Similar to an appealing ad or article, text presentation, design and format enhances retention, arouses curiosity and grabs interest. Remember, a resume is a marketing piece and many marketing / advertising precepts apply. One 12-point proportional font, for optimum readability, should be used (Times Roman and Arial / Helvetica are most popular) with careful highlighting using italics, bold, caps and small caps (not applicable to scannable resumes). White space, justification, effective indentations and centering, in the right mixture and combination, can convey powerful messages and effectively showcase your talents.
It is common to use the traditional chronological or functional format, which may not be appropriate for you. Templates supplied by major word processing software companies could be inappropriate: They are designed for mainstream job seekers that may be disadvantageous to you. For instance, a chronological or functional style may be ineffective for your type of background. As a marketing piece, your credentials should be conveyed persuasively using a hybrid approach, the most effective approach to maximizing your marketability.
- Overall Appearance & Graphics → 3 out of 5
- Printing Type / Style → 4 out of 5
- Use of White Space → 4 out of 5
- Text Balance → 3 out of 5
- Resume language is much like copy-writing, requiring well crafted concepts and ideas, inviting the reader’s emotional response, and conveying your message(s) clearly and persuasively. Action ‘verbing’ and ‘first person’ grammatical approach should be used. Use of the “third person” grammatical approach (i.e. he, she or referring to yourself as Mr. or Ms) or narrative style is now considered outdated and obtuse. Pronouns such as “I”, “my” and “me” are inappropriate.
- Many people confuse “tense” with “person”. For instance, “develops and manages” is not plural; it is a “third person” approach and would be considered incorrect. The correct approach should be “develop and manage” using a “first person” with an understood “I”. In other words, to test the grammatical approach, insert an invisible “I”.
- Concepts should be bridged, event sequences should be meaningful and substantive, and talents should convey a ‘I wish this person worked for me’ slant.
Typos, misspellings and syntactical errors are now inexcusable with the advent of spell-checking and grammar-checking features of popular software. However, they are not perfect and never will be. Your copy should be checked and then checked again. Your eyes can play tricks on you. It’s advisable to have another person check your spelling and sentence structure. An error here can cost you a job. If you use English as a second language, this is crucial.
- Grammar & Spelling → 3 out of 5
- Compelling Language → 4 out of 5
- Brevity → 4 out of 5
- Coherence → 4 out of 5
- Logical Sequence → 3 out of 5
- Appropriate → 4 out of 5
It’s imperative that a potential employer or recruiter can contact you immediately. Make sure your address and contact information is current and up-to-date. Often overlooked, job seekers fail to include their Email address, even if they have one, and frequently exclude work and cell / mobile telephone numbers. Employers and recruiters respect your confidentiality and will not disclose the reason why they are calling. Also, if you do not have an answering machine or voice mail at home, make sure that callers can leave a message on a pager or alternate number. Of course, always include area codes, and when appropriate, best times to call.
- Name, Address, etc. → 5 out of 5
Let your ego do all the work. Modesty is a virtue but it will not get you the job. If you don’t tell them how good you are, no one else will! There are only two reasons employers will hire you:
- You can either make them money, or
- You can save them money.
Tell them what sets you apart from everyone else. Many resumes — a common flaw — are “description” oriented, effectively describing functions, duties and responsibilities but fail to convey how well you have performed.
- Designed to Sell Ability → 3 out of 5
- Designed to Sell Experience → 3 out of 5
Praise yourself on your achievements and create a desire to want you. Similar to mating, present the right image for your type of background and employers will compete for your talents. Make it scream “hire me!”
Although it can be argued that organizational leadership positions, association memberships, athletic prowess, hobbies, interests and activities — no matter how old — are irrelevant, it can give “personality” to your resume and eliminate the one-dimensional presentation. Don’t be hasty in excluding this information. Unusual characteristics or non-career accomplishments can arouse curiosity and interest, the basis for an interview that can lead to a job. Remember, the most qualified candidate doesn’t get the job! You could be the least qualified candidate and if the “chemistry factor” is good, you’ll win the position. So, don’t be afraid to include non-career related information.
There is no more powerful device than a third party statement about your talents. Although never considered by most job seekers, this device can be extremely effective: It demonstrates immediately your skills and talents. Excerpting from written references, press releases, performance evaluations or articles referencing you, not only validates yours skills and talents but it makes a memorable impression. You can even quote a verbal accolade! This creative device, properly embedded in your resume, not only makes your resume more effective, but serves as a refreshing approach to presenting your talents. The reader of your resume commonly comments: “This is different and interesting. I want to meet this person.”
- Create Need to See You → 3 out of 5
- Sales or Profit Oriented → 4 out of 5
Quantify and measure your accomplishments and scope of responsibility. Use numerical digits in place of letters (increased sales $250,000 instead of increased sales two hundred and fifty thousand dollars). Numbers are visually more noticeable and memorable. Or, if numbers are small, use percentages. For example, increased sales 36% within 6 months (even though the sales increase amount was only $32,000). The effect of this type of presentation is dramatic.
Do you have a title that misrepresents you, or a title that is ‘out of sync’ with your next job? This is a lethal defect that can disqualify you from exciting opportunities. Why should an employer who has assigned an inappropriate title reduce your employability? For example, if a person has a title of “Administrative Assistant” but functions as an “Office Manager” be disqualified for an opportunity as an “Office Manager?” This is correctable, but you need to be careful and BakosGroup.com can show you how!
- Out of work? Showing that you are presently not working will reduce your candidacy dramatically! This can be corrected but you need to know how. BakosGroup.com can help you remove this lethal defect!
- Work for yourself? Entrepreneurs are considered too independent and uncontrollable, and employers don’t view your talents seriously! You’re viewed as a person who will steal their concepts or customers, or you will leave when market conditions change or improve. Employers simply have no interest in hiring an entrepreneur, but it’s correctable! BakosGroup.com can help.
- Your employer’s name. An industry-specific name of an employer can affect your candidacy! For instance, a job seeker who is seeking a corporate management opportunity but works as a crew leader for McDonald’s would be rejected. This can be changed but you need to know how, and BakosGroup.com can help.
- Age. Does your resume disqualify you because of your age? A well crafted resume can prevent this but you need to know how, and BakosGroup.com can help. Even if your resume is outstanding, not done correctly, “red flags” will surface and you’ll never get the chance to present your values over younger candidates. Yes, you can avoid the common “you’re overqualified” response and turn the interview into an offer. Alternately, the reverse age discrimination is also correctable. If you are a young person with outstanding talents and you are not “expected” to be at your level at your age, this, too, can be corrected. Why should any employer disqualify you because of your age based on their preconceived notion of age-appropriateness?
- You can show the depth of your experience without volunteering your age! To eliminate valuable experience while camouflaging your age is unnecessary. BakosGroup.com has a variety of solutions to show your extensive experience(s) and not trade-off on the age disqualifier. For instance, if you have experience in a discipline or industry that could date you, we have approaches to present these aggregated talents and remove the age disqualifier. You will never have to heed the “don’t go back more than 10 years” advice that reduces your marketability.
- Tenses. Despite the outdated rules of tense structure, you can mix present with past tenses in a resume. If you have completed a task or project, the event can be composed in past tense. If you have ongoing responsibilities, present tense is acceptable.
- Accomplishment Oriented → 3 out of 5
- Skill / Ability Transferability → 3 out of 5
Your resume can be interpreted in many different ways. One employer may find your resume interesting while another employer may deem it uninformative. Your goals and objectives must be versatile and meaningful to the potential employer. The art-form of packaging your unique configuration of skills, abilities, talents and credentials must be compelling and conveyed persuasively. Master Professional Writers can help you.
The 1-page resume myth has endured, extending controversy that plagues many job seekers. If your background requires more than one page to express your talents, why decrease your marketability based on the 1-page myth? BakosGroup.com conversely believes that if they read the first page and capture their attention, they will read the second page; if they don’t read the first page, they’ll never read the second page. Don’t subscribe to the 1-page myth if your credentials require more than one page to express your background. But beware, a concise and powerful, pithy presentation can make a big difference. Your writing style may unwittingly violate these benchmarks. More than a 2-page resume is usually reserved for academic opportunities or curriculum vitaes (usually referred to as a CV). If you have a list of presentations, publications, patents or other information, consider using an addendum, essentially creating a 2-page resume with an attachment.
That depends on what’s more important. You are probably inclined, based on your preconceived notion learned from school, to start your resume with your formal educational credentials. Not necessarily so. You may be conditioned to start your resume with your academic credentials because you were taught (brainwashed or predisposed) to begin your resume with this information. If your work experience is now more important than your educational credentials, your work experience is now more important, despite your belief that education should be first. As a marketing piece, this is absolutely essential. Resume real estate is at a premium: location, location and location of your talents can make a difference between a job and working at job searching.
Unfortunately, many job seekers believe that it should be no more than 10 years, effectively decreasing their marketability. You can include previously earned relevant skills and abilities and still not reveal your age! Done correctly, your resume would convey a multi-disciplined and multi-talented job seeker who would outperform other one-dimensional resumes. Also, don’t neglect to include leadership and organizational skills and other talents developed in school, associations and even some hobbies and sports.
Use of an objective is not wrong but there are more sophisticated alternatives that can grab attention and convey not only your objective but embody other relevant, attention-arousing information. This literary device is powerful and effective: It can present a refreshing alternative to the sophomoric, obituary-style approach to the presentation of your talents.
- Too Short or Too Long → 4 out of 5
- Support Objective → 3 out of 5
Does your resume convey a background that is relative to the potential employer. Buzzwords, keywords and language of your targeted industry, discipline or function must be coalesced in your resume.
Deadly, if you don’t do it right. Changing industries, functions or sectors (public and private) can be impossible if you do it wrong. From military / defense or human service to private sector can be challenging if done improperly. Private sector employers simply do not respect or relate to the talents of public sector job seekers. This can be corrected with the assistance of BakosGroup.com.