27 August 2008

Selling Yourself with a Powerful Resume

Can your resume grab someone's attention for more than 10 seconds? No, you don't know, and may not even know. But, why only 10 - 15 seconds? Can't it be longer? Well, that's how long a hiring manager would pay attention to anyone's resume and cover letter.

Whenever there is a job vacancy, there will be hundreds of applicants. A 10-15 second is better than none! No hiring manager is not going to read the resumes word by word. Your resumes are like advertisements. You are selling yourself to get an interview.

Like advertisements, you need to highlight your strengths, competencies and quantifiable accomplishments in order to grab the interviewer's attention. You need to answer the question every hiring manager has in his mind - ‘Why should I hire you?'

How you write a good copy of resume and use it over and over again is important. All the resumes need to have powerful messages. Customize the messages in your resumes each opportunity. Use industry-specific words or phrases in your resumes.

Convey to the readers your experience and accomplishments to demonstrate that you do have the expertise. Then, keep your message short and simple, but powerful. If you think interviewers like long resumes with boring information, then you are wrong.

Many resumes ended in the waste baskets everyday. Companies are always in a hurry to hire and there are many applicants to choose from. Every hiring manager has limited time to choose the best candidate, the one who can answer, "Why should I hire you?"

Readers can easily detect the image you are trying to portray in your resumes and cover letters. So, be professional.

A powerful resume should contain these elements:

Profile or summary :

This is a very important part. You write it to provide an overview of your personality and experience. Your message here must be short, simple but powerful. You need to capture your reader's immediate attention. It can be written like this:

- ‘Experienced, result driven, high profile corporate management coach known for consistently delivering exceeding expectations'

- ‘Meticulous, results-oriented, dedicated and accomplished consultant with a proven track record of achieving significant objectives'

Accomplishment or achievements :

Include in this section a bulleted section of your quantifiable accomplishments and results. This is also the part where you can hard-sell yourself. Grab the reader's attention using positive quantifiable descriptions such as:

- reduced expenses by 25% - increased annual revenues by 45%

Expertise or skills :

Be specific in this section. Do not simply state some general skills and ask the reader to guess. Use words/phrases that describe you area of expertise. Get clues from the job descriptions of the advertisements to help you. Make sure you are using the correct words/phrases for each opportunity you desire.

Education :

Include the pertinent education that is relevant to the opportunities. If you have no working experience, you can expand this section by listing some of the courses you have attended. However, if you have some working experience, limit this section to only what is important.

Work experience:

This is the list of different jobs you have had. You may need to provide objective details about your duties (main responsibilities) for each of the position listed.

You can organize the information according to the date or category. You do not have to start your resume with an objective. Your profile has described you well. Putting an objective on your resume can really limit your opportunities.

An objective specifies that you are only interest in that particular position only. The hiring manager may not pass your resume to another department which may give you the opportunity you need.

Another element which you do not have to include in your resume is references. It is enough to include the statement - ‘References available upon request'. If you are applying for certain senior positions, you may need to include references. However, include the list of references on another sheet of paper.

Follow these few rules when you write your resume:

Brief, clear and drive to the point

- Do not use long descriptive sentences which can cause confusion.

Objective and quantifiable

- Write factual statements with simple but powerful messages

Action oriented

- Use more action words to bring your experience to life and get you noticed.

Easy to read

- Do not include too much information. Interesting and relevant information will do.

Short (One to two pages only) - This is important as all hiring managers have only 10 - 15 seconds to scan through every resume. If you can create interest in anyone in that short time, you do not need a long resume.

Relevant to the position applied

- The information provided must be relevant to the position applied only. Hiring managers know what type of candidates they want. So, do not try to show off by including all unnecessary information.

Include only sensible information

- Do not list these items : expected salary, weaknesses, or any of your IQ results!

Internet ready

- Create resumes that you can send to the prospect companies by emails. Use ‘text only' format. You can also convert your resumes into PDF files so that the format stays when it is viewed by the readers.

Attention grabbing

- If your resume is an advertisement, it must be able to capture at least 10 -15 seconds of the reader's attention. If your resume is not getting any response, it is time to review and rewrite it.

Reviewed and edited by someone else

- Ask someone to give you the feedback to your resume. If there are criticisms, good, re-edit it. Be careful with spellings and typo-errors. Do not allow the readers to laugh at you because of a silly mistake. Edit it a few times until you can produce a good and powerful resume. You can use bullets and simple paragraphs when writing your resumes. Just do not overdo it.

Good and well written resumes can open the door to many interviews. You can also refer from so many books on resumes in the market. So, start writing your resume now!

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