Creating an Effective Resume

The word résumé refers to a document that sums up your personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experiences. The key words are ‘sums up.’ As I review résumé, I am baffled by the length and breadth of the documents. Your résumé is supposed to reel in the reader by summarizing who you are and what you’ve done. You want your résumé to be your ticket to an interview. The interview is the place for you to share specific stories and go into more detail.

20 years ago people created a résumé and had them professionally typed and printed. They couldn’t tailor their résumé each time they applied for a job or met with a recruiter. Their résumé was filled with gross generalities and highlighted their uniqueness. Today a résumé likely to get the best response is one that has been customized and mentions accomplishments and requirements directly listed in a posting. 5 years with a Not-for Profit. 3 years doing all the analytics as the only financial person in the company. 10 years overseeing all aspects of the company; supervised a staff of 6. Proficient in QuickBooks, Excel, or Word.

Many applicants leave facts out of their resume that are specific to the posting and put them in the cover letter. I’m not saying you should write a new resume each time you apply for a job or meet a recruiter. What I am saying is save the 4 page, 9 point document with 12 bullet points under each job as a Template. Re-name your résumé with the posting name/date and delete details that aren’t crucial to that posting. If there is a specific skill or accomplishment identified in the posting and not in your resume this is the time and place to add it.

I also recommend you create a template for your cover letter so you can easily fill in the specifics related to the posted position; job applying for, where the positon was posted, and salary requirements if requested. You should also summarize in one sentence why you believe you are a good fit for the job.

Both your résumé and cover letter should be in the same 12 point font. I recommend either Verdana or Arial. You are selling yourself; you want your message to be clear, concise and easily understood. When you submit a résumé and cover letter using this format, the recruiter or Human Resource manager will quickly and easily see why you have applied for the position and hopefully you will be invited in for an interview.