The purpose of your resume is to get yourself noticed by potential employers and hiring managers and be chosen for an interview. So many job seekers are feeling the frustration of not getting that phone call and are left wondering what they can do. You may have a perfectly fine resume but everyone could benefit from making some changes to increase the effectiveness of their resume.
You know when you’re at a store and you can’t find what you’re looking for? You’re wandering the aisles, searching high and low, starting to get irritated, you’ve been there right? Now imagine your resume as a store. You want your reader to be able to find what they need as soon as they walk in. You want to avoid making your reader search for the information they want to know about you and instead present it in a clear, easy to read format. You don’t want to run the risk of a hiring manager eliminating your resume from consideration because your resume was difficult to read.
Sending a resume that is specifically designed for the position you want will increase its effectiveness. Mass mailing a general resume immediately decreases its effectiveness. Yes, it is a time saver and it reaches a lot of employers but you will find more success with quality over quantity. Don’t let your anxiety over finding a job make you rush to send your resume as quickly as possible. Yes, there are positions that have time restraints on them but each position should be treated separately with a specific resume.
Just because your friend’s resume looks good doesn’t mean that the same format will work for you. Consider playing around with different formats to find the layout that works the best for your experience. Hiring managers have become accustomed to the general order of information on a resume so you don’t want to go with a completely bizarre format but simple changes can make a world of difference. Try using bold, underline, or italics to draw attention to specific areas. Change your font style and size. Offset your section headings on the left side of your resume instead of centering. You don’t want a resume that looks the same as everyone else do you?
You need to utilize the prime real estate on your resume. This crucial area is the top third of your first page. Although the content of your resume is important – where you worked and what you did – it’s this initial area that really needs to pop off the page. Come up with a fantastic title and a career summary that capitalizes on your personal brand. Make sure you are selling yourself and your value to the company. Tell them what you are going to do for them if they hire you and illustrate it with specifics. All the good stuff needs to be front and center.
In order to have a truly effective resume you need to find the balance between too much information and not enough. Twenty bullet points listing all the tasks you performed is way too much. No one is going to read through all of them and on the off chance they do they are going to be asking themselves why you included all these mundane details. Three to four bullet points are plenty BUT – they need to be the most impressive bullet points ever. Your bullet points should include some amazing accomplishment or achievement; maybe you found a huge error that saved the company millions, or perhaps you landed the largest contract in the history of the company, or maybe you reorganized the filing system making everyone’s job easier. Whatever it was, you have to sell it like it’s the best thing ever. Throw in a few details about how you accomplished this task to give them an idea of how you operate and your resume just went up a few notches on the effectiveness scale.
Whether or not you have a great resume it’s worth the time to make some changes that could increase how effective it is. Your job search will thank you!
by Megan Koehler