No matter what position you are looking to get we all know you have to submit a resume. While it seems a bit unfair to make a judgment on a candidate simply by a piece of paper, that’s the reality. What’s more; you have about 15 seconds to make an impression with your resume before the hiring manager dumps it to the bottom of the pile. While no good recruiter will make a decision on a resume alone, your resume is your first impression. To get yourself “in the door” you have to make sure you leave an excellent impression immediately, because you only have ONE chance to make a great first impression.
Here are the top 9 points to remember when creating your resume:
#1 The Objective
When you write your objective keep it short. There is no need to go on about all the amazing things you would like to do. No more than three sentences is necessary to explain: A. What you want to do; B. The skill-set you have to get it done; and C. What positive impact you feel you bring the company. Don’t embellish your qualities; let your experience do the talking.
#2 Your Education
There are always people that are great at what they do even though they did not receive the best education and that’s fine. But a hiring manager wants to see where you went to school, where you got your training etc. When applicable always let them know. If you have any certifications or a high GPA, certainly add that.
#3 Date Your Experience
What you have done and where you have worked is perhaps the most valuable piece of information on a resume. There is no greater education than experience. At the same time, the hiring manager needs to see how long you worked in the listed locations. Always include the dates you started and ended the job.
#4 NEVER Leave Gaps
Most people never stay at one job during their entire career. However, never leave a gap in employment on your resume without some explanation. If you took off to take classes, volunteer or anything else, always explain that. One of the worst signs on a resume is a candidate who leaves a gap in their experience.
#5 If You’re Not Working There Don’t Write It!
No one likes to be laid off and certainly no one likes to write that. However, if you were laid off at your most recent position but you still list the employer on your resume as “current”; you have done more harm than good. Any honest company and hiring manager for that matter, understands things don’t always work out. If you show you are honest and upfront that will make a much better impression than leaving it on.
#6 Don’t Write “References Provided Upon Request!
Some people don’t like to include references in their resume and they simply write “References provided upon request”. You have just decreased your chances significantly. We live in a time where everyone wants instant information. When you submit your resume, give the hiring manager as much information as possible so he can access everything on his/her own. Any smart company will want references and if they have to call you for them, you are just putting one more step in your own way. Don’t list more than three or four, but provide easily reachable and reliable references for them to contact.
#7 Tell Your Employer & Your References Someone Might Call
Leaving a company is always hard, and telling your boss is never easy. At the same time, what better person to ask for information than the one you are working for. When you submit your resume, it goes without saying they will contact your company for information. Keeping it a secret will just come back to hurt you. Not only will it impact the relationship with your current employer, if the hiring manager calls and is told: “Really, he sent you his resume? I had no idea he was looking to leave!” they will probably just hang up and not bother looking into you. Make sure everyone is on the same page and everything runs as smoothly as possible. The same goes for the references you choose. If you are putting them down, make them aware that they may receive a call.
#8 List Your Hobbies
This is something that many times is overlooked simply because it has nothing to do with how you work or at least you think so. Showing what you do in your spare time is very valuable and extremely telling to an employer. If you are a volunteer fire fighter, EMT or anything like that, you possess a tremendous quality of looking out for the well-being of others. Aside from skill, working in a team requires candidates that look to help others beyond themselves. If you enjoy sports, hiking, fishing etc. it shows you are active and in shape. Your physical shape most certainly effects how your work.
#9 Use Spellcheck!
It is truly amazing how many spelling mistakes are found on resumes in today’s generation. You don’t even need to know how to spell anymore, just use spell check! There is perhaps nothing worse on a resume than spelling mistakes. It doesn’t just show a lack of proper accuracy, it shows you aren’t diligent enough to simply look over your work, it shows you are not driven to make a professional impression (and many other negative implications). No matter what you list on the resume, NEVER leave spelling mistakes. If you are not confident enough to rely on your own capabilities have someone else read it over.
What would you add to make a killer resume? Please leave your comments below.
About the Author: Jay Block is the CEO of The Small Business Journal – “The Smartest Magazine on Business”.