Your Résumé: It’s Not About You

May 14th, 2013

A résumé on a potential employer’s desk is a lot like speed dating. Generally, one chance is all you get. Here are some tips to ensure your résumé is the one that lands you the call for an interview.

Common résumé mistakes

Besides the obvious errors such as spelling and grammar, there are several other common résumé missteps. Here are the right steps:

Most résumés are electronic but the rules are the same: use a simple and consistent format with an industry standard font such as Times New Roman 12-point that makes it easy for a reader to scan. Bullets can add to readability and draw the eye for emphasis as well as white space. Before you press send, verify that your résumé will transmit without losing the format, or better yet, convert to pdf.

Avoid cutesy email contact addresses. Your name as your email address is simple and professional.

Don’t fail to include a cover letter. Cover letters are your personal knock on the door. They shouldn’t duplicate your résumé but they should introduce you and hook the employer into checking out your résumé. Your first impression does make a difference. Customize the letter for each employer.

Résumés that don’t reflect your ‘voice’ can be off-putting. Be sure your résumé reflects you individually, using words and phrases you feel comfortable with.

Burying your skill-set is a common problem with résumés. That skill-set can make or break your résumé. Consider putting skills front and center and be sure to specifically target the skills your prospective employer is looking for.

Every single word of your résumé should be aimed at one goal: getting that call back. If a word isn’t necessary, cut it. Wording should include powerful verbs, strong nouns, but avoid clichéd or fluff adjectives.

Go ahead and include embedded hyperlinks to your former employer’s sites. Also include your website or blog or other social media sites IF they are relevant to the position you are seeking or reflect your achievements.

Tailor that résumé to fit the job

Your résumé isn’t just a calling card, think of it as you courting an employer. With that in mind, it is necessary to tailor your résumé to fit each company that receives it.

Keywords are very important. Repeat relevant keywords from the job description of the position you are applying for in your résumé. Most résumés are submitted electronically so use keywords often to ensure your résumé will come up on a search of qualified candidates.

Skill-set. This is worth repeating. Carefully update the skills section of your résumé to reflect the needs of the position.

What do you bring to the table?

When describing your abilities or job history consider this: if your former employers asked you to document what you’ve done for the company to warrant a merit raise, what would you have to say? Utilize that same thought process on your résumé. Instead of duties, let your job history description emphasize what you can do for the prospective employer.  Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Give them a taste of your potential. You want to encourage a call back.

Another option is a qualifications summary paragraph instead of an objectives paragraph. Keep it succinct and to the point while letting the employer know exactly what you bring to the table.

Like speed dating, a quick glance is all you get from that prospective suitor. Why should they call you?

Your goal is to match your skills with the right company. At Olympic Staffing Services that’s our goal too. Contact us and let’s chat about how we can partner to make that happen.