse in employment, be sure to include it with an explanation why.
Use specific phrases or clauses (bulletized is fine) instead of sentences. They can be grasped at a glance. Select strong action verbs; watch grammar and spelling. It is representative of you. When it is completed, read it aloud to someone who can be objective for feedback.
Experience should start with the present going back in time. The general rule is don’t go back beyond 10 or 15 years. Business practices and technology change and make some skills obsolete. An exception would be if you were once an Attorney General. List titles of past work positions (I put this first in bold, that’s what they are most interested in) and then bulletized accomplishments under each title. Always add numbers if you were responsible for personnel or $$ budgetary projects. This info is KEY for the hiring company. This will tell them what you do and how you did it – depth & breadth. Two lines description for each title – use positive modifiers.
Next is Education. Start with most recent working back. Include co-op and intern positions. (If you have taken extra courses that are relevant to the position you are seeking, list them.)
References: The company seeks professional references provided from former employer, college or individual supplied upon request. (You don’t want to list references on the resume – if the company is interested, they will ask you for them. Besides, if the company asks for them, you will want to ask the referenced person for their willingness to recommend you).
Do not put in skills and responsibilities you do or did not have or exaggerate what your former salary was – HRs share information and you will be quickly found out. And that’s a downer.
Remember: It is likely that if you get past the HR scanning of your resume and you are asked in for an interview, you may be asked questions regarding the resume: for example, how are you qualified? That’s your skills and qualifications. And where and how have you done it? That’s your experience. They might ask why do you want it? That is the part that is usually in the objective. You know why you want it. Be honest. And they might want to know how well you did in achieving your objectives at other positions. This includes bonuses and promotions.
Good luck to all of you who are seeking new jobs. And for extra credit, include God in your prayer for guidance.
© Marie Coppola Revised July 2017