Emily Weinstein looks up while making jewelry at her home Monday, July 20, 2009, in Portland, Ore. Graduating from college into an economic meltdown, 23-year-old Weinstein hasn't been able to make much money, which has put health insurance out of reach. Already the least likely of any age group to have coverage, adults in their 20s face brutal job searches and more time uninsured because of the recession. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Formatting and feel, on a mailed-in resume, matter. Your resume, at first glance, can impress or depress the employer. Lots of open space, a clear, easy-to-read font such as 12 point Arial, and easy-to-find and skim information, entice the employer to read on. With electronic publishing, every mailed resume should be freshly printed on high quality paper. And don’t even think of sending your application to a company in your current employer’s envelope, or with metered postage. This reflects the integrity of the candidate.
Envelopes do matter.
Correct spelling, appropriate grammar, no missing words, and no typing mistakes make your resume an employer-pleaser right out of the starting gate. An error-free resume is rare. Some hiring managers will not further consider your candidacy if they find even one mistake. Every mistake makes an employer question your carefulness, care, and attention to detail.
Contact Information: In this era of instant messaging, email, and cell phones, there is absolutely no reason to make contacting you difficult for the potential employer. Give the potential employer your cell phone number, even if you have to buy a mobile for your job search. Avoid the dreaded phone tag that may make you miss out on an interview altogether. And be sure to include your email address!
Write and customize an “objective” for each job and employer. The objective is your opportunity to connect your skills, experience, traits, and job requirements with those the employer is seeking. Read the job posting carefully and you can pick out exactly what the employer believes he needs.
Include a customized section called “Career Highlights / Qualifications.” This section of the resume is usually a series of bulleted points which emphasize your most important career experience, your skills, your personality traits and characteristics, and some key accomplishments from your work history as they relate to the job for which you are applying.
For each former employer, clearly indicate the company name, your position, and the dates of your employment. Provide a brief overview statement which tells what the company does, its sales, products, and customers. Share exactly what you did for the company in a brief statement. Don’t make a potential employer look for information, read between the lines, or try to guess. They won’t take time to do that and your resume will end up in the dreaded job file for the required year.
For each employer, include a list of “key contributions” or “key achievements.” Don’t make the mistake of stating, “I answered a multi-line phone system. I provided customer service.” You want to highlight key measurable achievements and successes such as: “I reduced the time for order fulfillment from 2 days to 12 hours.” “I reduced accounts collectible by 80 percent.” “My marketing campaign for the new product won two industry awards for effectiveness.”
Education statements matter. State dates of attendance, majors, minors, and degrees. Don’t make a potential employer guess whether you have a degree or just took a few classes.
Do include a section that lists awards and other recognition. President of the Junior Class, Secretary of the Synchronized Swim Team, four year merit scholarship winner, or college economics prize winner will catch my eye much faster than a resume without awards and recognition. (Of course, you’d include this section on a resume only if you have an award or recognition to list.)
Do include a personal section that highlights accomplishments, and anything else that will raise the value of you, as a potential employee, in the eyes of the employer. Catch the eye of a potential employer with information related to your volunteerism, involvement with philanthropic causes, publications, team and individual sports participation, leadership positions in school or community organizations (especially in resumes without an “Awards and Recognition” section) or even, “I self-funded my college education by working part-time during all four years of school.”