Aligning both the content and layout in your resume especially on the first two pages will provide you with an impressive and winning document that will generate interviews.
Resume Content is ‘King’:
The content developed in your resume is #1: the content must reflect both breadth and depth. Clichéd statements such as ‘excellent communication skills’, ‘highly developed organisational skills’ and so forth are GONE! These statements prove absolutely nothing and are of no value – I cannot stress this enough. If you are going to include content to reflect these skills then provide substance and depth to the statements you make. For example, you can prove your excellent communication skills by outlining a short two to three line statement which focuses on a complex report you prepared, the audience it was forwarded to, and the feedback you gained on its quality; to prove the verbal communication component, outline a win-win outcome you achieved in a negotiation.
Gone are the days of developing resumes that read like a plain boring job description with point after point of responsibilities listed. Take it a step further and higher by asking yourself how you went over and above performing day-to-day responsibilities. In other words, develop statements that showcase achievements/results/outcomes – this is where resume content is king!
Resume Layout is ‘Queen’:
Never ever discount the importance of the layout of your resume. Solid content is great but if you do not back it up with a structured and streamlined layout or format then you could easily lose the interest of the reader very quickly. Initially, the reader will quickly scan over the resume in a matter of seconds without reading the content in depth; this is where the layout is crucial. A solidly developed resume must direct the reader, the reader should not direct the resume – resume layout is the key here. When I develop a resume, whether I am developing one from scratch or revamping an existing one, my mindset is in ‘letterhead’ mode. I ask the questions: where do I want to position the client’s name and contact details (for example, centred in the header). Next, I ask what section titles/headings do I want to include and what catchy name titles do I assign to them. I then format them in the same manner as I have the client’s name and contact details; for example, client name is centred on the page, then so are the section titles, if client name is left justified, then I do the same for the titles, and so forth. There must be consistency/uniformity from page to page thereafter in terms of the formatting; for example, if you centre the section titles on the first page then do the same on the following pages, or if you left justify the titles on the first page, then follow on with this layout on subsequent pages.
The resume ‘king and queen’ make for one hell of a formidable team. Importantly, the key and bulk of the resume content should be showcased on the first two pages; subsequent pages thereafter (aim to keep document to a maximum of four pages) will be scanned – a reader’s mind will be convinced they want to interview you if they read and see what they want on the first two pages.
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