(this applies to pretty much everyone except the lofty exec crowd.)
When writing a resume, the most important thing to remember is who the initial first
reviewer of that resume will be -- not necessarily the end manager. For any of you
who have ever interacted with a clueless HR Assistant and wondered exactly how they
kept their job, here is the answer -- they are the gatekeeper standing in the way of
YOU getting hired. So unless you can get directly to the hiring manager, you need to
get past the gatekeeper. And since that gatekeeper typically has NO CLUE what the
description of anyone's job is until it is put before them, YOU need to match that
description to get past the gate. Face it, chances are if you are an Engineer, or
Financial Analyst, or Statistical Process Control Manager -- the HR assistant couldn't
tell you 1% of what your job entails.
So what CAN they do? Put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes.
Don't ask any more of them because it ain't gonna happen. They are typically young
and really don't care to learn what you do for a living.
So how do you get past them?
Write a 'news story' resume and cover letter.
Pretty much everything we watch, read in the paper, or listen to on the radio is couched in
a standard format of:
1) tell 'em what you are gonna tell 'em
2) tell 'em what you wanna tell 'em
3) tell 'em what you told 'em
Your resume should be the same.
Part 1) comes at the top. It consists of 6 to 9 bullet'd items over three columns that highlight in
one or two words your strongest skills (or what matches the job description in the job ad). THESE
are the things that get you past the HR Assistant and keep you out of the reject pile.
Part 2) is your history, most recent and going backwards. If you are 'getting up there', stop by the
time you get to roughly 20-25 years experience unless you have loads of jobs, at which case stop
by the 5th or so job. TMI (too much information) is not a good thing. And while there is not supposed
to be age discrimination, quite frankly, a healthplan for an older worker with several dependents is a lot
more expensive than for one who is younger with no dependents. Don't make yourself look too old. If you
put in a college degree and it is older than 25 years, just put in "BS/BA - University of Wherever".
Part 3) is you cover letter. This is NOT the first thing people look at -- they look at your resume first.
If the resume has what is needed for the job, they read the cover letter to find out if you can actually
communicate in a coherent fashion, and to see what experience you wish to elaborate on from your
resume. It goes without saying that spelling errors are a BIG no-no, and grammer needs to be in
sentence format, cohesive and logical. (But I will say that anyway!)
Now unfortunately I cannot actually write a resume, as the formatting will go to crapola due to the
way the forum treats things, but here is how it would go...
City State Zip
Skills: (this is your bullet list)
Hobbies: (list nothing political, or controversial -- No "Obama supporter" or "President - local NRA"
Attach a cover letter (which I guarantee will get read last).
Use CLEAN White or slighly off-color paper (it stands out from other papers on the desk) of a good
bond quality -- NOT copy paper. Make sure the font is readable and in 12 point. Serif fonts are
much easier to read than sans-serif. Printing should be straight (as in the paper must feed correctly
thru the printer). Many resumes are now scanned by OCR systems that have a hard time reading
dark colored paper, bad formatting, or crooked printing.
Do NOT worry about if your name belongs on the left or right or center, or how far to indent your job
description, or similar rubbish -- no one cares besides the morons who write books to tell you that
And there you go -- the best way to write a resume and cover letter. Good luck!