Whether you are returning to the work force after having children or whether you simply need a change of pace from your recent 8-5, you will go far with a well-written and edited resume.
A resume is your chance to prove to potential employers that you stand out and that you deserve that phone call back and interview request. So how can you ensure that your resume makes it to the top of the pile every time?
1. Always Attach a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a great ‘introduction’ to your resume. It doesn’t need to be long and involved – essentially a good cover letter needs three key paragraphs:
Paragraph 1: The position you are applying for – and where you found the information eg: “I would like to apply for the position of Office Manager as advertised on your website on the 20th January.”
Paragraph 2: State the reasons why you would make a great fit for their company an why you’re the right person for the job.
Paragraph 3: Showing your interest to be shortlisted by putting your contact details or email address. Something like this “I would love to discuss this matter further with you in an interview – I can be contacted on the following phone number or email address.”
2. Start with the Basics
Potential employers do not need a lot of pizazz when it comes to reading a resume. Make sure you include your full name, permanent address, telephone numbers and email address on top of the page where it is bold and easy to find.
3. Impress Them with Your Latest Education and Experience
This is your time to shine! List the most recent education and training as well as the most recent work positions you have held.
When focusing on your education, include any post-secondary education, such as a degree as well as any certificates or special awards you have received. Include the institute name, major and dates you attended the school/graduated.
When it comes to work experience, include the position you held, the name of the company, the location and the dates of your employment. You will need to describe your work experience in a way that demonstrates that these skills will come in handy at the new position that you are trying for. You can also add any volunteer positions that you have had.
You may want to include a few additional Information on a resume such as your interests, your awards or accomplishments or your skills. Any tickets or licenses that you hold can be displayed here. Things like if you are bilingual, or a certain computer training or a first aid certificate can go in this section. If you do want to list your interests, choose few hobbies to include.
4. Be courteous to inform your Referees in Advance
Your referees or references are extremely important. Many employers will not contact a referee until you have had an interview and been shortlisted and thus you may wish to state “referees available upon request” and then bring the printed list with you on the day of your interview. Or, you may write your referees on your resume.
A referee is someone that knows you well and can give you a good character or work reference. This can be a boss or co-worker, a teacher or a good friend. It is best to have someone that you work with, such as a supervisor or boss, be a referee. Make sure your referees know that you are listing them on your resume and that you are searching for work so that they are not caught off guard if your potential employer call them up. When listing your references, include their name, title, employer, address and business as well as home phone number.
5. Other essential tips
- Resumes and covering letters are your ‘first impression’ for a potential employer. Make sure they are proof read and spell checked – or yours could end up in the bin no matter how talented you are!
- Be honest! Your employer WILL find out if you are lying.
- If you want yours to stand out from the crowd, invest in some pretty paper. Employers are so used to the normal white paper – that having something just a little bit different will stick in their minds. Make sure the designs reflect your personality – and don’t make it too ‘busy’ or ‘fancy’ or it will be off-putting instead of memorable!
- Make sure you have your mobile phone switched on and ready – you don’t want to miss a call!
Writing a resume can take some time. You will always need to customize each resume as well as cover letter, to suit the specific place of employment. This is especially the case when thinking about your experience and how it relates to the position. However, the more you write, the easier it will get.