MyFox Job Shop - There are no rules! The goal of your résumé is to STAND OUT from your competition and to get prospective employers excited about the prospects of interviewing and hiring you. Rules mean conformity. How can you STAND OUT or distinguish yourself from other job candidates if you blend in with them? Coca Cola doesn't package itself to look like Pepsi. Tylenol doesn't package itself to look like Excedrin. Ford doesn't package itself to look like Toyota; and you shouldn't package yourself to look like your competition.
Of course, there are a number of guidelines I might suggest, especially in tough economies and oversaturated job markets. Below I listed 12 guidelines for you to consider. But in the end, you have to think hard about what strategy will work most effectively for you. Then, execute it.
Guideline #1: Make Your Case in 15-20 Seconds or Less Most hiring authorities claim they spend 15 to 20 seconds, at most, reviewing your résumé to determine if they want to read more of your document and invite you in for an interview.
Guideline #2: Keep the Résumé as Brief as Possible Today, given the myriad of voices vying for attention and the scores of résumés that are crossing the desks of hiring authorities, shorter is better. A solid one or two page résumé is the norm, but not without exception. Be precise, on message and keep your résumé as brief as possible.
Guideline #3: Remember Who You Are Writing the Résumé For In most cases, you're writing your résumé for a stranger who doesn't know you at all. Your main objective is to understand what prospective employers are looking for and then to provide that information clearly on your résumé. Before you write your résumé, seek first to understand the needs of potential employers and then communicate, on your résumé, how you can best meet those needs.
Guideline #4: Résumés without Achievements are Like Report Cards without Grades Hiring authorities and prospective employers know that a key indicator to future performance is past performance. It's not what you did in the past that determines your hireability; it's the results and achievements you produced that matters most.
Guideline #5: Select Your Vocabulary with Meticulous Care Did you increase sales or orchestrate explosive growth in revenues? Did you provide good levels of customer service or unparalleled levels of quality customer service? As a receptionist, did you merely greet people or were you the manager of first impressions? Well-chosen words can be the difference between an interview and a missed opportunity.
Guideline # 6: Be Sure the Résumé is Well-organized and Reader-friendly It won't help much if you have extraordinary skills and qualifications but a hiring manager is unable to access the information. The presentation should be crisp, exciting and inviting. If you can't get totally jazzed about your résumé, how do you expect a potential employer to?
Guideline #7: Be Professionally Innovative and Different Yes, you can use pictures, graphics and graphs on your résumé. Yes, you can use color, shading and boxes so messages JUMP OFF THE PAGE! Yes, you can include short references or testimonials within the résumé itself. That being said, you must know your audience and play to their emotions and expectations.
Guideline #8: Test Market Your Résumé When you have completed writing your résumé, identify five to seven people whose opinions you value and ask for their honest feedback. Then adjust / modify the résumé accordingly.
Guideline #9: Address Potential Problem On the Résumé Do not ignore potential challenges; rather address them on your résumé. If you're not sure how to do this, seek advice. If potential red flags appear on your résumé and you don't address them, chances are you won't get asked in for an interview.
Guideline #10: Don't Confuse Your Audience You want to build excitement and positive momentum while prospective employers read through your résumé. Your résumé should be easy to read, easy to follow and easy to understand.
Guideline #11: Embellish at Your Own Risk In tough economic times and during periods of high unemployment, many job seekers will embellish or outright lie on their résumés to secure employment. Employers are well aware of this. If you lie on your résumé to get your foot in the door, chances are when they find out, you'll get the boot.
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and one of the nation's leading career and empowerment authorities. He is the author of 15 career and motivational books. Visit Jay at: www.jayblock.com
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