The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a resume as a short account of one’s career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position.
The reality is that when you create your resume, you are like an artist/painter. Your pen is the brush and the paper is your canvas. Create a masterpiece and it will sell! Paint a dud and your own resume will abuse you.
The main purpose of a resume along with the accompanying cover letter is to get you the interview, pure and simple.
The way to accomplish this is to show off your strengths and achievements and minimize your weaknesses (we all have them). If you write your resume correctly, strengths will appear stronger and weaknesses will be less visible.
Remember, now is not the time to be modest – if you don’t tell the hiring manager how good you are and what you can do for his or her company, no one else will.
You have about 5-10 seconds at the most, to attract the attention of the person reading your resume for the first time, so you skills and abilities have to be seen fast and be relevant.
Listed below are ways your resume should be used.
What does a resume do?
– Your resume organizes your career by selecting and presenting specific events clearly and concisely.
– It forces you to take inventory of your achievements – the more you understand about yourself, the more capable you become in explaining yourself to others.
– A resume should stimulate employer interest in meeting you.
– Good resumes tell the company that they would benefit from calling you in for a personal interview.
The bottom line however is it’s ONLY purpose is to get you an interview.
When the hiring manager first reads the resume it should:
– make the reader want to learn more – a tease.
– quickly convey how and why you are better than the rest of the candidates in the stack of resumes they have.
– tell them what you did and how well you did it.
– show that you are uniquely qualified to solve the problem the employer has.
At the interview the resume:
– is a basis on which to start a discussion.
– serves as an agenda for a discussion, which means you have predetermined the interview’s structure.
– acts as a leave behind.
After the interview:
– The person(s) who interviews you can use your resume to strengthen his/her case to other team members.
– The resume serves as an overview for others in the organization.
View your resume through the eyes of the hiring manager:
– A resume reflects your image; anything that does not help you get an interview should not be on the resume.
– View a resume as your own personal advertisement.
– The past is relevant only insofar as it shows your potential for the future.
– When in doubt, leave it out!
A good resume:
– zeros in on those skills and abilities that you have that are most relevant and important to the job you are seeking.
– focuses on your achievements and accomplishments not just the responsibilities you had at each job.
– reveals the results of your achievements.
– should project your career as a series of progressive accomplishments.
– needs to be short on words and long on facts.
– is eye appealing and visually inviting.
Just remember, your past accomplishments and achievements are relevant only as it relates to what you can do now for the hiring company. No matter how good you were at a previous company, to the hiring company, it’s all about what can you do for them.