There are many important elements to a successful job search. To conduct an effective search, job seekers need a strategy, a marketing plan, an ‘elevator pitch’ and a positive digital presence. And despite the increasing importance of professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and the increased usage of social media for talent acquisition, at the end of the day an interview still consists of an interviewer and a candidate. For that reason, it is still important to have an effective résumé.
There is no such thing as the perfect résumé. There are a series of decisions to be made in creating a résumé, and those decisions will either make it more effective or less effective when compared with others. The most effective résumés successfully combine both style and substance, helping to create a powerful marketing document that tells the reviewer exactly how that applicant will solve a specific business problem, and increasing the chances of earning an interview.
Here are some key questions—focused on both style and substance—aimed at maximizing a résumés effectiveness:
· Is it up-to-date, covering the last ten years of employment history?
· Is it visually attractive, with a professional, easy to read format, and a modern, clean font?
· Was it created using Microsoft Word or Adobe software?
· Does it show your telephone number and e-mail address?
· Is it grammatically correct with no typographical errors?
· Is it concise and targeted to attract your ideal work?
· Does it document your work history with positions, places of employment, location and dates clearly listed?
· Is it optimized to be scanned easily by a recruiter and also by applicant tracking software programs?
· Is the ‘Summary’ section strongly written, encouraging the reviewer to read the balance of your résumé?
· Does it contain keywords relevant to the position that also highlight your experience and qualifications?
· Does it demonstrate a logical career progression with positions of increasing responsibility?
· Does it showcase critical skills, tailored specifically to address the business needs as listed in the position description?
· Does it use bulleted statements to highlight career accomplishments with quantified business results?
· Will it stimulate the questions that you want to answer in an interview?
· Does it answer the question, ‘Why should I hire you?’
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