A resume is a PROFESSIONAL and technical document. It has rules. It has a purpose. The main function of the resume is to land you an interview.
I think a lot of people under estimate the resume. Everyone thinks they can write one. This is true, but everyone is not writing an EFFECTIVE resume. Let’s face it millions of people get jobs every day without a resume. Millions more get jobs with what I would deem a poorly written resume. What I am asking you to consider is the notion that while most people have good resumes I want to encourage you to prepare an EFFECTIVE resume. The EFFECTIVE resume is what I would liken to an upgrade when purchasing your car. You need a car to get to work and to get around. If your budget is limited and you are like most people, you will usually get the basic model something to get you from point A to point B. An EFFECTIVE resume would then be the upgrades. Maybe power windows and locks, power steering, and MP3 player a sunroof and AC. You get the idea. The difference between a good resume and an EFFECTIVE resume is the distinction between basic blah and nice spruced up mechanism to land you your next gig.
First let me say, I don’t have all the answers. I am not a resume expert (I don’t think anyone is), but after over 6 years of reviewing resumes I think I have a pretty good idea of what makes an effective resume. To my mind there are two ways to assess an effective resume:
- The first way is what I refer to as the “Gut Check” meaning you look at the resume and you are confident that it represents you on a single sheet of paper. I don’t mean “everything sounds good.” Or that you feel that it is well-written. What I mean is the unambiguous notion that if left alone without any explanation or unaccompanied by you this document speaks for you. It says resoundingly yes, “This is what I can do for you. I bring these skills set to you.” If you are even a bit hesitant about your document or even a little concerned then you have to keep working with your resume. I am going to show you how to achieve the sense of satisfaction of knowing your resume is YOU only on paper.
- The second check of effectiveness is that employers call you for interviews. Even if after making the check you are confident the resume still may not do its job so you have to understand that the resume is a living document. It will change and evolve sometimes daily or weekly depending on where you are in your job/internship search.
If you are failing in either or both of these areas, you should consider revising your document.
Enjoy weekly Professional Development posts every Tuesday courtesy of W.Reid of BuildBrandYou.com