Tips on How To Write a Resume

There is one reason for professionals to have a current resume; to be prepared. When opportunity knocks, be ready. To some, a resume is an ongoing journal of their career. Most resumes talk about responsibilities. Cut to the chase and ask yourself what value do/did I bring to my employer. These values are measured in time and money savings, as well as increasing sales and profits. These are your accomplishments. For maximum impact, your resume should be full of them.

Companies and hiring managers often use resumes to disqualify; rather than qualify a candidate. More opportunities are won or lost on the look, read and feel of resumes. You might want to take some of the basics presented here directly to your resume while they are fresh in your mind.

The look is important because it gives the resume the first impression of your approach to the purpose of delivering information. Is it clear, concise, crisp, or does it ramble with random bits of information thrown in without regard to the reader? This often happens when you try to insert new information into an old resume. If it's important to be in there, take a long look at its relationship to other information. Does it deliver the impact, or is it confusing? Type styles, use of white space, the length, the information and its positioning on the page are all important when you create this very personal look at your career to date.

Readability is a key ingredient to an effective resume. The same information read by someone with a technical background will be lost on someone without it. This would also be true in a sales and marketing resume that uses industry jargon without an explanation of what it means. Always remember, there will often be several people involved in a decision to evaluate your background before anyone requests an interview. Most of these people will have different disciplines and knowledge levels of what it is you do or have done, so make sure it reads well to everyone exposed to it.

The feel of a resume is more esoteric. It comes from your personality, style and interests. For instance, you hear about a potentially attractive position and it seems like a good fit with the exception of a couple of elements where you lack solid experience. How you approach overcoming those issues can give the resume reader deeper insight into what you're all about.

Some pointers to improve the look of your resume.

Choose a type face that's easy to read and keep it consistent. Give your choice a try, but if there's any question about the ease of reading it, don't use it. Keep in mind a fax can distort fonts. White paper faxes and copies best. A standard type is very acceptable. We have used Times New Roman for this article.

Subdue the urge to bold up parts of sentences for emphasis. It distracts more than it helps. If there is something that must be stated differently, use a complete sentence and italicize.

Use short punchy sentences. Think about what you are attempting to say and write it down as a short declaration.

Be aware of what advertisers would call "white space". It's an uncluttered approach where the text leaps out and attracts. Go through a newspaper or magazine and you will see proper use of white space. Good use will be apparent in the ones that beckon you to read on.

The first half page should be dramatic. In the time crunch we're all aware of, if you haven't given the reader some meat and potatoes (read as benefits and accomplishments) in the first 30 seconds (often less), there's a good chance you've lost them.

Maximum length should be two pages. There should be a compelling reason to use more than two pages.

Stay away from unasked personal information. Date of birth, marital status, age, height, weight, current income, expected income, kids or no kids, home ownership, religious beliefs, pets, pet peeves, and in most cases personal interests (unless they can relate directly to your work background) are all issues that should come up in the interview process.

Delete "references available on request". Of course they are, so is it necessary to remind someone of the obvious?

How does your resume read?

Correct spelling and grammar is imperative. That's pretty basic but you'd be surprised how often it's ignored . Should your first impression be one of sloth and carelessness? We're talking minimum requirements. Proof read your document until you're positive there are no errors, then do it one more time. Use a spell checker.

Make it relevant to all who will read it. This is a little tricky, but it can be done. When you've finished writing, put it in front of a couple of people who don't know exactly what you do. If they can understand the document without a blank stare, you're on the right track. Then put it in front of someone who does know. If it works here as well, you've got it going.

Resist self-indulgences. You may be the next Tom Clancy but save it for a career change. Using eight dollar words and awesome analogies are best saved for the live event, and even then we're not sure.

Rewrite for the position sought. This is occurring regularly at Survival Systems. The reason is the availability of computers with word processor software. If there's any doubt that your current resume won't clearly indicate your expertise to handle the position sought, clarify it with a rewrite.

Use Key Words for Targeting the Resume. The readers eye will pick up key words from your resume. Even more important, they will look for them. Because you will have a very short time to grab the reader's attention, we would advise placing them on the top half of the first page. Key words could be positive action/result words, technical terms or current buzz words that suggest you are on top-of-your-profession.

Write your resume in the third person, not the first.

Don't use words such as "I" and "My". Instead of "I developed", simply start the sentence with "Developed", etc.. The reader will know you performed the task as you, the candidate, are always the subject.

Remember the reason for a resume is to briefly give enough information to a hiring manager to say "Yes, I would like to meet this individual." The only reason for a resume submission is to set up an interview.

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