So you’re in high school and you’ve decided you want to try your hand at making a few bucks by making an honest living. Maybe you’re a college student that’s about to graduate and you’re about to embark on a career path that can shape the rest of your life. It could also very well be that you were let go from a job due to cutbacks and you’re looking to get yourself back into the game. In any case, you’re going to want to draft a killer résumé to get someone’s attention.
In most cases, a résumé is the first thing that an employer will see when you apply for a position. If the company you have eyes on is like most companies, then the HR representatives will be overworked and not have a lot of time to sift through hundreds of possible applicants that want the position. On average, employers spend about five seconds scanning a résumé before moving on to the next one. This means that you need to make yours stand out. How do you do this?
An employer is going to look for people with qualifications specific to the job they need filled. If half of your résumé talks about the award-winning technique you used to flip a burger at “Joe’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Beef” fast food restaurant and the job you’re applying for is related to going into outer space, there’s a good chance your résumé will be tossed aside. You can make your résumé stand out by focusing on the job you are applying for, using keywords found in the job description without making it too obvious. Cutting and pasting the job description of the job you’re applying for into your resume, for example, would possibly be construed as a little too obvious.
What happens however if you are one of those people who have worked various jobs over thirty years and don’t have enough room to list all of the relevant work experience? It’s OK not to list everything. Use your most recent work experience and work your way back so as long as they are relevent to the job you are applying for. What if you’re just starting out in life and don’t have any relevent work experience? List ANY experience or education related to the job you’re applying for, including volunteer work and internships.
You can make your résumé stand out in other ways as well. You might be convinced that everyone likes the works of Pablo Picasso, but surprisingly the easier the résumé is to read the greater the chance someone will look at it. It’s all about eye candy. This doesn’t mean opening clip art and putting unicorns all over the place, it means styling your résumé into a format that is pleasing on the eyes. Multicolored Old English font would not be considered eye candy.
I personally use bullet points instead of paragraphs. It forces me to focus my sentences to convey more information using fewer words. I found that it also makes my résumé look organized and assists with using an appropriate amount of white space. You don’t want text to be jammed together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it makes it unreadable.
I also aim to keep my résumé only one page long. Sometimes less is more.
…and sometimes it doesn’t matter, especially if you are Captain America.
3. Real Life Application
A résumé isn’t just all flash…you’ll need substance. Your résumé should tell the employer why you should be the one to be hired instead of one of the three others who applied for the same job. Applying for a job requires a little bit of experience in sales, after all, you are making a sales pitch. You’re trying to get the other guy to buy your services. It’s important to sell yourself and be confident of the skills you can bring forth to the position.
As I mentioned above, when drafting your résumé, you’ll want to make sure you cover whatever education and experience you have for the job you are applying for. HOW you list this information however is important. Any idiot can list out the things they claim to be good at. It’s better to relate your strengths as examples that show you had value to a prior company. Let’s say you are a recruiter for the ”Wookies, The Other White Meat” pirates guild and you’re looking for a new pilot. Would you hire the guy who’s résumé says, “Good pilot” or the guy who’s résumé said, “Flew an X-Wing down the trench of a Death Star and blew it up?” You’d be surprised how a little detail can make the difference.
Want your résumé to be laughed at? Go ahead and use “their” in place of “there” and place apostrophes ”wear” they ar’e’n’t””” needed. How is an employer going to trust you to write emails and communicate with other companies if you can’t get past third grade English? Out of all of the honors classes I took in high school, the subject I use the most in today’s world is English, which focused on reading and writing. Granted, engineers will use a lot of math and astronomers will want to pay attention in science, but in everyday life we write emails, communicate with others, blog, post updates on Facebook, and so on and so forth. It’s also very important not to use slang or jargon. You’ll want to brush up on how to use proper grammar or at the very least, have someone proofread your résumé before you finalize it.
5. Positive Conveyance
Like your interview, your résumé is not the place to trash talk a company you used to work for. It’s unprofessional and sends the message that you’re not afraid to make a scene when things don’t go your way. Most companies won’t hire a loose cannon, especially if the job is public relations. Keep your résumé positive and stay focused on selling YOU. For the record, including a picture of you with your résumé giving the camera a big cheesy thumbs up is not considered positive conveyance.
Though wouldn’t it be awesome?
Most companies will want to know who they are hiring before they do. This means background checks on both your education and previous jobs. Seriously, don’t lie on your résumé. Most companies will find out if you’re lying, whether it’s by doing research or when asking you to perform a task you said you had experience with but really don’t. Employees that can’t be trusted, at the very least, miss out on promotions and in worse case scenarios get fired.
Most companies require work and personal references. Save yourself some time and draft a separate sheet that contains three personal and three work references. Be sure to get permission from your references before listing them so that they aren’t surprised by a mystery phone call from people who want to know more about you. Drafting this separate sheet ahead of time will save you from getting headaches for when you need them in a hurry. When you are drafting your list, be sure to include company names, personal names, job titles, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
8. Cover Letter
I find that a cover letter is a great way to expand on your résumé, especially when you need a little more room to work your magic. Some companies require it anyway, however I still include a cover letter for the companies that don’t. It’s a great way to list your goals, your interests in the company, and to summarize your skills. A good cover letter could make or break being selected for an interview. If you don’t know how to write a cover letter or a professional letter, there are many templates available in Microsoft Word and on the Internet. It’s very easy nowadays to draft a cover letter using the available technology, just don’t fall into the trap of letting it look like everyone elses. Give it your personal touch to make it stand out among the rest, just don’t go overboard.
Just because “C” is for Cookie doesn’t mean that the Cookie Monster belongs on your cover letter.
There you have it folks. Keep in mind that realistically you won’t always get the job but it’s still important to maintain the “go get ‘em tiger” attitude. You’ll also want to update your résumé on a regular basis so that you don’t forget to add anything important that may have happened recently. Listing that you scored big by landing a particularly large account or winning employee of the month and earning a gold scratch ‘n sniff star might make the difference on your next job interview.
For your viewing pleasure, I’ve added a sample résumé below as an example of what NOT to do. Enjoy!
Vincent “The man that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about” Paone
12345 That’s The Same Combination On My Luggage Drive
Who’s The Man, I’m The Man, (Insert Zip Code Here – I Don’t Know It)
This is where I’m putting my summary for you, the employer, to take note. I wish to convey to you my summary. My summary is that I’m a hard worker. Hard workers work very hard. I also like cookies. They are tasty. My favorite is Oreo. The trick is to twist the cookie part away from the filling so that it doesn’t tearing. Fortune cookies are okay too, but you have to break those, because that is how they make them. They can’t put messages tho inside Oreo cookies because the filling would ruin the message. What if you couldn’t get the Oreo cookie cover part thingy off the filling? You’d have to eat the message if you wanted the cookie. I am not sure if your digestive thingy system could handle paper messages but if they couldn’t you I guess could read the message after it came out but I suppose youd only feal like doing that if your horridscope said it was OK. I am a Taurus buy the way. Tauruses are said to be hard workers, pleeze keep this in mind when reviewing this summary.
Here is an example of an Oreo cookie but I ate part of one.
I learnt English from coloring books. I remember being home skooled sometimes but my mama said that reading books could only get you so far and that sometimes you had to show a little cleavage to get what you want. I no she meant well as she was under a lot of pressure breastfeeding my younger sister up to the age of 5 so I dont blame her.
My mamma said I had a gift for maths.
When I was younger I used to play with putting those shape blocks inside the shape holes. I think being an acc…account…number person would be great because I’m good at fitting things where they don’t belong. I remember once that circle piece wouldn’t go in the square hole so I took a hammer and eventualy jammed it thro. I also danced with my cousin in the Bowling for Jesus tournament and we won first place. She was a second cousin so it’s not like it was incest or anything like that. If you are reading this and are female be warned, I am quite the hot stud of the muffins. Muffins are tasty too, if you don’t overcook them. Oreos don’t need cooked though some people bake them and I don’t get that. I have a hard time getting the Oreos out of the toaster so I think its more truble than what its worth. Oreos are black and white and so that should tell you that I am not a person who discriminates. People who eat Oreos can’t be racist, my mamma taught me that. People in Star Trek cured racism so they probably ate a lot of Oreos. I once wrote a letter to Gene Roddenberry telling him not to fire phasers anymore and to use Oreo bombs instead to make all the bad people good but I never heard back. It probably got lost in the mail, my mailman often loses things. He once tripped and fell on my mamma but it turned out it was lucky because my sister was born nine months later. You are out of luck tho if you drop an Oreo and its on the floor longer than three seconds. Maybe if an Oreo fell on another Oreo I’d be able to make more Oreos but I never could get that to work.
I probabbly just wasn’t doing it right. These are Oreos in case you forgot already what they lookked like.
C O N C L U S I O N :
I’m awesome and I think you should hire me. Bye for now.