First impressions aren't always face-to-face. In the job market, they're usually made when prospective employers see your résumé for the first time. Are they impressed? Your résumé is your calling card. It stands in your place, speaking volumes about you. What is your résumé saying about you? Is it representing you well? You're the best person to answer that question, but how do you know?
First, make sure your résumé is on the right track:
- Never have just one résumé. Each resume should be tailored for each specific job you apply for. If you're applying for five jobs, you need five distinct résumés.
- Have every résumé reviewed by one or more people to check for spelling and grammar errors you might have overlooked.
- Fully demonstrate your skills and accomplishments in each résumé — what is it that made you a valued employee?
There are two key résumé styles that best showcase your skills: the functional résumé is organized by skills or functions rather than dates; the chronological résumé works best if you're applying for a job in the same field. Sometimes a combination, using the best aspects of both styles, is the way to go.
Always have someone review your résumé besides yourself. A second or even a third pair of eyes is not extra — it's a must. Misspelled words and names, improper punctuation, missing words and the like reflect poorly on you. Remember, this is your first and maybe your only chance to really shine for an employer — make it count.
What about your abilities? At one time, outlining your skills and related work might have been enough. But with job seekers outnumbering nearly every job, employers are being highly selective. You want to make sure they focus on you.