I have been at my current job for 3 years and I feel that it’s time that I search for a new challenge. Unfortunately, the last time I updated my resume is when I used it to apply for my current position. So step #1 of “let’s see what else might be out there” is “let’s make sure future employers don’t think you still work at Wal-Mart.”
In the past resume writing has always been fairly easy for me, this time was a little bit of a different story. For starters, I have reached the point where everything doesn’t fit nicely on that one “golden” page. I know, in today’s market you can go two pages, but I’ve been told by HR directors that they still have slight averse reactions to this. To be honest, I just don’t find my work experience up to this point impressive enough to warrant 2 pages. So I had the task of figuring out which position to leave leave off in my work history. Then came the part where I need to add my current position. Yikes, I’ve never had a more difficult time trying to sum up my job in three lines. At one point I really wanted to put down: at various times have served as staff photographer, paralegal, office manager, customer service manager, graphic designer, HR generalist, copy writer, IT tech, and telephone repairman since my work is so varied. I was able to finally get it down to three lines that discussed three very different parts of my job that near total the whole package.
So, it’s after those struggles, it’s all done and now I’m ready for the next step in my “let’s find a job that doesn’t make you feel like you’re living in Office Space” journey.
In case it’s helpful, some of my pointers for writing a resume:
- Every resume should be tailored to the job you’re applying for: the objective, relevant experience, computer skills, etc.
- If you save/submit your resume as a PDF you’ll ensure it keeps the same formatting no matter who is looking at it.
- Your objective should always mention the exact industry the position is in, expound on your strong qualities in relation to the position and describe what you hope to accomplish. I actually have an formula I call the “objective sandwich” that I use: To obtain a position in INSERT INDUSTRY HERE that allows me to use my INSERT SKILLS AND ABILITIES in order to INSERT A CAREER ASPIRATION HERE. For example, “To obtain a position in elementary education that allows me to use my communication and classroom leaderships skills to encourage students to be passionate about math and science.”
- Put the most important and relevant information at the top of the page. If your chances of getting a position is heavily based on your work experience then that’s what future employers should see first. If you don’t really have any work experience and want employers to focus on your shiny new masters degree, then put that on the top.
- When discussing your experience, back it up with firm facts and numbers. Instead of “organized an event that allowed residents to meet with their legislators” it might be more effective to have “organized a town-hall event for 100 residents which required securing 5 state legislators as panelists.”