Are you looking for a job? Or do you plan to look for a job in the near future?
Those questions represent the most common reasons why someone would begin to look at their resume and decide if it needs to be updated. What most people discover over time is that their resume should always be update-to-date as job changes can occur suddenly and without any prior warning. But most people wait until a resume is needed and it is at this time that a decision is made to try to refine and update it, or leave it as is and hope that it will be sufficient enough to gain a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. There is a misconception that because resumes are rarely mailed out any longer, they are not that important. Yet many online application forms still request that a resume copy be uploaded for review.
A challenge for many people is knowing how to create an effective resume. You can conduct an Internet search and find literally hundreds of online articles and resources that provide fairly standard methods of creating a resume; however, that can become overwhelming in time. In addition, few people are highly skilled as a writer, and poorly written sentences with numerous spelling and grammatical errors can create a poor impression. You have to keep in mind the fact that when you send out a resume it is taking your place and represents you as a person, without the guarantee of securing an interview – and that means your resume can make or break your job prospects before you ever get to speak to someone about it.
One of the first misconceptions that people hold about the use of resumes is that they are never actually read, especially when there are online application forms to be filled out. While this cannot be proven either way, I do know from my own experience as a professional writer that most recruiters do look at the resumes received because it provides a general overview of the candidate’s attention to, or lack thereof, details such as the style and type of writing.
Another common misconception is that a resume must be one page in total length. I am not certain I know how that idea became popular or why it has remained so engrained as it ultimately serves little purpose for most candidates and it can work to the detriment of a job seeker. The reason why is that a one page resume, for a person who has fairly extensive experience, can sell them short. This type of resume will either leave off critical information or it will be typed in a font size that is not easy to read.
Other misconceptions include the use of an objective on the resume and writing detailed job descriptions. A job objective is usually a statement of what the candidate would like to do or the specific job they are seeking. The reason why this is not needed is that the cover letter should express interest in the position and there is no need to state it again. In addition, many objective statements are so specific that the candidate would be ruled out from other potential positions that may be related to the advertised job. In addition, many jobs I have seen listed on resumes includes wording that either came from job descriptions or have been written like standard wording from these types of descriptions, and that doesn’t necessarily explain the skills the candidate has and may contain jargon that is not easily understood by everyone reading it.
Skill Sets or a Chronological Listing?
Another important decision that has to be made about the development of a resume is the format it should follow and the most common approach is use of a chronological style. This approach lists each job in chronological or date order and the most current job is listed at the top of the page. The inherent problem with this type of resume is that the focus is placed on what the candidate is doing now without drawing attention to the skills that have been acquired throughout their entire career.
My approach to resume writing involves the use of a skill set based approach and that means when a recruiter or hiring manager opens the resume they first read skill sets that have been acquired throughout the candidate’s career. More importantly, the skill sets listed are directly related to the job or career the candidate is interested in. This can change the entire perspective of the candidate when viewed by a potential employer as now they are viewed beyond the current job they hold. This is an especially helpful approach for anyone who is interested in changing jobs or careers.