Monday, July 20, 2009

Resumes: What to do & Not to Do

Resumes are a subjective presentation of a persons work history and like most employers, we see a lot of resumes! They range in every different lay out and format and the question is , what do employers look for and how do you move your resume to the top of the pile. Here are some of my suggestions:

- Save your resume in PDF. Looks more professional
- Have your summary of experience in bullet form and relevant to the position
- Start each job with a list of achievements
- Include as many stats, numbers, percentages as possible. Numbers draw the eye as a differentiator plus you want to demonstrate you are above average
- Keep your older job experiences to a minimum and focus on your current role and successes
- Ensure you list the month and the year you worked there (not just the year. It looks fishy)
- Add the logo's of the companies you used to work at beside their name. Powerful brand association and credibility through the visual queues
- Write for the scanner. By scanner I mean the person who quickly views your resume without really reading it and puts it in the pile to be reviewed in more detail. Essentially, all resumes have to make it through the scan process in hopes of an interview. Bullet points and Numbers help the scanner move your resume to the top of the pile
- If you have a good Linked In page or Zoom Info, include this in your resume which allows the potential employer see your sphere of influence

As I look at the many resumes that cross my desk each day, there are some candidates who follow older practices of creating a resume. My biggest pet peeve is interests. Just don't do it! It can only serve to harm you as people make subconscious or conscience opinions of you. To give you an example, a women submitted a resume and under interests she put "Poker". How does she think that her past time of Poker is going to get her the job? Same with sports - how is ultimate frisbee going to help you in any way with this role?

The other pet peeve I have is the general Resume. To be successful in a job search, you likely should have 2 or 3 resumes depending on the roles you are applying for. For example a resume for each role you are applying for, Customer Service, Sales, Account Manager, Manager etc. Each resume should highlight the relevant experience applicable to each job. I look at a resume that starts with "I am looking for a dynamic career in Sales and Marketing" as someone who clearly does not know the difference between the two roles and is throwing mud against the wall hoping something will stick!

Here are some other don'ts:

- If you have a university degree, you don't need to put the high school information down, we get it
- If you are sending your resume via email, use at least a professional pleasantry as an introduction. Sending your CV with no title or email body looks like you are disinterested
- There is no assumptive close in submitting a resume: "I can start ASAP" or "Please call me back" is not helping your cause
- Be careful when using email that your email company doesn't add odd slogans to the bottom of your email. This one is our favorite "Attention all humans. We are your photos. Free us. " Of course we never open these emails or look at the resume
- Proof read what you are sending for spelling and grammatical errors, case in point:

Dear sir/miss

I heard from the Internet about the position available at your company. I have heard from

the Internet and i have attached my resume for the purpose of getting the it.

I have the motivation and experience needed pulse I'm flexible and ready for the job.

I hope i have answered all your quotations and looking froward to hear from you.

When in doubt about formatting or submitting a resume, seek out a mentor (or three) and run the resume by them and ask them, Would you be granted an interview? Is the information relevant to the position being applied for? Does your resume have a wow factor?

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Susan Corcoran