Resumes come in many different formats and styles
by Jeff Herzog
And while there is not one single correct way of creating an effective resume, there are certain guidelines that should be followed to maximize your impact. Given the important role that a resume plays in a job search, it is surprising to see how many resumes still contain outdated sections and strategies.
Take a close look at your resume. If it contains any of the following components, you may want to consider an overhaul.
While it is helpful to hiring managers if you indicate the type of position you are seeking on your resume, objectives rarely do that. Instead, objectives are usually empty, vague, long-winded, run-on sentences that provide little value or meaning. If your resume includes an objective, it may read something like this:
To obtain a challenging position that will allow me to utilize my diverse skills, experience, and training to the benefit of my employer, while providing opportunities for professional growth.
Nothing in the above statement provides any value to a recruiter or hiring manager. It’s a general statement that could apply to virtually any job seeker for any position at any level. Instead of an objective, try including a headline that simply states your role or profession. You can also add a qualifier or secondary title to add value.
Remove your objective completely and replace it with a powerful headline. Example:
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER | DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION LEADER
This tells recruiters and prospective employers everything they need to know about the type of position you are seeking – without all the fanfare.
While it is appropriate to include your job duties on your resume, that shouldn’t be the primary focus. If your resume is an endless listing of job descriptions, then you are missing an opportunity to present your capabilities. A job description merely shows your responsibilities; in other words, what you are supposed to do. It does not convey how well you have performed these responsibilities, which is what employers need to see.
If you are seeking a position within your industry, then it is highly likely that employers already know your job description. Listing your duties does not provide anything of substance. Instead, you can demonstrate your value by attaching results to these responsibilities. For each item detailed on you resume, show that you’ve been able to achieve the deaired outcomes. Use quantifiable results whenever possible.
First and foremost, the job of your resume is to position you as a strong candidate for the position you are targeting. Every entry, sentence, and thought you communicate needs to support this primary goal. If you are listing irrelevant certifications, courses, associations, or other off-topic data, then you need to take a closer look at the content you are including.
In some cases, personal information can support your candidacy by providing relevant parts of your background that weren’t appropriate for other sections on your resume. If you are bilingual, earned prestigious non-work-related awards, or held significant community leadership positions, then you may have a strong case for including this information. But if you are only including non-relevant interests and facts about your background, remove this category completely.
You will often be required to provide references to a prospective employer, but your resume is not the appropriate place for this information. It is unlikely that recruiters or hiring managers will start checking your references before they have established initial contact with you. In addition, you should be treating your references like gold: Furnish them only when required. The last thing you want to do is to inundate your valuable references with calls from employers early in the screening process. Save your references for serious opportunities further along in the process.
Making these simple changes will make your resume more strategic, readable, and impactful. In today’s increasingly competitive job market.
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