Skills to Win

Skills to Win: The Resume

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OK, guys. You’ve figured out what you wanted to do. You learned the skills you need to do it – hopefully, even gotten some good experience under your belt. Now what? Well, let’s start with the resume. What needs to be in it? What’s important and what’s not? Is it really even needed at all?

At this point in my career, I’ve easily reviewed over 500 resumes. I’m a first-line manager, but I’m also a hiring manager. So, let me tell you, a resume IS necessary. Many job applications these days are solely processed electronically, and many only ask about where you worked and when with no section for you to describe what your actual skills are. Additionally, in many industries, your application could be considered incomplete and is much less likely to be reviewed if there is no resume attached to it. Bottom line – create a resume, keep it current, and attach it to every application.

But don’t just slap a resume together. You need to be putting your best foot forward. Your resume is the hiring manager’s first impression of you and your ability to the job. Put some effort into making it great.

Here are the top 3 things that I recommend everyone keep in mind when building a resume.

#1 – MAKE YOUR SKILLS and experience STAND OUT

When you’re applying for a job, pay attention to what’s in the description. What does the description say the candidate should be knowledgeable in? How many years of experience is the hiring manager looking for? Does it say that experience in a certain thing is preferred but not required? If you have what the hiring manager is looking for, highlight it! Don’t just write what your general responsibilities were in previous positions. Though that is important, it’s even more important to highlight the specific skills that are included in the description of the job you’re applying for. Read the description thoroughly, and write your resume in a way that best summarizes your experience as it’s relevant to the specific job you’re applying for.

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#2 – SPELL IT RIGHT

I’ve come across many resumes that started out very well, then started to fall short once I saw all of the spelling errors. I do a lot of writing in my job – presentations, reports, emails, variance explanations – and many of the people that work for me do the same. Well written, concise, and error-free is what I want my writing to be every time, and it’s what I look for in the documentation submitted by the people that work for me. I’m sure many other hiring managers look for the same. No matter what position you’re applying for, check and double-check for spelling and grammatical errors in your application and resume, and be sure to make any corrections before you submit them.

#3 – THE DETAILS MATTER

Do not take the small things for granted. The formatting – margins, font size, spacing, color – all matter. The overall layout of the page can be seen before a single word is read, and formatting errors stand out. Keep the layout uniform. Consistency is key. Similar to spelling and grammatical errors, formatting errors come across as a lack of attention to detail – whether that’s truly the case about your work ethic or not. Put your best foot forward, and pay attention to the details.

What are some of the things you would recommend to help someone build a great resume? Share them in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going, and help everyone win the job they really want.

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