When people constantly complain about their jobs, I often think Get a new one. That often times can be easier said than done, but with the rebounding economy, now is as good of a time as any.
If you are looking to get out of your current job, or if you are looking for your first job, the first thing to do is polish off your resume.
A resume is the paper version of work you. It is the time you can get your most important accomplishments to shine. It often makes your first impression to potential employers. Get help. Unless you are a resume genius, you are going to need some help, especially if you haven’t drafted a resume in a few years. Because this is your first impression, you need to make it look professional and industry appropriate (what works for the business industry might not appeal to the advertising industry). Check out free resume classes– often taught by experienced recruiters– or talk with someone who is in a dream job of yours.
To get started on your resume, follow these simple tips:
- Use the right format. As mentioned above, every industry has a different style of resume. Business types tend to want more facts, while advertising execs want something eye popping. What works for one won’t work for the other. Know who your audience is and what is expected.
- Write useful action bullets. A typical resume format will list your previous jobs and what you accomplished at each job. Be clear and be specific. Use an action word to describe a quantity. Don’t say “Increased overall sales.” Instead say “Increased overall sales by 20% in Q1.” The second example shows exactly what you did and how it made a difference. Don’t make the viewer guess what you did. That being said, keep it to one or two lines at the most. You can expound on your cover letter or in an interview.
- Stick to one page. Resumes are a snap shot not a full novel of your employment history. One page should be plenty unless you are a 20-year veteran in your industry. Hiring reps usually do not spend more than 10 seconds for an initial scan of your resume. Make sure the important stuff is on there and ditch the extra fluff that is creating noise.
- Focus on experience, that is, if you have it. Experience is why most people are hired. Lead with that. If you have a lot of experience to choose from, only include previous positions that relate. If you are a recent grad with little experience, put your best food forward and lead with your education. Include any awards, scholarships or leadership positions held while in school.
- Make it stand out with extras. Advertising applicants and tech industry wiz kids are making their resumes stand out with QR codes- those codes you can scan that will take you to a web page. Think about what works for your industry and make sure you stand out in a good way.
Good luck and I hope you nab the job!