Dressing Your Resume For Success

By: Kathryn Sollmann, Co-founder Women@Work Network

Most women know what to wear to give the right impression in the right situation. Yet, even many women who spend thousands of dollars on each season’s fashions present themselves as paupers on resume paper.

At Women@Work we call it the “under-dressed” resume — resumes that don’t look right, sound right or project the image women so carefully craft in every other aspect of their lives.You can’t throw a resume together in a couple of hours. If you do, it’s obvious to an employer. You can run to the supermarket in your sweatpants with wet hair and no make-up, and hope that you don’t see anyone you know, but when you send out an under-dressed resume, there’s nowhere to hide.

When employers get an under-dressed resume, they wonder if you’ll take the time to make the right impression in a client meeting, if your reports will be thorough, or if you’ll embarrass the team with a presentation that you prepared in the 11th hour.

How do you know if your resume is as outdated as last season’s shoes, or as unimpressive as an old flannel shirt? Read the top 7 signs that your resume is not on the Best Dressed Resume List, and then spend more time with one or two of the most important sheets of paper in any professional woman’s life.

Sign #1: Bow Ties and Navy Blue Suits

If you’ve been out of the workforce, or if you haven’t written a resume in many years, you broadcast that fact by starting your resume with an “objective” rather than a summary statement. “Objectives” went out with those bland navy blue suits and cute little bow ties we all wore in the 80s.

Today’s resumes start with a summary statement: a brief paragraph that encapsulates who you are and what you can offer in 50 words or less. Some books or people will tell you not to bother with a summary statement. Some employers will even say that they don’t read them. Don’t listen for three important reasons:

  1. Most employers will read a summary statement because it gives them a two-second idea of whether you fit the job profile.
  2. It makes your resume look and sound professional.
  3. It has an important dual purpose: a summary statement also becomes your “elevator speech”—the two minute synopsis of your skills and experience that you can “sell” in job interviews, networking meetings—and to anyone who might lead you to a new job.

Check back on June 24th to read the other six signs that your resume is not dressed for success.For more information about the Women@Work Network and more tips on resume writing, visit our web site: