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Top tips for a winning resume that gets attention
1. The Basics: Formatting
Like any good brand, your resume needs to be eye-catching and effective. Choose a professional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and ensure the font size is legible, generally 10-12 point, except for your name and headings which can be larger and bolded. Most hiring managers prefer an at-a-glance format, using bullet points rather than paragraphs. Be cognizant of the length: 1-2 pages for less experienced and non-management roles and 3 pages for senior-level applications. Also, proof read, proof read, proof read. Surveys have shown that as many as three out of four hiring managers will discard a resume with as few as two typos. Don’t put your faith in spell-check; have others review and try reading from the bottom up to catch any additional errors.
2. Reverse chronological or functional? That is the question.
Most hiring managers prefer a reverse chronological format – listing the most recent job first with previous jobs following. This gives them a more fluid account of your career progression and typically highlights the most pertinent skills in greatest detail. This may not be the right format, however, if you have any breaks or gaps in employment or if you have a fragmented background with many jobs, professions or industries worked in a short time period. In this case, a functional resume – summarizing key areas of experience – may be a better solution. Another option, is using a reverse chronological resume and closing the gaps in employment. For instance, if you did temporary work or education between permanent roles, list this information. Likewise, if you performed the same job function with several companies in a short time period, group this information together. For instance: Administrative Assistant, Company A, Company B, Company C 2007-2009.
3. How much is enough?
When looking at levels of experience, how much should be included on a resume? For older job seekers who fear age discrimination, you don’t need to include your full career summary. While situations differ based on the number of jobs held, think of including either the last 3-4 jobs or 15 years of experience, whichever is less. For those lacking experience, it is acceptable to include voluntary, unpaid or relevant educational involvement on your resume. If you were a committee member of a student club or volunteered for a non-profit organization, extract those duties and indicate why that experience is relevant in your career progression.
4. What’s too personal?
As marketing techniques vary by country and culture, so do resumes. What may be expected in some countries is not required in North America, generally because it can lead to discrimination. You do not need to reference your marital status, age, children, ethnicity or religion. Also, don’t include a photo. While you may be trying to convey your level of professionalism, instead include a link to your professional page.
5. List accomplishments, not just duties
Companies are looking to make an investment in employees, in fact, aside from real estate, labour is the highest cost to a company. You therefore need to prove your return on investment. Instead of simply listing your performed duties, try using CAR statements that outline the Challenge, your Actions, and the Result. Most hiring managers know what the basic duties include for most roles. To stand out, you need to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who goes above and beyond.
Source: 10 Tips for a Winning Resume. BCjobs.ca