If I asked for everyone reading this article to email me a resume, I imagine I would be fairly impressed with many of them. So why do we need to have a pow-wow about resumes you ask? Because therein lies the problem! With so many good ones out there, how does yours stand out from the pack and get you that interview?
Now for those of you who are running your own business or considering it, you probably think you’re off the hook when it comes to resumes. The truth is that in some instances people do go without using them, but I can tell you for certain that most everyone has one, even if it’s on their backup hard drive in the garage. Why? Because simply the act of making one makes you think, truly think, about YOU Inc. and what you bring to any business situation and, if one is ever requested, even by investors, you cannot just whip one up in an hour.
Let’s go over some of the basics. Resumes can have many components but let’s start with the core four:
1) Contact Information – Your name, address, phone numbers and email address belong at the top. Make sure spelling is accurate and of course use a professional email! (See my previous story).
2) A Summary of Objective – Depending on the industry, this section is your first chance to actually SPEAK, so choose every word carefully. Write this and then re-write it and then re-write it again. Show it to someone you trust without your resume attached and see how it reads. It should get a point across without sounding arrogant.
3) Work Experience – So much info, so little time! Again every word counts. We will talk about keywords and positive active verbs in a bit, but for now, just make sure you have a list of all experiences, dates, and supervisors.
4) Education & Training – Always necessary, and yet another chance to shine. Not necessarily proud of your academic life? No problem! You can make up for it in other ways – just don’t lie!
There are obviously more parts to a great resume. With every industry demanding different requisites it would be impossible to detail them all here but a little research can help you find out. First off, try perusing www.indeed.com under the “Find Resumes” section. It’s a great site and we will use it again later in your search. Another place to see some sample resumes is a site by Susan Ireland at www.susanireland.com. I don’t know Susan but she is a one-woman resume machine and she has some good resources on her site.
A lot of people ask me about lying on their resumes. I know this needs to be addressed but I don’t want to sound like it’s coming from a moral point of view because this is, after all, your business. I tell my clients who ask me if they should fudge that faux-promotion at their old firm to bump up their credentials, that it just isn’t worth it. If your company grossed $499M under your supervision and you want to round it up to $500M that’s not going to send off any alarms, but if you willingly deceive people you will probably eventually get caught, and if you were in the running for a job and get caught, you won’t be in the running for long. With resumes being sent around in emails people do check on what you say. So my advice is—stick to the truth.
On the other hand you should choose your words carefully and strategically so that you communicate yourself in the best way possible and make even your most ordinary experiences sound like amazing adventures. If you do that, even without a ton of experience or an Ivy League diploma, you too can get ahead.
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.