Although the résumé and CV are quite different in format and usage, there are certain things that you need to make sure of prior to submission. Consider the following five questions when crafting your résumé or CV:
1) Does it speak to your needs or to the needs of the employer?
Often, jobseekers will open up with an objective that reads something like this: “Seeking a challenging position as a Software Engineer with the possibility of career advancement.” As the hiring manager, why would I contact you? Don’t focus on yourself and your career goals; instead talk about how your qualifications can assist the employer in meeting his/her goals. For example, a dietitian may say something like: “Professional Dietitian with a strong desire to provide patient education in relation to compliance with protocols for prescribed treatment plans based on medical diagnoses. Possess tools to assist patients, clients and community members in making appropriate nutritional choices to support their health goals. Highly motivated, caring and able to build rapport and develop relationships with patients in order to assist in increasing their ability to lead healthy lives.” How much more does this speak to the needs of the employer, as well as how well you would fit within the organization?
2) Is it free of technical errors?
Grammatical and spelling errors are deadly to your job search! Please note that the image you project through your résumé or CV is the only impression you get to make at this point. Only if you pass this level of screening, will you have the opportunity to make an impression in person. Lack of attention to detail in this area will make employers assume that you are careless or sloppy in your work ethic. Check once for spelling, once for accuracy (numbers, dates, etc.), once for missing/extra words, then have someone else check it for you. Continue revising until it is 100% error-free.
3) Is it targeted toward the particular position you are seeking?
This is where most people make the biggest mistakes. One resume cannot fit all positions. Imagine this: You are looking for a girlfriend, and you approach a young lady and say, “I am looking for whatever I can get. I just want a girlfriend.” Will she be attracted to you? Will she feel like you really wanted her? This is how employers feel when you submit a one-size-fits-all résumé or CV for a position, without tailoring your experiences to their particular needs.
4) Is it a “laundry list” or a “record of results?”
Focus on results and achievements rather than duties. While it’s important to tell the reader what you did at each job, it’s far more important to spend most of your time talking about what you accomplished and how you made yourself valuable to past employers. Even the most mundane tasks can have great significance. Consider: “Filed paperwork” vs. “Ensured timely filing of student loan applications and FAFSA verification forms, contributing to the smooth processing of students’ financial aid awards.” This is not lying or embellishing; it is merely expanding the description of your duties to highlight their impact.
5) Do you have an internet-ready version?
If you have to post your résumé or CV online, or if you are using an internet job board, you will need to convert it to an internet-friendly format (e.g. text-only, PDF, etc.). Otherwise, your résumé or CV will be almost impossible to read. Many online systems are not able to read bold lettering, italics, etc., so your print-ready formatting will be lost in translation. With many employers reviewing hundreds of applications, yours will not be given a second thought if it is not formatted correctly.
During a job search, your résumé or CV is the first chance you get to make a good impression. At this point, employers do not have the opportunity to see you or engage your wonderful personality. Your résumé or CV must make a compelling sales pitch, often in 20 seconds or less. Take the time to perfect it, and you will see an immediate increase in your response rate.
If you have a specific career transition question, or if you would like to suggest a topic, please leave a comment below.
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