As a job seeker, you have a resume and you send it to every possible job opening you can find. You make sure every recruiter in town has at least one copy on her desk. It’s posted in six places on Monster.com and four places on CareerBuilder.com. You hand it out like those guys hocking strip-show fliers on 5th Avenue in New York City. You even sent one to your best friend’s mother, simply because she seems to know everybody! But how effective is your resume, really?
Are you getting the results you want from it? Are you getting enough interviews? Do you even KNOW what “good results” would look like?
Have no fear, my friends, we are here to take the pain and confusion out of writing an effective resume. Here’s the inside scoop on getting the most out of your resume:
1. Define Expected Results
The first thing you need to do is determine what purpose your resume will play in your job search efforts. Do you want to use it to get a foot in the door? Do you want it to help you “close the sale?” Or, do you want your resume to simply be something your prospective employer has in their hands to help them rest assured they have made the right decision by hiring you? Any of these are legitimate uses for a resume, but you need to know how you intend to use this important document in order to be able to craft it to effectively achieve your goals.
2. Begin With a Clear Professional Summary
If you are lucky, you will get eight seconds worth of attention from the person reading your resume. You have got to grab their attention so they will read further. A banal, boring, or uninteresting summary will send them on to the next person. I see way too many resume’s that begin with some kind of “objective statement” to the effect, “desire a challenging career that utilizes my strengths.” I bet the hiring manager who reads this will get 500 or more with the same objective. What in that statement will make you stand out from the others? More importantly, what do you have to offer a potential employer? Your resume is a marketing tool similar to a newspaper ad. If you want to grab the attention of the reader you’ve got to have a compelling headline. Otherwise, they will move on to the next one without giving you a second thought.