As you begin your employment search, one of the most important tools you will need is a résumé – that summary of your work history, skills, and experience that lets prospective employers know you’re the job candidate they’re looking for.
Let’s face it, your résumé is usually the very first thing an employer learns about you. That’s why
it’s essential yours is clear, concise, and does a good job selling your experience and abilities.
Your résumé should always include pertinent information that helps tell the story of “you.”
- Your contact information
- The job or position you seek
- Your skills and abilities
- Employment history
- Certifications, computer and/or language skills
- Volunteer and/or military experience you may have
The right résumé for you
There are three main formats to consider: Chronological, Functional, and Combination.
Chronological – list your work history in reverse order, beginning with your most recent job and then work back through your employment history. They’re easy to write and are a great way to emphasize a strong employment record.
Functional – focus more on core skills and abilities. If you’re going after a specific job and possess the required skills, this may be the one for you
Combination – not only emphasizes your employment record but also demonstrates how your skills and abilities have applied to previous work experience. These are the most common type.
Whatever the format, bear in mind more and more employers now require electronic résumés. Make sure your résumé is in text format or save your Word document as a PDF.
Once you’ve chosen a format, here some Dos and Don’ts to ensure yours is a strong as it can be.
Customize for each job application.
Cookie-cutter just won’t cut it. Make sure your résumé is tailored to the company or position you’re going for. This shows interest in that particular job rather than just a job.
Highlight your achievements.
Draw attention to relevant experience that showcases your ability to perform well in the job you seek. Emphasize what sets you apart.
Proofread. And proofread again.
Make sure your résumé is free from typos and spelling errors. This is your business profile. It should represent you in the very best light.
Inform listed references you’ve included them on your résumé.
This avoids possible unexpected phone calls from employers asking about your skills or character.
Don’t misrepresent your experience or education.
Trying to pump yourself up or pass yourself off as something-you’re-not can be disastrous on the job. Always be honest and factual about schooling, degrees and experience.
Don’t give reasons for leaving each past job.
No need bog down your résumé with a lot of explanations. Your record will speak for itself, especially if your job history shows longevity in past employment.
Don’t get too personal.
The résumé is just about “you the potential employee”, your experience, and ability to perform
Don’t state “References available upon request.”
This could backfire if an employer believes you have no references available. Including references indicates a level of seriousness and care employers will appreciate.
Don’t list any salary information.
It’s simply way too early in the hiring process to get into money. The résumé is really just the first step that gets your name out there and in front of hiring managers.
Getting a good job requires having a good résumé. Make sure you’re armed with one that looks professional, is error-free and targets each job you’re applying for.
So, get writing and good luck!
For more help on interview tips, job searches, job fairs, postings, training, and other valuable resources and services, explore this website or use the free Résumé Builder tool available on WorkInTexas.com.