We’ve all heard the expression—a first impression is a lasting one. Well, that phrase couldn’t ring more true when it comes to landing the right job at the right time. Many believe that the key to getting a job begins with the interview. They’re right. Having a great interview is imperative to getting that coveted offer; but first and foremost, it is important to realize how you got into that interview chair in the first place. The secret ingredient to getting your foot in the door – at least for those of us who don’t have a rich executive relative to pull some strings – is to wow a recruiter with your resume. Your resume is the first glance that a recruiter has into your professional and, sometimes, personal life-story. The format of and content on your resume is often the deal-breaker as to whether or not you secure an interview, so it is critical that you get it right the first time around. As a recruiting professional in the entertainment industry, I’ve seen many people unknowingly miss out on an opportunity due to senseless resume mistakes. Here are four tips to help you get your professional snapshot in tip-top shape:
Tip#1 Create a Targeted Resume Full of Power Words and Action Verbs
Utilization of strong words (i.e. implemented, facilitated, etc.) and targeted content can significantly influence an employer’s interest in learning more about you. It is also wise to review the job description for any keywords that can be referenced on your resume in your job responsibilities. This technique can be advantageous for a job seeker because many recruiters do keyword searches via networking sites. For example, sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to get your resume discovered and to attract recruiters to you before you even know there is a job available. As a site user, it only takes a few easy steps to insert your resume into your profile, and it gives you the advantage of being able to connect with professionals who are already employed at the companies you are interested in joining. If your resume highlights what an employer is searching for, your chances for being discovered become much greater.
Tip #2 Avoid Objectives
Objectives are not mandatory on a resume; in fact, they can be limiting and pigeonhole you into only one specific job category if you make it too specific. Recruiters are constantly forwarding resumes to their colleagues, so if your objective states that you are only interested in Finance, you might limit your chances for consideration should your resume be forwarded to another department for review (i.e. Ad Sales).
Tip #3 Maximize the Space on Your Resume
If you have ten years or less of full-time work experience, your resume should be one page only. Utilize your margins and the space between each professional experience wisely. Avoid repetition and clutter, and free up space by eliminating certain qualifications that might not be relevant to the particular job of interest. If you have a wide array of experience, it’s perfectly fine to have several resumes.
Tip #4 Avoid Unprofessional Email Addresses and Outdated Contact Information
Rule 101 in resume etiquette is to be sure that your contact info is always current and your email address is business appropriate—first and last name email addresses are preferred. Additionally, be mindful of the information you portray about yourself via sites like Facebook and Twitter. It is very easy for prospective employers to access these sites and gather information about you before an interview.
Bottom line: there is no magical formula to getting hired, but having a clean and well-rounded presentation shows an employer that you are serious about success and you want the best. Ultimately, that’s the impression they’ll remember.