A well-crafted, professional resume will be what stands between you and the all-important job interview. The content displayed on the one to two pages of your history will determine your next step: a career with an employer or another day pounding the pavement. To put a resume’s value in context, how its content will grab a recruiters attention in the first six seconds will decide whether it moves on or is placed in a file.
Let’s define a professional resume for what it truly is. It is your marketing material; collateral you distribute in order to attract the attention of potential employers. When you enter a mall and are besieged by fast food flyers, what factors influence your decision to patronize one restaurant over another? Was it the way the flyer was organized? The way the main item was promoted? Or was it because that particular food item was what you were looking for?
In a way, recruiters view resumes in the same manner. How you prepare your resume will influence the decision of the recruiter. There are three types of resumes:
Standard format for resumes; focuses on organizing work experience and other sections in reverse chronological order with the most recent listed first.
Usually adopted by those who have gaps in their employment history, this type focuses on skills, certifications, and special training received.
This resume is customized to meet the specific demands of the job opening. The applicant will highlight skills and experiences that are relevant to the position.
Select the professional resume type you believe would be more effective to your employment search. Each type has its own advantages.
The Chronological format is readily accepted by all recruiters and is an efficient way of getting information across. The Functional format serves to get your skills and other special commendations noticed by the recruiter which could differentiate you from everyone else. The Targeted format may connect immediately with the recruiter; they may give you special attention for taking the time and effort to customize the resume for the company.
Regardless of the type you choose, your resume’s success will depend on its structure and content. Here are the sections of the resume and how you can craft the content that will give it a professional look and feel:
Professional Resume Aesthetics and Specifics
Before we can even discuss content, your resume must be readable. Avoid using font styles that look fancy. While it may be aesthetically pleasing to your eyes, such may not be the case for the recruiter.
Font styles like Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial are among the safest choices you can make. The size of the font will also depend on the type. Size 12 will work best for Times New Roman. For Calibri and Arial, you may have to adjust it to 13 or 13.5.
Some candidates use an aligned left structure similar to a cover letter. A justified structure would make your resume cleaner and more organized.
As far as length is concerned, ideally you should not go past two pages. Recruiters will only scan the resume because they have to go through hundreds more within the day. But at the same time, this could be your only chance. You should put in all the valuable information but do your best to stay within two pages.
Structure and Content
The sections of a professional resume are as follows:
This appears at the top of the resume. The heading introduces you to the recruiter. Therefore it should only contain the important information recruiters look for which are:
- Full Name
- Designation: This is a title that would describe what you currently do but not necessarily the position you hold now. It should tell the recruiter what your main competence is.
- Contact information: Phone number, e-mail address and website if any.
- Social media: Recruiters place a premium on applicants who have LinkedIn profiles.
2) Work Experience
Many recruiters place greater emphasis on your work experience. Here are some pointers on how to maximize this section:
- Always start out with your most recent employment.
- Indicate your exact professional title and the inclusive period of employment.
- Summarize your scope of work; use bullet points.
- Highlight your achievements, accomplishments, and contributions; use bullet points but give complete details.
- Give specific numbers, percentages, and other pertinent information on your achievements. Use action words when describing the nature of work. Be concise yet specific.
- Make mention of the problems you faced and how you overcame them in order to accomplish the task.
Most importantly, do not lie about your work experience. Landing a job is all about establishing trust with your employer. There is no room or justification for including “white lies” on your resume. Recruiters can tell from the outset if these accounts are fictitious. And they can always contact your previous employer to verify.
Focus on the highest educational attainment. Indicate the name of the institution, degree or title received; inclusive period, achievements, special commendations, and relevant organizations, and associations.
4) Special Skills
Focus on the skills that are relevant to the available position. For example, if you are applying for the position of Fund Manager, highlight your skills in technical analysis, wave and Dow Theory; fundamental analysis, regression analysis, and C+ Programming, then work down to less relevant but equally important skills. These may include writing and foreign languages.
Lastly, make sure the resume you submit has the same content and details as your online profile. If you are able to grab the attention of the recruiter, you can rest assured that they will check your online profile for consistency.
Take the time and effort to plan and work on your resume. If you get it right, you could well be on your way to landing your dream job. Need someone to review your resume with you? Contact one of our talented Recruiters today.