We regard resume writing as part of our Marketing Services. After all, job seekers are in effect marketing their talents to employers. In addition, we've spent a good part of our lives working as recruiters and outplacement counselors and have great admiration for these professions. So, we thought we would try to help candidates be more successful with recruiters and recruiters find candidates who were better prepared, by offering the following advice. Hope it helps everyone.
Every savvy job hunter knows that resumes should be customized for each job they apply for. But what about the resumes you send to recruiters who have hundreds of openings with various companies in a wide range of industries? How do you create a resume that will help qualify you for different positions when you’re not sure what they are?
Here are five resume tips that will make recruiters more interested in presenting you than other candidates even before they’ve met you.
1. Make your name and contact information as readable as possible.
Always write your resume in a highly readable typeface and make sure that your name is several point sizes larger than the text. Include your contact information (phone numbers and email address) near your name so people can see at a glance how to reach you. If you think your snail mail address will work for you by showing that you live in a certain area, include that too. You might also write a broad definition of the jobs you’re best qualified for directly under your name. Like “senior writer,” “creative director,” “project manager,” etc.
2. Open with a summary that gives an overview of your career, special talents and project experience.
The idea is to define the scope of your skills. For example, you might mention that you were an adjunct instructor in Marketing as well as a marketing agency writer. This section should only be about 50 to 75 words altogether, but include important details. It should give the reader a verbal snapshot of who you are and why you would be a good candidate for their clients.
3. Research the staffing agency’s website.
Each agency tends to serve particular segments of a market. For example, staffing agencies serving the marketing industry may get calls from the communications departments of hospitals, banks and insurance companies as well as ad agencies. Knowing this, you can include examples in your resume of work you’ve done for clients in these areas. This allows the recruiters to connect your experience with their active jobs before you even interview with them.
4. Include testimonial quotes from past employers.
These can serve as mini references and are a positive indication that you get on well with other people. You may already have comments from supervisors, clients and co-workers on your LinkedIn profile. If so, just copy and paste a line or two from these in the appropriate spots on your resume.
5. Always write a cover letter.
Don’t repeat the information that’s in your resume but do let recruiters know your availability, location, what kind of projects you prefer and your career goals. Try for a conversational, friendly tone that serves as a written sample of how well you’d do in an interview. Make sure to thank the recruiter for the time and effort they’ve taken to review your material.
Here are three more tips you should follow for every resume:
1. Write about your accomplishments in easy to understand sentences.
You should be able to summarize in six lines or less what the project was, how it solved a problem and the results achieved. Include numbers. How much money was made or saved. How many customers were reached, sold or served. How many days it took to finish the project. You get the idea.
2. Use the third person to avoid beginning every sentence with “I.” Sometimes writing in the first person is acceptable. But a resume is a more formal document, and keeping to the third person makes the information presented seem more objective.
3. Proofread your work. Or better yet, have someone else do so.
Nothing undercuts claims of professionalism more than a typo or misspelling. We all make mistakes from time to time. But it’s like getting spinach stuck on your teeth on a first date. Some sympathetic souls may overlook it, others will see it as a deal breaker.