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Let your Resume Speak Volumes for that Next Big Job
Before you even get through the door of any job interview, there is already one document that has done the talking for you ? your resume. A good resume can mean the difference between getting the call of the interview and waiting by phone, and a well written, thoughtful resume can make you stand out over and above other applications with similar skills and work experience. Let your resume give you the edge on that next big job by following a few simple tips.
When you sit down to write your resume, you need to plan it out before you start typing. There are two main formats for a resume: the chronological format, in which you simply list your job history, starting with your most recent or current job and moving backwards, and the functional format, in which you highlight your skills and experience rather than specific jobs and specific employers. The chronological format is definitely the most common, and many employers prefer this kind of resume, but choose the format this is going to show off your skills in the best light. If your work history is a choppy and a chronological format resume would only draw attention to that, use the functional format. The key is to choose the format that will give you the best chance of getting noticed for the job and to stick with the format throughout your resume.
No matter which resume format you choose to use, the top of your resume should always include your name, contact information and work objectives. Name and contact information is pretty straight forward, although experts do recommend that if you have a ?gender neutral? name that you include a helpful ?Mr.? or ?Ms? to clear up any confusion. Your work objectives should be your career goals. For instance, if you want to manage a small team of sales people, then say that, so your potential employers know that you are moving in a certain direction with your career and not simply apply for jobs willy-nilly.
After your work objective comes your work experience. List your jobs in reverse chronological order. Instead of simply creating a bullet pointed list your work related tasks, look for a way to frame all of your responsibilities so that they sound like you showed leadership and problem solving capabilities. For instance, if you were in charge of keeping the expensive accounts in order, say that you were in charge of troubleshooting monthly expense account records, saving the company hundreds of dollars every month.
If you have a few blips in your work history, be clear about what you were doing in the downtime. If you were raising children, traveling, or in school, say that you were. If you weren?t really doing anything, put as positive a spin on things as you can without lying. Never leave gaps in your work history unaddressed on your resume.
After your work history, it is time to list your education credentials. If you didn?t finish a degree, say how much college work you completed and highlight any coursework relevant to the job. If your college degree or post grad work is in progress, say when you expect to be finished. This is another place where gaps matter. If there is a gap in your education history, again say what you were doing in that time, referring back to your work history where appropriate. You can overcome these gaps as long as you don?t pretend that they don?t exist.
Round out your resume by listing any awards and professional memberships you may hold. Don?t get into your hobbies unless they are specifically related to the position for which you are applying. Personal details like religion and race have no place on your resume and you are not required to disclose your age. Instead, let your experience do the talking.
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