Get Your Resume Read

I have been reviewing resumes for various people, under various guises (for friends and siblings, or at work looking at applicants). Not to mention my own resume, which I keep up to date on a regular basis. I have been struck by cerain similarities in all the resumes I have looked at.

  1. Spelling and grammar: With the availability of spell-check and grammar check, there is no excuse for either of these types of errors. You don’t need an English major to fix a spelling mistake, as your word processor will do it for you.
  2. Style and formatting: There are hundreds of templates available for building resumes. Find one that you like, and use it. When you try to build your own, chances are, the formatting won’t display correctly for everyone, and will make it hard to read.
  3. Opening statement: The first section of your resume should be a one paragraph statement that highlights who you are. This is not a cover letter, and you don’t need to tailor this paragraph for each application you make. It gives the person reading your resume a quick way to see what you think of yourself, which parts of the resume you are most proud of. You can include references to specific pieces or types of work you have done and liked. You can include what makes you different than the next applicant with an identical background. Make use of this section.
  4. Cover letters: This part of your application should be tailored for each position you apply for. Keep it relatively short, no more than a page. Talk a little bit about yourself, talk about the company (you did do some research and know what they do, right?), and how you can help them. Use this letter to convince the reader that you can help them solve a problem they may not have known they had. As well, include a little bit about your goals here, so that the reader knows what career aspirations you have.

Your resume should be designed to get you an interview, no more, no less. It does not get you a job, but without a good resume, you won’t get the interview either. The interview you can worry about later (and I will write about that in a little while). Use your resume to get you into the room with the prospective employer.