Your resume is the key that gets you in the door to an interview. Unless this vital document is flawless, selling your skills and qualifications to the hiring manager and convincing him of your ability to do the job, it's likely to end up on the reject pile. Use this job seeker checklist to make sure your resume is perfected before dropping it in the mail.
1. Contact Information
The first section of your resume is the header, providing all the information hiring managers need to contact you for an interview. Be sure to include your full name, phone number and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile, include the URL. It's not necessary to list your full street address; the city and state are fine. Make sure your email address is professional and appropriate; listing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org isn't likely to get you an interview.
2. A Summary Statement
The summary statement hooks hiring managers, letting them know who you are. Keep the length to five sentences, explaining your skills, achievements and value to the hiring organization. Show enthusiasm, and tailor each summary statement to the position for which you're applying.
3. Top Skills
Your resume should list all of the skills that make you valuable to the hiring organization. Include all the hard skills you honed through training or education, and be sure to add soft skills, such as team player or excellent public speaker. Only list skills that are relevant to the position, and scan the job posting for ideas and keywords.
4. Relevant Work Experience
List any job you've held in the past 10 to 15 years. Include only those that are relevant; if you're applying to be a marketing director, you can leave out the bartending job you had in college. Be sure to list each position in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent, and include the company name, job title, employment dates and a few bullets describing your duties.
5. Educational Background
The education section of your resume should list colleges and universities in reverse chronological order, starting with the one you attended most recently. Detail the college or university name, its city and state, and the degree you earned. Include any academic honors and list the GPA only if it was over 3.5.
Make sure your resume has a clean, consistent format throughout. Stick with a professional font, such as Arial or Calibri in 12 point. Organize lists into bullets and avoid using fancy colors or images.
7. Attention to Detail
Your resume should be flawless before you send it. Check for spelling errors, grammar issues and formatting problems. Ask a trusted friend to proofread your resume so you can get a fresh perspective.
When your resume lands in a pile with those of other hopeful candidates, it has to be among the best to ensure you get an interview. This job seeker checklist can help. Make sure you're including everything necessary to leave a stellar first impression.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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