Why is it So Important to Have a Resume?

Nancy Anderson
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Even in the era of online applications and video interviews, resumes are still a key component of a successful job search. Many employers still make decisions about who to interview based on resumes alone. Here are some of the top reasons why you should have a resume that sets you apart.

Your All-Important First Impression

Contrary to what many professionals think, your performance during an interview isn't your first impression. Your resume is. If you don't have one, you miss the opportunity to help recruiters get to know you at a glance. Even if your job search brings up openings that only ask candidates to fill out an application form, it's still good practice to include your resume. Its contents can answer any additional questions from a recruiter who's on the fence about calling you in for an interview.

Showing Off Your Credentials

Your resume also offers the rare opportunity to brag a little. Don't just list your educational history and job experience; include your professional accomplishments. If you helped a previous company increase profits by 10 percent, mention that. You can also bring up hard skills relevant to the position, such as experience with certain software. Recent graduates completing a job search may shy away from creating a resume due to their lack of credentials, but they should still have one on hand. Educational history, summer jobs, internships and extracurricular activities are just a few things that could flesh out an early resume.

An Easy-Scan Format for Potential Employers

Creative slideshows, videos and unique portfolios may make you stand out, but when employers are sifting through thousands of applicants, they appreciate when candidates have a resume that's more traditional. Keep your resume simple and to-the-point to show hiring managers you understand the value of their time.

Comparison Made Easy

Employers want to see how you measure up to other candidates, which only works if everyone follows the same basic format. This is why it's especially important to follow accepted resume standards, such as using an easy-to-read font, plain colors and no distracting design elements. This allows the hiring manager or recruiter focus on comparing what matters: your skills and experience.

The Value of Chronological and Functional Resumes

While you don't want to stray from the standard, you can write your resume in one of two commonly accepted formats for your job search. A chronological resume displays your education and work history in the order of when they occurred. This is the most common option and the choice most employers prefer. For a functional resume, you list your skills and achievements before your employment history. This is a good choice if you're making a complete career change, rendering your employment history less relevant.

Despite new hiring technologies, employers still expect a resume, making it an essential tool for your job search. How important do you think resumes are for the modern jobseeker? Share your insight in the comments below.

Photo courtesy of thien1993 at Flickr.com


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