Is it time for you to write or update your resume, but you're not sure how or where to begin?
Try this simple five-step method for putting together and writing a resume that can make the difference between landing an interview and landing your job hopes in the wastebasket.
The SCORE checklist — Search, Customize, Organize, Research and Edit — requires some self-assessment and self-discipline, but can garner great resume results for those who use it.
- S – Search: Search yourself about the kind of job you want and where you'd like to go in your career. You can't land the job you want until you have a strong command of who you are, what you're seeking, and what makes you happy in the workplace. If your head isn't ready for the right job search, nothing else matters.
You'll set yourself up for disappointment if you take a job that doesn't match your personal and career goals. Create your own personal mission statement, and, as part of it, write down the top qualities you believe will help you nail down the job of your dreams.
- C – Customize: Customize the resume so that you're aiming it at the person who will do the hiring for the position. Emphasize the skills and background you have and how they fit into the job description.
Use actual words and phrases found in the job description itself to word your Professional Summary (or Summary of Qualifications), accomplishments, and level of experience.
In the likely event your resume has to pass through an electronic scanner, you can boost your chances of it reaching the hiring manager by using as many matching keywords and phrases as possible.
- O – Organize: Organize your resume so it presents a succinct picture of your skills, background, and professional accomplishments.
* In your Objective and/or Summary, give the reader a brief glimpse (think back to your "mission statement") into who you are and what skills, background, and qualities you would bring to the job.
* Then, in your Professional Experience section, emphasize the accomplishments and roles from your work history that expand on and support what you state in your Objective and Summary.
Looks count, too! Make your resume easy to read, with a clean type font, and leave enough white space so it doesn't have that "jumbled" look a document can get if it's copy-heavy.
Organize also refers to being organized with your job search activities. Keep track of what version of your resume you send to which company and to whom. When you get the call to interview at a company, you'll need to be aware of which position you're interviewing for and what version of your resume they will be looking at during the interview.
- R – Research: Research the employer on the web and find out as much as you can. Then, combine that information, the data you have from the job description, and the background and experience you have to make a pitch in your cover letter as to how you can help the employer.
Focus your resume and cover letter on what you can do for them. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy: "State not what the employer can do for you; state what you can do for the employer."
- E – Edit: To put it simply, there's no excuse for a misspelling, incorrect grammar, or even an out-of-place comma on the resume or cover letter.
Perfection is often an elusive goal, but your resume and cover letter must be perfect. Have a trusted friend or relative read them before you send them.
If you need to update a resume or begin one from scratch, the SCORE method can help present you as a solution to an employer's critical problem: finding the right person to fill the right role at the right time.
How easy or difficult is it for you to write a resume? Does the SCORE method seem as if it can help? Share your thoughts with us.