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The Importance Of A Good Resume

Whether you call it a curriculum vitae, a cv, or a resume, it basically comes down to the same thing: it should be a fairly complete description of yourself, since it is one of the major selling points of your professional portfolio. Here are important details on how to write a resume.

tell me who you are

A resume is a one or two page summary of yourself; your skills, accomplishments, work experience, and education; all aimed at piquing your future employer's interest.

 

A resume is like life itself: it goes through many changes. It must be updated and tailored constantly. It's important to make different drafts of your resume to come out with the best possible one, especially if you venture into different fields of work. If you are applying to different jobs, better yet, different industries, each resume requires a targeted evaluation of your skills according to the job in question.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with suggestions and guidelines on how to write a resume, by taking you through the necessary steps of the cover letter and the resume itself.

first impression

Anytime we write a resume, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the employer that's rummaging through the stack of (probably unsolicited) resumes piling up on his desk. What s/he wants to do is cut through all the crap and get down to the good stuff — the resumes that stand out and are associated with qualified applicants.

 

Employers want to know why they should hire you , as opposed to the hundreds of other applicants — but most importantly, they want to see it. You have to stick it in their face and let them know that you are the best person for the job.

Cover Letter

The cover letter should be kept to a minimum in terms of information with a brief overview of yourself, and should never be longer than a page. It shouldn't unnecessarily repeat the information throughout the document. This page should consist of approximately three paragraphs, in the following format:

First paragraph
No more than two or three sentences, with a brief introduction of yourself and your career objective. Also, include the information of where you heard about the job opening, be it a newspaper or a contact within the company.

Second paragraph
This part includes relevant information in terms of your education, professional skills and pertinent abilities that would be of great use to the company. Don't be afraid to throw in some numbers indicating that you increased productivity by 25% in your past job or efficiently reduced the advertising cost by 33%. Catch my drift?

Third paragraph
This closing paragraph serves to provide the employer with straightforward personal information so they can reach you easily. Be sure to include your name, phone number, email, and fax number, if available. You want to give them every way to contact you and make it as simple as possible.

Your email address should be clear and professional in nature. If your name is Mike Smith, the email should be something likemikesmith@email.com or msmith@email.com . Try to stay clear of hyphens (-) and underscores (_) to avoid any possible confusion. The last thing you want is to be a perfect contender for the position, but you can't be reached by the potential employer.

Remember that a well-written cover letter is a window into your personality more than your actual skills. This is a basis for employers to evaluate how your personality would mold with the company culture.

Do you share the same vision? Can you buy into what the company does and how they do it? Along with the remainder of the document, the resume serves as a pop quiz where the employer uses your information as answers to the questions they need answers to.

the perfect resume

If you want to learn how to write a resume, then there's five main components you should use:

 

 

  • Career Objective
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Additional Information
  • References

 

Career Objective

The career objective serves as a prelude to the more systematic resume where personal information is listed in a fairly technical matter. This section serves to illustrate what your short and long-term goals as a professional are, and how you see yourself developing and honing your skills over the years.

It indicates your work preferences in a brief and consistent manner with the rest of the resume, and can be used as an alternative to an objective statement. This is the perfect opportunity to highlight your strengths at the very beginning of your resume.

Make sure not to repeat yourself. Paraphrase, improvise; do whatever needs to be done, but be creative and original because employers have seen it all!

Work Experience

This part is more of a point-form approach at describing what you can do, and how you learned to do it. You might have an idea of the requirements needed for a specific job, but specifying what these skills are might actually show your future boss that you would be better suited for another position maybe even with better pay.

Be sure to include all your work experience in reverse chronological order. Include the following for every description:

 

  • Title of the position
  • Name of the organization
  • Location of work
  • Date of employment

 

You should describe your work responsibilities using action words, such as produced and created , and emphasize your best and most relevant achievements. Don't feel the need to fully describe your areas of non-expertise; omit them if need be.

Once you have described your actual on-the-field experience, some employers are very keen on learning about your education and training.

Education

This part is especially important if you do not have extensive work experience for the applied position. Follow the same reverse chronological listing as for the work experience.

The following are the basic aspects that should be mentioned in this section:

  • Degree
  • Institution(s)
  • Major/Minor, Concentration Classes
  • Seminars; Special Workshops; Related Courses
  • Overall G.P.A.

This is a fairly simple way of plugging in the information. Just remember to be aesthetically consistent.

Additional Information

 

This part of the resume can include various sub-sections such as interests, computer knowledge, activities, language proficiency, etc. This section is the melting pot of all other relevant information that did not find a spot in your resume earlier.

Interests
Sometimes used to evaluate the personality of the applicant, it serves the same purpose as the cover letter, with which the employer gathers a personality profile. Include your passion for biking and the wilderness, which shows that you enjoy life and like different things. Be honest, but don't include things that might hinder your opportunities of being hired.

Computer Knowledge
Some job openings require some technical training in various computer software programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, Lotus, Real World Accounting, and so on. Inform them that you're an apprentice computer-geek.

Activities
This is the miscellaneous section used to mention the spelling bee championship you won, or the Scout of the Year award you earned. Let them know that you are a well-rounded individual that applies himself and excels in various endeavors. Leadership roles like president of a university association also helps gather points in the eye of the beholder... I mean employer.

Language Proficiency
Although this information might be of more relevance in your cover letter, this is a great place to bring up your language proficiency again, without making it seem repetitive. If you speak Spanish, they might need you to act as a translator when the new production plant is set up in Mexico City next summer. Who knows?

References

Although names of individuals are not usually listed on the resume, including them might facilitate the task of the employer who wishes to phone some old bosses of yours. In case you decide not to include this, the statement "References available upon request" is a clear indication to the employer that if he wants a list of references, one is always readily available.

You should have a prepared list available to hand out, in case an employer might wish to get one right away.

But before you hand out reference sheets to every interested party, make sure to contact the people on the sheet to advise them of what you have written and the possibility of a future phone call.

So now that you are equipped with all the tools on how to write a resume that is foolproof, always keep in mind that the purpose of a great resume is to get an interview!

 

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