Now that you have found a great job to apply for, it is time to craft a resume that makes you stand out from the pack. As a manager, it is still surprising to me how many people write out long paragraphs detailing their job history. On the flip side, not including enough information can be just as detrimental. The best way is to find a balance between the two and to tell ‘your story’ in a way that makes you the perfect fit for the job.
1) One size does not fit all. Many people develop a single resume and send it to each and every job posting they find. Those who are truly successful, however, take the time to make small changes in wording to emphasize key words from the actual job posting of the job they are applying. Pepper in key words and phrases from the job posting to accentuate skills and experiences you already possess.
2) Develop an eye-catching headline. In larger text below the header of your resume, give yourself a headline such as Experienced Naturalist and Education Coordinator. This grabs the attention of the person who is sifting through hundreds of resumes immediately and also provides key words for search engines.
3) Tell your story. Below your headline, in 3-5 sentences summarize the ‘theme’ of your experience. If you have coordinated camps, detail that experience including the types of audiences you have worked with and any logistical coordination you have handled.
4) Areas of expertise. In 3-6 bullets below your story, list areas you consider yourself an expert. This will grab the attention of the person reviewing your resume and prompt them to continue reading. Begin each bullet with an action word such as ‘Coordinated, Designed, Trained, Managed, etc.’ Use this section to sell yourself.
5) Work History. In today’s economy, it is not uncommon to have gaps in your work history or even times you did ‘odd’ jobs. Break up your work history into two sections: Professional Experience and Other Work Experience. Don’t discount the times you cleaned animal cages or worked at a grocery store. Times like that build character, but don’t belong in your Professional Experience section.
6) Education. This is pretty much a given. You worked hard for those degrees! Be sure to list them but keep this section fairly short.
7) Professional Associations and Development. List any professional organizations you have membership with (NAI) and trainings you have completed. Be sure to list dates as well. Some employers need to know certifications and the dates those are effective.
8) Other information. You have the option of including information about volunteer work you have done, computer proficiencies, and awards you have received. Keep this section short and to the point.