Career Pathways (September, 2012)
August 29, 2012
Improve Your Resume’s 1st Impression
Can you believe that summer is gone and now is the time to think seriously about what you will do regarding your career and its pathway? Now that it's September and employers are back in full swing, are you beginning your job search campaign? When was the last time you reviewed your resume to ensure that it is error free, up-to-date, and the very best it can be to represent you, your qualifications and experience?
When someone reads at your resume for the very first time, an impression of you is formed within minutes of looking at the document. Your resume tells your story, projecting an image of your professional self. Any mistake, miscommunication or misunderstanding, missing piece of information, etc. impacts this projected image and contributes to a decision of whether to take a closer, more careful read of your qualifications and experience. It must engage someone –leading them to decide to call you in for an interview.
Therefore, you do not want it to be poorly written, difficult to read, too vague or general, desired info not easily found, or unfocused and unorganized. What type of errors should you be looking for and how can you improve your resume?
- OJECTIVE STATEMENT – This type of statement is too focused on what you want rather than how you can meet the employer’s needs. It is no longer used. Instead, include a PROFILE statement summarizing information on your expertise areas, skills, experience, and/or achievement illustrating your specific qualifications for the position.
- REFERENCES – Should not be listed nor should the statement: “Available on request.” References should only be contacted when you and the employer are serious about taking final steps of the hiring process. You are protecting your references.
- BLAND DETAILS – Details need to include quantitative specifics, ROIs, assessment results, problems resolved, solution descriptions, etc. If the information given is targeted and precise, the interviewer will want to know more. The hiring agent should develop an image of how you can meet the needs of the employer and want to interview you to confirm the initial impression.
- STYLE AND GRAMMAR – Format used should be consistent, concise, in Times New Roman font, and have sentences begin with varied action verbs (use a Thesaurus, if necessary). Check spelling, verb tenses, use of punctuation marks, and sentence structure. Proof read at least twice, have someone else review for clarity and understanding.
- PERSONAL INFORMATION – Omit, as this is irrelevant and could cause possible discreet discrimination, including: religious affiliation volunteer work, hobbies, sport groups, date of birth, martial status, etc. If the interviewer wants a more personal image of you, these types of questions can be asked at the interview. Only include professional and community volunteer work that illustrates your leadership and initiative skills.
In summary, your resume is your written professional story: describing your decision-making and analytical skills, leadership and managerial abilities, your work styles, but most importantly, you as a unique, contributing individual.
Annabelle Reitman Ed.D., a career management consultant and author has over 30 years experience in career coaching/counseling and is a member of the TTN-Washington DC Chapter. She specializes in clients experiencing transition as they undergo a career change or shift. Her tag line, “Possibilities without Assumptions” summarizes her philosophy and approach to working with people. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-370-6966 or view her profile on www.linkedin.com.