Developing a résumé is the first step in any successful job search. The average résumé is written out of necessity: Everyone knows you have to have one to get a job.
In fact, most employers require a résumé before accepting any application, regardless of the position or its pay. You need a résumé, and you need it now. Time is of the essence in today’s job market.
While hundreds of jobs come open every day, their average life span — and your window of opportunity — has now become a matter of weeks. Employers can’t afford losses in productivity, so they need to fill open positions as quickly as possible.
That means opportunities can (and most certainly will) arise unexpectedly. You must be prepared for anything at any time. Having a résumé handy from the outset of a job search enables you to take advantage of what may come along the way.
When you’re hunting for a job, the résumé is your introduction. An effective résumé gets employers interested in making person-to-person contact with you.
Research suggests that most résumés are scanned very quickly — for less than a minute. Thus, the decision to interview a candidate is usually based on an overall first impression of him or her.
The résumé must clearly, concisely and strategically present your qualifications, and show how you can help employers solve the problems they currently face in their business. In short, you must prove your worth as a potential employee in order to progress to the interview stage of the job search.
Your résumé is one way of communicating the value you offer a perspective employer and of differentiating yourself from the field of job seekers.
Therefore, your résumé needs to convey three things to those who read it:
- You have the skills, talent and personal qualities to accomplish those things that are important to an employer.
- You have a history of training, accomplishments and/or experience to substantiate this claim.
- You will be an asset to the organization insofar as you facilitate its operations, have positive work attitudes and get along with others.
- The résumé is part employability profile and part promotional device. To write effective résumés, you must learn how to write powerful yet subtle advertising copy. You have to sell yourself.
Remember: Employers are hiring you, not a piece of paper. Think of the résumé as a personal advertisement, which promotes you and what you can do — those qualities enabling you to produce tangible results in the workplace.
This résumé-writing guide is intended to help you sort out, clarify and describe your qualifications to prospective employers. It is designed to help you think about and address employers’ real needs so that you can convey to them how and why you’re a truly exceptional candidate for the job.
Contact information (Name, address, phone number, e-mail, fax number)
Directions: Please fill out your contact information, as you want it to appear at the header of your résumé. Look over the information you’re giving carefully — every letter and digit counts!
- In most cases, it’s best to use your legal name, which is the one that appears on your school records and social insurance card. You don’t want to confuse employers by using several versions of your name, and you want them to be able to readily access your records from previous employers, educational institutions, etc.
- The phone number you list is important. This is how employers contact you. Therefore, it is advisable to give a number where you can be reached, either in person or by machine, between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. You don’t want employers to discard your résumé because they can’t reach you.