CAREER CORNER: Your resume. Yes, it actually is important
You’ve often heard it said that your resume is very important when applying for a job. Is it actually important? Believe what you’ve heard…It’s true.
When organizations advertise vacancies, the Human Resources Department receives several resumes - sometimes upwards of 100 resumes for one position, the Recruiter must therefore review each resume and determine who will be invited for an interview, or who will not be considered for the position.
Your resume is therefore the first time the recruiter will “meet” you. Since the purpose of actually submitting your resume is to be interviewed (and to get the job) it is important that you ensure that you have a good resume… Make a Good Impression.
How do you make a good first impression? For recent graduates what you include in your resume will be different than someone who has had years of work experience. Regardless of the stage you are at in your career however, there are some key things of importance that you must bear in mind when preparing your resume:
Format. Although there are different formats that you can use when preparing your resume, it is strongly recommended that you use the chronological format, and that you list your most recent qualifications and experience first. The chronological format allows the recruiter to easily note your most recent level of education achieved and to review your most recent experience to date. Whether you list your education, experience or skills first is a matter of preference... just ensure however, that for each section you start with the most recent details first.
Duties and Accomplishments. When preparing your resume it is important to include the duties associated with each positon that you have held. It is not enough to simply state your job title and assume that the Recruiter will know the duties associated with each. Give details about your job, and how you contributed to the Organization achieving its goals. If you work(ed) in Sales & Distribution for instance, instead of merely stating that you sold goods to customers, make mention of the reduction in distribution costs that you were responsible for, the dollar value associated with your daily sales, the percentage of company targets that you met and how you contributed to the organizations bottom line.
Clubs & Societies. If you are, or were, a member of a Club or a Professional society include this in your resume, especially in the absence of significant work experience. The recruiter wants to know what your role was and your contribution to the clubs overall success. If you were a member of the fundraising committee for instance, and you coordinated the fund raising activities, increased donations, and raised funds to meet the clubs goals- include this in your resume. Making reference to clubs and societies helps the recruiter to know how you function in teams, which is crucial in today’s organization that relies heavily on team based activities.
Course Work & Projects. For recent graduates, if you have coursework and projects that relate to the job you are applying for it is important to include these on your resume. While it is not expected (or recommended) that you will list all your courses – it is important to list those courses and projects that allowed you to gain skills that are applicable to the position you’re applying for. If you were an Engineer student for example, and had to build machines, or design and test mechanical devices, then describe your project…the Recruiter will be interested in these details when reviewing resumes for Mechanical Engineer positions.
Your Professional Profile. Although optional, links to your professional website(s) like LinkedIn can also be included in your resume. Other links like blogs that you have may also be included. Including professional profiles allows the recruiter to get additional information about you that the resume may not contain. If you include links to websites however ensure that they are current and up to date.
A word of caution … When providing contact details avoid using unprofessional email addresses, and ensure that your contact details are current so that the Recruiter can actually get in touch with you- too often Recruiters try to contact candidates only to be greeted by network recordings. Also, avoid including high school details. The fact that you have a degree implies that you completed high school. The recruiter is more interested in what you have done since high school and your resume should focus on that. Before you submit your resume, have a colleague review it for you, and/or get professional help if you need to.
After you have submitted your resume- the next step in your job hunt is the interview. Although most persons are apprehensive about this stage, and it is natural to feel this way, there really is no need to be nervous. The Recruiter has invited you in for an interview because they want to meet you, and have hopes that you will join their team! Research the organization, prepare for the interview and engage in a meaningful conversation with the Recruiter.
…You’re now one step closer to getting your new job…Good Luck to you!
Malaika Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD scholar at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Workforce Development. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards.