The most important part of a resume is history. It is not just a list of activities or a laundry list of job descriptions, it is a whole document that tells who you are and what you have done. Start creating your resume from the day you get your first job. Always keep old resumes on file so you don’t have to jog your memory, and the real work, adaptation to the current application, can come into play. Every person graduating high school should be taught this: keep a copy of each resume you use.
When building the resume, consider the reader. Readers of resumes are recruiters,employment agencies, human resources workers, hiring managers, administrative assistants, and anyone else tasked with the first step of filtering out the resumes to be reviewed by someone higher up. Don’t wind up in the first waste basket. Avoid some simple traps.
Keep it simple, seeker. Don’t put fancy graphics, unless it is a graphics job. Even then, keep those to a dull minimum because your artwork should show up in your portfolio, not in the documentation of your work. Otherwise, less is more. Just your name, address, email, phone number and website, if relevant, at the top. Then, start listing your experience in reverse order with the name of the company, the title of your position, the city it was in and then the date. Never start with dates. Most automated applicant tracking systems read a date on a line, and skip to the next line. The software is changing, but for now, be wary. Know the software by looking at the company website and seeing who hosts the ATS. Then research it on the web.
Language is Important
Every resume has to highlight who you are in active language. Use active verbs like these: managed, directed, supervised, executed, launched, and developed. Here is a great list of words to use in a resume. Put these in the bullet points of activities. See to it that at least one bullet point under every job has a measurable metric that can be fully listed. In other words, list an accomplishment where you can show how much you did something, in what time frame and to what benefit. Make sure to highlight, with numbers, what you created, or saved for the company. Go over it and make sure the language is tight. Then go over it again. Stay clear and concise and keep it to one page unless you are a published professor or a medical professional of the highly educated sort. And always, always check your spelling twice.
Tone and Language
Check your prose. Have someone else look it over to edit for spelling and grammar, but also for tone and voice. Be clear, but don’t use the first person. Use the assumed first person where a sentence starts with a verb like this: Managed 26 people in a call center, improving call response rates by 150 percent in the space of 6 months. This has shown numbers, delivery and a finite time in which it was done, all without using the first person pronoun. Tricks like this get resumes read, catch a reader’s attention and get your resume put in the keep file instead of the round file.
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