Great Resumes Make Amazing First Impressions

The first document a potential employer sees about you is your resume – and it needs to be the finest proof of who you are as both an individual and as a professional. Here’s some tips on getting it right . . . and getting noticed.

There’s no doubt that you’ve taken plenty of time assembling your resume. This is one of the first pieces of evidence that your potential new employer is going to see about you, and this early stage is when, where and how you want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

Unfortunately, an incredible amount of misinformation exists when it comes to constructing a quality resume. And the higher the job level, the more confusing it seems to be. The goal, most every recruiter and talent acquisition expert agree on, is to produce a well-polished document that easily organizes who you are and concisely showcases what you’ve accomplished.

It is likely that those with the best resume to hand out have spent the greatest amount of time putting it together. Nevertheless, the harsh truth is this: few employers are going to take the time to read your resume thoroughly (at least not the first time through). So you have to make a solid impression right up front. Grab the reader in the first few seconds and you’ve got them! Lose the reader at this point and there’s little hope your great credentials will be considered carefully.

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In this brand new episode of ‘Talent Talks,’ we tackle ‘How to Interview in the Digital Age’ with Ted Pryor, managing director of Greenwich Harbor Partners. According to Mr. Pryor, technology is rapidly changing the way we work, but it’s also changing the way we interview, something many executives haven’t done in years. 

There’s essentially two effective ways to organize your information and to make it look professional.

  1. Chronological Resumes

This is one of the most common options when it comes to organizing the information you are including on your resume. To do it correctly, you are starting with your most recent employment (job titles included) and working your way backwards through all of your employment and education experiences. This will really aid you if you have an established track record of working within a particular field as it renders your smooth advancement through its ranks.

This is a great choice in resume organization if:

  • You are someone who is attempting to find employment within the same field as your prior work experience.
  • You have shown signs of advancement in your field through the years.
  • Have a stable working history without unexplainable gaps.
  • Previous employment opportunities have provided job titles your new employer lists as requirements for hiring.
  1. Functional Resumes

Unlike chronologically ordering your information, functional resumes rely more on highlighting the specific abilities and skill sets that make you appealing to the employer.

This also helps you to direct attention away from damaging things like employment gaps or jobs that do not relate to the field you are currently pursuing.

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Functional resumes are ideal for you if:

  • Your skills and abilities are a great match for the position.
  • You have large, unexplainable gaps in your working history.
  • You are returning to work after a lengthy absence.
  • You are a recent graduate, have limited work experience, or are completely changing career paths.
  • Your work experience isn’t exclusively relevant to the field you are applying in.

These are just two of the common ways to organize your information on a resume. Regardless of the one you chose, there are some important pieces of information that have to be included on your polished, final version:

CONTACT INFORMATION – Your contact information is crucial for your resume. If you have a great resume for potential employers, and they want to hire you, you will never get the job if they can’t get in touch with you quickly. Do not overlook this important element.

WORK HISTORY – While you might not have all of the most relevant experience every time, any employer wants to know that you are reliable, that you are willing to work and that you’re honest. Have the right dates, the right job titles, and any other pertinent information for each place of employment.

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Be on time. Do your research on the company. Ask insightful questions. If that sounds like the generic advice you’d receive from Googling, “How to Nail a Job Interview,” you’d be right. But that advice may also leave you out in the cold if that’s all do to secure your dream job.

EDUCATION HISTORY – Employers want to know the education you’ve had and the training you’ve received. This is a good opportunity to list any relevant certifications and accreditations you’ve accrued throughout your employment history.

PERSONAL PROFILE – Take a moment to highlight your abilities and the things that make you a great fit for the specific position you are applying for.

SKILLS – Don’t get carried away listing all of the things that you’ve learned to do in your life, but take a moment to list out the things that are relevant to the employer that sets you apart from others seeking this same position.

Remember, above all else: be honest with every word you put on your resume. Employers are going to check out your details, so it really never benefits you to lie on your resume. If the fact that fraudulent behavior in your resume is illegal isn’t enough motivation not to do it, remember that you will not get hired by any company that catches you not telling the truth.

Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor

Contributed by Melissa Page, an award-winning career coach, author and career consultant. Since 2002, Melissa has been providing professional resume services to clients from various industries. From time to time she also reviews resume services online. The reviews can be found here

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