A resume is an advertisement. To write the perfect resume, the key thing to understand is its purpose. The job seeker is selling the best possible version of himself to the employer. It's vital to remember this through every step of the writing process.
A resume is a tryout. The next concept to realize is that a resume is an example of the writer's business communication abilities. It must be concise and correct. Extraneous information, sloppiness and overly wordy writing will result in dismissal to the wastebasket. Instead, a resume should be made-up of brief phrases and easy to read bulleted lists. Short pieces of information surrounded by white space create a readable resume that gets directly to the message.
A resume is targeted. Each resume absolutely must be tailored to the company and job. Writers must dedicate the time to rewrite their resumes for each opening. Generic resumes are ineffective and give the message that the applicant can't be bothered.
Getting organized is the next step to an effective resume. The writer needs to gather all information about academics including schools, relevant classes and work, awards and certifications. Next, the writer needs to do the same with employment history. Write a list of past employers, names of managers, accomplishments and duties. Writers need to consider this an "information database;" no detail needs to be left out because this information will be distilled later.
The Writing Part
With the purpose of the resume in mind and a detailed history now at hand, the writer is ready to get started.
*Format: After supplying contact information and possibly a career objective, resume writers with a lot of experience should list work history first. This is known as a chronological resume. Others who are just getting started or are changing fields should first detail their relevant skills gained from past employment which can transfer to the current opening. This is called the functional format.
*Targeting: As mentioned, a resume must be tailored to the specific company and opening. Writers must analyze the job listing and their own "information database." To write the perfect resume, job seekers need to match their own experience, education and past duties to the job's requirements. When summarizing employment and education background, the resume writer must highlight these matches first. Other details can be included later but these exact matches need to be included first.
*Brevity: Job seekers need to make peace with the fact that their entire resume will not be read. If improperly formatted or too busy looking, it may not be read at all. Bulleted lists are easy to read and they are a must. Again, it is absolutely vital that writers remember that the key areas where their own skills and past experience match the job posting must top these lists with other details included later to fill out each section.
*Achievements: A hiring manager wants to bring in effective employees. The resume has to sell the applicant as such. As a writer, the goal here is to detail accomplishments. Achievements at a past job are far more important than dry lists of past duties. For example, "lead a four-member marketing team to increase visibility, resulting in 15% increase in sales" sounds much better to a hiring manager than "Marketing Manager with four subordinates."
Listing accomplishments, along with proper planning, attention to format and targeting, will achieve a well-written, effective resume that hiring managers are sure to consider over others.
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 and advice on resume writing, 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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