Tips for Writing an Effective Resume
If you are looking to get the best possible job, you are going to need to write a resume, and a good one! A resume is a document that presents you and your qualifications in the best possible light. A resume is not the whole job application; it is all about you!
When putting together your resume, don't just mention your past jobs. Tell about how well you performed and the work you accomplished in those past jobs. If you have made any accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for, make sure to play those up a bit. Employers want to see a resume because a good one predicts how you are likely to perform in the job they are considering you for.
To improve your resume and make it stick out a bit from all the rest there are a few things you should consider. First, instead of listing the responsibilities included section for past jobs, list your accomplishments during that employment. Second, do not forget to include your job objective. Employers are interested in candidates who have a good sense of direction. Clearly state a goal that you anticipate to accomplish if you land the job.
If you don't have any experience in the kind of work that you are looking for, then get some. Do some volunteer work in the field. Even just a week a month will help you. Don't forget to review any volunteer work that you have done in the past; some of it may be able to help you document the skills that you have.
If you have any gaps in your work experience, make sure to explain them. Don't just leave an unexplained gap. There was a reason you were not working; and employers want to know what it was! Some examples might include, being a full-time parent, maternity leave, being a full-time student, travel, etc.
If you are applying for several different jobs at once, then your best bet will be to write a different resume for each one. A targeted resume is much stronger and will stick out better than a generic one. Your objective if to make yourself look better for the job than anyone else out there. If you have had many short term jobs and are afraid of coming across as a job-hopper, you can combine several similar jobs together, for example: 2000-2004 Secretary/Receptionist; Company Name #1, Company Name #2, Company Name #3. You can also consider leaving out any small jobs that were very brief for whatever reason, UNLESS you acquired important skill or experience that would be necessary to obtain the job you are trying to get.
Now, you want to make sure you impress your potential employer, right? So, if you have ever corrected any type of problem in a previous workplace, tell them about it! First, state the problem that existed, then tell about what you did to rectify it, and then point out the beneficial results of your actions. After you finish your resume, save it and take another look the next day. You want to make sure you have included all of the important information that you need. You do not want to send over your resume, only to realize later that you forgot something!
If you are over 40, you don't need to list your entire work history. The last 10-15 years will do fine. Just be sure to label that part of your resume Relevant Work History or Recent Work History. Below the recent work history, you can add a bit about your prior relevant experience and mention any additional important jobs without mentioning the specifics, like dates.
If you have never been employed, and just been self employed, you need to list these as well. Just list the most accurate information, and create a job-title for yourself. Don't forget to mention that customer references available on request, and have those ready in case they are requested!
Here are a few more things to think about. If you are working on a particular degree or set of credentials, make sure to mention that, and when you anticipate to accomplish it. If you worked for only one employer for an extended period of time, then list separately each position that you held. This will ensure your job progression with that company more obvious. Do not bother with hobbies on your resume unless they are relevant to the job you are applying for. Don't bother mentioning ethnic or religious affiliations, as this may invite pre-interview discrimination. The exception is if you believe that including them will support your job objective. If you have a bi-gender name, like Pat, use a Mr. or Ms. prefix. Many employers do not like fancy paper and presentations. Just use plain white, or at the most, ivory. Never use colored paper because if it is photo-copied the results will be murky.
Good luck with your resume, and I hope you get the job you are applying for!