Chances are you’ll spend hours working on your resume, combing over each word and punctuation mark. But the hiring department will only spend about 30 seconds reading your resume; if you’re lucky, they may spend a minute looking at it.
In most cases, employers must sort through a multitude of resumes, even to fill just one open position. In a struggling economy, the number of resumes is generally higher, as people will settle for unemployment in their attempts to make ends meet. So how can you make sure that your resume catches your reader’s attention? Here are a few simple steps.
Be brief. Large paragraphs tend to make the reader’s eyes glaze, so keep your descriptions brief.
Be relevant. Your resume must express that you have the education and qualifications worthy of consideration. If your experience does not directly relate to your job or internship pursuit, then leave it off. Rewrite your resume for a specific position with a specific employer. It will be worth the additional time.
Be professional. In most cases, your resume is the first impression you’re offering. Make sure your resume represents you well. Use action verbs that work well with your skills and accomplishments.
Be black and white. It’s common to want to put your name in a certain color or font in the attempt to be memorable. It’s also very risky. Your flare may look good on the screen, but it may not print nearly as well. Suddenly your resume doesn’t look professional enough, and it may not get the consideration it deserves.
Be organized. Use headers such as Objective, Employment History, Accomplishments, Special Abilities or Education. Use bullets to list items within headers.
Be ready for references. Do not put “References are available upon request.” This reads as though you don’t have enough professional references. Assume that your resume is so strong that the reader already wants to know your references. Include your references’ titles and contact information. If you need to list references on a second page, use the same header that you used on the first.
Be accurate. Proofread your resume as if your career depends on it (because it does). If possible, have a friend or colleague proofread it too; it usually helps to have a fresh set of eyes go through your document. And never, ever lie about anything on your resume.
Remember, the most qualified candidate may not be considered for the position if their resume sells them short. Make sure that yours is a resume worth remembering.