My first resume was bad. Yes, it was terrible. With no
direction, job history and zero skills, how could it be anything but horrible?
Over the years that single sheet of
paper received plenty of criticism and was reworked over and over again, until I was finally able to say that it was a good resume. But what exactly makes a
“good” resume? I know there are plenty of articles on the internet that are
waiting with hundreds of tips for you to go over, but speaking from my
just-out-of-college experience, here are a few more:
An Objective is Pointless
When you apply for a job, it’s obvious that your objective is to GET the job.
No use wasting space at the top of the page to state what the employer already
knows. Instead use this area to display your education, your skill set, or your
Listing Skills (Even
simple PowerPoint) is Vital
It’s truly amazing how many people cannot use simple Microsoft Word,
PowerPoint, or Excel. If you know more advanced programs, list them. If you
don’t, at least list these simple ones, because more often than not, every job
will utilize those three programs.
It’s true, not every resume needs to be decked out with a unique design and
color scheme. However a resume that looks like it got thrown together last
minute by someone who doesn’t know where the font area in Microsoft Word is
will easily get overlooked or thrown out. Your goal is to get noticed. It’s to
stand out from every other resume in that pile. Use this piece of paper as a
way to say “Look at me”!
Yes, Employers Pay
Attention to Keywords
I went to a career fair once, gave the interviewer my resume and he said “What you have on this paper gives me nothing of value. What did you actually do with this job? Did you make a difference?”. What good is “I was in a group of fifteen people who
danced at a marathon to raise money for kids”? Use KEYWORDS like “I managed”,
“I lead”, “I supervised”, “I directed” to show that you stepped up in a
position and that you have leadership abilities. At the end of the day,
businesses want someone who will take initiative within a position.
You Live where you Work
Lets pretend I am applying to a job in Colorado. This most likely means I plan
on moving there. When employers look at my resume, are they going to see that I
live in Colorado? No, they will see Rapid City. This will immediately make them
think of the challenges it will take to 1. Interview with me in person 2. move
me from here to there 3. meet my assumed salary expectations. This hesitation
is just a roadblock that causes them to double think whether I would be worth
hiring. The advice I was given by one of my professors is that if you have family from that area, use their address instead
of your local one. This will eliminate the instant hesitation to hire you based
on location and will give you the chance to explain that 1. You will do
anything possible to get an interview with them (even travel) 2. You planned on
moving right away anyways 3. Your salary expectations are normal for the market
within the location.
Each resume is going to be different, and simple changes may
have to be made depending on the job you are applying for, but keep in mind:
your job is to impress. At this point, they have never met you. Show them you
are worth meeting with a resume that will not only grab their attention, but