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Here's what you need to write a great resume...
- Plan it first...do an outline. Learn to write good advertising copy because that's what a Resume actually is. It's advertising YOU.
- It needs to look great. Simple clean structure, easy to read, and a work of art - symmetrical/balanced/uncrowded. White space is important, good paper is important.
- Focus on the employer's needs, not yours. What skills and qualities are needed in the job you are applying for?
- Be consistent in typestyle, use of italics/bold/underlines. NO errors - spelling, punctuation, syntax, grammar or otherwise. Click Here to utilize our proofreading bot.
- A resume must have the following key information: your name, address, phone number (that WILL be answered - not voicemail), and your email address at the top of the first page, a listing of jobs held, in reverse chronological order, educational degrees including the highest degree received, in reverse chronological order.
- Jobs listed include a title, the name of the firm, the city and state of the firm, and how long. Jobs earlier in a career can be summarized, or omitted if prior to the highest degree, and extra part-time jobs can be omitted. If no educational degrees have been completed, it is still expected to include some mention of education (partial study or courses taken apply here) acquired after high school.
- Use power words for every skill, accomplishment, or job described. An impressive verb that is accurate will powerfully put your point across. Begin the sentence with this verb, except when you must vary the sentence structure to avoid repetitious writing. Powerful sentence openers Writing Guide
- Target the resume to your goal. What is the next step in your career? What key skills, areas of expertise or body of experience will they be looking for in the candidate. Gear the resume structure and content around this target. If you have no clear goal, take the skills and knowledge you most enjoy and build the resume around those.
- Focus on whatever is strongest and most impressive. Keep it organized. Get to the point quickly.
- Shorter is better - condense, condense, condense.
And What to avoid....
- Unnecessary Details About Your Life. There are only a few details that should be included: full name and contact information, including email, phone number and address. After that, your potential employer will ask if they are interested. Never include your age, race or political affiliation, info about family members, and if you rent or own...these items may leave you open to discrimination and essentially are illegal for an employer to ask. The only exception is if you work for an organization tied to a cause, then it may help. Personal data may make it look like you are biased, so you are better off not including this info.
- Your Work Responsibilities from your teenage years...If it isn't relevant to the position you are applying for, don't include it. This includes hobbies and irrelevant jobs. People tend to add these things to take up space when experience is lacking - but employers hate it. Unless you're an undergraduate student or a new professional, limit your work history to professional experience you've had in the past 10 to 15 years.
- A Photograph. Unless you're a model, actor, or Miss America, leave photos off your resume. Its tacky, and can leave you open to the hiring manager making a decision based on looks. Also, it's illegal for employers to discriminate against job candidates based on appearance so they may not want to even call you because it may seem inappropriate. Attaching a photo can put employers in an awkward position.
- Salary Expectations. Nobody likes discussing salary and for good reason: Giving a number that's too high or too low can cost you the job. Keep it off your application and resume entirely, unless the hiring manager asks for it. If asked, give a range, and always put it in the cover letter, not the resume.
- Lies. There is a fine line between embellishment and fact. Never cross that line. Never lie about the timeline of your work history. Altered dates can be checked most of the time and you will look bad if they don't agree. Don't use false information to cover a blemish or exaggerate success, there's no room to lie on your resume. No matter how miniscule the chance you'll be caught, always represent yourself as accurately as possible.
- Things That are or were "Confidential". Confidential information should never be shared, period. This includes the names of clients, in-house financial dealings, or anything else that might have been classified. A prospective employer will know that you can't be trusted with sensitive information and your current (or former) employer might find out what you have been sharing and it could be grounds a lawsuit and dismissal. Just don't do it.
- Never say you
were fired, or why. Your resume should put you in a positive light. Even if it was no fault of your own, it could be viewed negatively. Anything that suggests you used poor judgment should be avoided. If asked to explain why you left, be straight forward. Find a gentle way of saying you were let go for poor performance, stealing from the company, or any other fault of your own. Be honest, but not blunt.
- Overly Verbose Statements. Sometimes it's best to just shut up. When nervous, many people talk too much and talk themselves out of a job. Limited experience will make job seekers try to sound important. Keep the drama to a minimum, it won't help.
- "References Available Upon Request". The age-old "references available upon request" has become archaic. Have your references and be ready to share them. You don't need to put this on your resume, it's assumed you'll have them.
- Stating your career goals. It's not really necessary to explain your career goals unless you are a recent graduate or are switching careers. Work your objective into the summary of your qualifications. It should be obvious what you are looking for from the resume. The only time you need to explain is if you want to change careers.
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- Too much information. Keep it to one page. Too much detail won't get read, it suggests you can't understand the big picture. These days, when a manager is sorting through perhaps hundreds of resumes he isn't going to bother being burdened - there is always someone else. Plus, being concise shows that you can get to the point quickly and efficiently.
- Keep the information solid, stressing your strengths and minimizing any negatives. Employers will want to hire you fast before someone else does! Software for creating your own amazing resume that works.
Finding a Job
Due to current economic restraints many have been forced to find work in unrelated fields. Perhaps you've pondered a career change. The following courses and guides may be helpful. I was once told you should always have a trade and a profession for tough economic times - these can cover one of them until the market improves and your chosen profession opens up. There are jobs out there...perhaps one of these in-demand jobs interest you.
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