How to make an outstanding resume?
An outstanding resume does more than merely get your name in front of a potential employer. It sells your skills, shows you at your best, and convinces the employer that you are precisely who he or she needs in this position.
The person reading your resume is usually the one who will be directly responsible for the success of the project or group you're seeking to join. This person cares very deeply about the position and its goals. In order to appeal to that person, you should care deeply about them as well.
Before writing your resume, sit down with a piece of paper and think of as many answers as you can to the following questions:
What would make someone the perfect candidate?
What does the employer really want?
What would make an exceptional candidate stand out versus an average candidate?
If you're not sure, ask a friend who works in the field, or contact the employer directly.
Once you have an idea of what the employer wants, write down everything you have ever done that includes those skills and abilities. Don't just think of past jobs; include your hobbies, your household, or any other activity that showcases your use of the skills the employer needs.
This exercise will help you put yourself in the employer's shoes, as well as see your own skills through fresh eyes and apply them to the prospective job – and your resume.
1. Presentation and Contact Information
Use clean, white, 20-lb or heavier paper for your resume. The font should be professional and easy to read; Times New Roman is the most common. Leave a one-inch margin on all sides of your resume.
While writing, make sure all paragraphs are evenly spaced, bullet points line up, and all words are spelled correctly and are the word you want to use.
For example: I once received a resume for a receptionist position on which the very first heading stated, in bold capital letters, “OBJECTION.” Needless to say, it went straight into the trash. Don't let this happen to you: give your draft resume to a friend for a second look.
At the top of the resume, type your name, in bold capital letters. Beneath this, include your address, phone number, and email address. Use a phone number that you'll be able to answer during business hours.
An objective is a one-sentence statement of exactly what job you want, and how you will benefit the employer in that position. Employers want to know what you can do for them, so emphasize the benefits your unique skills can bring to the position. For example, write “To serve in a leadership position in the hospitality industry where skill in effective management and public relations is needed.”
Don't hesitate to write a new objective for each job you apply for; tailor each one to match precisely what the employer is looking for.
If you are just out of school or are looking for work while in school, you may wish to list your education above the “experience'” section. If you've been in the workforce for five years or more, however, list your experience first.
Examples of titles for this section include “Experience,” “Professional Experience,” or “Professional History.” Avoid calling this section “Employment” - your potential employer is aware that you've been employed in these position.
There are at least two different ways to organize the information in this section: chronologically or functionally. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses; which is best for you will depend on your work history and whether you are staying in your current career field or changing to a new one.
A chronological resume lists your work experience in chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working backwards to earlier positions. This type of resume is best for people who have worked in only one or two fields, or who want to highlight their progress in a particular field.
PROS: Showcases advancement in one specific field. Easy for employers to follow.
CONS: Can confuse employers if you've worked in several different fields. Spotlights lack of experience or long gaps between jobs.
A functional resume lists your top skills and achievements, along with the jobs in which you earned them. A functional resume works well for people changing careers and first-job seekers, whose skills and achievements took place mostly during school or volunteer activities.
PROS: Can choose which skills or abilities to focus on. Highlights your talent while downplaying long absences from work, large career changes, or relative inexperience.
CONS: May be confusing to employers.
Whether you choose to organize your resume chronologically or functionally, use action words to describe your skills or job responsibilities. Good resume-building action words include served, sold, managed, trained, described, organized, created, or achieved. Choose vivid verbs that describe your actual work.
In your “education” section, list any degrees, diplomas, or certificates you have received in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. If you've been out of school for several years, the name of the degree, the name of the school, and the year you completed it will be all you need.
If you're still in school, list the name of the degree, the school, and use the word “completed” before the year in which you expect to finish your degree. You may also wish to list the classes you've taken that apply to the job you're seeking, as well as any academic award.
If your hobbies or interests apply to the job, you can list them in this section. Otherwise, skip this step.
On most resumes, the phrase “references are available upon request” only wastes space. Employers know they can request your references if they want them. Save your valuable resume space to showcase your skills and experience instead.
With a little planning and organization, you can turn a basic resume into a major selling tool – and land the job of your dreams.