THE REAL PURPOSE OF A RESUME
First of all, understand that the concept of a resume is a myth. Without it, job searchers feel insecure because there is nothing to validate their existence. Without it, the interviewer feels insecure because there is nothing to verify and no script to follow-especially if the interviewer does not know how to interview!
FACT: The resume is used more often to eliminate than to hire. Consider the sports classified ad that draws 400 resumes. What is the first task of the hiring authority? To cut the pile down to as few as possible! Why? Because many applicants are not qualified but send a resume anyway, hoping it will attract attention. Second, many applicants who do quality do not know how to market themselves correctly. Third, no one has time to interview 400 candidates. Finally, resumes do not get jobs; people do.
WHAT A RESUME DOES:
1. Fix in your mind your skills, accomplishments, work history and education.
2. Assist you in networking and getting referrals.
3. Provoke interest and get an interview.
4. Facilitate a face-to-face presentation.
5. Prospect outside your geographic area and generate interviews.
The resume is above all a calling card- after the fact- to remind the interviewer who you are. You must create something you hope will be little used, but create it in such a way that if it is used, it will help your campaign. Suppose you had to select your resume out of a field of 400. How would it stack up? What can be done to put the odds more in your favor?
GETTING READY: Work Experience and Accomplishments
Begin by making a detailed chronological list of your total work experience. This is for your own reference. As simple as it may seem, this list will keep you from forgetting something important in your professional history just when you need it.
Working backwards, complete the following:
1. MOST RECENT EMPLOYMENT:
Company main address:
Work location (if different from above):
Your superior, name & title:
You were responsible for:
Your key accomplishments were:
What attracted you to this job?
Reason for leaving:
Who can be a good reference for you?
(Repeat for all of the jobs you’ve had)
2. SUMMARY OF YOUR EDUCATION:
High school diploma or certificate:
Course of study:
3. SPECIAL TALENTS:
Languages: (degree of fluency)
4. OTHER SKILLS: (writing, programming,
word processing, etc.)
FORMAT OF A RESUME
Three formats are widely used today: 1. Functional, 2. Chronological, and a mixture of the two called 3. The Performance Resume. Choose a format flexible enough to allow modification depending on the job you are going after.
1. THE FUNCTIONAL RESUME
The functional resume presents accomplishments and work experience arranged according to function or responsibilities without real attention to chronological order.
1. If you have had a number of jobs in a short period of time, a functional style can help by highlighting skills and accomplishments rather than focusing on changes.
2. If your most recent experience does not relate to the position for which you are applying, a functional resume will focus more on your past strengths.
1. Employers and personnel managers are used to a chronological presentation of work history. Deviation from this format can arouse suspicion, if not confusion.
2. It is not an easy resume to prepare and it must change to match each job objective.
2. THE CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME
The chronological resume lists positions by date, beginning with the most recent. Emphasis placed on recent experience rather than past history, and usually a progression in responsibility is indicated. Each job listing should show: company name and location, dates of employment, job title(s), main responsibilities and key accomplishments.
1. This is an easy resume to organize and for many years this has been the standard format and consequently it is the most familiar.
2. It shows progress made in your field of specialization as well as increasing responsibility.
1. If you have changed jobs frequently, it shows instability and will require explanation, especially if there are any gaps in employment.
2. If you have changed professions or career direction, it may raise questions about your real goals.
3. THE PERFORMANCE RESUME
A mixed chronological-functional format incorporating a powerful up-front section, designed to attract the reader’s attention immediately. It combines accomplishments into functional areas and places up front your greatest accomplishments in relation to the position you are targeting.
1. It immediately highlights your strengths and is extremely flexible.
2. It maximizes your chances of catching a reader’s interest.
3. You can adapt the resume to suit the job you are going after without sacrificing quality.
4. It permits you to display originality in your ideas and manner of presentation which will lead the reader in the direction you want to go by noticing your skills and accomplishments.
1. Putting together this resume takes know-how.
A GOOD PERFORMANCE RESUME HAS THE FOLLOWING:
1. Name and address.
2. Telephone number and perhaps an office or message number.
3. An opening statement that gives a summary of your overall professional capabilities.
4. Two to four major accomplishments.
5. A statement that describes the way you like to work and what kind of person you are.
6. Employment History (reverse chronological order): Company dates of employment, your title(s) date(s), accomplishments and/or responsibilities.
7. Prior Experience (if pertinent).
a. Education (if pertinent): School, city, state, degrees, dates.
9. Affiliations (if pertinent).
THE 20-SECOND RESUME
Most people who read resumes DO NOT! Most resume “readers” glance over the resume and quickly grab onto one or two items of interest. If the candidate is present, they may use these items to break into the interview. One reason is that most resumes are boring- certainly for the reader and probably for the poor candidate as well. The average attention span of a resume screener is all of 20 seconds! That is not a long time, especially if you have given the reader a two-page resume.
SOME BASIC GUIDELINES
Follow these rules to create a winning resume:
1. Focus on accomplishments, skills and results.
2. Never include statements or accomplishments that cannot be proven.
3. Keep sentences short and punchy.
4. Your resume should be attractive and easy to read: good spacing, margins and bold printing. Avoid overcrowding.
5. Do not use abbreviations when there could be doubt as to meaning. Be clear and precise.
6. Keep it short. A good resume will be as short as possible, certainly no longer than two pages and, if possible, one page.
7. Do not use personal pronouns.
a. Use action words to describe each accomplishment.
9. Whenever possible, show results in numbers.
10. Be original.
11. If you have a sense of humor, let it show a little in your resume. A resume that can reflect your real personality is a wonder. While photos are not generally encouraged, if your physical appearance would be a plus to your candidacy, include a nice, clean-cut snapshot.
12. Show only the year you started or terminated the position. If there have been promotions during the period of employment, dates can be shown in parentheses next to each job title.
13. There should be only enough information to provoke the reader’s interest.
14. The employer will ask, “Does this person have the kind of talent I am seeking?” The resume has to convey a certain level of competence in the employer’s area of interest, or there will be no invitation to interview.
15. Candidates without much work experience, or who are tackling their first job search, must change “Accomplishments” to “Skills”
16.Test your resume before launching it on the market!