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A Good Resume is Complete and Truthful
Michelle Iowa, USA
I have reviewed many resumes as a hiring manager. My advice to you is for you to make your resume complete (and truthful) and well organized. There are a lot of resources to reference as far as overall style.
Be sure to choose a style that complements the type of job you are applying for (i.e., journalism, scientific, education, etc.). I must say that the style you choose is not as important as the overall organization and neatness of the resume. I have rejected candidates simply because their resume was poorly copied, on the page crooked, or missing basic information.
Your resume is a reflection of you as a candidate. If you don't put the effort into having a great looking resume, what will the employer think about your work ethic?
There are some things you should ask yourself when organizing your resume. What are your strengths?
Did you have a great GPA?
Do you have awesome job experience?
Did you do something extensive or unique academically?
Do you have community service experience?
What is the employer looking for?
Are they looking for your degree or your experience or both?
Pair your best accomplishment with what the job requires and put that near the top. It is absolutely okay to have multiple resumes that you submit to different types of employers based on the job you are applying for.
Another thing I cannot stress enough is to be truthful! Yes, employers do check what you put in your resume. More than a few times I discovered that a candidate was less than honest on their resume. It is very embarrassing to be fired from a job because you are not really qualified for it!
I am a Human Resources Specialist, and I have had the opportunity over the course of my career in Human Resources to screen multiple resumes for multiple positions, and my number one piece of advice I would give those who are trying to write a resume would be to proofread!
Your resume is a summary of who you are professionally. You don't want to be considered sloppy, or lazy, or worst of all, not interested. If I see a resume with a ton of grammar and spelling mistakes, I think to myself, "Does this person really want this position?"
It's especially critical if in a cover letter you write that you are extremely detail-oriented. It just doesn't work. I believe that this is by far the most damaging mistake people make when writing resumes.
My other piece of advice I would give is to make sure your resume is clean. Paragraph after paragraph of what you did for the past ten years can be awful to read, and truthfully will be skimmed at best.
If both of these are completed, the last thing I would mention is to make sure that your resume has the minimum qualifications in it that the job is asking for. With most companies asking for online resumes nowadays, they have screening devices that might reject your resume for not having the proper experience. Watch how you word things!
As a senior manager, I spent 6 months attempting to hire systems analysts and software engineers within the pharmaceutical industry. The most common error I saw was submitting a generic resume as opposed to one tailored for the position advertised.
When you have over twenty resumes on your desk, what jumps out is the resumes that are directly relevant for the position being filled. While many of the job candidates may have had relevant experience, few took the time to tailor their resumes to highlight that relevant experience.
Especially the world of Information Technology, it is a bit much to ask the hiring manager to cut through the jargon and make a guess at what experience may transfer to the proprietary technologies/software in my industry. I'd rather hear less about that irrelevant position as a traffic warden/dog catcher/bank clerk, and more about your experience with relational databases - in particular, do you have the depth of knowledge that will translate well across technologies to my proprietary database?
By sending a generic resume that is mostly filled with irrelevant experience, you rob yourself of the chance to succinctly tell me about the experience that IS relevant. It makes me wonder if you are really interested in this job at all, or if you are just blasting resume out to take the first position that pays the bills; and you will later - after I have spent a lot of time and money training you - marshal your resources to search for a position that truly interests you.
In short: follow the instructions in the position posting. A generic response to a specific question is just wasting your time and the time of the hiring manager.
I have been involved for 20+ years in hiring at every level of an organization, entry to vice president. The process we used called for several of us to interview the same individual at different times in a structured process and then compare notes via a series of targeted questions we identified in advance.
I have found the best resumes were limited to one page. The applicant summarizes his/her work experience and focuses on the impact of his/her work, not just the job titles.
As a hiring manager I want to know that the person I am considering has a history of concrete contributions that he/she can articulate in sufficient detail.
A person who claims to have managed a major project but can't discuss the project intelligently won't be considered a viable candidate for the job. Too many resumes include inflated results, claiming to accomplish something the person can't explain sufficiently to prove he/she actually did the work.
An applicant is much better off to submit an accurate resume with accurate contributions, even if they are not sizable. Just knowing the applicant recognizes the need to have concrete contributions says he/she has the right mindset and may be able to grow into more responsible roles.
This applies to education as well. Do not claim to have a degree if you don't. Do not claim to have an advanced degree if you don't. Include courses you have taken if you didn't complete your degree. Experience can offset the lack of a degree but overstating qualifications cancels all other accomplishments.
I have been involved in hiring sales staff on a number of occasions at different levels. I hired sales staff for a department fashion store, and on another occasion while working for a leading credit card company I have hired sales associates for marketing and selling credit cards.
The best advice I can give candidates is please write your own resumes. There have been a few times when the resume of the person I am interviewing looks great but while discussing it they have no idea what's on it.
Also keep it short. When I look at a resume, the first thing that makes me decide whether to interview this candidate is definitely the style in which the information is presented and the resume is short, preferably one page. The details can be discussed later; hey that's what the interview is for!
The most common mistakes are making the resume too lengthy and spelling mistakes.
As I mentioned above on occasions I interviewed a few individuals who had not written their own resumes, either the resumes were written by someone professional, a friend or parent or was copied from someone else. One of this individual didn't even know the meaning of certain words that were used on the resume and also had no idea that his hobby was reading!
It's so important to be responsible for what's on your resume.
I've written resumes for over 1000 people (so maybe I'm a bit biased). I think it's fine, and often wise, to get someone to help you write your resume. However, you still must take ownership of everything that's on your resume. That means reading through the resume and being 100% certain that you understand, agree with and can back up/answer questions about every comment that's on your resume.
A professional resume writer may be an expert on writing resumes, but you're the expert on your own career, so it's important to speak up and ensure your resume is an accurate representation of your skills, experience and accomplishments.
I have been involved in reviewing resumes for openings in my specific area of my office (medical billing). The best advice I can give to someone is to be themselves and do not make anything...and I mean anything, up.
Most employers really do check references and verify the things that you list on your resume and if you lie, they'll find out and you will not get the job.
The most common mistakes I see are simple ones, spelling and grammar errors. Ask more than one person to review your resume for mistakes, they're easy to make and even easier to miss.
Remember that we're looking for someone with your qualifications so list them all, and make sure to add a cover letter. I will throw a resume out without a cover letter. Your cover letter simply needs to state why you're looking for a move in jobs and a little bit about yourself.
Also, don't list that it's okay for us to contact your present employer unless you are 100 percent that you're okay with that.
You'll be just fine if you be yourself, tell the truth, and add something different (even if it's just a different structure of the resume)
I am a principal of an elementary school and have been involved in hiring teachers, secretaries, custodians and educational assistants. I am the primary reviewer of all resumes and take the ones I believe meet the job requirements to the Human Resources Committee.
The best advice I can give to people when writing their resumes is to be clear, be correct and be honest. I don't have the time or the desire to decipher what you are trying to say.
Most jobs postings list the expected certification or experience of potential employees. If you belong to an organization or have a certification, list this clearly. I am not going to try to figure out your qualifications. If you don't meet these expectations, don't try to fudge this on the resume. If I even think someone is trying to fluff up their resume, that resume goes to the bottom of the pile.
Recently I have noticed that people are sending out mass resumes, applying to many jobs with the same resume. How do I know this? The objective line is either vague or does not relate to the job for which I am hiring.
On a recent resume for a Grade 3/4 position in our school, the objective line stated the applicant was seeking employment in a high school. Obviously we were not interested in this candidate!
Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for, read through it carefully, and highlight anything that makes you appealing in that area. I am not going to read through you entire career history back to high school part-time jobs, just tell me related experiences.
I work as an HR manager at my company and primarily hire entry-level employees out of college. It is shocking to me how many of these college-educated young people do not spell-check or proofread their resumes before sending them!
I would suggest that all potential applicants have a friend or colleague read over their resumes before sending them to an HR department. Also, please be aware of English grammar and spelling rules. Learn the difference between it's and its, your and you're. It doesn't matter how qualified someone is for a job - if they don't to spell-check their resume and use good grammar, I won't bring them in for an interview.
Also, I am not sure when it became okay to send a four-page resume out, but, for entry level jobs, the one-page rule is still a good one. No one wants to see four pages of every summer job you've held since high school. Edit your resume down to the jobs that are applicable to the position you're applying for. If the recruiter asks about why something isn't included, then explain.
You're not going to get in trouble for leaving out something that is irrelevant to the job.