Improve Your Job Resume - Want to know which key areas of your resume get the most attention from prospective employers? Want tips on how to improve those entries on your own resume and thus increase your odds of getting hired? Check out this great article by guest author Mark Baber!
On average, hiring managers, or the people who screen resumes for those managers, will devote five to seven seconds to reading your cover letter, and fifteen to twenty seconds looking over your job resume. Both documents need to be composed with that timeframe in mind.
Your cover letter should never attempt to summarize your resume, but rather point out features of your career, your skills and accomplishments, and your professional temperament that make you an ideal candidate for this position.
Your resume should be written in such a manner to highlight accomplishments, experience and training most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
And, finally, both documents need to be completely error free. Typographical errors and incorrect grammar and word usage will cause your elimination from the process. It may not seem fair, but there are so many applicants for every position that employers are looking for ways to reduce the number of candidates they need to interview. Dropping people from consideration who won't proofread important documents is a favorite filter for them to reduce candidate numbers.
Let's assume you are at the point in your job search where you have created an excellent resume and cover letter. This is the time to double-check your resume for weaknesses you may have missed.
The words in your resume should highlight the specific skills and experiences that your prospective employer seeks. If, at this point, you have a weakness in your resume, repair it by editing your resume to reflect your experiences or skill-sets in a manner to benefit the employer's hiring needs.
Don't be lazy about creating a great resume customized to a specific employer. Employers look for solutions when they look at resumes, solutions to the issues inherent with the job they are trying to fill. The solution should be on your resume, expressed as career accomplishments, or in the description of your duties, or as entries showing statistics associated with the results you achieve in your job. Employers want results. They want to see your results expressed on your resume.
Once your customized resume is complete, you are ready to distribute your documents to prospective employers, in hope of scheduling job interviews.
Most likely, you will deliver two types of resumes, a printed version and a digital document version.
The printed version is for both hand-delivery to your industry networking contacts, and you can mail it to company addresses via standard post, or fax it to an office.
You want that resume to look great, not just good. Your job resume and cover letter should be printed on matching 24-pound paper, either white, buff or pearl gray in color. All copies should be single-sided. Try to buy color matched 9"x12" envelopes, so your resume will remain unfolded. And it is usually a good idea to insert a light piece of cardboard to ensure the documents will not be folded, spindled or mutilated in the course of their delivery. If you have the ability to print labels, some employment professionals recommend using the transparent variety, as the address will appear to be printed directly on the envelope. That makes for a clean delivery of your resume.
Your digital resume can be easy too.
Employers tend to use many different types of software to read digital resume documents. Because there are so many software choices, you can rarely know what format to use when you send your digital resume to a prospective employer. Yet, you must make your resume easy for them to read, or risk getting knocked out of the process. Do they use MS WORD, or WordPerfect, or WORKS, or whatever? Who knows? So instead of trying to match their format, use one of two document file formats that can be read by almost all word processing software. Those file types are: "ASCII" plain text (.txt files), and "Rich Text Format" (.rtf files) documents. Use one or the other of those two document file formats, and nearly every company can read your resume the first time. The advantage of using RTF, in particular, is that it carries with it bolding and font-style and text color and other text attributes that make your resume look special - atttributes ASCII text does not include (I recommend RTF).
To save your job resume in an RTF or TXT file format, follow these simple steps. First, open your completed resume in your word processing software. In the File menu, at the top left of most program windows, you will find the option "Save As." When you click the "Save As" option, the save window will open. Somewhere toward the bottom of the window should be a drop down window with a label that states, "Save as type," or words to that effect. By clicking the down arrow at the right of that box, you open a list of available file types. The list can sometimes be long. Just scroll down and choose "Plain Text," or "Text only," or "TXT"; or choose "RTF" or "Rich Text Format." Any one of those menu choices will save your resume in a digital format that can be read by the employers you send it to.
You should plan to put a call in to the prospective employer no more than three or four days after you are certain they have received your job résumé. This is an extremely effective way for you to impress your level of motivation upon the employer, and oddly enough, this is a step that the vast majority of job seekers never take.
When you reach the person with whom you need to speak, you will want to have a basic presentation developed to start your conversation. Simply say, "I wanted to make sure you received my resume." You can use this initial conversation to demonstrate your interest in the job, and the fact that you know something about the company, and have skills and experience to do the job they are trying to fill. Make a short list of a few key questions that will demonstrate your due diligence.
The most important point to remember about these conversations is that preparation is what makes the difference between a lasting professional impression and a wasted shot. Along with preparing the content of your conversation, you should also rehearse presenting yourself with sincere energy and enthusiasm. But always keep it professional. Show respect, practice good manners, demonstrate your confidence in your credentials. Let your resume carry the key skill components that identify you as a good candidate for the job. Tout those attributes to prospective employers when they call you.
Mark Baber has 20 years experience as an Executive Search recruiter and is Recruit Consultant to http://www.JobNewsRadio.com.
You Can Create Your Own Professional Resume
If you would like more information about "How to Write a Professional Resume", the following book is a great resource:
It will show you exactly how to make an exceptional
professionally and quickly.
You'll also find some outstanding articles in the book which will help you with your cover letter and the interviewing process, too.
Since this book is sold as an e-book, you can print off as many copies of the worksheets and forms as you need to help you through the easy-to-follow steps.