Putting together a resume can be a real challenge at times. It can be difficult to figure out what information to us, what to leave off, and as most relevant for the position you are applying for. The easiest way to start is by making a list of the things you could include on your resume to avoid any resume mistakes. Organize your list in a logical way: keep job information in one space and education information in another, for example.
Next, put the idea of a single resume out of your mind. A resume needs to be tailored to each individual position. An employer is looking for a specific type of person, so a generic resume won’t give you the upper hand you are seeking to secure consideration. Take your list of resume items and really think about what would be attractive to the hiring company. Think about the skills required for the job. Choose things off of your list that will specifically appeal to the company and set you apart as a strong candidate for the position.
When you are ready to start writing your resume, here are five ways to avoid common mistakes:
1. Start with a positioning statement verses an objective. Objectives put the focus on you and your personal needs and preferences when the focus should be on what you can bring to the table. An employer isn’t interested in satisfying that person’s personal needs. They want to know what value you can bring to their company. A positioning statement offers a short profile. For example: “Project Manager with 10 years’ experience in entitlements and development.
2. Focus on the employer. The point to a resume is to sell yourself – you want the employer to “buy” you. As with any good sale, you want them to know not how great you are, but what you can do for them. Use your resume to tell them exactly what you can do to bring value to their company. The first 1/3 of your resume should highlight your key strengths in an appealing profile.
3. Focus on results. Let’s face it: a lot of people have done your job. Likely, some of the same people applying for the job you are currently applying for have done the same job you have done in the past. It’s the natural progression in the career world. When you’re putting together your resume, provide details of your quantifiable achievements that can be measured, rather than listing all of the responsibilities you’ve held. Focus on the impressive impacts you made in your past roles, and let those points make you shine.
4. Write enough, but not too much. This can be a tricky one. You need to write your resume using concise language. Say as much as possible using fewer words. Be specific when you’re explaining your achievements – if you had research published, for example, name the article and the publication, and throw in a statistic about the number of people the article reached. Make everything you can quantifiable. Don’t write about experience that is irrelevant to their position, your career goals or that is outdated. Information about your family, hobbies or church are not relative to your job. Make every word that you put on that paper speak to your audience about how positively, hiring you will impact their company.
5. Make your resume’s organization count. A sloppy, illogical or lengthy resume can be an instant red flag to potential employers. Think very carefully about the layout and content of your resume. Both the language and the design should be easy to read. Make sure it flows well, and that your key strengths are showcased.
Stay focused, keep your mind on your positive assets and the position you are applying for and you will create a resume that represents YOU!