For those of you who have ever gone to interview, you know how nerve-wracking it is. You wonder Did I include the correct information? Should I put a comma there? Is it Bachelor or Bachelor’s degree?
I started recruiting for a sales and marketing company about a month after I received my Bachelor of Arts degree and have been recruiting ever since. I have received thousands of resumes in these two years cannot believe some of things I see and hear! This post is part of a mini-series, and it starts with a few things to focus on before you even schedule the interview.
- Your name-I don’t think it’s necessary to include your middle name on your resume, but do whatever makes you comfortable.
- Your address
- If you are applying for a job in an area outside of your permanent address, list your current address instead.
- If you choose to list your permanent address instead, briefly explain the situation in your cover letter. Let the person reviewing your resume know your address might say you live in Michigan, but you are moving to Salt Lake City at the end of the month.
- Your phone number
- Do not having a ringback tone! The sound of a regular telephone ring is much more professional than your recent favorite rap or country song as the ring tone.
- LIST AN ACCURATE PHONE NUMBER! There is nothing more frustrating than calling a potential candidate and hearing “D.E.T. The number you are trying to call is currently unavailable and unable to take calls. Please try your call again later.” If you are looking for anything other than an entry-level position, you will not get an e-mail regarding your lack of preparedness.
- Do not list your home phone number if you are not the only person living there. You do not want your potential employer’s first impression to be of your crabby Uncle Ed yelling into the phone because he can’t hear properly.
- Make sure you have a professional voicemail. Do not have a voicemail with music in the background, children yelling, or you saying, “Hello? What? Oh yeah, hey how are ya? Just kidding! Leave a message.” While you’re looking for a job, simply remember you want your first impression to be positive.
- Your e-mail address
- Keep this simple, too. Firstname.firstname.lastname@example.org is perfect!
- Avoid including birth years such as “Jane.Doe1990@gmail.com” because this dates you. An employer will probably guess correctly that you are 22 years old. Let your skills draw them in instead of your age turning them away. (Yes, this may be illegal to judge a candidate by age, but recruiters do it. Avoid the situation entirely.)
- Do not have an e-mail address like “email@example.com”. Professional applicant? I don’t think so.
- Make sure your e-mail address is not hyperlinked.
Okay, now that we’ve made it through what should be the easiest part, it’s time to move on to the good stuff.
What to include in the bulk of your resume:
- An objective
- Use this to sell yourself; do not use it solely as a tool to tell the employer what you want or how much money you want to make.
- This site has some great sample resume objectives. Please remember, do not copy and paste! Use this as tools to design your own objective.
- I find the most effective way to start an objective is to start with an infinitive such as, “To apply my existing recruiting skills”, “To further enhance my leadership capabilities”, “To obtain a challenging position by contributing my existing skills.”
- Your employment history
- Include the name of the place you were employed, the city in which the employment took place, the time at which you were employed there (do this Month Year-Month Year do not say 2011-2012), and your title while employed.
- Depending on your stage of professionalism, you may have anywhere from three to 10 bullet points describing that employment position. Always have a minimum of three bullet points. However, do not go over one-third of a page. You’ll have a chance to elaborate when you get the interview.
- Do not say “I washed dishes and then I cleaned the tables after the guests left” in the bullet point. Just say “Washed dishes and cleaned table after guests left.”
- Make general statements that embody activities. Again, you’ll get to embellish during the interview.
- Include at least the last three places at which you were employed. If you are a college graduate, do not include the nanny job you held during high school.
- Do not put the reason you left a place of employment on your resume unless asked to do so.
- Your education
- Start with your highest level of education and list the degree you earned from your post-high school institutions (Graduate school-Master’s Degree, Undergraduate school-Bachelor of Arts/Science, High school).
- Include relevant courses if applicable to the job you are applying for
- If you graduated with a 3.5 GPA or higher (on a four-point scale) be sure to include that you graduated either Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, or Magna Cum Laude! That is a big deal!
- Include achievements and honors that make you stand out.
- If you received an award for being a top graduate, if you played collegiate sports, if you did volunteer work in Kenya, if you received a scholarship, include all of that information here.
- The number one rule of listing your references is asking that person if it is okay to list them. This might sound silly, but you cannot simply write down your former-employer’s name and old phone number and assume it is okay.
- Ask three to four people who know you in some sort of a professional setting. You might ask a previous employer, a management figure at a charity you volunteer for, or a professor/advisor.
- If it has been a few years since you have updated your reference list, give each reference a call to ensure they have the same contact information and to give them a warning that they might receive a phone call about you in the near future.
- Keep your references as a separate document and put “References available upon request” at the end of your resume. Supply your references as soon as the potential employer asks, and if they do not specifically ask for them, still be sure to bring the list to your interview.
Nice work! If you made it all the way through this post, then I am sure your resume is going to look amazing!
I’ll have more tips on the interview process in the near future, but if you have any questions beforehand, feel free to ask! I love editing resumes almost as much as I love correcting grammar. Seeing a perfectly-constructed resume with all the essential parts and perfect rhetoric throughout makes me so happy. Make your future employer feel the same way with a great, updated resume!