Think of your résumé as a well-crafted advertisement about yourself. It must be clearly written and easy to read. It should highlight, in a user-friendly format, your skills and what you can bring to a company. Creativity doesn’t belong on a résumé because it interferes with the readability of the document.
Keep in mind your résumé is probably the first ‘interaction’ a recruiter, hiring manager, or Company President has with you. If they like what they read and can easily see the connection, then you may be invited in for an interview. Your goal is to ensure your résumé exudes your passion while highlighting your accomplishments and strengths. The reader is tuned into WIIFM, “What’s In It For Me.” Does your résumé answer that question?
If you customize, tailor, and tweak each résumé so the reader feels you are speaking directly to him or her, you are more likely to get an interview. Highlight your uniqueness and your past experiences as it links to the job you are applying for. Sending a generic résumé that has 5 or more bullets for each job you had could hinder your chances for success. Why? You are expecting the reader to identify the relevant information that is embedded in your résumé. That is YOUR job!
I know what you are thinking. I can’t write an original résumé each time I apply for a position or pass my résumé along to a recruiter or networking contact. You don’t have to completely re-write your résumé; merely customize your current résumé. Most résumés have too much information, some of the text is redundant or irrelevant. When I coach a client, I help them understand their skills and strengths. I teach them how to market themselves for different positions and even different industries by customizing their résumé. Think of your current résumé as a template for future résumés.
A good way to begin is by identifying key words in the posting or key words linked to a specific industry, then you can easily and quickly customize your current résumé. The goal is to make those connections jump off the page. A résumé should be a stand-alone document; not dependent upon a cover letter to reiterate information or highlight connections. Taking the time to customize your résumé, sends potential employers an important message. They see you as a person who is always willing to go the extra mile. You are someone who will think strategically rather than generically.
Make sure your résumé is easy to read. It should be no longer than 3 pages and written in 12 -point font. Write a concise, but compelling summary. Avoid wasting space with a laundry list of skills or areas of expertise. They should be clearly identified in the body of your résumé.
Lastly avoid silly statements. You graduated from college 20 years ago, what is the relevance of your grade point average? It’s what you’ve done with your knowledge that counts. Does it matter that you passed the CPA exam on the first try? What is important is you are a licensed CPA. When you list other qualities, skills, or passions, make sure the reader sees the link. Otherwise, leave them out. Think of your résumé as a living, working document, not a generic summary of all you have done. Make it the hook that gets you an interview.
Bio: Peggy Bud, founder of Speaking Skillfully, is a certified speech-language pathologist. She coaches clients on how to effectively communicate when interacting with customers, clients, and colleagues. She provides communication training related to communication and the gender divide. Honing communication skills is a person or company’s most powerful tool; directly impacting the bottom-line. It’s more than what you say; it’s how you say it. Peggy can be reached at Peggy@PeggyBud.com or via telephone 203.952.8534. Learn more at her web site: www.PeggyBud.com Follow her on Facebook or Linked-In