Let's Talk About Your Resume
Much more than a summary of your education and work experience, your resume is the primary tool with which you market yourself.
A great resume will most likely be the reason a prospective employer selects you for the interview rather than someone else, and it’s what you leave behind after the first interview is complete.
During your job search, your resume is both the digital and paper version of you.
Your Resume Format and Style:
- You should have both a Microsoft Word doc and a PDF version of your resume available.
- Keep your format simple, clean and consistent.
- Use standard fonts and font sizes, black text and a white background.
- Use indents rather than tabs.
- Do not add lines, photos or artwork.
- Keep bolding and italics to a minimum.
- Do not add hidden keywords.
Your Resume Length:
During the “Apply Now” phase, you should try to limit your resume length to one page if possible.
However, candidates with ten or more years of experience relating to their field or type of job they are seeking, or anyone whose expertise or field requires a more detailed account of job skills and experience, can use a two-page resume in order to allow enough space to include all of the pertinent information.
Your Resume Content...
What should you cut?
What is missing?
What is important?
What is not?
These are important questions to examine next.
What to add or cut?
In your efforts to manage your resume’s length, don’t take too many liberties between your resume and your background in reality.
Be 100% prepared during the actual face-to-face interview with a prospective employer, or when filling out an employment application, to complete what was shortened or left out on your resume so you provide an accurate record of your employment history.
Today, most companies, including JobGiraffe, perform extensive verifications and errors in dates and/or the omission of past employers may cost you the offer.
Here are some other tips on what to include – and what not to:
Add an objective? For people just entering the workforce or changing careers or fields, an objective provides a great opportunity to highlight the type of position you are interested in.
Add reference information? For the purpose of securing a first interview indicating references are "available upon request" is sufficient. Once you enter the interview and application phases, employers will expect a list of references, so have them ready and be certain to confirm that the references you list are agreeable to providing a reference for you - and how best to contact them.
Add hobbies and interests? Your passion for fly-fishing is nice, but it is not important in the resume phase. Yet interests or involvement with charitable organizations, volunteerism or community service can be meaningful. If you do include this information, be prepared to discuss it and if not, be prepared for an interviewer to ask you to "tell them something about yourself". A well prepared answer can make a difference!
Have multiple resume versions? Some adjustment of your resume for specific submissions can be helpful, but don’t go too far. Prospective employers can tell when you have written your resume just to fit their job description, therefore too much “customizing” may knock you out. Plus, never load your resume with keywords or phrases from the job you are applying for.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation? It’s time for some JobGiraffe tough love; it’s up to you to proof your resume for spelling and punctuation errors and spell-check mix-ups. (There or their?) Absolutely NO spelling errors are acceptable on your resume.
You have a little more breathing room with grammar since much of what you write will not be in complete sentences and you may also take some liberties with punctuation, but remember, you are being judged entirely by your resume - take the time to make it right. If an employer has multiple candidates applying for one position, they may be looking for any reason to throw your resume in the “no” pile.
A Deeper Discussion on Accuracy and Honesty
We know that some candidates wonder if modifying their employment history may give them a better chance at getting an interview or sucuring a job offer.
JobGiraffe has been placing candidates for 50 years and no matter what type of job market we are in, we have learned the answer is always 'no'. Trust how open minded potential employers can be – and how marketable you can remain - as long as you tell the truth. Having too many jobs, short-term employment, gaps in employment or even being fired can be overcome if handled in a straight-forward, open and honest way. Oftentimes a candidate's willingness to confront difficult issues within their work history can turn the situation into a positive for getting the job, not a negative.
Here are some specific examples:
Education – Do not identify yourself as being a degreed college graduate unless you are 100% certain that your institution will verify it. Lying about educational achievement is one of the fastest 'knock-out' components amongst employers, recruiters and staffing companies today – especially JobGiraffe. We will check.
Four years of college is not the same as a degree. Two classes short is not the same as a degree. Still owing the University money and having an unavailable transcript is not the same as a degree. Most employers will accept the truth with no problem, but the lie will likely cost you the job.
Trade Schools and Certifications - The same rules apply; if it can’t be verified when the institution is contacted and/or if you don’t have the certificate and/or you cannot produce indisputable proof you completed the program successfully, don’t list it as completed.
Military Service – Make sure you list all of your information completely and correctly including dates of service, branch of the military, rank attained, training received and any awards or recognition you earned. Also be prepared that you will be asked to produce your DD214. Military service is something to be proud of and it is a valuable part of your work history but like employment and education, it will also be verified.
Employment History – As mentioned above, although you have a little latitude when listing previous jobs in the resume phase, do not omit jobs or adjust dates once you enter the interview and application phase.
You must be prepared to share your complete and accurate employment history with JobGiraffe and all prospective employers. Big discrepancies between your resume, your employment application and the reality of the verification results will eliminate your candidacy for certain.
After 50 years of experience in placing great job seekers with great companies, JobGiraffe knows the importance of a great resume. Following the advice above will help you to stand out above the crowd.
JobGiraffe – Reach Higher®