Conquer Your Resume Fears
Countless articles and examples exist for job seekers to create the “perfect” resume. With so many offerings, how does one find, and then uniquely complete, the best format for their own use? How do you overcome the fear of even beginning?
Let’s approach the task as the military would. What is the objective of the resume? First and foremost, a resume exists to advance the individual to the next selection level – often the first interview. The task becomes making sure you list what is necessary, and avoid the “unforced errors”.
If you are fresh out of school, or applying for a position involved with research or education (or in another technical field), then your resume will be constructed differently. For the rest of us, let’s keep it simple.
Overlook these at your own risk:
1. Do not have any misspellings and grammatical errors. 2. Check for factual errors (or embellishments) on positions, responsibilities, or education. 3. Keep from mentioning your age, especially as 40 gets more distant in your “rearview mirror”. Generally, do not list the dates for degrees or employment more than 20 years old. Use the Professional Summary or Skills section to list important items which are not listed in other sections. 4. With very limited exception, there should be no information on personal and physical characteristics, personal identification numbers, or political and religious affiliations. 5. Keep salary or compensation history or goals out of the resume. 6. Don’t include tables, pictures, graphs or fancy fonts. 7. Don’t exceed two pages.
Here are some “do’s” for how to organize your resume:
1. A top header with your name, email, telephone number, and general area location. 2. A professional summary with key accomplishments. 3. A skills section with a focus to list those needed for the position. 4. A work experience section listed in reverse chronological order with job title, employer, date range, key job functions, and other recognitions. 5. An education area including other special training and certificates. 6. A volunteer section including any community activities. That wasn’t so bad. Avoid the “don’t’s” and try some variations of the “do’s”, and you’ll already be better positioned than many of your fellow job seekers. Now, go write that resume!