(5) Tips for Writing a Better Résumé
Writing an effective and accurate résumé is one of the most difficult tasks you will have to do in your life! Really, I mean it. It will make the difference in getting in for an interview or not. Help the company recruiters help you, by writing a résumé that recruiters understand.
Why is it so difficult to get our résumé right? Why do they all sound the same? Are we focusing too much on getting the right words on it, so it gets selected by a software program a company uses to screen resumes?
How do you write a résumé that makes it stand out from all the others? Should you use colored paper to make yours look different? If you’re older should you leave out dates on your résumé? Do unpaid internships count? How often should you update your résumé?
Here are (5) Tips for writing a better résumé:
(1.) First of all, there is not just one right way to write a résumé. Yet, most firms want to see a chronological format rather than a skill-based résumé. It is so much easier to determine who you are and what skills and experience you offer to a company in a chronological format. The people that tend to use the skill-based format tend to have had many jobs in a number of careers, and want to deflect the recruiter away from this reality. Use a chronological résumé format, not a skill-based one.
(2.) The most important feature of your résumé is the Career Summary which should be listed at the top of your résumé after your name and contact information. The “Summary” is just that, an overview of your skills, experience, education and whatever special skills you have that define your value to a company. This should be written in four-five sentences.
(3.) Spend time going through your prior résumé and remove any information that is not relevant to your current job search or is dated or poorly written. Every word on your résumé needs to count. Shorten your descriptive in former jobs over 10 years, ago. Most people don’t care what you did 10 years ago.
(4.) Make sure to list a short descriptive on the company’s you worked for that includes what the company does, the size and what city you worked in. Many recruiters don’t have a clue on who you worked for. Help the recruiters by giving them a visual profile of where you are or were employed in the past.
(5.) Put dates on your résumé. There are two camps on whether you should leave off the dates on your résumé when you are a “silver professional” and have been around for awhile. Some say it’s okay not to put dates down on graduation from college or prior job information. I disagree. When someone leaves off the year they graduated from college, it makes me suspicious as to what they are hiding. It signals that you feel you may be too old to handle the job you are applying for.
Before you revise your résumé, spend time thinking about who you are, what you want out of your career and life, and what value you have brought to past employers. You will need to know this before you can write a strong résumé that reflects your value to a company. Every great résumé tells an interesting story!