Have you heard of the “quarantine 15?” Seriously, it’s a thing. If it has not started already, look for a wave of commercials for weight-loss programs like the ones we see right after New Year’s Day. The truth is, if you are living the quarantine 15, you need to look at things like your diet, exercise, and ways to deal with stress.
Similar to the cold hard truth regarding our health, the fact is that every employer wants to hire people with a track record of achievement and stability, who bring the needed skill set into the organization and will stay there a long time. With that disclaimer, I will give you some low-hanging fruit you can implement immediately by sprucing up your resume.
Keep in mind that the resume is a tool to sell yourself — get comfortable with that idea. Do not exaggerate or embellish the truth, but emphasize the positive aspects of your education, experience, skills, and accomplishments to generate a potential employer’s interest.
You are more likely to screen yourself out by providing too much information. At some point the reader (if they stick with it) will feel like they have learned enough about you to conclude you would not be right for the job. Also, the reader may start skimming because the resume is so long, thereby missing important information and tossing your resume into the “no” stack. Follow these tips to avoid that fate.
- Keep it brief. A good rule of thumb is one page for every 10 years of experience with a three-page max.
- Skip the lengthy profile at the top of the resume. If you want one, make it a very short, focused summary, not a listing of your attributes (excellent communication skills, team player, etc.). For example: “I am one of the top salespeople in the commodity resins space, with nearly a decade of experience building territories from scratch and expanding existing accounts.”
- Make it easy on the eye, clearly listing the names of your previous employers, the positions you held, and the years. The resume is not the place to experiment with exotic fonts unless you are in an artistic industry.
- Assume that not everyone reading your resume knows what every company does, so include a synopsis; for example, ABC Industries — a mid-size injection molder of consumer and industrial products.
- Spend more time on what you have accomplished and what the impact was on the company, not just what you were responsible for or your duties. Employers make the natural assumption that if you accomplished something for a similar company, perhaps you could do the same for them.
- The best accomplishments involve a dollar sign — what you did either resulted in increased sales or profits, or saved the company money.
- Many large companies use keyword searching, so either work the keywords into the resume, or just have a section at the bottom called Keywords. For example, you may have worked at Honda and General Motors, but words like ‘automotive’ or ‘injection molding’ are not in your resume.
About the author
Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org.