The Purpose of a Resumé
The purpose of a well-crafted resumé is to secure an interview. Your resume should stand out from other resumés being examined by a prospective employer. Anyone reading it should be able to easily and quickly identify your most important skills and talents and what you would add to the business or organization if you were hired for that position.
Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Resumé
- Be prepared to have at least three references ready to give a prospective employer if they are requested. It’s good to line these up ahead of time. You should not only have their permission to use their name, but also their complete (and preferred) contact information, including email if they have it.
- Be prepared to explain any gaps there might be in the chronology of your work experience — perhaps you were raising children or just doing other things, but it’s good to expect questions about this in an interview — also expect questions about why you left various employments.
- In general, you should include a cover letter when you submit a resumé unless you’re hand delivering it. Even then, you should have SOMETHING to go with it in case you are unable to see the person who actually will review it. You should always try to be as specific as possible when you write. If you can find out the name of the Human Resources person, for instance, it’s better to address it directly to that person than to just put Dear Sir or Madam. It shows that you went the extra mile.
- Before you go for an interview, do as much research as you can about the company–what they do, what their mission is, what their main products or services are, etc., even who their key officers are. If at all possible, try to formulate some specific way you feel you can make a contribution based on what you’ve learned about the company. They will know you have gone to the trouble to look them up and find out about them and that you have given some thought to how you can complement their team.
- If you know the name of the person with whom you have an interview, look them up on LinkedIn.com or otherwise try to find out what you can about their own background. You’ll want to strike a balance between being nosy and being interested, but some knowledge may afford you the opportunity to find some friend or some interest you have in common.
- Volunteer activities may be included if they were skill-building (e.g., managing a budget, managing a team, etc.). Include numbers, if possible: “Developed and implemented a $100K budget” or “Supervised a team of 25 volunteers to accomplish our goal.” Don’t include work with organizations that might be considered polarizing. Don’t emphasize parenting skills.