Write a resume to get the job you want

A resume is your first impression to potential employers, so win them over quickly with these tips.

resume streamNew graduates will soon hit the streets looking for jobs, and competition is high. 

Joy Jones, M.Ed., assistant director with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Career and Professional Development Services, has pointers for new jobseekers to create an effective resume.

“The purpose of the resume is to get you to the interview stage of the hiring process, so it should highlight your most relevant skills and qualifications,” Jones said. “It should be focused, clear and concise.”

A resume is the first impression potential employers have, so win them over quickly by standing out from the crowd of other applicants.

Word choice is important. Be aware that many employers use programs called Applicant Tracking Systems to scan a resume when it is submitted for a position. The program recognizes keywords, many of which are in the job posting, in order to find the best match for the position.

Most recruiters take only about 10 seconds to review your resume. “There are different stats on this; but if you don’t make an impact in that time, you’ll get passed by for the job,” Jones said. “If you do make an impact, they will at least take a more in-depth look at your resume.”

“Errors in grammar and spelling, along with typos, are one of the easiest ways to get rejected from an opportunity."

Target your resume to the specific job. “About 85 percent of employers agree that you have to tailor your resume for the position for which you are applying. Prioritizing your most important applicable skills and qualifications can make a big difference.”

Proofread. Read through your resume draft after every change, and get friends or family to read and critique the finished product. “Errors in grammar and spelling, along with typos, are one of the easiest ways to get rejected from an opportunity. In a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of employers indicated they had passed over a candidate due to these types of errors.”

Be concise. For students just entering the workforce, a one-page resume works for most industries, so use your space wisely. According to an online employer forum sponsored by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers want to read more about how a candidate fits the job than where he or she lives. It is also recommended to eliminate objective statements and the ‘References available upon request’ line.

Accomplishments are better than duties. “A list of job duties tells only what you did on the job, but accomplishments show how well you did those duties and to what effect,” Jones said. “Nearly 90 percent of employers prefer to see verifiable accomplishments on the resume.”

UAB students and alumni who want a resume review or help with creating a resume can call Career and Professional Development at 205-934-4324 or email at careerservices@uab.edu.