If you view the job search process as one where you are marketing your personal brand to prospective employers in order to find a role where your talents and experience will be appreciated and your goals will most likely be met, then you should view your resume as the foundation of your brand marketing strategy.
There are some general rules for resume writing that are equally applicable to all job seekers, regardless of where they are on their career journey. The ICS recruiters have developed these rules of thumb to get you started:
- Be completely accurate and truthful. While you don’t need to emphasize events such as a time when you were let go, you should never lie about anything on a resume. In many cases this is cause for termination even if it’s discovered long after you’ve been hired, so falsifying information on your resume should just never happen. Period.
- Positioning your background in the best light possible, however is a definite plus, so make sure you put some effort into thinking critically about all the aspects of your prior experiences and how they contribute to your suitability as a candidate. Use crisp, descriptive sentences built with action words such as those provided in the ICS Word Bank for Resumes to help your resume stand out and grab your readers’ attention.
- Be brief. While professionals with a decade or more of high level employment experience might require additional space, many resumes can be comfortably housed on one page. It’s not the hard and fast rule it once was, but it pays to honestly ask yourself whether one page is sufficient, and if so, your efforts will surely be appreciated by hiring managers.
- Be careful! Spell check your resume every single time you make a change in it and save the document with a title which reflects the last time it was updated.
- Use an accepted format. We provide some sample resumes here as a guide for commonly accepted approaches to organizing your professional and educational experiences.
- Consider customization. Many successful candidates report that they tweak their resume every single time they apply for a job to ensure they are showing how well their skills and experience are in line with the description of the job they seek.
- Include all your vital information—don’t forget to include basic information every hiring manager will need: Address, phone and mobile phone, email, and LinkedIn if you have it.