Do you want to know why resumes fail? Here are the reasons given in a survey of employers:
- No accomplishments (78%)
- Negative visual impact (55%)
- Poor or no cover letter (40%)
- Lack of objective (36%)
- Format problems (32%)
- Irrelevant data (29%)
- Inadequate job description (12%)
- Time gaps unexplained (10%)
- Resume too long (10%)
Your résumé is your most important calling card in your job search. It should include the following information:
- Contact information. Include phone, mail and e-mail contact information. Your voicemail message should be professional. A message that is too casual can create a negative impression.
- Career objective. You can choose to list or not list your career objective. If your objective doesn't match the recruiter's needs, you may miss out on a golden opportunity. However, a clearly stated career objective can help your recruiter find your ideal career match.
- Summary statement. Your summary should be brief.
- Include your title and years of experience.
- List pertinent skills.
- Discuss your character traits or work style.
Example: "Financial Accountant with over 10 years' experience with two Fortune 500 companies. Technical skills include P&L, budgeting, forecasting and variance reporting. Bilingual in Spanish and English. Self-starter who approaches every project in a detailed, analytical manner."
- Professional experience. List each position held in reverse chronological order, dating back at least ten years. If you held multiple positions within the same company, list them all to show advancement and growth. The body of each position description should describe your responsibilities and accomplishments (examples below).
- Other components. Include education, professional training, affiliations/appointments, licenses, technical skills and languages.
- Personal information. Do not include personal information such as marital status.
12 Accomplishments Employers Want To See
- Increased revenues
- Saved money
- Increased efficiencies
- Cut overhead
- Increased sales
- Improved workplace safety
- Purchasing accomplishments
- New products/new lines
- Improved record keeping process
- Increased productivity
- Successful advertising campaign
- Effective budgeting
You only have one chance to create a favorable impression! Resume Do's and Don'ts...
- Don't use "I" "he" "she" "Mr." "Ms" when referring to yourself in your resume. Instead list your responsibilities and accomplishments in a bullet point format. Note: Managers may not take the time to read a lengthy paragraph.
- Don't skip a job (even if it was for a short stint) to make your resume look better. During a comprehensive background check it will undoubtedly show up. When it does, it will likely prompt the hiring authority to question the validity of your entire resume.
- Do remember that total honesty is mandatory! Your resume must be clear, concise, and reflect a professional employment history.
- Don't use a gimmick resume or colored paper.
- Do remember to print your resume on 20 to 24 pound white bond paper. Keep in mind, your original resume becomes the master copy from which multiple copies are made. Colored paper (gray in particular) doesn't reproduce well.
- Don't fax your resume directly from your PC without printing it first, thus insuring your resume reproduces and appears as you anticipated.
- Do remember to use your spell/grammar check feature and do remember to have someone other than yourself proof read your resume to insure it reads well.
- Don't use small type (less than 10 point) in order to get more information on a page. It would be better to edit/cut your copy than reduce the type size. Resumes that are difficult to read get passed over.
- DO remember to print your name on the second and all subsequent pages. Note: Most often, a one-page resume will be read first.
What Resume Style is Best For You?
The two basic resume styles to choose from are Chronological and Functional:
- The reverse chronological resume is the most widely accepted resume style. It lists your work history in descending order from your present position followed by your previous positions.
- The functional resume, often referred to as the analytical or skill oriented resume, is valuable for those candidates who desire to work outside their present/previous work environment. It highlights your skills and areas of expertise, ignoring time & place. It is also widely used by those candidates who have a chronological gap or numerous jobs in a short time period. Be aware that some readers of this style may view it as you are hiding something and move on to the next resume.
Never send a form cover letter... they insult the recipient and show your laziness. To differentiate yourself from your competition (other candidates), always write your cover letter to the individual (or at least the company) to whom you are sending your resume. The more specifically you can show how your skills address their needs, the better. At least show you have made the effort to do more than lick a stamp or dial a fax #.