Tilting the Odds
Like we mentioned before, your goal is to make your resume, and ultimately you as a person, stand out above all of the other applicants for the position you are going for. There are a number of ways to do this, but many of them you can’t really change at this point. You can’t go back in time and change your major from college, you can’t change your grade point average, and you can’t do anything to change your past employment record. What you can do, though, is change the way that this information is presented so that it works to your advantage rather than looking like a generic list of accomplishments.
The first step here is to look at the job that you are thinking of applying for. What is the job, what are its duties, what does the company expect of people in this position? If you don’t know the answer to that question, do some research on the company and try to figure this out for yourself.
Now that you have an idea of what you’ll be doing, the next step is to look at your old resume and figure out how the things on it can help you in that position. There are a few standard practices that go along with resume creation, but the big categories include personal information, education, professional experience, and skills and certifications. Depending on the field that you are going into, other categories might need to be included. The way that you arrange these should all build upon one another. For example, you went to college and studied business. After college, you got a job, didn’t like it, then got another job. While there, you had specific duties and responsibilities, which led to an interest in the job that you are now applying for. The trick is now to arrange your resume in a way that reflects this career path, and not only shows that you are more than qualified for the job you’re applying for, but that you are going to be a top contributor at the company. Anything that you can provide extra that will illustrate this fact will be helpful, too.
If there are things on the resume that do not help your case, and do not need to be on the resume, take them off. If there are things that are not on the resume that you think would help you, even if they are not professional items like a past job, they might be worth including in some capacity. These might be special skills or hobbies, or they might be volunteer experiences that you’ve had. Either way, your new resume should reflect that you have spent your time building up to this new job, and that you are the best choice for the position as a result.
It doesn’t matter in the end what kind of paper you print your resume on or what font you use. There are some that are better than others, but it’s really the information on the page that is the important part. And since you can’t really do anything to change the past, you should be focused on displaying it so that it helps you. You might also find that there are other things you can do now that might help your job prospects in the future. You could get a professional certification in something, or you could start volunteering with a local charity. In the end, all of these things should be doing the same thing for your job chances—pointing to the fact that you are going to help the company that you are applying to work at more than any other candidate can.