Labor Day is just around the corner. Time to update your resumé and make a career plan.
Forget January 1; everyone knows that the “real” New Year starts in September. In North America, temperatures and leaves start to drop, kids go back to school, and adults and organizations get back to work once those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are over.
It’s been an odd summer for sure and for many a lot less satisfying than we’d hoped. But for anyone thinking about making a career change or looking for a new job, the end of summer marks the time when it’s back to business.
As noted in a recent edition of Forbes, for many organizations, September means a renewed focus on hiring between Labour Day and the end of the year. A strong resume can help you capitalize on any opportunities.
Here are 12 resumé best practices we’ve learned from people who hire for a living (Human Resources professionals, internal and external Recruiters, Executive Search professionals, and Line Managers):
- No one “reads” a resume; they skim it (for an average for 11-22 seconds!) to see if there’s enough relevant information to go to the next level of evaluation. That’s why every part of the document needs to be immediately accessible.
- The Header should contain your First and Last Name, relevant professional designations, personal phone (preferably cell), personal email address, and brief LinkedIn URL.
- Not everyone looks at the Profile section, but in case they do, use this first section to state your Professional Identifier and claim your key skills and competencies in narrative or table form.
- A chronological resume (the preferred format) gives Employer/Location/Dates of Employment in reverse chronological order, and for each role, a job Title and brief role description followed by quantified accomplishments in bullet point form.
- A combination format that showcases relevant information up front followed by employment history is acceptable if appropriate to your circumstances and done well.
- Unless you are right out of school with little or no professional experience, put Education and Professional Development in reverse chronological order at the end of the resumé.
- Be selective with additional information. Indicate only relevant affiliations, professional and volunteer activity and publications/presentations. No hobbies or interests, please!
- Key elements to include: any information that can help a prospective employer understand your value proposition; state your Work Permit status if relevant.
- What to leave out: personal information such as age, relationship status, physical address, list of references or the statement “References Available Upon Request.”
- DO make sure your resumé conveys what you Can and Will do.
- DON’T tweak your resumé for each job; that’s the role of the cover letter (next article).
- If your resume is a match, your Fit for the role/manager/team/organization will be assessed in the interview process (subsequent article).
Creating an effective resumé is one of the toughest aspects of preparing for a job search. While even the best resumé can’t ensure an interview much less an offer, a bad resume can sink your prospects in under 30 seconds. If you would like assistance putting together a compelling self-marketing document as the linchpin of your search, let us know. September is here; be ready!
Day Merrill, M.A., is the founding Partner and Career/Executive Coach for 2BDetermined. She is a 30-year career services professional with expertise coaching individuals and teams on a range of career and work-related topics as well as consulting to organizations in Canada and the U.S. on their workforce development needs. Day holds a B.A. from Connecticut College, a Master of Arts from Wesleyan University and has completed Coach U’s coach certification training.