Before you can write a great resume, you must know exactly how you will use it. If you think all you have to do is stick it in a stamped envelope and mail it off to personnel-forget it! The only time you will ever resort to this feeble course of action is when you have absolutely no other available recourse.
Personnel offices are deluged with resumes. Each day brings a new truckload. What chance does your resume have of being the one to fetch positive action? Even if it is terrific, your chances of anything happening are slight, very slight, at best. You will be lucky if a company sends you a form letter thanking you for applying. So, just remember: No matter how great your resume is, it probably won't do you much good unless it gets directly into the right hands!
Unless you are looking for a position in human resources or personnel, stay away from this function if at all possible. Keep this thought uppermost in your mind: personnel screens, management hires. This is true for the great majority of companies-especially at the salaried level.
Whenever you can, you must attempt to hand-carry your resume to the person who will make the hiring decision. This is the advice given by job search experts to all levels of job seekers. These same experts may not always agree on what makes a perfect resume, but we do agree that hand-carrying your resume to the prospective boss or supervisor is the way to go. Make every effort to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Regrettably, you will usually have to resort to mailing your resume to the decision maker. But first, make every effort to arrange a face-to-face meeting.
Why are experienced job search counselors so adamant on this point? It is all based on the substantiated premise that the head of a particular department or area is the one who actually decides his or her departmental needs and does the hiring for his area. This is so in nearly all cases at just about every company. If you have any work experience at all, you know this to be true.
How do you go about finding out who this person might be? Try networking, using directories, or calling the company and saying, "I'm updating my mailing list. Who is in charge of?"
The Resume as a Road Map
Whenever humanly possible, get the interview and then present your resume to the interviewer immediately upon meeting him or her. Because you have skillfully constructed your resume, it will serve as a road map for the interviewer to follow. Because you drew the map and because the interviewer is reading it for the first time, the interview has a much better chance of going in the direction you would like it to go.
Reach Out and Grab Someone
Research indicates that an employer will generally spend no more than ten to twenty seconds glancing at a resume received in the mail. And it might not even be read at all. On those occasions when you must mail your resume, it must gain favorable attention immediately or risk consignment to the reject basket. Therefore, it is mandatory that your resume cry out, "Read Me! Read Me! Read Me!"
To command immediate attention your resume must have visual impact. In retailing, the expression is, "Eye Appeal Is Buy Appeal." Your resume must invite itself to be read. Adherence to the following guidelines will help to achieve this mandatory visual impression.
You Have to Have a Target
The unfortunate truth is, if you do not have a rather definite job target it is virtually impossible to decide what you should be trying to sell. You don't know what the prospective employer is interested in buying. It's like going fishing. If you don't care what kind or how many fish you catch, you can always grab a pole and a can of worms and head for the nearest puddle. But if it's tuna that you desire, you had best get rigged up right, get the right bait, and head out to sea.