No matter which industry you're in or how many years you've been in it, crafting a resume can present a challenge. For instance, if you're fresh out of college, you probably don't have extensive job experience to list for potential employers, but you still want to convey your knowledge and skills to them. For those who have established themselves in the workplace, you may find yourself struggling to condense all of the positions you've held over the years, and you might not know how to express all of your skills in the most succinct way possible. Whatever the case, there are a few guidelines to follow as you craft your resume and begin your search.
First, remember that in today's economy, you should be continually reviewing and updating your resume to reflect your position, skills, and knowledge. Even if you've been happily employed at your company for years, you should have a presentable document ready to go in case you have to seek other work unexpectedly. It might not be the most uplifting possibility to ponder, but it's important to have a backup plan in the face of layoffs or other unforeseen problems. Plus, consistent reviewing will help you remember which attributes you want to add and allow you to see resume -killing errors like misspellings more easily.
People who are new to the job pool - whether they are recent high school or college grads, or stay-at-home moms who are looking for work now that their children are older - should understand that experience isn't the only section of a resume that employers look at. That part-time or summer job might look rather stark when seen by itself on paper, with only a position title and duration of employment. That is why you must focus on the skills you have garnered through even the more menial jobs. For example, if you have been a part-time server in a restaurant but you're looking for a PR position, you might worry that there is no overlap between the skill sets needed for these positions. However, dealing with customers on a daily basis and problem solving while on your feet might be factors to highlight when you list your experience.
Other items to write into your rsum include positions you've held that aren't "jobs," per se. Virtually every college student understands the importance of internships, and your resume is the place to show them off. Be confident in presenting your duties and the skills you obtained, but be sure not to exaggerate the work you did, or it could come back to haunt you later.
For people who have been in the workforce for decades, there are a different set of issues. You likely have plenty of experience to list on your resume, and some glowing references to vouch for you, but you might be running out of space for them! Conventional wisdom says not to exceed one page when creating your resume because employers sifting through piles of rsums likely won't take the time to read through all of your skills. This is a good guideline, but exceptions to this rule could include candidates for more exclusive positions pooling a select group of people. That said, you always want to be as concise as possible. One of the ways you can do this is to focus on your most recent achievements, so you can list your positions over the past ten years, rather than retracing your steps back to the day you entered the workforce. The same goes for your skills because employers are interested in what's fresh in your mind, not the things you might be a little rusty on.
No matter what level of experience you have, it's important to have someone look over your resume before you ever send it to an employer. Sure, spellchecking your document can help guide you away from typos, but it doesn't catch everything. So, whether you're submitting your information in person or online, print it out, look it over, and have someone else do the same. It won't take long and it could make your job search that much easier.