Finding a job at any level is a task that is challenging enough due to the constantly changing job market, the consistent influx of graduates, and now the reconstructed workforce as a result of Covid-19. As individuals battle a fast-paced, competitive applicant pool, it is important to return to the basics of crafting a well-written, efficient resume. This is why it is important to understand the 3 F’s of resume writing.
On average, employers look at resumes for six to seven seconds. There is no longer room for including profile photos, flashy and colorful headers, and text, or randomly segmented categories. Having less than ten seconds to prove qualifications for a position enforces the idea that the focus point of drafting a resume, should be to stick to the Three Fs of Resume Writing: Function, Form, and e(F)fectiveness.
The main function of the resume is to efficiently describe qualifications and achievements to the targeted audience. The motivation behind sending out a resume can be for various reasons, including receiving scholarships, certifications, internships, and professional roles, but the requirement of the functionality remains the same across all scopes. Construct your resume in a straightforward manner that prioritizes accessibility to contact information, highlighted achievements, and a descriptive overview of your ability to enhance the enterprise or organizational vision.
Subsequently, keep in mind that in a workforce that has focused on prioritizing culture-building and adaptability, the secondary function of the resume is to emphasize softer professional skills. Developing a personal introduction that showcases not only expertise of the role requirements, but a dedication to the team and business development and the ability to acquire knowledge in a fast-paced environment is key to an effective resume document.
Often, professionals place too much emphasis on designing a form that is creative, or “eye-catching,” only to result in a document that can be overwhelming or distracting to a hiring manager, or electronic applicant system. When described as distracting, the overall look and formatting of the document is pulling the attention away from the information that matters, qualifications and achievements. While it is important to construct an aesthetically pleasing resume, it is equally important to keep the information clean and concise, keeping in mind the ten-second time limit previously mentioned.
When deciding what and when to highlight specific information, utilize the desired career path to determine which qualifications and achievements to bring to the top of the resume. For entry-level and graduate applicants with less professional experience, it is important to emphasize the educational and internship background closer to the top of the document, versus professional and executive candidates who benefit from creating a “select achievements” segment that highlight metrics, major projects, and improvement initiatives right off the bat. Although each resume is unique to the candidate, determining formatting that heightens relevance for the desired career move is an important foundational factor.
The two previous categories work together to secure the final requirement, effectiveness. An effective resume has a clear purpose that communicates the desired outcome, is straightforward and easy to read and navigate, and is formatted in a way that produces a relevant flow of information. These three factors coincide to ensure the resume is selected in a pool of other qualified candidates, whether a company is utilizing an electronic method or a hiring manager to surf through the documents.
An additional area of focus should be specific wording and grammatical accuracy. Filling the document with ample amounts of keywords without producing wordiness is a delicate, but necessary balance. A useful tip is to reference the job descriptions of roles you might be interested in to pull keywords and phrases to include in your resume. Having alignment with potential job descriptions automatically provides a leg-up in the applicant pool. Lastly, once you have constructed the document, proofreading is essential to safeguarding the accuracy and credibility of your work. Don’t put all of that work into designing a well-crafted document, only to be taken out of the competition due to grammatical errors.
For all levels of professionals, ranging from entry-level to C-suite executives, resume writing can be a daunting task. The best thing to do is to reduce the pressure surrounding the task by going back to the basics and utilizing the Three Fs to produce a document that celebrates your achievements and lands you that job!