|By Laura Morsch, CareerBuilder.com
We’ve all been through it.
The waiting–endless waiting–for the phone to ring with the hope that maybe, just maybe, one of the résumés that you sent out this week will get through to the right person, and that they’ll like what they see.
There are things that you can do to help land that all-important first interview, says Brad Turkin, executive vice president of staffing company Comforce Corporation. “As the old saying goes, you have only one chance to make a good first impression–and the résumé is it.”
Here are Turkin’s tips for creating an irresistible résumé:
Know Your Strengths
Before you apply for a job, you need to do some serious soul-searching, Turkin says. First, narrow down the type of job that you’re looking for: Do you want to be a network administrator for a smaller firm? A help desk technician for a multinational corporation?
Then examine exactly what you would bring to a company, and what you need to work on. “Know your strengths, and acknowledge your weaknesses,” Turkin says. For example, you might be fantastic at configuration but impatient with customer service.
Demonstrate Your Value
Fill your résumé with facts that jump out at your recruiter. Turkin prefers a chronological résumé with bullet points that highlight your MCP certification, as well as your experience and successes that will set you apart from the competition.
“Avoid empty boasts that can’t be quantified,” Turkin suggests. “You’ve got to show how you’ve contributed to a company’s bottom line and how you’ve added value.”
Little white lies get discovered, he says, so always use your actual dates of employment.
“Don’t send your résumé blindly to every company out there,” Turkin advises. Do your homework and decide who you want to target. Look into a company’s history, its goals for the future, and how it plans to accomplish them.
Be the Solution
“Try to find out where the company’s ‘pain’ is,” Turkin says. “If you can position yourself as a possible solution to their problems, you’ve got a very big step up on the competition.” For example, the prospective company might be struggling to implement a technology upgrade that you just completed at your last employer.
Upgrade and Update
As an IT professional, you understand the importance of staying on the cutting edge. Your résumé is no exception, because it gets to the heart of what you can do for a company, Turkin says. You should be constantly upgrading–and updating–it.
Keep It Brief
Don’t make your résumé into a novel. A one- to two-page résumé is best. Three pages are acceptable only if you are an executive with decades of experience.
Check for Typos Again and Again
Your word processing program will pick up only misspellings, and many typos (“their” instead of “there,” for example) will pass right through the spell check.
With a solid résumé, you improve your chances of being selected for the next phase: the “preliminary screening” or phone contact. This is a real opportunity to sell yourself on a more personal level and lock in an actual interview.
Because the call can come at any time, Turkin advises that you keep everything positive and practice your answers so that you come across as the calm, confident professional that you are.