When preparing a resume for your job search, there are numerous tips you can use to ensure you create a compelling and effective CV. Technical tips such as keeping your resume brief and listing your most relevant work experience first are all extremely valuable, but sometimes, there are more abstract questions to be asked. Here are four questions you should be asking of your resume before sending it off:
Does it address every facet of the job posting?
In many scenarios, you should be tailoring your resume to different job postings you apply to so that it clearly shows you are capable of its responsibilities and can fulfill its requirements. Take into account each point of the job description in each section and be sure to somehow address it throughout your CV. For example, if a candidate must be proficient in Excel V-LOOKUPS, does your resume list that under skills or a relevant entry in your employment history?
Are your goals clear and accurately communicated?
This can be tricky, especially since objectives are becoming obsolete on most resume styles. But it’s important to keep your goal in mind while writing your resume and to make sure that it presents your goal clearly and caters to it. One way you can ensure your goals are properly communicated is to adjust the format of your resume accordingly. For example, if you feel that your greatest pitch to the employer is that you possess both the required and desired skill sets of their position, consider placing the skills closer to the top of the resume so they catch the eye first.
Are there any gaps?
This is not only related to the chronology of your employment history—any long gap in employment will raise questions in a hiring manager’s mind—but in the continuity of your resume as a whole. In keeping with the Excel example, let’s say you list proficiency with V-LOOKUPS under your skills. However, if there are no positions in your employment history in which you could have learned such a specific skill, the credibility of your claim may seem questionable. So make sure to keep your resume conclusive, even if it means listing a specific class under your education section to clear up where you’ve garnered certain skills or proficiencies.
Is there a balance of duties and accomplishments?
Many career experts recommend that resumes be accomplishment-driven rather than duty-driven. That is to say, avoid simply listing your past responsibilities in bullet points and instead, replace them with accomplishments from each role. However, as with any job search tip, there are employers and hiring managers who disagree. To cater to both (and, again, to offer a more well-rounded view of you and your career), try for a balance. If you list four bullet points under each position, list two of your major day-to-day duties and two telling accomplishments you achieved while there. These can be anything from being recognized by your company with a title like “Employee of the Month” to a large project you successfully managed with some statistics to back it up.
If you don’t answer “yes” to each of these questions, it may be time to circle back and rework your resume. The job market is changing, but the resume is still paramount to making a good first impression. Be sure to keep it in top shape throughout your career and you should have no problem landing interviews for jobs relevant to your experience.