How to write a résumé with IMPACT
How to write a résumé
that will have IMPACT!
You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
How many times have you heard that saying before?
Well, it's never truer--- or more important!---than when it comes to your résumé! Simply stated, in today's job market you really only get ONE chance to make an impression (good or otherwise) with a potential employer. You'll obviously not want to blow it with a poorly designed and written résumé.
Remember, the word résumé is derived a French word that means, literally, to summarize, so avoid making your résumé a detailed life history!
Here are some key principles to keep in mind when putting together your résumé:
- Keep it short and simple but include enough pertinent information. For mid-level positions, it's usually a good idea to limit your résumé to not more than two 8 ½" x 11" sheets of paper. (Executive résumés can be 3+ pages.)
- Include a Statement of Objective at the top of your résumé. That is, state your goals (and desires) for a new position, e.g., "To obtain a position in a major U.S. chemical company where I can utilize my significant skills as a project engineer to grow professionally as well as to make a substantial contribution to the overall success of the employing company. . . ."
- Present your work history in chronological order, beginning with the most recent position. Don't detail every position you've held with one company, just the most important ones. Also, make it clear that multiple positions are (or were) with just that one company.
- Don't make your résumé read like a job description.
- Emphasize specific accomplishments in current and past positions held, e.g., "As department head I reduced annual operating expenses by 25 percent," etc. (Remember: hiring companies first want, principally, to know just one thing about a potential candidate: What can he/she do for me!)
- Use appropriate graphic elements (bullets, boxes, lines, etc.) to direct your reader's attention to important information in your résumé. However, keep in mind that when it comes to graphic design "less is more," so avoid highly decorative or "overwhelming" graphic elements.
- Use a typeface that is very readable and pleasing to the eye. For example, the typeface used in this article, Times New Roman, is far more readable than, say, Century Gothic.
- Use ample "white space" to make a potential employer actually want to read your résumé. (Remember, the average job posting generates hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of résumés, Make sure yours is one that will stand out!)
- Be sure all information is verifiable. Never, never lie. If you're applying for an important position you can be assured the employer will verify ALL pertinent information.
- Avoid using too much technical "jargon." Obviously, some terms are so common in certain industries that they are generally well understood by virtually everyone in the industry. (Example: OSHA) However, many more terms (or acronyms) are not quite that well understood by many, so use them very sparingly, and when you do, spell out the first reference. (Example: IQ - Installation Qualification)
- Always run a "spell check" on your résumé. Nothing will turn off a potential employer more than numerous misspellings in your résumé, particularly the misspelling of simple words. All that spells is "sloppiness" and inattention to detail!
- Create your résumé on a software program that is in widespread, common use today. (Microsoft Word dominates the word processing software market today, for example.) Otherwise, if you have to send your résumé by email (a very common occurrence in today's technologically advanced workplace) many potential employers will be unable to open and read it. Most won't even take the trouble to try and open it, if it is in an "unrecognizable" format.
- "When in doubt, leave it out!" Honestly, at the initial stages of the hiring process, how many potential employers want to know about (or even care about!) your hobbies, extra-curricular activities, etc. Avoid "tacking on" such details in your résumé.