In a time with growing uncertainty, and thousands of individuals facing the threat of being laid off, it is increasingly important to have a competitive resume. It's not enough to say what you did; your resume has to articulate how well you did it. According to recent studies, over 50 million Americans are in the process of a career change. This can be attributed to a variety of factors ranging from career dissatisfaction to company restructuring.
In order to have a successful resume, it is vitally important to recognize what your resume is and isn't. The primary goal of your resume is to get you an interview. This is your thirty-second commercial, and until you meet with a recruiter or potential employer, this is all they know of you. Due to the number of resumes a recruiter receives daily, they typically know within about nine seconds of receiving a resume if a candidate will be called for an interview. On average, one interview is granted for every 250 resumes that come across a recruiter's desk.
Less is More
Recruiters want to see a resume that is simple to understand, and leaves them wanting to know more about the individual that is applying for the position. Your resume should compel the recruiter to pick up the phone or email you to schedule a phone screening or an interview. Avoid industry jargon, and company colloquialisms. I can't stress this one enough. The language and vernacular that you use at your current employer may not translate to your next employer.
Look at your resume as a valuable piece of land. Every square inch on that piece of paper is valuable. You want to present a snapshot of your roles, accomplishments, and responsibilities. Additionally, you want to display the skills and work ethic that you will bring to the organization. If you are a natural leader, or team player be sure to capture those critical characteristics. Use buzzwords such as "directed", "facilitated", and "implemented" to help you stand out.
Tell the Truth
This one goes without saying. I know, you're probably saying everyone has padded their resume at some point in time. To that I would say you are probably right. In light of recent incidents with inaccuracies on resumes, it's important to make sure that your resume is a true reflection of you and your experiences. Employers are taking steps to protect themselves and that means doing thorough background checks. These checks include everything from reference checks to education verification.
Be Crystal Clear about the Goals You Want to Accomplish
Getting hired by a company is everyone's goal at some point in their lives. Being crystal clear about your goals leaves no doubts in your mind and the minds of others about what it is you want to accomplish. Being crystal clear is actually taking the time to write your goals down, and setting a time frame in which to accomplish these goals. Most successful individuals visualized their success before it even happened. The same can be said for job seekers.
Like anything in life, your resume could benefit from objective input. Have someone review and critique your resume. Nothing will get a resume pushed to the bottom of the stack faster than a resume with spelling and grammatical errors. Having a winning resume will not only unlock the doors to countless opportunities, but it will also be a lifeline to a recruiter drowning in a sea of applicants.
Maro Onokpise is the CEO/Founder of Jux.ta.pose, a Social Network for Jobseekers. He can be reached at www.jux-ta-pose.com