As I make my way around the township this holiday season it appears that lots of folks are out shopping—the traffic is heavy and the parking lots full. That says to me that people are working and have money to spend. This is always good for our office, as it means that fewer people are in need of assistance. We are still busy with our work however, as folks need extra help now as they spend more on transportation costs and with the colder weather, higher fuel costs. It’s always a trade-off.
We are seeing, in our Employment Department, that there are more jobs to be had in the current market, although many of them are not as high-paying as some people need to maintain their household. Maybe the job is part-time, or seasonal, or light on needed benefits such as health insurance. Many workers still need to keep looking. Still it is better to be working than not, and I always believe that the best time to look for a better job is when you have one already. And preparing a good resumé is the first step toward that goal.
My Employment staff showed me some tips they found on the internet, and I would like to share these “Do’s and Don’ts” for writing a resumé that will help you step up to a better job:
- Do tailor your resumé for the position you are going after. It is a good idea to get to know the company you are applying to and what they are hiring for and then making your resumé highlight how you and your skills would fit into their organization.
- Do list your most impressive and relevant achievements first. Maybe you jotted down your skills in the order they occurred to you, but in the final draft you should arrange your skills with the best ones first. That way, your resumé will make a great first impression as soon as the hiring manager begins reading it.
- Don’t forget to include your soft skills—those general abilities that employers look for such as communication skills, problem-solving talent, and working well with others. While you shouldn’t list these in your “Skills Section” the bullet points on your resumé should be written in a way that shows that you possess them.
- Do try to get your resumé to fit exactly one page. Hiring managers are humans too, and they are going to go for the easiest resumés to review first, so it’s a good idea to be concise. Sometimes it’s hard to get it just right. If you’re having trouble filling the page because you have little to no work experience, consider adding the names of the most impressive courses you’ve taken in school, or maybe including a summary or objective statement at the top.
- Do optimize for applicant tracking systems. No matter how good your resumé looks to the human eye, it might still have trouble getting past applicant tracking systems. These resumé robots are used by large organizations (and sometimes small ones, too) to weed out unqualified candidates during the initial hiring process. They work by scoring your resumé based on how well it matches the job description and meets the predefined requirements.
- Don’t get overly fancy with pictures and colors. It’s almost always better to stick with a basic template. This is true for a number of reasons. For one, hiring managers are used to seeing standard resumé formats. They don’t want to spend extra time getting used to your unique layout. Frankly, some hiring managers won’t even bother reading resumés that aren’t plain and simple. They will assume the resumé is all style and no substance. And remember, too, the need to appease the heartless resumé robots that don’t care for pretty colors or fancy design. They might even have trouble processing your resumé which could hurt your chances of further consideration.
- Don’t forget to ask a friend or advisor to proofread. We often think that what we write makes perfect sense, because after all, we wrote it! Unfortunately we all make mistakes or poor writing decisions that we don’t catch and fix on our own. So never skip this all-important final step.
- Finally, it is recommended by the experts that you “Social Proof” yourself. In other words get on the internet and look up your name, because that is what a hiring manager will be doing before calling you in for an interview. It’s always a good thing to have a heads-up on what he or she will be seeing about you.
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