One would think that putting pen to paper (or hand to keyboard) to write a resume would be a relatively easy task. Perhaps that is why so many of us procrastinate, convinced we’ll be able to pull it together later. No problem, right? Wrong.

We currently live in an era where personally customizing resumes for each job is required to catch a hiring manager’s second glance. The job market in virtually every field is so competitive these days that you don’t ever want to give your potential employer an opportunity to see you as anything but the perfect candidate. Additionally, your life experiences are an ever evolving and changing list, and so is your resume. Keep these two points at the forefront of your mind, and you will stay leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.

“I have done workshops to give job seekers aid in resume writing and interviewing. What baffles me is how many resumes I get from ‘professionals’ who think that certain standards don’t pertain to them, or they somehow overlook basic principles that have been in place for years,” reported one human resource manager.

We hear this all the time. Don’t be another statistic! Let’s see how you did with your own resume.

  1. Is it easy to read and formatted in such a way that it does not distract from the content? Is it free from spelling and punctuation errors? Is it completely up-to-date, consistent in sections and well organized? Is it two pages or less?
  2. Does it have updated contact information with a professional-sounding, personal email address? (no one wants to hire hottiebabe21@gmail.com)
  3. If you conducted a side-by-side comparison to the job description, does it match? For example, if the advertisement says, “candidate should be a go-getter,” is there substantial evidence in your resume that you are, in fact, a go-getter? Don’t be afraid to brag, but with tact. Your resume needs to be a description of you, formatted to fit their guidelines.
  4. ALWAYS include a cover letter. Even if they don’t ask for one, send one. If they ask for one, it’s likely that they’ll tell you what they want to hear from you. This is a gift and makes your writing task a lot easier. Seize this great opportunity for them to learn more about you, and don’t be afraid to show off your skills, one of them being your writing ability.

Your goal throughout the resume process is to get your foot in the door. Once you secure an interview, your future employer will be able to meet you, discuss the job opportunity and potentially visualize you in your desired role. Put your best foot forward. That way, you’ll never look back wishing you had just written that cover letter or better tailored your resume. You’ll have already taken the right steps, and you might just already have that great new job.