A strong resume is key to getting the right job. Your resume is your ticket into the interview process. So let’s talk a bit more about resumes. As part two (here’s part one) on this series about resumes, I thought it would be important to address the Introductory portion of a resume. By this I mean your resume header and your Professional Summary. So, let’s dive in!
The Resume Header
The resume header contains all your key contact information – your name, address, phone number, and email address. Simple enough, right? It can be but there are a few key points to highlight here.
First, you want to streamline this section of your resume. In other words, you don’t want to take up too much real estate on your first page with this information because this isn’t the information in your resume that is going to get you the job. I often suggest bolding your name at the top and then on one horizontal line having all the other information. This ensures all the information is there but also leaves the bulk of that prime first page real estate for the information that is going to get you the job.
Your Email Address
A few things to note in particular about your email address. First, you want to keep it professional. You don’t want “Partygirl101” on there – you want to look professional, serious, and job-ready on all parts of your resume.
In addition, I always suggest using a non-school email address. As you are looking for jobs, whether they are quite in your field yet or not, you want to be seen as a professional. By having your school email address on there they may get the impression that you are not as ready as an applicant that has a professional email address. Right or wrong, first impression do make a difference.
Lastly, many people have put their year of birth in their email address. For example, Jackie1985@gmail.com. In many countries, it’s illegal for an employer to ask your age as part of the application process. As such, it’s always good to keep it off your resume. In addition, if you are very young they may feel that year indicates inexperience or if you are older it may indicate to them that you aren’t going to stay long. Wherever you fall in the range, impressions can be drawn and it’s best to keep your birth year out of the mix for those reasons.
First things first. Make sure that your header here is Professional Summary and not Objective Statement. In today’s job market employers are focused on what you can do for them, not what you hope to get from them. Therefore, you want your label and your following statements to show just that.
So, what do you include here? Think of it as your “elevator pitch” so to speak. Highlight who you are – what type of professional you are and your top skills. Don’t be shy – highlight your skills in a very success-oriented manner. Tied to this, make sure that the skills that you highlight are related to the job you are applying for. The fact that you are data-driven isn’t going to get you a job where data analysis has nothing to do with the job you are applying for. Lastly, keep this section short and positive.
And don’t forget about the value of key words. If you haven’t been able to fit a key word that is highly relevant to the jobs you are applying for within the core of your resume, this may be the perfect spot to fit them in. Or to reiterate them. Remember, you need those key words to get through an employer’s automated filtering system before your resume will get into the hands of a human resource or hiring manager’s hands.
As a professional resume writer, I’m happy to answer any questions you share in the comments. I’m also always happy to hear your experiences in the areas discussed. For example, do you have any tricks of the trade for writing your professional summary? How do you tailor it to the job at hand?