In general, hiring managers and recruiters will spend an average of 25 seconds looking through your resume. If nothing leaps out, your resume will be tossed in the pile that will soon be forgotten, along with several hundred others. Writing a great resume is the first step to that dream job. No matter how inexperienced or experienced you are, a strategically and well-written resume trumps the resume that is word-heavy and three pages long.
If you think that the resume you made ten years ago will do the job you’re applying for now, think again. Resumes should change with every job you hold, and, more importantly, they should be tailor-made to the job that you’re hoping to land. Here are a few tips to get started.
For most candidates
Instead of putting “Career Objective” on top of your resume, you can put “Summary Statement”, also known as your summary of qualifications or competencies. This should be a brief statement of your abilities, accomplishments, and which direction you want to take your career. Include the most relevant and notable skills you have acquired and put them at the top.
When you add your job descriptions, don’t just list them down like some elaborate grocery list. Put emphasis on what you did and not on what the job was. Whatever you put on your resume, remember that it should always provide a clear picture of your ability and marketability. If you can add in professional certifications, organizations, and community involvement, these will help bring more interest to your resume.
For the recent graduate
Even if you are a recent graduate, your resume can stand out if you craft it in a way that is succinct and comprehensive. A well-written resume can land you a job even without having tons of professional experience. You work with what you have, and you work with what you have earned. Your education and other credentials while in college should have a top spot in your resume. Those are your best qualifications.
If you got impressive grades or achieved special honors in college, include those in your resume, especially if they are related to the job that you are applying for. Make them appeal to recruiters. Highlight all your transferable skills in college to the professional environment.
For those who want to change careers
Everybody will go through a career change at least once in their lives, and it can be for a whole lot of reasons. Career changers should show potential employers that they possess the relevant skills and experience to transition to a different career. Your resume should show that you have a passion for your new chosen field and that you have been working hard to develop your skills. While doing so, you should not appear overqualified nor underqualified.
Keep your resume relevant and focused, while keeping it to two pages maximum.
For senior level / senior management candidates
Resumes for a senior level or senior management candidates should highlight their areas of expertise or core proficiencies. These can be included in the summary statement. State your value proposition and the quantitative results that you delivered. Highlight your experience and your expertise. Craft your resume in a way that does not read like an autobiography, but is sufficiently comprehensive for the hiring manager to know enough about you. Avoid jargon and limit it to easy-to-understand terms.