As anyone entering or re-entering the job market knows, it can be a difficult and daunting task. Whether you are a recent college graduate, a mother returning to the work force after raising children, one of many recently laid-off workers or are looking for a career change, you need a professional, well-written resume. Tailoring your resume to a specific job market is key. The average employer receives hundreds of resumes on any given week and devotes an average of just 7 seconds before deciding to read further or place it in the dreaded slush pile. The competitive job market makes it essential to have an effective resume.
Most people are familiar with resumes. They’re basically outlines that summarize someone’s work history, experience (personal and/or professional) with corresponding dates. There are different types of resumes, chronological and functional being the most popular. Chronological resumes are ideal for people with a fair amount of work experience because they list past employers in sequential order. You’ll end up with a pretty short resume with little to no work experience listed in this format if you’re new to the job market. If you’re changing careers this format won’t show potential employers that you possess the skills required for your chosen new field. Functional resumes are better suited for this purpose because they focus on your abilities, related skills and strengths. You still list your past employers but they are listed at the bottom of the resume page.
The ideal resume should be one page, but no more than two. As mentioned before, employers sifting through resumes don’t have time to read lengthy resumes. A succinct, concise resume that gets a potential employer’s attention is critical. If writing is not your forte, don’t despair. There are many books written on the subject. A quick online search will lead you to the many resume writing services available to job seekers. A qualified resume writer can create a professional resume for you. Prices vary, but the cost can be well worth it.
Once you have your resume written don’t think it’s time to sit back and relax. Your newly created resume is now your best piece of advertising. Don’t wait to send out your resume only when applying to jobs you’ve seen and read about in your local paper. Upload your resume to online job search sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Employers regularly make a habit of searching these sites while looking for qualified candidates. Sign up for a free blog site and include your resume in your blog pages, then Tweet about it or share it on your Facebook page.
Don’t forget about writing a cover letter to go along with your resume. A carefully crafted cover letter tailored to each and every job you apply for will help potential employers know who you are and how you can be an asset to their company before they even get to your resume. After the interview, it’s also a good idea to send a thank you email to the interviewer. Let them know you appreciated the time they took to interview and consider you for the position. This leaves a good impression with employers and could very well move you to the top of the candidate list.
Your resume should reflect who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to be in the future. Your job search, in effect, becomes your primary job and should be viewed as such. Setting out blocks of time to accomplish tasks such as re-working your resume, making cold calls and sending email queries, perusing the want ads, networking with friends and acquaintances and basically marketing yourself is time well spent.