Being prepared with an up to date resume is great insurance - for both planned and unexpected changes in your career
Jim Price was looking for a new position after nine years with one employer. It seemed likely that his employer was going to merge with another company in the same field, and due to the overlap in job function, Jim suspected there would be extensive cuts to his department. Not wanting to be left unprepared for the upcoming changes, he started to research the job market and trying to find out what else was available in his area of expertise.
Jim found several potential employers where he could apply. But before he could make an application he needed to supply a resume. As Jim had been with one employer for quite some time he needed to prepare a completely new resume as the resume he used to attain his current employment was desperately out of date. He began to search the web and also picked up some current books to help him with this seemingly daunting task.
Here are some of the tips he discovered and used to produce an impressive resume:
Your aim is to look professional. Do not use graphics, unusual colors of paper or ink. Stick to neutral ivory, white or grey paper (you’ll be emailing it more often than not anyway) with a clear font such as Times Roman, Arial or Sans Serif. Boxes or lines can be used sparingly to separate areas within the resume.
Check your grammar and spelling. Twice.
Using a free service such as Grammarly (www.grammarly.com) can help you to eliminate grammar errors. Paying attention to the red lines that automatically come up on any word processing spell check is a fast and easy way to make sure your attention to detail isn’t questioned due to basic spelling errors. For extra insurance ask someone to proofread it before you send it out.
Do not cram too much information on the page.
The individual selecting potential candidates may have reviewed many resumes, leaving enough white space allows the important information to be clear and noticeable on the initial scan of your resume. If providing a hard copy of your resume ensure that the printer you are using is good quality. If using an email version use a standard current program that can be opened readily, such as Word. Use a font size of 10 or 12. Do not try and fit more information on the page by decreasing the font size. You will make the reviewer want to stop reading if they are getting eye strain.
Keep the paragraphs short and to the point.
Use Bold font to highlight headings of categories. Use bullets to offset individual points. Think about your format from a reviewer’s standpoint. Make it easy on the eyes so that the most important information gets across. Important Technicalities (spelling and grammar): Pay attention to your spelling and grammar. Use spell check and grammar check, proofread it yourself and then have it proofread by several other people. A resume with spelling and grammar errors will stop you from getting an interview. The resume is an introduction to you and your work; you do not want to make a bad first impression.
When listing your former positions include the information the reviewer needs – and don’t sell yourself short.
You know how big your former employers were and what they produced, but don’t assume the reviewer does. You should name the company, location, years worked with the company, the size and what the company did. Following that, describe the responsibilities of the role and finally highlight important achievements (use figures, percentages, quantifiable results) that you had while in that position. You do not have to list all the jobs that you have held. Go back only to the most recent and relevant positions. You do not have to list jobs that were held fifteen or twenty years ago, especially if they have no relevance to the position at hand.
Begin the resume with a brief summary of who you are as a professional.
Don’t be lazy about your selling your accomplishments.
Just listing your function will not let the reviewer know why you are the best at what you do. You will need to distinguish yourself by drilling down to what you have done to make yourself marketable in your field.
Say what you did and how you did it well. Think about your past roles and challenges in a results-oriented fashion. Prove that you did it well by listing the results. For example: Managed and directed a staff of 25 to increase sales at the location by 200%, resulting in a growth of 10 million from the 1st to the third quarter. Launched a new marketing program in the Mid West Market accounting for a 142% increase in new orders within the target market. Launched a new Workplace Health and Safety Program and weekly staff meetings reducing the Workplace injuries by 22% within the first year of the program.
Once Jim was able to use his new resume to submit himself for positions he was able to find a new, higher paying position, just weeks before job cut-backs were announced at his former employer. The proactive approach and a little bit of extra work he put into preparing an excellent resume paid off.
If you need help preparing your resume there are plenty of current resource books available to help. A couple of good examples are: Knock ‘Em Dead Resumes by Martin Yate and What Color Is Your Parachute? 2019: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard N. Bolles