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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Resume Writing

I was fortunate to have a resume writing class at work. I'm sure many of you have read a book or taken some kind of class session on resume writing but it's always good to get insight into the process. We were lucky enough to have a human resources representative who has been reviewing resumes for several years come and teach a class on how to write a great resume and I'll share what I learned here.

Now before I go into details, I will say that I believe that the resume process is a weeding our process. This means that if you make a mistake your resume and candidacy are headed straight for the recycling bin. Chances are if you have very unique skills the employer is going to come looking for you. The best thing you can do to distinguish yourself before a job search is to network and make yourself known before the position opens. You'll have a much better shot at an interview if the hiring manager knows you are going to apply and feels you are a good candidate. Unfortunately however you cannot always be prepared for every opportunity; many of us either find ourselves unexpectedly out of work or a position will open up that you didn't know about and you need to present the hiring manager a picture of your qualifications so that you can tell your story in an interview.

So here are the tips to create a perfect resume:

1. The top third of the resume should tell the employer why you should be hired. If your education or certifications are what you should be known for it should be at the top. If your work experience is what will make the difference, it should be at the top. You should be able to read the top third of the page and have someone have a good reason or two why they should speak to you further about the position.

2. You should use verbs to describe what you do. Sold, recruited, managed retained are all great words. The tense should match. For example if it is a current job it should say: I coach employees on sales procedure. If it's a past position it should say I coached.

3. Make it professional. Even if it is a creative position bullet points that look like little stars or printing your resume on balloon stationery will get your it noticed, but not in a good way. You're looking to get a job, not provide the HR department with one more story to tell over lunch about the clueless applicant that applied today.

4. Get rid of the objective. The objective is just one more place to sink yourself. For example if you say you want to express your creativity, and they're hiring an accountant they will toss your resume. Now a smart person knows we need accountants that are resourceful and creative but your personality should be discussed in an interview. If you give them any reason to doubt whether or not you are suitable for the position you will not get an interview.

5. Leave off, the reason you left employment, your salary, your hobbies, your marital status, your age, and how awesome your bloody Mary recipe is. Yes I had that on my first resume and fortunately I got the job but it probably wouldn't happen in this economy.

6. Focus on transferable skills. Some transferable skills are coaching, project management, teamwork, sales skills, customer service skills. Think broadly and make sure that the skills you have learned are on display. Don't just write a job description of what you've done, explain what skills you learned.

Those are the basics. Make sure you read your resume closely and review it for accuracy and clarity before you send it. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your next job search!

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.