How To Successfully Sell Yourself
Imagine you just get to work, and a nice stack of 30 resumes is patiently waiting for you on your keyboard. Task: Review the applications for the new office manager position and have a list of candidates you want to come in in for an interview. Deadline: By the end of business today (meaning you this is now added to ALL the typical things you have to do). You get the point. Check out these two resume examples:
So you’re on the job hunt again? Best-case scenario: you’re trying to move up or get a better negotiating position with your current employer. Worst: you are trying to find employment after getting booted from Hell’s Kitchen for a lousy performance every potential employee can watch on repeat (and slo-mo) on Hulu. Before you start sending out that resume to every company and possible hook-up on your list, make sure you get it just right. I’ve done a few interviews in my day (and I unjustifiably consider myself an expert on a multitude of topics), so I’ve compiled a list of things I like to see on resumes. Before we get started, think of resumes as glorified advertisements designed to prompt that follow-up call (hey, everyone is for sale). No pressure, but – don’t mess it up!
Let’s address the style first. Why walk in decked out in your most expensive and professional-looking outfit and hand the potential boss a resume that looks like it was thrown together by a 5-year-old? Here are styling issues I like to see disappear from the resumes.
1. Wordy Paragraphs. Speak Quickly – those in a position to make a hiring decisions are busy. Before they were tasked with interviewing you, they were conquering an endless onslaught of emails, so it’s fair to assume they are going to be busy when they are reading your resume. The decision whether to keep or toss a resume is done within the first few seconds. If your achievements and accolades are hidden in the piles of words and unnecessary ramblings, your “advertisement” is set for a meeting with a trash can. Be brief and to the point, giving the employees a chance to quickly find out that you are truly the best match for the position.
2. “Fancying It Up.” Impress me with your skills, not the paper you use. A simple white paper with an easy-to-read font like Arial will do the trick. Resumes on fancy paper immediately make me set my expectations to be prepared to filter out the BS .
3. Can I have yo numba?! – Put your name, address, and contact information at the top of the page. DO NOT use a frivolous email address like email@example.com. Guess what? Email addresses are free, and setting up a professional-looking one will only take you a minute (don’t forget to check it).
4. Offending Grammar – For the love of all things holy make sure you spell all the words correctly and use proper punctuation. Ask someone to proof-read it. You won’t be earning any credibility if your resume looks like your little cousin put it together.
These are the sections I like to see in a resume. If information isn’t separated into this format, then I have to do the mental work of dividing the information into these sections which wastes my time (and quite frankly, gets me upset). Who wants to embark on scavenger hunt a resume for information? Yes, cliché, but “help me help you.” Am I asking for too much? Probably. Will it help you stand out? Absolutely.
1. Qualifications – Tell me what you can do in a few nice concise statements grouped by subject. These statements summarize what you can bring to the table. For example: “Experience in small business management including establishing and maintaining accounting systems, human resource policy and procedures, and overseeing sales / customer service efforts” says more to me than a bunch of information in bullet forms all over the place. When I’m reading a resume I don’t care that the person learned human resources at one company and oversaw sales in another. I just want to know that they have the experience!
2. Skills – List specific skills, software you know, and anything supporting the Qualifications section. For example, this is where I would put “Proficient in Quickbooks 2011″, “Full knowledge of Federal tax reporting and payment systems”, or “75 WPM”.
3. Work History – Include the company name, final title, and dates of employment.
4. Achievements – This is where you list your Employee of the Month awards and special scholarships you received in school (macaroni jewelry does not count).
5. Education – Include the school name, degree, dates of graduation (or expected graduation), and GPA, starting with the highest level of education completed. If you have your associates degree or higher, omit your high school.
6. Personal – Most employees don’t require those (and some are flat-out against it), but I like to see a few interesting facts about a candidate. It gives me insight to their lifestyle, which is a great way to see if he or she is a good fit for the company culture, plus provides additional topics to discuss during the interview. OMIT THIS SECTION IF YOU ARE A STRANGE ONE. (You know who you are)