10 Tips For Writing A Winning Resume
Your resume (or curriculum vitae), combined with the coverletter, are the master keys to opening the prospectiveemployer's mind and door so that you can proceed to thenext step in the process - the big interview!
RESUME WRITING TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Here are 10 valuable tips for anyone writing their ownresume, or who is having someone else write one for them.These tips and strategies are an abridged version of whatis contained in my new eBook, "Instant Home Writing Kit".
1. Keep It Focused and Businesslike
A resume should be specific and all business. Don't try tobe too smart or too cute. After all, you are asking anemployer to invest significant time and money by choosingyou over many other similarly qualified people. Employersmainly want to know whether you are appropriately qualifiedand experienced, and if you have the ability to "deliverthe goods."
2. More Than Two Pages Is Too Much
For students, recent graduates, or people with just a fewyears of experience, try to keep your resume to one page,two as an absolute maximum. Even a resume for someone with20 years or more of extensive working experience, shouldnot exceed three pages. In some cases, one or two "optional"pages can be referred to as "available upon request." Thesewould be such optional annexes as a list of references oran inventory of recent projects and/or publications.
3. Get The Words and Punctuation Right
Make sure the grammar, spelling, and punctuation in yourresume are perfect. Any obvious mistakes will hurt yourcredibility. Also, be sure to keep the language clear andsimple. If you draft it yourself, have someone withexcellent writing skills do an editorial review and acareful proofread of it. If a professional prepares it foryou, such reviews are the responsibility of the resumepreparation firm. Use an accepted English language "styleguide" if you want to be sure of the finer points of wordusage, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, etc.
4. Read Between The Lines
Customize the resume to match the stated requirements ofthe job that you are applying for, without being misleading.Review and analyze the job advertisement carefully. Lookfor and itemize the key qualifications, skills, andabilities the employer is seeking. Then identify certainkey words that are usually repeated in such ads. Make surethat the wording and sequence of points in your resumereflect and address these "corporate terminologies" and"code words" as much as possible. When possible, study thecompany's annual report and Web site, and weave the themesand terms found there into your resume and cover letter.
5. Make Sure It Looks Good
Use a crisp, clean, simple presentation format for aprofessional looking resume. Just a bit of simple line workand/or shading, done with standard word processing softwarewill do the trick. If you don't have the aptitude for this,there is most likely someone among your friends or in youroffice who can help you achieve a professional presentation.If not, seek professional advice. It won't cost much for agood simple layout, but it will make a world of differenceto the product.
6. Show What You Can Do Today
Focus, first and foremost, on your recent experience thatis most relevant to the position at hand. Less relevantand/or dated experience should be either eliminated orsummarized in brief point form near the end of your resume.When reviewing your resume information, a prospectiveemployer wants to know what you are doing now, what youhave done recently, and how that relates to the jobrequirements of the post they are trying to fill.
7. Be A Straight-Shooter
Be completely honest. When people lie or "creativelyexaggerate" on their resume, they are almost invariablyexposed, sooner or later. Think about it - who reallywants to get a job based on a lie(s) and then have to livein fear of eventually being found out? We often read in thenewspaper about high-profile folks who get caught in aresume falsehood or exaggeration, and it isn't very pretty.
8. Follow The Instructions
Submit your resume in exactly the form that the prospectiveemployer requests. If they say e-mail or fax is okay, do itthat way. However, if they ask for it by regular mail, sendit the way they ask. They must have reasons for requestingit in such a form and they are geared up to process it thatway. If your resume is to be sent by snail mail, use thecomplete address that they specify, or it could go to thewrong office, especially in a large organization.
9. Don't Get Lost In The Mail
Be careful to respect certain conventions that the potentialemployer may require in your resume. For example, make surethat the cover letter mentions the exact name of thespecific position you are applying for, and the competitionnumber, if applicable. Sometimes an employer will requestthat the job title and/or number be printed on the outsideof the envelope. You would not want to miss out on a jobbecause you didn't follow minor administrative requirements.
10. Keep The Cover Short and Focused
In the cover letter, don't repeat what is already detailedin the body of the attached resume. It is a "cover" letter.It should be short and to the point. Introduce yourselffirst, and then briefly summarize why you believe that youhave the qualifications and experience to fulfill theduties of the position better than anyone else. Expressenthusiasm about the job and the company. Close by statinghow you are looking forward to hearing more from them soon,and that you will follow-up if necessary.
The above list can be used as a "checklist" both duringthe preparation phase, and when reviewing your resume justbefore submission.
To see a fully-formatted "real-life template" of a resume,you can check out the following link:
© 2005 by Shaun Fawcett
Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help siteWritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of severalbest selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks andhis internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and TricksFor Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site:http://www.writinghelptools.com
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