First impressions are important and, in many cases, your resume will be that first impression. The following are some tips that may aid you in constructing a resume that will optimize your chance of getting an interview.
1) Make it Accomplishment-oriented
Many resumes I see read like a generic position description. The people reading your resume know what an Auditor (or Governance professional) does; your mission is to tell them how well you do it.
Take the time to think through your career to tease out your most significant accomplishments – those things that set you apart from your peers. Bonus points for things that are quantifiable or directly contribute to the bottom line of the company. This resume should be an advertisement for how you can help your prospective employer.
2) Make sure it is Tailored and Focused
Many candidates try to show that they can “do it all” in their resume. Unfortunately, as a consequence the resume is often unfocused. These resumes often get overlooked by potential employers that are looking for people with more focused skills and experience.
If you have a background that could fit a variety of positions or career paths, don’t attempt to have a single generic resume. Rather, create various versions that are tailored to specific position-types or career paths for which you might be a fit.
For example, if I’m a Big 4 Senior Manager that has traversed both IT Assurance and Information Security; I will likely want to have three versions of my resume-1) a Professional Services version that emphasizes business development and project management skills; 2) an Audit or Assurance version; and 3) an Information Security version.
This also holds true for your “Objective.” Having multiple career objectives on a resume will raise questions about what you really want to do and gives the appearance that your career lacks focus. Plus, If an HR rep is reading your objective and it doesn’t match the position title, they may not read further. Make sure the resume and Objective are tailored to the specific opportunity.
3) Lead with your Strengths
I don’t believe that there is one “correct” format for a resume. The key is to find the format that emphasizes your personal strengths.
If you have an MBA from a top 20 school, that should be featured prominently. If you have worked for outstanding companies or have an impressive career path, lead with your career chronology. If you have a notable list of accomplishments, lead with that. Similarly, significant certifications should also be featured prominently; you worked hard to get these so don’t make the reader search for them at the bottom of the resume. If you have all of the above, stop reading this, pick up the phone and call us immediately.
4) Keep it Concise
You don’t get any extra points for more pages or excessive or redundant information. Only use as much space as you need and eliminate “filler”-statements that just take up space but don’t really add anything to the resume. Avoid statements that are overly repetitive and/or don’t have impact. Also be aware of tired clichés such as “results-driven;” “goal oriented,” etc. Instead, use real examples to demonstrate these points.
5) Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!
It seems it should go without saying, but I see far too many resumes that are poorly written and littered with spelling, grammatical errors, and typos. This makes it easy for a prospective employer to immediately eliminate you from consideration. You might not be able to change your career history, but at the very least you can ensure it is presented well.
Your resume is a de facto writing sample; in a field like Audit, that’s important. I once had an Audit Director say to me, “If the candidate doesn’t take enough care to eliminate mistakes on his/ her resume, how much confidence can I have that they will take care with my audit reports?”
I highly recommend getting several sets of eyes on your resume – even after you run it through the spelling and grammar checking tool in your word processor. Make sure it is absolutely free of spelling and grammatical errors.