Some things never change. Whether you are a young student fresh out of school or a seasoned executive with years of experience behind you, when the time comes for you to pound the pavement in search of a job, the steps you need to take are exactly the same. The worry and the angst that comes from job hunting is actually a job in itself.
There was once a time when you could walk into a door and apply for a job in person, today, making an in person request for a job is far from the norm. Even the lowest level positions require you to apply online or through automated kiosks that not only take your information but also to sift through the numerous applicants to find the right one.
Rather than making that initial contact in person today, our first contact with a potential employer is with our resume. It is on the basis of what we write on that paper that we make our first impression. And today, since we are in an intense competition for the jobs that so many people want our first impression has to knock the ball out of the park in order to get us to the next phase in the job-hunting process. The in person interview.
Different Types of Resumes
Before you begin you will need to choose the type of resume you feel will best portray your professional image. There are several to look at but you will likely use one of the three basic forms, this includes the chronological, functional, and a combination.
1. Chronological. The traditional resume form is probably the one that you are most familiar with. In this form you list each job separately and describe them in detail. This format is great when you are not looking to jump out of your comfort zone and you are planning a lateral move from one job to another.
2. Functional. This new format allows you to draw attention to and highlight some relevant skills and accomplishments that may be overlooked or hard to make stand out in a chronological format. The focus of this type of resume is to get the employer to see your ability to step out of the box and do something new. It highlights those skills that can be carried over from one career path to another. If you are planning on changing your career path this is the way to go.
3. Combination. As you might infer the combination resume includes a little of both the functional and the chronological resume. Depending on the job you are applying for you can extend the skills and accomplishment section or the functional part of the paper. You can alter this resume to enhance your image in any way you prefer. You can use this format to highlight any aspect of your skills and qualifications you want to stand out and get the notice of the employer.
What Should Your Resume Accomplish?
An effective resume has very specific goals it must accomplish. After all, it is designed to make the best first impression you can have. Contrary to what many people believe it is not a list of your accomplishments but a sales promotion that details the advantages an employer will gain by acquiring your professional services.
Your resume is the introduction to the potential employer and should be designed to stimulate interest. Since you are not likely to get through the door yourself these days, your resume has to sell you and inspire your new boss to pick up the phone and call you in for that all important interview.
What Should Your Resume Include?
In most resumes the goal is to catch the attention of the employer. On average your resume will likely be in competition with hundreds or even thousands of other candidates all vying for the same position. Your resume will have only a few seconds to capture the attention of the employer and propel you to the short list of those who will get a chance to have the in person contact.
Instead of just writing a list of your accomplishments, take the time to put yourself in the employer’s seat and focus on their needs. To do this you will need to plan what type of resume you will want to write. Make an honest assessment of your history before writing it down. The mistake that most people make is to only think about their past work history but in actuality your resume should represent your entire life and the skills that you have developed.
Remember, the goal of your resume is to help the reader to see you as the ideal candidate for the job. Your objective should be clear and fit the job that you are applying for. The focus should not be on what you want out of a job but on what you can do for their company.
It should also include a summary of your qualifications. This should be done with very brief sentences that state clearly what your achievements and abilities are. This is your chance to let your light shine. The brighter you shine here the better you will look to the employer.
Next you should include your accomplishments. This is where you will elaborate on your summary section. This is the section where you can explain how your qualifications mentioned in the summary section has benefited previous employers and you have helped your company to excel.
Over the last few years, writing a resume has grown from just making a list of accomplishments to being a first impression for any potential employee. The competition is fierce in the job market today and your resume has only a matter of seconds to make that all-important impression.
There are many other things that you could include in your resume writing process so planning what you want to say and do will help you to get that in person audience that will be the next step in landing your dream job.