What should and should not be in your resume

Job seekers need to be very aware of how risky it is for an employer to hire someone. A great deal of time and energy is placed into recruiting, going over resumes, interviewing, reference checking, background checking, drug screening and then eventually trusting a candidate to join your work family. It's a very big deal and is rarely taken lightly.

During the hiring process, employers and recruiters are hypervigilant in looking for clues or signs that you are "the one." It is imperative that job-seekers focus on projecting an image of a winner or solution provider. Your image should scream: "I'm going to arrive and solve your problems."

Let's begin with your calling card: the resume. Here are five aspects that are common to the resumes of winners:

1. OBJECTIVE

Have a standard objective. It is not necessary to stand out or be overly creative, but you must have one. You would be surprised how many candidates skip this important aspect of the resume. If it is missing, a red flag goes up. It gives the impression that the resume was thrown together or that the candidate doesn't really know what they want. Here is an example of a great objective:

Efficient, loyal and results-driven individual seeks challenging position in____________ that will capitalize upon my _____ years experience in the field as well as my keen ability to reduce cost and streamline processes.

The first three adjectives and the last two abilities should be replaced with information that is most pertinent to your candidacy.

2. HIGHLIGHTS

I always recommend a highlights section right below the objective. This should be four to five bullets of measurable accomplishments. (It's OK to duplicate information that's in the resume.) Make sure the bullets are impressive and measurable. Give them a reason to keep reading your resume.

Good: – Certified Internal Auditor. – Reached an average of 110% of sales quota every quarter 2004-2006.

Bad: – Good people skills.

– Great leadership ability.

3. FORMAT

If you have stayed with one company and been promoted and had different titles, format your resume so that it is clear that this happened with one organization. Some job seekers format their resume so that it appears that these promotions were jobs at different companies. Of course if you read carefully, you will see that these were promotions. But remember, people in my position almost always scan resumes first and since job hopping is a top five hiring authority no-no, you must not give this impression.

4. LENGTH

Your resume should not be too long. My rule of thumb is if you have less than 6-8 years experience, keep it to one page. More than eight years, then you can go to two pages.

Do you really need more than two pages? When it gets to be more than two, I begin to think the candidate has ego issues. Winners rarely have long rambling resumes with too much detail. I once got one that was 26 pages long. I never called him.

5. CONTACT INFORMATION

You should always have an email address at the top with your home address. Whenever I see a resume without an email address, I get the impression that the candidate may be "technologically challenged." I get the same impression when I see a fax number. Please, remove the fax number! Also, it is important that your email address not come across as strange. Whenever I get a resume with an email like darkwarrior7@yahoo.com, I instantly wonder if I should have them representing my company.

It's also important for a candidate to have their own email address. You can use a family email, but don't use your spouse's email. I also suggest a Gmail account with Google. They are free and all the cool techies have a Gmail email.

Mario DeCarolis is owner of West Bay Group, Inc.; a search and recruitment company specializing in accounting, audit and manufacturing talent. He is also a licensed Master's level Psychologist (877) 947-WEST, Mario@westbaygroup.net.

Next month: Look for several more tips on improving your image in the marketplace.

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