By Marivic Valencia
There are countless resources available on the preparation, format and components of a professional resume. Most would agree that you need to include the basics: Name, Address, Contact Info, your ‘Objective” and your “Qualifications” followed by job and education history. Some people include references, others don’t; at the very least you should indicate “References Available Upon Request” or some such line.
Using that tried and true formula, resumes can be incredibly dry. It’s one thing for a hiring manager to pass over your resume if your skills aren’t a match. It’s another thing altogether for that hiring manager to not even remember you or your application. The competition is fierce right now, so it’s more important than ever to make the right impression with your resume. The key there is to be interesting, and generate interest in you.
So, how do you make the right impression?
Give every component of your resume the WIIFM treatment. You need to think like the hiring manager and answer for them, “What’s In It For Me?” For example, you can state: “I have great communication skills” and leave it at that. Or, you can give them the relief of knowing “You can rely on me to communicate as openly and effectively in writing or in person.” With that, the hiring manager knows exactly what’s in it for them.
Quantify. It’s not enough to relay your “managerial experience.” How many direct reports? What was the extent of your responsibilities? Further, throwing out there “I increased sales” isn’t nearly as compelling as “Success included increasing revenue by 40% in 18 months”. You have to be interesting before anybody gets interested.
Include a picture, if possible. In the age of avatars, bios and profiles, we’re accustomed to a face with a name. Have a photo professionally taken, or photoshop something you’ve taken until it’s suitable. Thing is, “suitable” doesn’t necessarily mean “stuffy” – it just means a quality photo of you that is recent and flattering.
Include links to you (and your blog, if you have one) on the social networks on which you can be found. Place these formatted links by your contact information. Ergo, actively participate in social networks. Don’t just sign up at LinkedIn, find and join the groups where it makes sense to network. Again, according to WIIFM, the hiring manager should be able to, with a few clicks, get a sense of who you are, your professional accomplishments, and the amazing incredible things you’ll bring to their organization.
KISS it. One page is ideal, two pages tops.
Be creative and engaging with your cover letter, provide a succinct and relevant resume, and leave them not being able to imagine hiring anyone else.
Marivic Valencia works in PR and Marketing specializing in broadcast and internet technologies. By day, Velancia is ensconced at Broadcast Interactive Media and the rest of the time she is either Twittering or blogging (or wrangling any combination of her 5 daughters). She owns a karaoke company, watches too much West Wing, and could not be more passionate about the impact of social networks on modern life.
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