December 1, 2023

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For Finance Buffs

Is Your Resume Ready For the 20-Second Scan?

2 min read

Studies have shown that the average employer spends between 15-20 seconds skimming through each resume that is received. Yours can capture his/her attention if you remember to follow these three simple guidelines:

1. Style – Your resume should be neat and without spelling errors. It should be easy to read with your experience and education listed in reverse chronological order. If you have a large amount of previous work experience then list only those that are most relevant to the potential job. Do not get too fancy with the fonts; keep it simple 10 or 12 pitch, Times or Ariel. Your name and contact information including email should be bold and at the top of the resume.

Hint – the eye naturally goes to the margins of the paper so use the left margin to list your employer and the right to list the dates of employment.

2. Skills – Review your resume to make sure that the potential employer can clearly see the relation your skill set has to a potential position. Make sure that the applicable skills that you may possess are detailed in your past job duties. The goal here is to let the employer imagine you performing the duties of the proposed job. You need to position yourself as the best match.

Hint – if you are new to the job market or have been forced to job hunt due to a career change or other circumstance and think you many not have the required job skills; then you should do a transferable skills assessment. You can easily do this by taking a piece of pager and listing the tasks that you performed in your previous job and then the skills that were required to complete these tasks (example Task – discuss financial statements with supervisor, Skill used – presenting written and oral information clearly or Task – responsible for showing clerk the filing system, Skill used – train and supervise staff)

3. Significance – The employer should also see your potential worth and the benefit of employing you above all other applicants. I recommend that you place a summary of qualifications at the top of the resume. This should be a short summary of your skills and accomplishments that will indicate your previous successes and how you will positively impact this new organization.

Hint – List the major strengths that you have previously demonstrated such as leadership, goal driven or a specific knowledge or ability in a particular field. Use action verbs such as; attained, detailed, minimized, redesigned, represented, won, etc…

In summary take time to plan your resume and when you compose it, employ the guidelines that I have detailed in this article. Review your resume several times before you submit it to a potential employer. If you are confident that your resume is appropriately styled, listing your relevant skills and if the reader can clearly imagine the significance of employing you, then submit it.

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