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Resumes That Sell YOU! Lisa Slutsky Great Oaks Return to Work Resource Center
What is the Purpose of Your Resume? The resume is a selling tool that outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer's workplace. Your resume has to sell you in short order. While you may have all the requirements for a particular position, your resume is a failure if the employer does not instantly come to the conclusion that you "have what it takes." The first hurdle—whether your resume ends up in the "consider file" or the "reject file"--may take less than thirty seconds.So pack the firstparagraph with your most important information. The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.
Anatomy of a Resume Objective—meaningless for the most part. May be useful in certain situations (changing careers; having vague job titles in the past; applying to a large company or staffing firm where they hire for many different positions.) USE WITH CAUTION or LEAVE OUT! Skill Summary/Profile--your most important strengths as they relate to a particular job. Pack this section with YOUR BEST CONTENT! Professional Experience—start with your most recent position and work back in time. Education—no need to list high school if you have post-secondary experience. Also use this section to list the training you’ve had as it relates to your career. Volunteer/Community Involvement—use this section if you have volunteered in areas that relate to your career goal but do NOT have adequate work experience to document your qualifications.
General Resume Do’s and Don’ts DO: Think of your resume as accomplishment driven! Use action verbs. DO: End each sentence with a period (even if it is a FRAGMENT). DO: Use Arial or Times New Roman and MS Word. DO: Learn how to attach your resume, and copy/paste to e-applications. DO: Find out what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to do that target job. FOCUS ON THE EMPLOYER'S NEEDS, NOT YOURS. DON’T: Use the same resume for every app! DON’T: Keep your resume to 1 page if you have relevant content. DON’T: Get bogged down with past job duties. DON’T: Think thatemployers have the ability or time to look at unrelated job titles and try to assess if you have the skills they need -- you must do that for them. DON’T: Have typos, spelling or grammatical errors, poor print quality on your resume.
The Summary or Professional Profile Section The "Summary" or "Summary of Qualifications" consists of several concise statements that focus the reader's attention on the most important qualities, achievements and abilities you have to offer. Those qualities should be the most compelling demonstrations of why they should hire you instead of the other candidates. It gives you a brief opportunity to telegraph a few of your most sterling qualities. It is your BEST chance to attract and hold their attention, to get across what is most important, and to entice the employer to keep reading. This is the spiciest part of the resume. This may be the only section fully read by the employer, so it should be strong and convincing. The Summary is the one place to include professional characteristics (extremely energetic, a gift for solving complex problems in a fast-paced environment, a natural salesman, exceptional interpersonal skills, committed to excellence, etc.) which may be helpful in winning the interview. Gear every word in the Summary to your targeted goal.
Some Examples of Summary Sections Highly motivated, creative and versatile real estate executive with 7 years of experience in property acquisition, development and construction, as well as the management of large apartment complexes. Especially skilled at building effective, productive working relationships with clients and staff. Excellent management, negotiation and public relations skills. Seeking a challenging management position in the real estate field that offers extensive contact with the public.
More Summary Examples Health Care Professional experienced in management, program development and policy making in the United States as well as in several developing countries. Expertise in emergency medical services. A talent for analyzing problems, developing and simplifying procedures, and finding innovative solutions. Proven ability to motivate and work effectively with persons from other cultures and all walks of life. Skilled in working within a foreign environment with limited resources.
Professional Work Experience Section Back up the assertions made in the Profile section with bulleted points about your ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Avoid a long list of boring responsibilities. Describe your professional achievements, using numbers and percentages, whenever possible. Remember: you must tailor your resume for each employer. Identify the potential problems of that employer, and illustrate how your skills will help SOLVE those problems. Use job ads to help you construct a resume that relates your skills to the employer’s needs. There is no need to list jobs going back more than 15 or 20 years. Age discrimination is REAL. Omit job experiences that are irrelevant to your current opportunity. No need to provide month and day you started and ended—years are fine for a resume. Use action verbs—clearly communicate what you achieved!
Last Few Helpful Hints! Proofread your resume several times; ask your friends and/or work associates to review it too. Don’t include irrelevant information, information about your social life or hobbies, or “no kidding” information (e.g. “references available upon request.”) Use a good printer!! Plain white paper is preferred—no need to use expensive, heavy bond paper in blue or pink. Do not lie on your resume. Do not jam your resume with text (as I have in this PowerPoint!). White space between the words, lines, and paragraphs improves the readability of your resume. Do not use images or your photo. Update your resume regularly.