Tim Daniel was confident he’d get the job. As a university professor with more than 30 years experience in teaching, research and consulting; he had exactly the qualifications needed for a strategic planning position in the high tech industry.
Tim assembled his resume, and smiled as he dropped it into the mailbox. He had to admit that his 17-page resume was impressive, and clearly showed that he was a top-ranked academic and a respected citizen.
The resume listed more than 35 of his research projects, his publications (including 3 books and 87 research papers), and a synopsis of 11 recent consulting projects. It also included complete listings of his work experience (including his first job pumping gas), a summary of his accomplishments (he was high school valedictorian, and a debating team semi-finalist in college), and personal information (he has five grown children, serves on his Church Council, and is an avid tennis player).
When Tim received a letter stating that the position had been filled, he was shocked. Not only did he not get the job, he didn’t even get an interview. When he phoned to ask why, the Human Resources manager recommended that Tim seek professional help with his resume.
Thankfully, Tim took that advice. Here’s what he learned about preparing a winning resume.
1. Begin with a summary statement. Summarize, in one sentence, what makes you the ideal candidate for this job.
2. Be selective. There is no need to include every single job you’ve ever held. Leave out any positions that are too junior to be relevant. Instead, focus on your last ten years of experience.
3. Include professional affiliations and community involvement. Companies are looking for people who are involved in the professional world and the community.
4. Use the industry language. Although the same skills may be needed to run a corporation, a medical center and a university, these industries all have their own terminology. Make sure the words on your resume are appropriate to the field you’re applying to.
5. Use industry buzzwords. If employers ask for ISO 9000 experience, HTML design skills, or expertise in empowering employees; make sure these exact terms appear in your resume.
6. Show your responsibilities. Included with each job description should be some indication of your level of responsibility. A department manager, for example, may say that they were “responsible for a staff of 14 and an annual budget of $2.3 million.”
7. Focus on your accomplishments. After reviewing your resume, the reader should know what challenges you faced, what actions you took to resolve those challenges, and the outcomes of your efforts.
8. Include a cover letter. A cover letter is an essential part of a resume package, and is customized for each job. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity, writing style, and personality.
1. Exceed two pages in length. A resume is a summary of your experience, designed to get you an initial interview. You must be able to summarize the important information in two pages.
2. Include personal information. Marital status, family information, hobbies, and religious affiliations have no place on a resume. The only personal information that you need to include is your name, address and phone number.
3. Be dishonest. If you’re caught lying or exaggerating, about your education, experience or credentials, your reputation may be ruined. Don’t risk it.
4. Describe your skills in generalities. If you have word processing experience, for example, don’t say “software” or “word processing.” Instead, list the specific software packages that you’re familiar with.
5. Include references. The company doesn’t need your references until they’re ready to offer you a job. Leave them off your resume, but make sure that your references are ready when someone asks to see them.
6. Ignore appearance. Make sure that your resume is visually appealing- with an appealing font, an attractive layout, and lots of white space. The resume should be printed, on good quality paper, using a laser printer.
7. Forget to proofread. Make sure the resume is completely free of spelling errors, incorrect word usage and grammar problems.