Resume Guide: Three tips for creating a powerful resume
Your resume isn’t just a record of past employment. It’s a self-marketing tool; an advertisement meant to persuade employers to contact you for an interview. Creating an effective resume requires that you have a specific goal in mind, a clear understanding of the employer’s needs, and a writing style that aims to influence rather than merely inform. These tips will help you understand the basic elements of a resume and how to effectively communicate your value to employers.
1. Establish a focus
Remember, your resume is an advertisement that sells you as the most suitable candidate for a specific position. Thus, you need to have a clear goal in mind so you can tailor your resumé for that particular job. Start by finding job postings that fit your qualifications and career goals. Then analyze them for keywords that describe the specific knowledge, skills, qualities, and accomplishments the employer wants. Incorporate those specific words throughout your resumé as naturally as you can, especially in the experience section of your resume.
2. Keep it simple
When designing your resumé, aim for simplicity. Avoid overused Microsoft Word templates and try to keep your resume to no more than two pages (three pages are acceptable under certain conditions). Organize your information into a logical hierarchy with clear headings. Ensure that your resumé contains a balance of text and white space so as not to appear cluttered. Finally, although it might be trendy, don’t add photos or graphics to your resumé unless it is expected for the industry (e.g. acting, modeling, graphic design, etc.). Personal photos may open the door to discrimination and graphics can prevent your document from passing through automated resume scans.
3. Share your success stories
One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to go beyond a list of daily tasks you perform to include the positive impact you’ve made in your role. Share your success stories – how you’ve contributed to the bottom-line, what problems you’ve solved, or how you’ve made things better. Whenever possible, include specific numbers like percentages, metrics, dollar amounts, etc. to demonstrate measurable impact in your role. Your successes are what set you apart from other candidates with similar experience.