1. format your resume wisely – do the “hiring managers work” for them
No matter how well written your resume is, you should know that it likely will not get a thorough reading the first time it is seen. On average, a hiring manager takes between 30 & 60 seconds to scan a candidate’s resume. Scanning is more difficult if it is hard to read, poorly organized, or exceeds two pages so use your time wisely.
- Use a logical format and wide margins, clean type and clear headings
- Selectively apply bold and italic typeface that help guide the reader’s eye
- Use bullets to call attention to important points (i.e. accomplishments)
2. identify accomplishments not just job descriptions
Hiring managers, especially in technical fields like software development, engineering and technical resources seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations.
- Focus on what you did in the job, NOT what your job was, there is a difference
- Include a one or two top line job descriptions first, then list your accomplishments
- For each point ask yourself, “What was the benefit of having done what I did?”
- Accomplishments should be unique to you, not just a list of what someone else did
- Avoid using the generic job descriptions, specify whenever possible
3. quantify your accomplishments
A common resume mistake is making too many general claims and / or using too much industry jargon. Try to think of your resume more like a marketing document. One designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than simply portray your biography.
- Include and highlight specific achievements that create a comprehensive picture of your marketability and how it would enhance your potential employers’ environment.
- Quantify your achievements to ensure greater confidence in the hiring manager and thereby generate interest percentages, dollars, number of employees, etc.
- Work backwards to quantify your accomplishments by asking, If I had not done X, what could have happened?
4. cater your resume for the industry
Know your target audience. Unlike advertising and design professionals who have greater creative license in designing their resume those in the technical fields and industries are not necessarily impressed with a “decorative or distinctive” resume design.
- Err on the side of being conservative or “brief”. Remember you have as little as 30 seconds to make an impact
- Succinctly listing your accomplishments, submitting error-free, grammatically-correct writing with clean & crisp type leaves a positive impression
5. instead of stating your “objective” try starting with a “career summary”
A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Most Objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line. Not telling at all.
- Again, think in terms of 30 second increments. Do your best to grab a hiring manager’s attention right from the beginning and use it to leave a lasting impression
- Spend time developing a summary that immediately gets their attention. Use descriptions that accurately and powerfully describe you as THEsolution to their problems
6. network. network. network.
Seeking gainful employment should be your full-time job until you land your new position. Networking can include:
- Personal business contacts, people you’ve worked for or who worked for you
- Vendors and sales representatives that you may have dealt with in the past
- People and relationships developed in college or that may be listed in the alumni directory
- Previous co-workers who may have moved on to other companies
- Users groups for those with similar skills and attributes as yours
Written by John Gaudu, Vice President