Everywhere you look these days there is someone giving advice on writing a resume. It can get confusing and overwhelming at times. Perhaps I can help with some of the more common questions such as, “How many pages should my resume be? How many versions of my resume should I have? How do I make my resume stand out? Now that there is no Resume Objective, what should I use instead? How do I figure out how to display my accomplishments?” Here are a couple of suggestions.
1. Resume Length: Your resumes should be no more than two pages. If you have the type of job where you have published research or written white pages or supporting material, those items can be placed on an addendum.
2. Number of Resumes: You should have a resume for every position for which you apply. You’ll need to create a template resume and then use various versions of it for your job search. One suggestion that I like (although timely to create) is to create a word document of all of your previous position responsibilities with measurable accomplishments to support each statement. Also include examples of your strengths, again with supportive accomplishments. Once you create this word document, it isn’t difficult to copy and paste portions of it to match various positions.
3. Resume Polish: The best way to make your resume stand out is to include measurable accomplishments that will show the employer what you did in the past and the impact these had on your former company. The wording should be carefully aligned to the skills listed in the employer’s job posting. Make sure that you include the required skills (key words) and your accomplishments as they relate to these.
4. Good-bye Objective, Hello Summary Statement: A resume now includes a Summary or Qualifications Statement that succinctly describes your outstanding experience and qualifications. It is an attention grabber; something that makes the hiring manager want to read more.
5. Displaying Your Qualifications: The best way to display your qualifications is to first identify them and then boldly display them on your resume. The best way to do this is to chart out your past positions by listing your tasks, responsibilities, accomplishments, certifications and trainings. Make sure that you include any volunteer activities to this list because many of your accomplishments as a volunteer are transferable.
The common theme here is to include specific, measurable accomplishments. If not, most likely your resume will be overlooked.