In these economic hardships, many could use a leg up in the hunt for work. Resumes don't have to be difficult, long-winded or entirely inclusive to catch a potential employer's attention. Here are just a few basic Do's and Don'ts in order to assist those who need help writing a resume.
DO'S FOR RESUME WRITING
- Length is very important. Keep it short and sweet at no more than two pages. Let the resume serve as a "teaser." The point is to get the reader to call you or contact you via e-mail.
- Succinctly describe achievements and strengths. Sort out the important trademarks from the trivial. It's important to remember that a resume is a simple introduction to what is being brought to the table. Importantly, focus on accomplishments and skills rather than tasks performed.
- Use a clean and clear format. Make it easy for the reader to glean information. There are thousands of websites that offer free basic resume templates. There are also basic templates in the MS Word software. Utilize these with care and attention to the specific field of interest.
- Use active voice with verbs that show leadership and control. Start sentences with an active verb like "represented," "handled," or "created." For example, "Handled all client correspondence," or "Created a client exchange software to aid supply and demand of products." If the reader wants more information, they will ask.
- Be professional. Use a straightforward e-mail address that is not obscene or offensive. Include a personal website, if available, that outlines accomplishments in more detail.
- Write a brief cover letter to precede the resume. Explain specific interests in the company and what the reader can expect to see in the resume. Some employers will require a cover letter with salary requirements. Be modest and honest. Leave room for negotiation.
- Finally, research the company and its history. Be knowledgeable when that first phone call or e-mail is received.
DONT'S FOR RESUME WRITING
- Don't use superfluous or vague qualitative terms such as "large" or "many." Instead, keep the active verbiage as noted in the Do's without overcompensating.
- A resume is not the time to show creativity, innovation, or individuality. Stick to a basic format of resume writing. Again, many of these can be found as templates in MS Word software and online.
- Leave out any sense of negativity such reasons for leaving previous jobs or industry weaknesses. Also, don't include references or salary information. Those may be better suited for a cover letter or when the employer requests them specifically.
- Making a jack-of-all-trades approach in hopes that anything will catch will likely send the resume to the bottom of the pile. Be specific with skills.
Ultimately, leadership, control and innovation are admirable traits, but don't pour those characteristics into the first written impression. It could come off as arrogant and unprofessional. Instead, follow these basic do's and don'ts for help writing a resume. It's all too easy to fall prey to overestimation with regard to resume writing. The most important thing to remember are that short, sweet, and to the point with directness and professionalism is the best option.
Theresa Foster has a professional interest in the art of resume writing and how excellent resumes can be used to improve job search results, although she doesn't claim to be an expert. To get expert help writing a resume, she recommends you contact a professional resume service. Distinctive Career Services, LLC at http://www.distinctiveweb.com is one of the most respected resume service firms on the internet and highly recommended.
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