Many people write to me and tell me they are applying for “the job.” They are so clueless that they don’t realize that there is no job. As a job applicant you need to know who you are writing to, and about which job. Next, you need to be aware of the specific skills and requirements of the particular job. If you are not well suited for the job, nobody will hire you. So apply for work that you are suited for and go to trade schools or anyone who can help you sharpen your communication and technical skills.
How to be in tune with the mindset of the employer
Employers want to know several things about you. Are you loyal or do you jump from job to job. It is costly to interview, train and fire workers, so they will prefer that you stick around. Next, the boss will want to know if you have relevant experience. If you are applying for medical billing, but your experience is in data analysis, you might not be a good fit. On the other hand, if your data job involved a lot of data transcription, you might be a viable candidate for medical transcription as it is related. The boss will also want to know if you are a good fit with the other employees. Do you communicate well and get along with others? The important thing to apply to resume writing is that you have to impress the boss that you will be a reliable and good fit for the job at hand — make sure your resume communicates that clearly.
What type of paper should you use?
Recently in America I’ve been hearing that using fancy off-tone paper is considered to be old-fashioned. So, I’m not sure how to guide you in terms of the paper you’re using. Try to figure out what successful applicants in your industry are doing and do the same thing. If they use plain white paper, then do the same. If they use heavier paper stock, then be aware of that. In my opinion, a higher quality of paper indicates a higher quality of applicant — but, that’s just how I think!
Go backwards through time
A good resume will show what you have done most recently at the top since that is more relevant to the current situation. Inverse chronological order is the right order in a resume.
What to omit?
If you are a jack of all trades and you are applying for a computer job, you might omit non-computer oriented jobs from the resume, or just not elaborate much on the non-computer related jobs. This way you save space that you can devote to clarifying what your job tasks were in the computer jobs. If you spent the entire resume trying to impress the boss with how many fashion jobs you have had, he will steer you in the direction of a fashion job and tell you that the interview is over.
What should you stress?
Keep in mind that the way a prospective boss reads your resume is different from how you read it. First of all they want to see if you stick to a job, or quit after six months. Nobody wants to hire a quitter because they are going to invest time in training you. So, try to only take jobs that you will be willing to stick with in the long run otherwise you ruin your reputation. If you are applying for a job where Java code editing will be crucial, your resume should be tailor-made to emphasize all of the Java related work you did at your other jobs. If you did .Net editing too, that is related as well. I would not omit critical aspects of your other jobs, but make sure to stress what you did that will be needed in the future job you are applying to. Rather than mailing out hundreds of resumes to people who will ignore you, it might make more sense to create customized resumes for particular companies who you’ve talked to who have an actual interest in you. This is called targeting and customizing to your audience and is a popular and effective marketing technique. Just keep in mind that the boss wants to know that you are an exact skill match, that you can communicate, and that you won’t quit, otherwise you’ll be immediately disqualified.
As an employer myself, I was trying to find .Net programmers. The resumes I received discussed about twenty four technical skills that the applicant had. I wanted someone with seven years of .Net experience, and that was the only requirement. The resume was a waste of time as it didn’t tell me what I wanted to know. It told me how much programming experience they had, but not how much .Net experience they had.
What else do you put on the resume?
You need to state your job objective and mention your specialties. You should summarize the types of jobs you have held as well, your education, and any other salient features that might help you be a good employee. Resumes are often one page. Sometimes you need to have two or three pages. Many readers will not have the patience to read on and on unless the information is absolutely necessary. So, when filling your resume up with facts, ask yourself how important each fact is, and how much is enough. It never hurts to have an industry professional review your resume either.
You need to describe your past jobs, what you did, what particular skills and tasks were necessary. You might even briefly describe what you learned, what you liked, and what you didn’t like. Employers will want to know why you left your previous job too. Terms like personality conflict and boredom are easily understood. However, it might be better to just say that you weren’t happy there. A scheduling conflict is another way to end a job that didn’t include a hostile argument. You might be more popular if you say, “I felt like I wasn’t growing” — as nobody wants to hire someone who gets bored easily or gets into arguments. How you describe why you left or were fired from a past job matters. Your boss will get a very bad impression of you if you quit jobs on a whim or get into arguments with people. They do not want to repeat nightmares that they have had in the past with difficult employees.
How do I document my education?
State what schools you went to and when. What degree did you get? If you are doing outsourcing, it would be very helpful if you attended schools to help with English writing, call center or programming skills. Were there any special areas of focus? What did you major in? Stick to Universities and High School, or whatever the highest two degrees you have earned are. If you went to special trade or music schools, you can list that too to make an impression.
You might appear more dedicated to your field if you have some professional memberships. These are less critical and should be at the bottom of your resume. It is more impressive to a boss if you actually had some level of participation in these groups. Anyone can be a non-participatory member, but how many help out or actually lead meetings?
Be aware of how others perceive you
Younger people think a lot about what they want. But, rarely think about what the boss wants. Try to realize that the boss just wants someone who gets the job done and doesn’t care how you feel about it. On the other hand, they don’t want someone who won’t like the work either. If you give the impression that you like certain tasks, but don’t like others, you will appear too picky. No employer wants an employee who picks and chooses which tasks he/she does and quits if assigned a task he doesn’t like. It is better to say what you like most, but that you are willing to do all other tasks. I would not talk about what you don’t like to do unless you absolutely can’t stand it. People who run a business have to do all types of tasks they can’t stand — why should you get to pick and choose? Additionally, nobody likes an employee who jumps from job to job. You’ll never rise up the corporate ladder jumping around. Find a profession and company you stick to. If you do a good job, you might get promoted to management which means you get to do a different type of task in the long run even though you were willing to stick to the initial task.