I heard some talk about resumes becoming obsolete, replaced by well-crafted social media site profiles. But, that’s simply not true. Resumes remain a key element in a job seeker’s professional portfolio for the current job market.
However, today’s resumes are different, even compared to a few years ago. With the aim of getting the reader’s attention in just 10 seconds, they need to be crisp and to the point. Don’t even think about submitting a resume that’s over two pages, or with dense text written in a paragraph format.
Here are essential tips for a winning, and up-to-date resume:
- Name: While I’m a proponent of keeping to one, easy-to-read font, you could use another bolded font to highlight your name.
- Mailing Address: Providing you have an email address, your physical address is no longer essential. In fact, it could even work against you if you’re applying for a position out of state where a prospective employer might be concerned about paying relocation expenses.
- Phone Number: Don’t confuse the reader by listing more than one phone number and do record a professional outgoing message. Messages that feature barking dogs or a toddler’s attempt at a greeting are annoying, not to mention unprofessional.
- Email: Avoid cutesy email addresses that reflect your favorite hobby or college nickname. Keep it simple and clear and don’t embarrass yourself.
- LinkedIn Profile and/or Portfolio Webpage: I recommend including the URLs for one or both of these, but make sure each is up to date and complete. A portfolio webpage is essential if you are an artist of any kind.
The Heart of the Resume:
- A “Professional Profile” or “Qualifications Summary” introduces you in a particular work context and focuses your background and skills (e.g. Strategic Leader, Skilled Negotiator, Gifted Educator, Global Marketing Executive). Use a bulleted list, rather than full sentences to highlight skills and your areas of expertise.
- A “Key Competencies” section should show results and accomplishments, not just a list of tasks or your major responsibilities. Use past tense, action verbs and quantify results when possible.
- Your “Work History” need not include every job you’ve ever had. Typically, you would include 10-20 years of experience, listing the employer, position held and years (leave out the months) at the job. You may call this category “Most Relevant Employment” and list your positions according to the position to which you are applying.
- Your “Education” section may also include “Professional Development” if you choose to list selected and relevant courses and certifications. A date associated with your degree or education may reveal your age and is not necessary.
- References should not be listed, but provided if requested.
The following are good resources with dozens of examples:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume by Susan Ireland and Resumes for Dummies by Joyce Kennedy.
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