Make an impression
Your resume should make an impression to the prospective employer, with all the effort you are putting into the content of your résumé, spend some time on how the résumé looks and feels as well. You want to present all the information to its best advantage.
• If you are not submitting your résumé via e-mail, as most are these days, use high-quality white or cream paper. Paper made specifically for printing résumés on can easily be read, photocopied, or scanned.
• Buy your own stationery. Using headed notepaper or address labels from your current place of work for your job search shows that you will take advantage of your employer and his or her facilities.
• Pay attention to the formatting of your résumé. A clean-looking font is easier to read than something fancy. (Some people prefer a sans serif, such as Arial.) Use a readable type size, not one that is too small. Highlight your achievements and qualifications with a bold face, but beware of overuse of bold as it can make your résumé look like it is “shouting.” Emphasize key points in lists with bullets.
• Spelling or grammatical errors will send your résumé straight to the bin rather than on the right person’s desk. Proofread your résumé closely to avoid such mistakes. Ask a friend or career coach to read over your finished résumé. A fresh eye will spot errors you have overlooked.
• Beware of computer spellcheckers. They will correct many mistakes in spelling and usage, but they are no substitute for the human eye. They will always miss words spelled correctly but used in the wrong way or the wrong place. For example, if you write “there” instead of “their,” or “it’s” instead of “its.”
• Hand-written résumés or cover letters are rarely preferred, If you are asked for one, provide it. The default, however, is to use a computer to give a more professional finish.
• Seek advice and help from friends or family members, but in the end you must abide by your own instincts. It is your résumé, your career, and your life.
What to Avoid
You Include Too Much
It may be tempting to write everything you can think of in an attempt to impress your reader. But recruiters and employers are looking for candidates who can get right to the point and communicate clearly and effectively. Focus on the key points you have identified that are most likely to get you an interview.
You Allow Sloppy Formatting
If you lack résumé-writing experience, yours may end up a mixture of job listings, skills, and accomplishments, which will only confuse your reader. To avoid this, start by determining which type of résumé is best suited to your objective.
A career adviser can help if you are struggling with the different résumé styles. Researching libraries and telephone directories can help you find a list of career advisers to choose from. Bear in mind that rates can vary significantly for this service. If you are a student, there may be a career adviser who can help you for free at a local continuing education college.
You Fail to Follow Through
Do not make this common mistake. If you wrote in your cover letter that you would telephone to arrange an interview, make a note of the date and follow up. It may be difficult to make the call, knowing you may get rejected, but neglecting to call will guarantee you never get the job!
You Let Yourself Become Dejected
In any competitive endeavour, a certain amount of rejection is guaranteed, and job hunting is no different. When—not if—you receive rejections, remind yourself that it is part of the process. Every “No” puts you that much closer to a “Yes.”
Reference BNET Editorial: Courtesy of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica www.yeajamaica.com
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