You have probably have heard that your resume is read very quickly. If you don’t make a positive impression in a few seconds, you are eliminated. That’s the cold reality. When Brenda presented her resume to me, I knew why she was not getting interview invitations. At a glance, the reader can see that her resume is unprofessional, unorganized, and lacks adequate preparation. These are baseline requirements that you must meet to make a good first impression. Let’s touch upon those three factors so Brenda can turn it around to make a good first impression.
Select a contemporary font that is easy to read. For example, Candara, Calibri, Verdana, or Garamond are excellent choices. Make sure all of your information is properly centered or aligned. Visually, Brenda’s resume looks like a rough draft because those details are left unfinished. A subtle page border would be appealing. The category headings should match each other. They should stand out from the body text. For example, you can make the category header two to four points larger than the body text. Make it bold or consider adding a line underneath the category title.
What a mess! That was my first impression when I saw Brenda’s resume. It was just a brain dump of information. It was a mixture of statements, functions, and skills randomly listed with bullets. Instead, Brenda could benefit from an organized format. Start with a profile statement that shows the unique value offered that matches the employer’s needs. Next create a core competencies section and make a chart with the top nine skills relevant to the target job. A professional experience section will follow. That is a critical section and will require some preparation.
It looks like Brenda borrowed some items from her company’s job description. That is a nice starting point, but with a bit of work the professional experience section can shine. Take time to identify the scope of your authority and major accomplishments. Define these items by attaching dollars, percentages, and counts. Numbers make these items more impressive. A little bit of preparation goes a long way when you want to make a good first impression.
You’ll notice that our three categories can be reduced to an acronym of POP. If you follow these steps your resume will pop! Making a good first impression is critical. If you don’t get it right in those first two to three seconds, you will likely not get a second chance. If you would like help with your resume, call me. I am an expert at making resumes pop!