Quest for the Perfect Resume
What is a “perfect” resume? Professional resume writers strive for perfection in their work just as all professionals who care about their work reach for their best. But what constitutes a perfect resume? Not even the professionals can answer that exactly.
It is more accurate to say that a resume is effective. If it is not effective, it certainly cannot be perfect. An effective resume will gain an interview a majority percentage of the time. No resume will gain an interview every single time it is sent or viewed simply due to the differences in what the hiring managers are seeking and what competition is present in the situation. An effective resume will stand out among the competition, though, for more attention, thus winning better odds of gaining the interview.
An effective resume stands out among the competition. What makes a resume stand out? Many things separate an effective resume from a mediocre resume.
No errors. An effective resume will have no typographical errors or grammatical goofs. That does not mean that a resume with a misplaced comma or a small misspelling won’t gain an interview, just that the resume will not gain an interview a majority of the time – the standard for an effective resume. The ‘no error’ rule is one of the few hard-and-fast rules of resume writing. In fact, resume contests held annually by the professional resume writers associations often boil down to which resume is completely flawless in grammar and punctuation when all the finalist entries are evaluated and found equal on other criteria.
Strategically written. An effective resume is written with a specific goal in mind. That means the writer must evaluate a job seeker’s work history and pick and choose what content will best promote the job seeker as the best candidate. A resume is not a blanket chronology of all work experience. Some experience does not relate to the current goal at all and should be eliminated.
Visually appealing. Depending on the industry of the job seeker, some resumes can be more artistic in visual design than the average resume. Designers, artists, performers, teachers, and other creative types of job seekers often gain an edge by demonstrating their creativity in the format of their resume. Business executives, engineers, and other more traditional careerists do best with a visual design of the resume that is more conservative but still attractive. And lets not forget that an online resume should be designed to be easily read in a plain text format. Resumes that are uploaded to job boards should be formatted to be easy on the eyes of the human reader and not just database-friendly.
Individual. A person’s resume should be as individual as their fingerprint. No two people are alike and therefore, no two resumes should be alike. Uniqueness is achieved through strong content and thoughtful design. Both factors are hallmarks of a professionally developed resume. Unfortunately, many job seekers turn to the templates available in their word processing software, as part of an online job board, or as a cheapy service that churns out a resume for $19.95. Your resume is competing against thousands of others. To make it stand out, it must be unique to you. Hiring managers see so many resumes, they recognize immediately when a template has been used to create a resume; therefore, they immediately know the job seeker did not care enough about their career advancement to invest time and money into the marketing of that career. An effective resume is never created from a cookie-cutter template.
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