The 5 Essential Ingredients Of An Eye-Catching Resume
Get noticed…and get hired: The five essential ingredients of an eye-catching resume.
There's been more ink spilled discussing how to write the perfect resume than on any other single aspect of the job search. This is probably because this unavoidable chore causes job hunters so much stress and anxiety.
Since so much is riding on this single sheet of paper, the task of writing, revising and updating a resume can suck up a disproportionate amount of a job hunter's time and energy. But with all the information that's floating around out there, it's easy to get tangled up in knots and end up overthinking the process. The result can be an excessively detailed, humdrum document that's destined to sink to the bottom of the hiring manager's slush pile.
The minute that could change your career.
To make sure that your resume escapes this dreaded fate, you have to strike just the right balance between 'informative' and 'compelling.' In short, your resume should clearly establish your professional credentials— without boring readers to tears.
According to Peggy Swager, author of Surviving the 15-Second resume Read, hiring managers often go with their gut impulses when sorting through large stacks of application materials. The ideal document will immediately grab readers' attention and compel them to take a second look. Then, the informative sections of the resume should be able to back up the flash with substance.
Writing your one-page autobiography.
If you're tearing your hair out over your resume, relax. The best examples of informative, compelling resume are made up of only five basic elements. Use these building blocks to create a document that will help you take your career to the next level.
1. Begin with a summary.
Believe it or not, the two to three sentence profile at the top of your resume may be the most important part of the entire document. You should spend more time getting this part just right than anything else. Skip the bland, passive language most applicants use in their "objective" sections and really sell yourself with powerful, direct word choices. Include the top highlights of your experience, education and personality.
2. Highlight your triumphs.
Right under the resume-opening "Summary" section, include a bullet-point list of five or six of your top professional achievements and accomplishments. Eliminate vague descriptive language and stick to the facts whenever possible, using examples such as "Developed teaser script for servers that increased per-table dessert sales by 22 percent."
3. Describe your relevant areas of expertise.
Although you should customize your entire resume for each position you're applying for, this is particularly important in this section. If you're responding to an ad, study it carefully to figure out what the hiring manager will be looking for and structure this section accordingly. If you have a lot of applicable experience, you can break it down into several sub-headings, such as "Supervisory Experience" and "Customer Service Experience."
4. Briefly sketch your academic career—if applicable.
The length of this section will vary according to how much job experience you have. If you're a seasoned pro with decades in the industry, just stick to the basics. If you're a new graduate, you might want to expand on this section, including relevant coursework and significant awards or internships.
5. Outline your past work experience.
In the sections that outlined your professional accomplishments and areas of expertise, you detailed the reasons why you're a great fit for the position. In this section, you'll provide the "who, when, and where" of your past experience. You can order this section chronologically, or sort past jobs by category—whichever method best emphasizes your strengths. You can eliminate the need for a separate "References" section by listing a point of contact for each past position.
Crafting an eye-catching resume doesn't have to be stressful. You can use these basic building blocks to create an engaging document that will convey your strengths in an informative and compelling way. Tailor your resume to each position you apply for, and don't shy away from direct language that aggressively highlights your abilities. With a top-quality calling card like that, you should be juggling multiple job offers before you know it.
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