Remember: companies have needs. Prepare yourself to sell your background and achievements and to prove that you are the best candidate to fill those needs. After all, who knows more about YOUR strengths, talents, and abilities than YOU?
An honest, thorough self-evaluation is the most important first step toward a positive career move.
The next serious step is to create your resume. Your resume has but one purpose in life: TO GET YOU A JOB INTERVIEW! To achieve this goal, your resume must be a brief, factual, informative history of your experience and education, AND a sales promotion piece that highlights your accomplishments. Your resume should be interesting enough to compel the reader to call you and grant you an interview. Here are some suggestions for making it more effective: Keep it brief. One or two pages in length, with wide margins, is optimum. Someone wrote a 170 page resume, but few people read it!
Keep it neat. Use plain, white bond paper. Be sure that your final copy is free of typographical errors, misspellings, grammatical errors and smudges. Sharp reproductions from a plain paper copier are acceptable, but clearer copies can be obtained from a reputable offset printer. Your resume’s appearance is a direct reflection of your appearance!
Accentuate the positive. Focus on those things at which you excel. Describe your accomplishments and the impact they have had on other employers in factual, no-nonsense terms. For example: say “As financial officer, I reduced expenses by 18% which directly increased the company’s profits” OR “As system’s analyst I redesigned our existing programs to increase output by 8% at no extra cost.” SELL your education, your experience and your accomplishments.
Omit nearly everything else. A resume should include your name, address, zip code, phone number and area code. Photographs and details of your personal life (hobbies: health, height, weight, age, sex, national origin or religious affiliations) are unnecessary! Include your military experience ONLY if it is related directly to the position for which you are applying. Your objectives, salary and reasons for wanting to make a change are also unnecessary (these items are usually covered during interviews).
Your “track record” is most important. Potential employers are most interested in your contributions to the company’s “bottom line.” Think about what you have done to either MAKE OR SAVE MONEY for previous employers. Include this in your resume in specific, factual terms. Use action words like “directed, established, installed, created, designed or reduced” throughout.
Reread your resume before sending it. Before you make copies, go over your resume carefully. Look for errors of any kind. Check your facts. Show it to business people who have knowledge of the type of work you seek. You need objective analysis. Make certain that your resume answers all of the following:
- Does it tell the story of your background?
- Does it emphasize your strengths?
- Is it honest?
- Is it accurate?
- Is it complete?
- Is it concise?
- Does it look clean and neat?
- Does it SELL YOU?
- Are spelling and grammar correct?
- Does it show your accomplishments?
- Does it stress your VALUE to other employers?
- Does it make you stand out from the competition?
Rework your resume until it is perfect. If there were any “no” answers to the above questions, then you must revise your resume. Adjust your resume to fit your background, personality and writing style.