A resume is an advertisement. It is an advertisement about you. It is usually the very first opportunity to make an impression on the hiring manager at the company where you are looking to gain employment. Naturally you are looking for a great advertisement; therefore you must create a great resume.
There are certain characteristics of a great resume. There are also certain mistakes which can instantly disqualify an otherwise great resume.
Attributes of a Great Resume
It separates accomplishments from job descriptions.
A great resume addresses readers who have little time or interest in reading long paragraphs. Separate your job descriptions from your accomplishments. Bullet point your accomplishments so they stand out, for it is your achievements which will let the reader know you are capable of becoming a great employee.
It has a functional, clean layout.
A great resume has a clean, easy-to-read format. Each section has labels. A logical, clean resume can’t help but reflect well upon the applicant. A good format shows the applicant is: Diligent, organized, and writing to their target audience (those with little time).
It has the hallmarks of a complete story.
People love stories. If your resume can tell a great story with a beginning, middle, and end—readers will remember it. Hiring managers will understand who you are, how you got there, what you have done, and what you can do for them in the future.
Attributes of a Poor Resume
It does not include specifics.
Your resume needs to convey to employers what you have accomplished in your professional life. Compare the following and it is obvious which one includes proper specifics:
- Worked with employees in design department.
- Supervised and trained a team of 10 design department employees who were responsible for generating $12 million in annual revenue.
It does not speak to who you are.
Your resume needs to convey to the reader who you are. Remember the story attribute above? Your story highlights your perfect company fit. To do this, don’t be afraid to substitute a bit of personality for all the business jargon. Business jargon does not accentuate your personal strengths.
It shares a novel, not a story.
You want your resume to be a page and a half? Think again. A one page resume demonstrates to employers that you can synthesize, summarize, and highlight important points of your career.
It does not incorporate keywords.
Your resume should include the same keywords used in the job posting’s summary of duties and responsibilities. Craft your resume to address as many of these specifics as you can. This will show you are a fit for the job and you performed due diligence in reviewing each posted job responsibility.
Take the Time to Create a Great Resume
What is that saying? ”You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” A well written resume is certain to make a great first impression. You may be able to turn that poor first impression into a positive long-term impression if you are lucky enough to be given the opportunity. However, prospective employees usually don’t get a second chance, and your first impression becomes a couple of pages dropped into the recycling bin.