I've noticed that a common theme on the Wayfarer's Tavern is job interviews, unemployment, seeking jobs after college graduation, etc. There's even plenty of individual threads devoted to the subject.
I know someone who works for an HR department and her job is literally to sort through resumes all day, and I've also had great personal success for landing jobs myself. As such, here are some resume tips.
- Leave some white space. This one surprises a lot of people, because generally, the mindset is the more credentials, the better. No one has a perfect-sized resume, and least not one that naturally appears that way without lots of tweaks. Most people either have too few credentials and risk looking unqualified, or they have too many and their resume is either in tiny font, or three pages stapled together. But most of us have had job experience that's related to different areas, so not everything will be relevant to the job you're applying for. If your resume is too long, and your experience as a landscaper isn't relevant to your potential job as a layout editor, don't list it on the resume, and vice versa. However, if your resume is too bare, take these experiences and make them relevant to the job you're seeking. Look for common-denominator skills and how they can transfer from the old job to the new one.
When you're an HR manager who seeks 20 hard-to-read resumes, and then one with plenty of white space, only the relevant info, and font size that's easy to read, guess which one stands out in a good way?
- Avoid TMI. If you were a secretary, and one of your duties was inventing a new spreadsheet layout that everyone in the office adopted, list that - it shows that you're 1) computer-savvy, something employers like, and 2) you know how to innovate and improve the workplace setting. But if you were a secretary, don't list "answered phones, sorted files and typed documents' on the resume as a description of the job.
- Make damn sure your adverbs aren't weak. "Created," "Developed," "Executed," "Led," "Inspired," "Invented," "Managed," "Empowered," "Enabled" etc are all good words. "Had," "Got," "Did," "Made," and the god-awful "was" are words you need to run away from as though they were carriers of pus-causing plague.
- Think about what you can do for the company, and put this in your objective. Some companies want innovation, others want unity, others want tradition; some focus on products, while others focus on relationships; etc. You'll need to study 1) their mission statement, and 2) their corporate culture. This knowledge will impact your objective at the top of the resume as well as the way you position your various experiences (The fact that I'm a fiction writer has actually helped in some interviews. Other interviewees won't care. Learn what the company wants, and what to bring up or not bring up in different situations).
- If you write a cover letter, end with a professionally assertive tone. For example, "I will follow up within the next two weeks about my prospective employment, but until then, feel free to reach me at [phone number" is much better than something like "If you want, you can contact me about my job, if you want to, but you don't have to!" Okay, I am exaggerated on the latter example, but you don't want to come across as timid or afraid. Timid, afraid people don't do well in the workforce.
Feel free to add to the list. This is just some of the ones not as heard about. Of course we all know to dress professionally for interviews, research the company etc so I didn't go into those.
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