Resumes these days are more than just general lists of the things you can do. They’ve evolved into customized getting-to-know you sheets written for specific audiences. As headhunters review a resume for an average of six seconds, it’s important to show them your skills as clearly and quickly as you can.
Here are several tips you can employ to make your CV as convincing as possible. Just remember that beyond a colorful pictures and spiffy layouts, there’s a message that you need to deliver, and that message is “HIRE ME.”
1. Consider your audience.
Are you applying for a job in finance? You may want to stick with a formal layout that quickly enumerates your skills. How about a career in graphic design? A clean but more creative approach may work better. Keeping in mind the people you wish to impress won’t only help you construct an effective resume, but also differentiate you other applicants.
2. Use consistent branding.
If you have a common name that you use across all print and digital platforms, then you should also use it on your resume. This can make it easier for employers to look for references of you online. Of course, make sure that your social media accounts are clean and wholesome, just to make your image more consistent.
3. Make it short and sweet.
Employers tend to stop reading at the end of the first page of your resume, so make sure that what you put in it is everything that you want them to know about you. Ditch “likes and dislikes” or “hobbies”: it’s most likely that a potential employer won’t even give that part a second glance. Concentrate on more important details, such things you’re exceptional at.[crp]
4. Include your 30-second elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a way of convincing someone to your side of the game during the short span of an elevator ride. Instead of adding the now defunct job objective (“I am looking for a career that can help me grow in the field of etc, etc.”), put in an executive summary consisting of two to four sentences highlighting what you’re good at and why you can be of value to the company you wish to apply to.
5. Use white spaces and bullet points.
Employers have a habit of throwing out resumes that they can’t read, so make sure to construct one that’s easy on the eyes. Avoid huge blocks of texts as they tend to bore readers. Instead, make smart use of white spaces and bullet points. Information in this format are faster to understand and are easily retained.
6. Indicate information from your most current engagements to the earliest.
If you’ve been working for some time, it’s best to format your resume in such a way that your most recent job is at the top and the very first is at the bottom. It makes it easier employees to trace your history. Don’t forget to add your college degree at the bottom, as those hiring still count this as an important factor in deciding whether or not to get you. You can cross out on your high school and elementary activities and achievements, though, because unless you’ve managed to find a cure for cancer during your grade school years, employers consider most of what you’ve done then of no consequence to your hiring history.
After you’ve made your winning resume, make sure to give yourself enough time to prep for a one-on-one with your future employer. To help you out, check out our 10 tips on how to ace that job interview.
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Charlene works for a popular greeting card company, hoping that what she writes makes some big, burly man somewhere cry. She's into MMA, and when she's not watching armbars on YouTube, she also writes for a tech blog or naps with her cat.