Careers at The Resource Group | The 'Why' Behind Resumes

Zahra Young

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The same can be attributed to resumes. At The Resource Group we believe your resume is a reflection of you (read: your professional story). Although there is no such thing as a perfect resume there are differences between a good resume and one that will end up in the "no" pile.

On average, employers look at resumes for six to seven seconds. To get past this initial review you want to ensure your resume is pleasing to the eye with a simple layout that easily distinguished between sections. This allows the employer to be motivated to look deeper at your resume which, will hopefully, reveal your personal attributes, values, and motivators. For example, candidates who highlight their passion or purpose on the resume may be an indicator of someone who is inspired by mission or invigorated by serving others. If a candidate highlights involvement in their role or company it may lead hiring managers to see the candidate as a team player.  There is a lot more to the art of a resume so keep scrolling for our Resource Group dos, don'ts, and general resume advice. 
Common Error: Writing a resume like a job description

Your resume should be a summary of what you have accomplished, i.e., what impact you made on the team/organization, not what a former job dictated you to do. Accomplishments tell a hiring manager how you, Candidate X, are better than the rest. What did you bring to a role that someone else did not? Quantify your accomplishments with facts and figures to easily demonstrate the value you can provide. 

Common Error: Spelling, grammatical, and other errors

Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. However, people act in patterns. Misspellings, grammatical or tense errors, and inconsistencies can lead a hiring manager to question your attention to detail and more importantly the quality of your performance and work deliverables. Your resume is a reflection of you and a polished resume conveys attention to detail, a willingness to engage others for feedback, refinement, and professionalism.

Common Error: Listing skills without demonstrable application

Some candidates may chose to include a 'Skills' section on their resume. This can be beneficial when it comes to job functions or roles that require specific competencies or certifications but can also open a candidate up to additional questioning and scrutiny. If 'team oriented' is listed as a skill, yet every accomplishment is self-focused, it can give hiring managers conflicting ideas of you. Ideally, if you outline a set of skills, make sure to highlight how you have utilized them successfully. 

  • Resume DOs

    — Update your resume regularly. This is not limited to your last role but also to skills, certifications, recent accomplishments, volunteerism, etc.

    — Make sure you proofread every section, every line, every word, every date. Ask a colleague, friend, or mentor to review your resume before submitting. 

    — Make sure every line highlights a measure of success or accomplishment you realized in a role. When in doubt, do the 'so what?' test. You did what? Your goal should be for the reader to understand how you applied yourself in the role and prompt them to want to learn more about you, the candidate.

  • Resume DON'Ts

    — Don't include information you cannot easily speak to. If you don't remember why something is on your resume, remove it. You don't want to be asked a leading question about something that you can't elaborate on.

    — If you have the option, don't submit a resume in any other format than PDF. Microsoft Word and Google Doc documents don't always upload and download correctly which can lead to inconsistent formatting and a hard to read resume. 

    — Don't waste space with unnecessary or outdated information. If you are a recent college graduate, it may be beneficial to highlight extracurricular activities (especially mission-based or volunteerism). If you have been in the workforce for more than a few years begin replacing this type of information with more professional accomplishments.

    — Don't include too much industry jargon or acronyms many would not be familiar with. Tailor your resume to be easily read and understood by anyone who may read it. 

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