As a Career Services Advisor, I have critiqued a lot of resumes, so I have some sound advice.
If you want to get an interview, (which is the purpose of the resume), you need to be thinking about structuring your resume so that it is obvious why you applied for the job. That means many of the words that you use in the top half of your resume should reflect the job opening. In other words, you want to use some of the same words they used in the job posting when they wrote it. For example; suppose one of the sentences in the posting says, “Looking for someone with customer service, bookkeeping, records management, and computer software skills.” As an applicant, you are going to want to make sure that you have created “Prove It” statements to describe what you have accomplished either in a previous work setting, or in your college classes, that will describe your skill levels in those areas. Employers no longer want to see just a description of what you did. They want to see what you have accomplished.
Here is one example of an accomplishment statement, “Conducted a customer satisfaction survey and presented the results to administration.” Within that statement, the applicant has proven that he/she used certain skills in accomplishing what she did on the job. That one statement reflects that he/she is knowledgeable about customer service, that he/she is capable of taking all the steps needed to conduct a survey, and that he/she even presented the results to a group of people within the organization. That one statement proves more than one skill.
All of us have performed job duties that can be described impressively. First you read the position opening throughly. Then, you write down what you want to say about your skills and abilities that pertain to that opening. Don’t worry about how it sounds just yet. Just get it down on paper. Then, you look at the job opening again and you work on combining statements that could go together. Break out important skills statements. Word and re-word. That means write down various ways of saying what you want to say until it sounds good. Once you have written some great “prove it” statements, you can begine to put the resume together, choosing the headings that sell you best. Then you revise, revise and revise until you can’t revise anymore. I have found that if I get up and go away and take a break from this process when I begin to get frustrated, and then come back later to work on it, it goes much faster.
When I go into a classroom to teach resume preparation, I do my best to describe each of the five tips that the below article talks about. I want students to be able to put themselves into the HR manager or applicant screener’s shoes.
I ran across this great article this morning. The article describes what I am talking about and more. Check out the link.