New Year, New You: The Modern-Day Guide to Perfecting your Resume

As 2011 commences, here are five great resume tips to help rejuvenate your job search. Follow these tips to perfect your resume:

1.      Objective Versus Summary Statement

Everyone has the same objective, to get a job. Objective statements tend to be generic, so try writing a summary statement, one that highlights your skills and abilities.

Keep in mind that recruiters/hiring managers only take seven to ten seconds to review your resume, so you really want to capture their attention with this first statement.  Be sure your summary statement uses descriptive adjectives that highlight your experience as well as your education.

2.      Skills Section

Many hiring managers and recruiters filter through resumes by looking for “keywords”.  For example, a recruiter may search a resume database with the keyword, “CPT Coding”.  If “CPT Coding” does not appear anywhere on your resume, it will not be reviewed, resulting in a missed opportunity.  An easy way to add keywords to your resume is by adding a skills section.   Adding this grouping will allow you easily add keywords that highlight the knowledge and skills gained throughout your experience and education.

3.      Length

As mentioned earlier, recruiters typically take between seven to 10 seconds to scan a resume, so it is best to condense all of your information on one page.   To save space, refrain from adding the statement “References Furnished Upon Request”.  If an employer wants to conduct a reference check, they will ask you for contacts.  Another suggestion, is to shy away from providing more than 10-20 years previous work experience, as it takes up space and may no longer be applicable.

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4.      Keep it Professional

Your resume is your first line of support in finding employment—and in most cases—it is the first item an employer sees that represents you and your abilities.  It is important to keep in mind that “less is more”.  Do not include pictures or print on colored paper.  Use black, Times New Roman or Arial font, size 11 or 12.  This is especially important because information can be lost when your resume is uploaded into an Applicant Tracking System, which is a database many recruiters use to pull resumes from.  If you have incorporated pictures or are using untraditional font, your resume will not upload correctly, resulting in a missed employment opportunity.

5.      Grammar

Make sure that your tenses are consistent. You can use either use past tense or present tense, but keep it steady throughout your resume. Also, proofread, proofread, proofread!  While spell-check is a fantastic tool, it does not catch all errors.  Have a friend, family member, instructor, or career placement services Advisor review your resume before distributing to employers.  Remember, a resume is a reflection of the one who prepared it, so be sure you are putting your best foot forward!