An effective resume is a key tool when you are trying to land a job. However, most resumes fail to capture the attention of potential employers for very predictable, but definitely curable, reasons. These are listed below:
1. Lack of Focus – An Unorganized Resume: Most resumes one comes across have a never-ending list of everything the person has done in his or her career. There are also endless lists of skills, personal characteristics and accomplishments, verbs, and unnecessary detail. What you need to do instead of making everything on your resume stand out as equally important, is to point out a dominant focus, a clear sense of purpose and direction. This will help you getting the exact job that you are looking for.
2. Too Much Detail – Not Written for a “Skimmer”: Potential employers do not read resumes in detail at first. They just ‘skim’ it, usually taking perhaps only 15 to 30 seconds to see if it is worth reading in detail. When your reader is skimming, his or her eye will naturally start at the top center, and then quickly scan down the left side of the page. The left side of the page is where the battle for your reader’s attention is fought. And, by trying to make everything ‘stand out’, you lose control over your reader’s eye. Therefore, you should put the most important words, items, and information on that left side.
3. Fails to Ask the Two Fundamental Questions: The two most important questions in deciding what to emphasize in your resume are: 1) What does the employer want to see first? 2) What do you want the reader to see first? In answer to the first question, what most employers want to see first in a resume can vary. Most of them are looking for key factors like academic degrees, certification and licensing, job titles, or key skills related to the job. Others may look first for gaps in employment, school activities, recent training, or other factors. So keep these details handy when making your resume. Secondly, emphasize what you want your employer to see first. Make sure your prospective employer can find all of these ‘firsts’ without having to read in detail.
4. Not ‘Tailored’ for the Type of Position Being Sought: Even if your resume makes it clear what type of job you are applying for, most resumes do not emphasize in the body of the resume the factors that relate to that job title. While it is necessary to emphasize your technical knowledge and experience, you also need to emphasize those responsibilities and accomplishments in your career that would be of value in the job that you are seeking. A potential employer should be able to tell immediately what you are interested in and where your skills would yield the maximum productivity.
5. Unique Strengths Not Marked Out: No two people are alike. Each one of you has your unique strengths, a distinctive combination of experiences, an individual career path, or even specialized knowledge and expertise. Most of you do not emphasize what is unique about your background in a resume. But very often, this is what determines whether your resume will be thrown out or you will be asked in for an interview. Which is why, you should place these unique qualities prominently in your resume.
The most simple solutions to all these resume flaws lie in recognizing your strengths and weaknesses while understanding what a prospective employer is looking for. Only by doing that will you ensure that your resume is in the ‘less than five percent’ that are not immediately discarded.
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