Your resume is most likely the first opportunity you will have to introduce yourself to a potential employer. It has the power to open doors for you or slam them soundly depending on how well it is written. If you find yourself applying for multiple jobs with no invitations for interviews, you should take a long and critical look at your resume and how you have been using it. Have you revised it recently? Have you used the same resume to apply to different jobs? Does it contain dated language, errors, or lack a clear connection to the job for which you are applying? If so, it is time to revise your resume. There are several things you can do to spruce up your resume and get it ready for your job search:
- Review every detail on the resume for the tiniest flaw.
- Check with your former employers to ensure they are still in business and that their contact information is up-to-date. Are your former supervisors still employed there? If not, try to get their current contact information as well. Consider including email addresses in addition to phone numbers to allow employers more flexibility to contact your references. This can also save time by eliminating phone tag.
- Ensure that punctuation is correct and consistent throughout.
- Use strong, active language. When describing previous positions and job responsibilities, use simple past tense with strong action verbs. Supervised, organized, managed, operated, guided, and analyzed are examples of strong action verbs. This will give your phrases and sentences more punch. Consider these examples:
- Passive and Weak: Was responsible for oversight of operations of a clothing factory. There were 300 employees.
- Active and Strong: Managed clothing factory operations. Oversaw 3000 employees.
Remember that your resume will be your first opportunity to sell yourself as an applicant to potential employers. It should accurately present your skills, credentials, and experience in a way that directly demonstrates a relationship to the keywords your employer uses to describe the position. Create a new version of your resume for each position to which you apply. Take your time, research your company, and have a critical friend review your work. Take their comments and recommendations seriously, and use them to improve your presentation.