I write a majority of the content on this blog, but I also like to share the "best of the best" as I see it. Here is one such post, which comes to us via author Lauren Hasson, the "Resume Girl," and Lindsey Pollak (who posted it on her blog).
Résumé writing in a bad economy means taking extra steps to make sure you get noticed. Sending out more résumés does not necessarily improve your chances. But submitting résumés that are well written could mean the difference between getting the job or not. Here are The Résumé Girl’s top ten tips for résumé writing in a bad economy:
Tip #1: Include a List of Your Qualifications Right Up Front
Tell the reader who you are and what you want right away. Don’t make them search your résumé for this information because, unfortunately, they won’t. They’ll move on to the next. In the first section of your résumé, reiterate the key points in your cover letter. Be specific as to the kind of position you’re looking for. After all, they will only spend a few seconds with your résumé. Do them a favor and give them a cheat sheet.
Tip #2: Customize Your Section Headings for the Position It might sound tedious, but customizing the section headings of your résumé is a great way to highlight the relevance of your résumé for the reader.
For example, instead of writing “Work Experience,” tailor it to the job you’re applying for by highlighting the type of experience it is, like “Public Relations Experience.” If you do, even the busiest reader will take notice! You can also use this method to highlight your different levels of relevant experience. For example, you can list your “In-House Experience” separately from your “Agency Experience.”
Tip #3: List Your Most Relevant Qualifications First Many jobseekers believe that their work experience needs to be listed in chronological order.
However, listing your most relevant qualifications first will keep the reader from getting bogged down with filler information that doesn’t apply to the position and catch their eye. If you don’t have any relevant experience, put your education immediately following your summary of qualifications.
Tip #4: Include Only Your Most Relevant Experiences Depending on the position you’re looking for, you probably have past work experience that doesn’t apply to the targeted position.
It’s tempting to include all of your work experience, whether it’s relevant or not. But including only your most relevant work experience shows the reader that you’re clearly qualified for the position. You only need to include irrelevant work experience if it’s the only experience you have.
Tip #5: Consider Emphasizing the Position Title
Instead of the Organization Big name organizations look great on a résumé and are sure to impress any reader. But if you’ve had a great, relevant position at an organization that’s a little more obscure, consider highlighting the position rather than the company name. After all, you can develop fantastic skills without working at a Fortune 500 company. However, if you have worked for a high profile firm or organization, definitely list the company name before the position title.
Tip #6: Describe the Experiences that are Most Relevant to the Targeted Position
You might think that you need to devote the majority of your résumé to the experience where you spent most of your time. However, this is yet another résumé myth. When writing a résumé in a bad economy, I recommend using the 80/20 rule: if 20% of your experience is relevant to the desired position, use 80% of your résumé to discuss it. Even if it was for only a short time, describe your relevant experience in detail. Use the majority of your résumé space to paint a picture of that experience for your reader. (Note: I recommend that you still ensure that all of your experiences get air time, don't leave off any job.)
Tip #7: Use Action Verbs to Describe Your Experience in Detail
Using action verbs to describe your experience will show the reader just how skilled you really are. For example, instead of writing, “responsible for” certain duties, explain exactly what those duties were. “Organized, planned, and coordinated corporate events and conventions,” for example, gives the reader a clear idea of how you spent your time in this position and enables them to ask you specific, targeted questions in an interview.
Tip #8: Sell the Résumé in a Custom Cover Letter
The cover letter is your chance to shine and tell the reader about yourself. It’s also the place to explain why and how you are perfect for that specific position. Use the cover letter as an opportunity to tailor your application to the individual organization and position. Tell them why you want to work for them and what you can bring to the table in a way that’s direct and concise.
Tip #9: Send the Résumé and Cover Letter in Separate PDF Files
Sending the résumé and cover letter in separate PDF files accomplishes two important things. When the two items are in separate documents, the reader won’t have to scroll through your résumé or cover letter to find the information they are looking for. It will save them time and hold their interest. Also, the vast majority of résumés have formatting issues and highlighted misspellings. A PDF file will ensure that your résumé functions properly without software or translation issues.
Tip #10: Consider Investing in the Services of a Professional Résumé Writer In this competitive market, your résumé needs to be in top shape.
Because you can’t go back in time and change your experience, education or skills, you need to highlight the best of your abilities in your résumé. A professional résumé writer knows how to do just that. They can emphasize your best assets quickly and clearly in your résumé and their objective perception of your skills and background are also beneficial in describing your strengths with more clarity. Most of all, a professional résumé writer can help you get the job fast which means money in the bank. The money invested in a professional résumé writer can get you closer to a regular paycheck. The job market is tougher than ever. But all is not lost. With a few skillful tweaks to your résumé and cover letter with the help of a professional résumé writer, you can find professional success and beat the odds in this challenging economy.
(Note: Lauren Hasson aka "the Resume Girl" and I both provide resume writing services to private clients. You can more information about Lauren and her services here. To learn more about how I can help you, visit my website "Best Fit Forward" or drop me a line!)