Following fashion trends may be a frustrating pastime for some, especially when countless hours of time and cash are involved. When it comes to resume writing, however, weighing the value of trends can be beneficial in determining your long-term financial outlook and career satisfaction.
Most of us strive to achieve a unique career, avoid being categorized, or catch a lucky break (or merely an opportunity to get noticed). Unfortunately, when we embark on the daunting task of a job search, a poorly prepared resume won’t help achieve any of those goals.
A resume is the single most important document required to attract the attention of employers. In other words, no matter what career path we choose, we must submit a resume when applying for a position.
Herein lays the biggest challenge: how to create a resume with an attractive appearance, one that contains only pertinent info, is packaged attractively, and reads with grammatical perfection.
Just as It’s easier to wear your comfy jeans on Friday night rather than be a little edgy and wear those ones with the skinny legs, it is so much more comfortable to submit your old resume than it is to upgrade it or create a new one. But if you truly aim to get noticed in your field, a polished resume is mandatory.
Getting your head into resume-writing mode is not a comfortable place for most people to be; doing so requires courage, stamina, and a certain investment of time. Unlike buying a quality knock-off that can pass for authentic, the effort spent preparing your CV (curriculum vitae) will be evident to a prospective employer.
Ways of obtaining the best possible resume come in a variety of packages. You may pick up a book from the library, or subscribe to an online resume site where you fill out their forms and come away with a web-published document. You may even opt to hire your sister, who’s saving up for the newest version of GTA IV, or attend a seminar.
Attending resume seminars, such as the ones offered through your educational institution, is an affordable option. At these free seminars you can breeze through the recommendations, sample the suggestions as you go, and discard any unappealing aspects.
The problem with these seminars is that, just like listening to pop radio, they appeal to the majority and may not serve your unique needs. In an effort to stand out among the crowd, you must aim to stay as far away from mainstream as possible.
Choosing the most effective format can be daunting. There are many different styles: functional, chronological, vita (or CV), and narrative profile. First, take into consideration the job you are hoping to attract and choose a style that reflects it. More creative jobs, like graphic designer and make-up artist, are going to have a portfolio-type resume with samples and a style that reflects artistic capacity. The resume may include shading, a fancier font, even columns, colour, and borders. An engineer or business analyst, on the other hand, will opt for a more conservative format?a chronological resume.
When the time comes to construct your resume, you’ll need to become that fly on the wall or the star of your grandmother’s brag book. For most of us, this isn’t a comfortable place to spend an evening (or even a morning primed by Starbucks). But no matter how you get there, you must freely sing your praises and not be afraid to boast about the year you won the High School Lip Sync award. While you may not believe this is pertinent, it is! Being able to present yourself in public, and win an award for doing so, speaks volumes to a prospective employer.
Admittedly, resumes go through trends, but the best rule to follow is to get your message across in the fewest words and categories possible. Not long ago the trend was for resumes no longer than two pages. Another trend was that a resume should never expose the privacy of your references, and they should be saved for the interview.
These trends are no longer adhered to. More recently, a resume was best thought to portray convenient groupings of skills or experiences, with headings such as Communications or Technical Skills, sections that teemed with predictable words like ?expert,? ?well-rounded,? and ?accomplished.?
The truth is, most employers want to see exactly what your tasks were at every job, rather than a grouping of skills into categories.
As well, aim to make your resume easily readable. If you make the readers’s job easy, you have the greatest chance of getting an interview. You can fill in all the details in person when you have the interviewer’s undivided attention. Initially, all you want to do is establish maximum effect while demanding minimal effort from the reader.
Before you begin writing your resume, consider your career objective. Describe your goal in a single sentence (two at the most). Here’s how: state what you are seeking in your next position, what you bring to the organization, and where you wish to take your career.
For example: ?Junior Geologist, with summer co-op experience at Husky Oil, a GPA of 3.5, and six years volunteering with the Kidney Foundation, seeking full-time employment with an Alberta oil and gas firm offering advancement and a forward-looking corporate vision.? The reader has an immediate sense of who you are and where you wish to go.
Once you have created your objective, the rest of your document will fall into place. Below Career Objective come the following headings:
Education/Work Experience ? If You’re fresh out of university and haven’t yet landed a job in your desired area, state your education next. If you have some industry or professional experience within the field, showcase that before Education.
Computer Skills ? Many search firms use a computer program called OCR (optical character recognition) that picks up key words and pulls the qualifiers from the masses. So, if you are a geology student and have experience with ACCUMAP software, state that; if it is a program like ACCUMAP, say ?similar to ACCUMAP? so the program picks it up anyway.
Volunteer Services ? Being a contributor to your community carries weight. The person who has helped organize the Heart and Stroke fundraiser for the past five years may be chosen over someone who doesn’t have any volunteer experience listed.
Awards or Merits ? Proving you have achieved anything beyond the ordinary is never a bad thing, even if it was being the winner of the Prairie Exhibition pie-eating contest. At least you show spirit and endurance!
Special Skills ? If you have First Aid, or hold a Class A driver’s license, put it down. Knotting a cherry stem with your tongue should be left out.
Professional Development/Professional Memberships ? Spending time with your future peers, especially before you are finished your degree, will help you gain the inside edge when the time is ripe for a career. For example, if you are grooming to be an engineer, geologist, or geophysicist, you should hold a student membership with APEGGA.
The people you’ve met on a social basis or shared volunteer duties with are the same people who will refer you to their manager or vice-president when a position arises. If you haven’t already joined that professional group, sign up today. There’s much truth to the cliché, ?It’s not what you know, It’s who you know!?
Leisure Interests is an optional category but highly recommended. If You’re a golfer or a hockey goal tender, you may be of increased interest to the department that takes every Friday afternoon off to play and can’t seem to fill that vacant spot when they hit the ice or the golf course.
References is the final category. Many people don’t wish to divulge this information until the interview. It’s your choice, but full disclosure always brings added value. Saving potential employers the time of having to ask for the information can often be the difference between getting an interview or not.
You should have an assortment of business and character references, with your character references being those you already know within your chosen industry. Keep in touch with your references so they don’t have the deer-in-the-headlights reaction when an employer contacts them.
On the topic of full disclosure, never leave voids in your resume. For example, if you studied from 2003 to 2005 and took a job in 2007 at Earl’s for a few months before going back to school in 2008, a potential employer is going to wonder where the heck you slept in 2006.
If you took the year off to travel Australia or help care for your ailing mother, state that. Holes are considered red flags and may be a key to elimination before the first round even begins. Taking time off to travel is educational; helping others in a time of need, admirable.
Being on the edge without being risky will usually get you noticed. Choose a style of resume that is bold and suitable to your career, but not overdone. Create letterhead that includes your name, city (not your street address), your email and phone numbers. This can be used on your cover letter or additional documents like publication lists or profiles.
The owner of a concise resume that contains only necessary information is the candidate most likely to get called for an interview. The majority of applicants (the ones who write mini dissertations under each heading) will be the ones fighting the current rapidly careening toward the waterfall at the top of the recycling basin?the same candidates who will converge at the local watering hole to drown their sorrows and exchange numbers for the best professional resume writer.