September 12, 2011

Career Mistakes You Might Be Making: Poorly Organized Resume

When someone looks at your resume it should make sense and tell your story in as little time as possible because the people in charge of hiring aren't exactly going to spend much time on it themselves. They want to spend a few seconds determining whether to keep it or throw it out and move on. So, before you even get to content there are a few key organization issues you need to think about.

Keep It To One Page
I don't care if you've had 30 internships that are all 100% relevant to this job, you resume should still be one page. If you feel you really need to convey more information then you can include a linkedin link or other way to find out more, but there are several reasons you need to learn to limit yourself here. First, it doesn't exactly look good if your resume if longer than that of the person hiring you, that just looks pretentious. Second, most people just aren't going to read more than a page Third, the goal of the resume if to get an interview, so as long as you include your strongest points here, you can save the extra material for interview discussion, which brings me to the next point.

Customize to The Job
If you're not including everything then you can and should be sure that what you do choose to include is a key selling point for this particular job. If the job, for example, is in booking then be sure to include any related experience working with venues or other booking agents. If it's marketing and you spend some time on a street team then inclue that. This customization can even be as specific as the individual descriptions you include for each job. Maybe you don't have direct experience in booking, but worked in sales during a summer job so you have no problem picking up a phone and making calls to convince someone to do something for your client. That's exactly the kind of thing you should be thinking about when you write your resume.

Put Your Strongest Selling Points First
So, once you figure what to include you need to organize things. There are many resume styles but if you're a student with little experience, your best bet is likely to put your strongest selling point first. Match this to the job description, as we talked about above and focus on making it so that anyone reading your resume will notice the skills you have that match their needs right away. If you're a student, one of your biggest strengths right now is likely the degree you are working towards, so you should put your degree information first. If you lack experience in the real world but took a lot of related classes with projects similar to the job's requirements, then that should be second. If the job requirements computer and web design skills and you are great at HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, and every other design program and language, then be sure that stands out.

Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind when you write your resume is what you can to do keep it clear and concise. Everything on it should be short, well organized, to-the-point, and easy to understand and it should draw attention to your greatest strengths.
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