By Linda Burns
Linda Burns has over 15 years of experience as an Executive Assistant and PA in both the US and the UK, working for large international corporations as well as small businesses. She lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and their three cats.
With job applications and hiring having gone online, are resumes on the way out? Certainly not. Most company recruiters still wish to see a resume sent along with an online application, and when you do get an interview, the person you are interviewing with will also find it very helpful to have a copy in front of them.
A well-written résumé is key in helping you get your foot in the door. You will want to stand out from the crowd, in a good way. Developing the right resume formula isn’t as daunting as it seems if you use the following steps:
Consider the font type and size. Avoid fonts that are too “cutesy” or difficult to read. Stick with classic serif fonts such as Times New Roman or Garamond, and sans serif fonts such as Tahoma or Arial. Use a font size of at least 11 so your resume is easily readable. Pay strict attention to grammar and spelling, and use capitalization correctly. You don’t want prospective employers to pass you by because of easily corrected errors – and having errors in a resume indicates that you are not detail-oriented or even worse, don’t care about producing top-quality work. Be very judicious about using all caps and bolding – while they may be a good source of emphasis, do not overuse them - and don't use colors in fonts.
Instead of starting your resume with a career objective or a cliché-ridden career summary, consider a resume title instead. “Executive PA to the Vice President of North American Sales” tells a recruiter that you are an administrative professional, and will make them want to read further. After the title, add a sentence or two which summarises your strengths and expertise, at this point, be sure to include key words from the job description that you are applying for – this strategy can help your resume get past electronic scanning systems.
List your most current position first, then subsequent employers. Use action words and quantifiable information when describing your job experiences. It is more powerful to say, “Increased department productivity by 25% due to implementation of electronic filing system”, than saying, “Responsible for filing”.
Recruiters will want to know if you hold any certifications or college degrees that are applicable to your career. Even if your degree or certificate is not entirely relevant to the position you are applying for, include it as proof of your education. If you are currently taking any certification or degree courses, list these also and their estimated completion date.
Finally, it is very important to tailor your resume to each position that you are applying for. Each industry sector and positing will be slightly different, so focus on your ideal job within that industry and tailor your resume to suit. Having several versions of your resume can help you build a more effective and memorable document.
To find out how to optimise your CV for online and more CV Top Tips, click here
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