Part of the job search (okay, a huge part of the process) is providing potential employers with a resume. Not always easy or fun, at this point in time, it’s still the way things are done.
So here is a quick countdown of the things that MUST be included on your resume:
- Your contact information. This includes your name, a phone number and an email address. Debates have raged for years about whether one’s address is essential. I am weighing in with my opinion – no. You don’t need to include your address- it is not relevant. As long as people can reach you, no need for your address.
- An objective. The jury is always out on this. Some people say you don’t need this. My opinion – when I am reading a resume (and I have read LOTS of them) I like to know what I am reading. An objective (or focus statement or goal or summary) gives me the guidance – “okay, so Candidate B is applying for the BLANK position”. This is helpful and goes a long way.
- Your skills – matching what the employer is looking for. That’s right. You need to customize your resume to each individual opportunity. A job post is the employer’s wish list. Don’t freak out (and don’t NOT apply) if your skills and experience don’t match exactly what you see on the posting. If you have about 80% of what the employer is looking for – go for it!
- Follow the rules. If the posting indicates the resume must be sent in a particular format, provide it that way. Most times a Word document (doc or docx) is appropriate; or RTF (rich text format). Be careful of spacing – before you send your resume to the potential employer try sending it to yourself first to see what happens to the formatting. You can always use a PDF (as long as the posting indicates this), which ensures the formatting will remain intact.
- Answer the question so what…before you put something on your resume ask yourself “so what?” So what difference did it make? So why is it going to matter to my potential employer? Remember there are three reasons employers hire: to attract more customers, to keep customers and make money; you need to show how you can help. Always keep that in mind where you are including something on your resume.
- Use your resume to show off your brand. I know you are probably bored (and maybe even a little bit annoyed) by this “branding” idea. But bear with me…when you show the potential employer just what you have to offer them, they will appreciate this. When you show your creativity, personal style, critical thinking skills, you are showing who YOU are.
- Don’t throw your hands up in despair if you are graduating from post-secondary education and believe that you don’t have anything to include. If you have been in a group or club or some type of extracurricular activity (physical, mental or otherwise), volunteered- whatever – it’s all good. You just need to make sure that your potential employer can see this.
Sometimes you hear about a resume that may make you feel vastly inadequate. Like this one for Airbnb. Don’t panic. Resumes don’t have to be like that. Be yourself. Be true to yourself. And know yourself. Know what you can offer and how you can add value to the organization. And know that even though resumes are not black and white, they can still be good or bad. Stay tuned for next week’s post looking at the don’ts of resumes. Trust me, it’ll make you laugh and think twice about including certain things on your resume.