While we can always put our best foot forward online during a job search, whether it be on LinkedIn or even on Facebook or Instagram, the only place where we have total control over our professional image is in the old-fashioned resume, otherwise known as a curriculum vitae (CV). Thus, an eye-catching and attention-grabbing resume is vital when it comes to landing an interview and perhaps even securing a position.
Unfortunately, we can’t sit next to a hiring manager while reading over their shoulder and explaining what we meant in each part of our resume. The page – or more likely the screen – must speak for you in your absence. And you want your resume’s voice to be crystal clear as it glistens with all of your experience and achievements.
Let’s start with the resume basics. We can break down any resume into four fundamental sections:
1.) Lead Story:
Before listing your contact information, take advantage of human nature and grab their attention while they’re at the top of the page. This is your chance to hook the reader with a short and snappy paragraph that serves as your profile. What would you say during a 30-second elevator pitch? Say it here, summarizing your experience and training while emphasizing your skills that are relevant to the position you seek to fill.
2.) Contact Information:
Provide your name, phone number, e-mail address, and perhaps a link to your LinkedIn profile or your website if you want to give them an opportunity to further explore your professional story.
Your work experience should take up the bulk of your resume. Listing your positions in chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest, you are conveying results. You want to show in measurable terms that you made a difference for your employers. Quantify everything you’ve done in your positions:
a.) “Increased sales 20% by implementing XYZ technique”
b.) “Saved company $50,000 by eliminating redundant packaging”
c.) “Answered 100 calls per day, providing excellent customer service”
d.) “Led five-person team with flawless deadline deliverables”
4.) Technical Knowledge:
List your technical skills under “Skills” just beneath your work experience – that includes programs that we may take for granted like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Also, list your proficiency next to each skill. Even if you’re a beginner on Excel, put it in there. Also, list all certifications and training.
Polish That Resume
Beyond the basics, you can add several more aspects to your resume to help it stand out:
Yes, keywords are all the rage for businesses to get more hits online, but you can use keywords to get a “hit” from a potential employer! Select key phrases from the job description for which you are applying and pepper those exact phrases naturally throughout your resume.
If your background includes anything out of the ordinary, find a way to include that aspect of your life in your resume. If you speak multiple languages, include your fluency under “Skills”. If you organize networking events related to your industry, include your role as a leader under “Experience”. If you’re deeply involved in a sport or hobby, include a note at the bottom of your resume to give the hiring manager an idea of who you are. Remember to keep it professional.
Not only proofread your resume several times yourself but also ask a couple of friends or family members to proofread it, as well. Reading out loud is a great way to capture errors.
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