If you’ve read my blog for at least a month, you’ll know that I despise resumes. They are important and the standard documents for recruitment, but they don’t do anyone justice. Colleges need to stop passing out standard templates because, let’s face it, students are more interested in partying than developing a resume to get a job. Even if their intent is great, the aftermath is thousands upon thousands of students with the same looking resume and similar experience. Well today it’s time to break resumes down and tell you how to use them for differentiation.
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10 tips for effective resumes
1) Design your brand. Instead of using a standard template, use a branded template. A brand you template! If you have Microsoft Word or another word processing program, then you might notice shapes and colors at the top. If you don’t already have a website, blog, business card, etc, then you need to think about what colors you want to use, as well as what type of job you’re applying for. In the picture below, a woman is applying to be a “Cosmetic Nurse Specialist.” At the top of her resume, she has a picture of someone putting cosmetics on a patient. The rest of the resume has shades of pink. The resume comes off as “soft” and “gentle,” with the colors, picture and shapes used. To me this is effective.
2) Don’t use your picture. I agree with my friend Chris Russell that pictures can’t be on resumes (even though I’d love to put mine on it). A personal photo is a distraction. Recruiters give you about 30 seconds to impress them with your experience and you don’t want 10 of those seconds to be eyes on your picture do you! Don’t come off as someone who is trying to get a job because of your looks. Companies are scared to deal with your picture because of discrimination laws and lawsuits.
3) Links rock. I haven’t seen many resumes with links EVEN from people that have blogs, social network profiles and other websites. It blows my mind! Why not have a link to your site. If the recruiter likes your resume or has further interest in your credentials, a link acts as a supplemental piece of marketing that will help you sell yourself without saying one word.
4) Experience trumps education. Don’t believe for a second that your degree and “deans list” on your resume is going to get you a job. Recruiters are starting to discount GPA for resumes! Listen, a resume is all about showing recruiters that you have had proven success, eliminating risk on the companies part. In life, experience is everything and if you don’t have it, you will leave to lean towards your education. Make a point to put your work experience in the top part of your resume because that’s what employers really care about.
5) Show some class. The quality of paper you use shows how serious you are about the position and can be used as a differentiator. Purchase quality paper and print your resume using it because more applicants use standard printer paper.
6) Create the multimedia you. How much information can you really get from a stupid resume? Not much. I’ve written about video resumes a lot and believe in them, as long as you are passionate, energetic and have some showmanship. If you plan on videoing yourself sleeping or eating chocolate than you might want to reconsider.
7) Get Linked-In. This is another topic I’ve touched on without a dedicated post. LinkedIn is a resume, cover letter and reference list all in one, which makes it exceptional. It is a virtual resume, with the same fields as a typical resume. It is a cover letter because you have space to explain where you’re at in your career, what you want to be and summarize your qualifications. It is a reference list because it’s searchable by recruiters and you can endorse others (managers, peers, etc).
8 ) Grow it. A resume is useless if it shows the brand you from 1938. You need to constantly update it as you grow, finish projects, switch organizations, etc. Always keep it up-to-date so it represents the “present brand you.” Feel free to grow your resume online as well, by creating a webpage dedicated to it or blending it onto a blog. I’ve seen people add social media elements(Facebook, Digg, Flickr, etc) to resumes such as Christopher Penn and Bryan Person, who have sharing features. Think about it this way; if someone finds your resume and has heard of an opening at a different company, they might share it using a social media tool!
9) Summarize it. If I were recruiting someone for a position I wouldn’t care about a resume. I’d ask for your blog, but for everyone else, I think a summary of your credentials is very very important. At the top of your resume, I’d like to see 3-4 sentences that showcases all your top achievements and your career objectives.
10) Customization. Aside from customizing your resume to fit your brand, you need to tailor it to the position your gunning for. The resume below is for a Oracle Certified Professional. Think about it, if you are branded as this type of expert, won’t it be clear to recruiters immediately once they see this resume? Aside from this, you should use keywords and experiences that match the position you are trying to fill.