Career advisors also disagree on the best format for including the dates of employment, etc. on your resume. While there is nothing stylistically wrong with including those dates on the far left side, many of the scanning systems read vertically, so dates on the left side cut off the actual resume content. We advise that dates be pulled to the far right margin.
While employers do not publically identify the keyword criteria which they are seeking, there are some guidelines that can help move you in the right direction. Make sure to include words that identify the skills you have in the three areas that are most crucial for successful employment in almost any field. 1) Intellectual skills 2) Interpersonal skills and 3) Job skills.
Intellectual skills can encompass things such as analytical ability, academic achievement, problem solving skills, experience, etc. Interpersonal skills describe how you will work with others and include team skills, leadership, ability to follow direction, etc. Finally, job skills illustrate that you will utilize your intellectual and interpersonal skills once you start the job. They include such things as motivation, dedication, hard work, punctuality, and the like.
It is very important that the skills you choose are an accurate reflection of who you are. A good interviewer will be able to see if you are bluffing very quickly, so choose your words wisely. We generally advise people to list 4-5 skills they have in each of those three areas in order to create an accurate representation of who they are.
One of the more modern challenges is that after your keywords meet the search criteria, your resume still needs to look impressive when reviewed by a person. Our recommendation for the use of a summary statement is based on that reality. The summary statement allows you to include all of the important keywords in a concise, easy to read statement that gets noticed.
Summary statements have a tendency to look generic, and while those terms may get you past the computer review, a generic summary statement will not look impressive when reviewed in person. To get it right, take the time and effort to make sure it accurately and effectively describes the skills you have that would make you a valuable employee.
There are some new tools to allow you to target your resume summary statement to a particular job or field. Websites like http://www.wordle.net/ allow you to create word clouds, a visual presentation that highlights the keywords in any document. Creating a word cloud based on the job description or a series of job descriptions for similar positions, allows you to tailor your summary statement and include the most important key words for that position.
This is not a guarantee that the keywords produced will match the search criteria they establish, but most job postings are crafted carefully and the qualifications they include are an accurate representation of what the employer feel is important for success in that position.
Once again, be careful. Only include skills you do have even if the word cloud indicates that a certain skill is of extreme importance. A good interviewer will make you defend your skill descriptions, and if you don’t have that skill, it will be readily apparent.
Like it or not, resumes are the key to employment opportunities. Like everything of importance, it takes time and effort to do them right. Do your research and find a professional format or a style that works for you. E-mail us for a copy of our “Resume Checklist” that will help you know when your resume is ready for submission.
While there are as many opinions as to resume format as there are people, it is your job to make sure that the resume you submit clearly illustrates your skills and expertise both to a virtual and a live reviewer. Hopefully your efforts will pay off with a job interview very soon.
We welcome your feedback. Please email your career-related inquiries, feedback or request for the resume checklist to firstname.lastname@example.org. Touro College’s Career Services assists Touro students and alumni in all aspects of their career search. Contributing to this feature are Ron Ansel, MBA, CPC, Director of Career Services, Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed, and Sarri Singer, Assistant Directors.