Monday, September 6, 2010

7 tips to make your resume stand out

Putting together a resume can be a daunting task, but a necessary one, because it can put you above other applicants. Unfortunately, many resume-writing guides give conflicting information on what you should and shouldn't include. Here's what some professional recruiters in metro Phoenix had to say:

• Avoid objective statements.

At the top of many resumes, applicants often include a job objective. But not in the correct fashion.

"This should be about what you have to bring to the party not what you're looking for," says Linda Baugh, president of American Career Executives in Phoenix.

Instead use an overview, suggests Allen Plunkett, president of Phoenix Staff Inc.

"The overview is the new objective," Plunkett said. "It says more specifically how you match the job you're responding to instead of speaking to what you think you should do."

• Do not include a photo of yourself.

This is a common practice in other countries, but here in the U.S. many recruiters will automatically throw away a resume with a photo attached because it puts them at risk for accusations of favoring attractive candidates. It leaves room for discrimination, Baugh said.

"You can cause more trouble by putting it (a photo) out there," she said.

• Don't get personal.

Exclude descriptions of race, religion, marital status, etc. It does not enhance your resume and it puts the recruiter in an awkward position because they now know aspects about you that they legally can not ask you, said Richard Baumgarten, vice president for Recruiting at United HR in Phoenix.

• Avoid subjective language.

Employers hear the terms innovative leader, motivated team member and creative thinker from everyone. Plunkett says using this language does little to distinguish you from the crowd.

"You're falling into the sea of sameness," he says.

• Do not include references.

If the company is listed on your resume, it is assumed that they can call them for a reference if needed. So do not include references on your resume. It only wastes space that can be used for more helpful information about your career experience.

• Avoid including club membership or hobbies.

Leave this information out except for cases where involvement in that organization is related to the job you are applying for, or if it is an interest shared with the person hiring you. For example, when applying for an accounting job, include that you are a member of the American Accounting Association.

• Don't use the same resume every time.

Treat your resume as a template. Many job applicants send out the same version to multiple companies, which is one of the top reasons applicants get rejected for being overqualified, Plunkett says.

Plunkett advises tailoring your resume to a specific job.

"Focus in on that particular company and what experiences will relate to this job," to succeed, he adds.

by Courtney Godfrey Special for the Republic Sept. 4, 2010 08:27 PM

7 tips to make your resume stand out

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