|Guiding Steps to Your Career: Writing Your Resume
By Jennifer Heth and Karen Graham, Senior Recruiters
Whether you are beginning your career search for the perfect job or seeking a career change, your resume is a critical tool and a great starting point. The resume can function like a documented plan with supporting evidence that, if well executed, will position you for job interview opportunities.
First, you need to create a resume outline. List your contact information at the top of the page. Only use phone numbers and e-mail addresses where you can be easily reached.
Next, let’s take a look at core competencies or skills. Recruiters and hiring managers are using keyword searches when sourcing candidates for their open positions. What are keywords? Here’s an example: If you wanted to make an apple pie, you would type in “apple pie recipe” as your keyword search in your favorite online search engine. This same principle applies for resumes. Your resume should contain the keywords that recruiters/hiring managers would be most likely to use when conducting candidate searches.
Using your core competencies and skills list, create a “Professional Profile” using keywords. Here are some examples that could be included on the top of a resume in bullet fashion for a Food Service Manager:
- Budgeting responsibility (up to $ amount)
- Inventory management/online purchasing
- Customer satisfaction initiatives/enhancements
- Management of employees (how many)
- Employee training and development
- Menu development and pricing
- Account/business start-ups/project management
Be ready to give examples of these skills during an interview as supporting evidence to show your depth of knowledge. This skill summary – or Professional Profile – takes the place of a traditional objective paragraph and begins with your strongest selling points. Include relevant highlights of your career contributions.
The next step is your chronological work history. Start with your most recent position first. Include job titles, employers and dates of employment. Limit the number of years worked on your resume to the last 15 years or so – depending on the relevance to the job you seek. As a rule of thumb, an entry-level or early career resume can typically be accomplished in one page, a mid-career resume in one or two pages, and a resume for someone who is highly experienced should be around two to four pages. If you are uncertain of what an appropriate resume length should be for your career field, do research on what the standards are for your industry and profession.
When adding work history information, don’t write job descriptions. Write about what you did or do in each position rather than listing the tasks of the job itself. Describe your scope of responsibility; highlight your achievements and contributions. How did you increase revenues, profitability, productivity or customer satisfaction? Communicate the “big picture” on your resume.
As a general rule, use powerful action words and be specific. Avoid vague qualifiers such as “significantly.” Use hard numbers to lend credibility. Include the number of managers, supervisors and front line employees who reported to you in your positions. Instead of using words like “completed” or “led” and “was responsible for,” use words like “analyzed,” “developed,” “executed,” and “initiated.” Avoid self-proclamations and “I” statements.
Keep personal information out of your resume. Don’t use acronyms or abbreviations. Spell out the names of schools, cities and abbreviations completely. Include gaps in employment by giving dates and the reason for the employment gap such as travel, study or family management. Make your resume visually appealing and easy to read. Don’t make spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. If you are sending your resume electronically, format it correctly. Be sure to list your education, computer and language skills, certifications that relate to your current job search, professional affiliations/associations and recent awards.
For more resources on how to write a resume and examples, go here, here, here and here. And, stay tuned for more “Guiding Steps to Your Career” in future issues of Sodexo Career Connections.