Getting the job you want starts with your ability to get an interview; getting the interview depends on the quality of your résumé. Most résumés are little more than a copy of a person’s last job description. They tell little, if anything, about you as an individual or about your accomplishments.
One of the most difficult things for people to do when writing a good résumé is to identify their past accomplishments. However, accomplishments are key to writing a good résumé. When looking back at your prior jobs, you need to identify problems, issues or
challenges you addressed. You then need to identify the actions you took to deal with those issues. You should also document the outcomes of your efforts, such as time or money saved, increased profits or other measurable results. If possible, quote exact numbers, but if you can’t, at least make a reasonable estimate.
Once you have identified your accomplishments, you need to decide which type of résumé will work best for you. Chronological résumés are best if you intend to stay in your current field or industry. Functional résumés are best if you are trying to make a change into another field or industry.
Chronological résumés detail your job history, starting with the most recent position, and should go back approximately 10 years. The résumé should identify the positions held and then list the major accomplishments completed while in those positions.
Functional résumés highlight the major accomplishments you have identified from your previous work experience. They should end with a 10-year listing of past employers and positions held.
Underneath your name and contact information, the first section of your résumé should contain a four- or five-line summary of your career history. The second section includes your accomplishments, listed according to the type of résumé you have decided to create. The third section should include your education. One helpful hint is to leave off dates of graduation, since they tend to give indicators of age, which might be used to exclude you from consideration for the position. The last section should include any professional associations or groups that give you additional credibility for the position. Avoid listing any associations or groups not job- or position-focused.
Your résumé will get only a brief examination, so misspellings or poor grammar will likely cause you to be dropped from further consideration. The expectation is that your résumé should be an example of the quality of your work, so be sure to have at least one other person proofread it carefully before sending it out.
Be honest when claiming you have earned a degree or held a position. If you are hired, and your employer discovers you misrepresented something on your résumé, it could be grounds for termination. Complete the package with a brief, well-written cover letter that ties you and your experience to the position, and to what the organization is seeking in an employee.