517 Magazine Days of Giveaways

Crafting a Resume that Speaks to Employers

Content could make your career and success is in the details By Adam Lansdell Getting hired is a game of inches, and one small detail may separate you from the competition. A re…

Content could make your career and success is in the details

By Adam Lansdell

Getting hired is a game of inches, and one small detail may separate you from the competition. A resume, and likely your included cover letter, are your first impression and every minor detail is integral. Whether you’re just embarking on your career or are an industry veteran, opportunities never stop calling. Being prepared to take on the next big one is essential – but should you start when updating or crafting the perfect resume? Capital Area Michigan Works!, a network of resources for employers and career seeker, has the answers.

Go Custom

Each employer is looking for something different and as such, your resume should be tailored to fit. It’s important that you skim your resume for ways to increase the relevancy of your skillset and experience to better cater to the unique attributes your employee seeks.

“Customize it every time before you submit a resume to an employer,” said Teri Sand, Business Services manager at Capital Area Michigan Works!. “The only non-customized resume should be the one you attach to an electronic profile because you don’t know the requirements for a specific position for which a potential employer will view the resume.”

Speak their Language

According to Sand you need to create a clear understanding of what the employer is seeking and start from the top.

“Always start with the job description. Circle or highlight every minimum qualification listed in that posting for which you possess,” said Sand. “Make sure every one of the items you circled or highlighted show up in the resume. Use the employer’s words rather than your own if the terminology for a particular skill was worded differently in the posting than you would normally use. Only after you have included all of the circled/highlighted items in your resume should you consider adding your other skills, qualifications, experiences, volunteer work, etc.”

What to Avoid

In most instances, the style, layout and content included in your resume are subjective to the preference of the hiring manager or HR professional you’re submitting to, though standards do exist. Over time, resume styling has changed dramatically and if you haven’t updated your resume in quite some time it may be throw outdated practices or usher in modern features. These show you’re actively aware of the job market, competition and current practices and more importantly, strengthening your candidacy. 

According to Capital Area Michigan Works! these are the top things to avoid placing on your resume and the mistakes most commonly made.

  • Remove objective; the entire resume should speak to what you can do for the employer rather than what you want from the employer. An objective immediately screams outdated.
  • Eliminate sentences; use brief phrases that begin with action-oriented verbs

The One-Page Rule, Today

One commonly discussed rule you’ve likely heard is to keep your resume to a single page in length. The rule has worked as a benchmark for conciseness but many struggle to adhere to this advice, simply due to the wealth of experience or skills they want to display and the inability to decide what is or isn’t important. However, the debate continues.

“There is still a debate about whether a resume should be one page. Always start with the job description,” explained Sand. “Only after you have included all of the necessary items in your resume should you consider adding your other skills, qualifications, experiences, volunteer work, etc. If this process results in a multiple-page resume, make sure that 1) each page includes your name and page number and 2) you do not split the information within a category or bullet point across the bottom of one page and the top of the next page.”

Resume Mistake Checklist

Ask yourself the following questions before you submit your next resume. Refining the details can be the difference between landing the job or continuing the hunt. If you truly want the position, don’t cut corners.

  • Did you customize your resume before submitting it for a specific position?
  • Are there any spelling errors on the resume?
  • Have you crafted a customized cover letter to submit with your resume?
  • Do you remove the objective statement on your resume?
  • Have you included the employer’s language and skills necessary in your resume?
  • How long is your resume? Do you have room for additional skills, experiences or volunteer credentials?

Happy Hunting for your next job!

 

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