Before we seek to find out the real aim of the resume, we need to define exactly what the resume is. As per Wikipedia, a resume is a document used by individuals to present their background and skillsets. Resumes can be used for a variety of reasons but most often to secure new employment. This basic definition is true to an extent as the resume is typically used to find a new job. However is preparing the resume as simple as presenting “their background and skillsets”? Is this enough to stand out from potentially hundreds of job seekers and get THE job?
There are so many aspects that make up a good resume and while a job seeker does need to present their background and skills, there are many other aspects that make up the perfect resume.
As a professional resume writer, I have broken down the three most important elements of preparing a professional resume. No matter if you’re an entry level job seeker or a high flying executive, the same rules apply.
Target the Reader:
It does not matter how much you like your resume. The most important thing is the reader likes your resume. After all, the reader is the only person that you need to impress. Knowing your audience is imperative when writing your resume. If you are applying for a corporate role your resume needs to give off a corporate feel. Fancy fonts and colours should be changed to bullet points and headings. Alternatively a graphic designer resume can be more creative with their resume as the target audience is a creative audience. Before you apply for any job you need to take a step back and imagine that you are the hiring manager and ask yourself the question “Is this resume targeted towards the role that I am applying for?”
Presenting a Professional Image:
First impressions are everything when it comes to hiring. Think about this. Imagine that you are sitting at home and your brother or sister tells you that they are coming over to introduce you to one of their friends who you have never met before. As the doorbell rings, you open the door to meet this new person for the very first time. Now imagine that when you open the door the person is standing there with a big spaghetti stain right in the middle of his shirt. Before you even shake the persons hand or introduce yourself you have already created a first impression of this person. The same goes for your resume. If a hiring manager opens your resume and sees a “spaghetti stain” right in the middle of your resume they will have created a first impression before reading a single word. In the world of job seeking, creating a professional image and positive first impression is the first hurdle you need to pass on your way to a new job.
Highlighting Achievements and the Value Added Skills:
There is a huge difference between an average resume, a good resume and a great resume. Typically, what makes a great resume is being able to identify your key achievements and the value added skills (tangible and intangible) that you can bring to your next job. Where most people fail with their resume writing is that they concentrate too much on their daily duties and responsibilities (For example “I did this on a daily basis”) as opposed to creating more achievement statements which focus on how you have added value to the organisation. Providing examples to back your statements up will give you an automatic edge over your competitors.