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Resume Writing


A resume is the most important tool that you have when searching for a new job. This piece of paper holds, in summary, everything there is to know about your skills and employment history. When putting together a resume, it is important to include any aspects of your career, which will help you land the job, in a concise and condense manner

How to Knock the Socks Off The Prospective Employer

Research has shown that only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. Research also tells us that your resume will be quickly scanned, rather than read. 10 to 20 seconds is all the time you have to persuade a prospective employer to read further. What this means is that the decision to interview a candidate is usually based on an overall first impression of the resume, a quick screening which so impresses the reader and convinces them of the candidate's qualifications that an interview results. As a result, the top half of the first page of your resume will either make you or break you. By the time they have read the first few lines, you have either caught their interest, or your resume has failed. That is why we say that your resume is an ad. You hope it will have the same result as a well-written ad: to get the reader to respond.
To write an effective resume, you have to learn how to write powerful, but subtle advertising copy. Not only that, but you must sell a product in which you have large personal investment: you. What's worse, given the fact that most of us do not think in a marketing-oriented way naturally, you are probably not looking forward to selling anything, let alone yourself. But, if you want to increase your job hunting effectiveness as much as possible, you would be wise to learn to write a spectacular resume. You do not need to hard sell or make any claims that are not absolutely true. You do need to get over your modesty and unwillingness to toot your own horn. People more often buy the best advertised product than they buy the best product. That is good news if you are willing to learn to create an excellent resume. With a little extra effort, you will find that you will usually get a better response from prospective employers than people with better credentials.

Focus On The Employer's Needs, Not Yours

Imagine that you are the person who will be doing the hiring. This person is not some anonymous paper pusher deep in the bowels of the personnel department. Usually, the person who makes the hiring decision is also the person who is responsible for the bottom line productivity of the project or group you hope to be a part of. This is a person who cares deeply how well the job will be done. You need to write your resume to appeal directly to them. Ask yourself: What would make someone the perfect candidate? What special abilities would this person have? What would set a truly exceptional candidate apart from a merely good one? What does the employer really want? If you are seeking a job in a field you know well, you probably already know what would make someone a superior candidate. If you are not sure, you can gather hints from the help wanted ad you are answering, from asking other people who work in the same company or the same field. You could even call the prospective employer and ask them what they want. Don't make wild guesses unless you have to. It is very important to do this step well. If you are not addressing their real needs, they will not respond to your resume. If you feel slightly lost at sea in doing this sort of research, watch some old Rockford Files reruns to learn from the master how to do this kind of creative research. Putting yourself in the moccasins of the person doing the hiring is the first, and most important step in writing a resume that markets you rather than describes your history or herstory. Every step in producing a finished document should be part of your overall intention to convey to the prospective employer that you are a truly exceptional candidate.

Plan First

Focus your writing efforts. Get clear what the employer is looking for and what you have to offer before you begin your resume. Write your answers to the above mentioned question, "What would make someone the perfect candidate?" on notebook paper, one answer per page. Prioritize the sheets of paper, based on which qualities or abilities you think would be most important to the person doing the hiring. Then, starting with the top priority page, fill the rest of that page, or as much of it as you can, with brainstorming about why you are the person who best fulfills the employer's needs. Write down everything you have ever done that demonstrates that you fit perfectly with what is wanted and needed by the prospective employer.
The whole idea is to loosen up your thinking enough so that you will be able to see some new connections between what you have done and what the employer is looking for. You need not confine yourself to work-related accomplishments. Use your entire life as the palette to paint with. If Sunday school or your former gang are the only places you have had a chance to demonstrate your special gift for teaching and leadership, fine. The point is to cover all possible ways of thinking about and communicating what do you do well. What are the talents you bring to the market place? What do you have to offer the prospective employer? If you are making a career change or are a young person and new to the job market, you are going to have to be especially creative in getting across what makes you stand out. These brainstorming pages will be the raw material from which you craft your resume. One important part of the planning process is to decide which resume format fits your needs best. Don't automatically assume that a traditional format will work best for you. More about that later.

A Great Resume has Two Sections

In the first, you make assertions about your abilities, qualities and achievements. You write powerful, but honest, advertising copy that makes the reader immediately perk up and realize that you are someone special. The second section, the evidence section, is where you back up your assertions with evidence that you actually did what you said you did. This is where you list and describe the jobs you have held, your education, etc. This is all the stuff you are obliged to include. Most resumes are just the evidence section, with no assertions. If you have trouble getting to sleep, just read a few resumes each night just before going to bed. Your troubles will disappear! Nothing puts people to sleep better than the average resume. The juice is in the assertions section. When a prospective employer finishes reading your resume, you want them to immediately reach for the phone to invite you in to interview. The resumes you have written in the past have probably been a gallant effort to inform the reader. You don't want them informed. You want them interested and excited. In fact, it is best to only hint at some things. Leave the reader wanting more. Leave them with a bit of mystery. That way, they have even more reason to reach for the phone. The assertions section usually has two or three sections. In all of them, your job is to communicate, assert and declare that you are the best possible candidate for the job and that you are hotter than a picnic on Mercury.
You start by naming your intended job. This may be in a separate "Objective" section, or may be folded into the second section, the "Summary." If you are making a change to a new field, or are a young person not fully established in a career, start with a separate "Objective" section.

Organising your CV

You should aim to make your CV as easy to read as possible and so it is very important that you set out your CV in an organised way using appropriate headings in a logical order. The most common form of arrangement in a CV is chronological, that is in order by time, so that the most recent items appear first followed by later items. The following table gives a quick description of the main headings for a typical CV in the order they normally appear:
Contact informationInclude here your name, postal address, telephone numbers (in particular a daytime telephone number and mobile telephone number.
Personal profileIt is now common to include this sort of statement summarising your relevant skills and personal attributes in a couple of sentences.
Key skillsList the key skills, relevant to the job, that you possess in bullet point form.
Career or Employment historyStarting with your current or most recent job list your work experience here. You should give the name of the company or organisation who employed you (and their location) and the dates (month & year) you were employed by them.
TrainingInclude any staff or personal development which you have undertaken while employed or on your own initiative.
EducationGive details of all the educational institutions you have attended and the qualifications you have gained. As with your Career/Employment History you should start with your most recent educational experience.
Additional InformationIn this section you can include your date of birth, driving licence status (if appropriate) and any interests or hobbies which you may have.
ReferencesList here any suitable people who have agreed to give you a reference. Your referees are normally people in authority who know you reasonably well like your teacher or tutor, your employer or manager, your doctor or similar and so on. You should not use family or friends as referees. Also you may want to say that"references are available on request" so that you can match the referee(s) to the job application.

Content of the Resume
This section is long but contains all the information necessary to help you prepare your curriculum vitae, (also known as a CV, a resume orpersonal data sheet). Each heading provides the type of content to include, the language to employ, together with examples. NB. It is unnecessary to put CV or any of the other names at the top of the document as it should be very clearly recognised for what it is!
1. Personal details
2. Job objective
3. Education
4. Professional experience
5. Computer skills
6. Language and Personal Communication Skills
7. Extracurricular activities
8. References

An effective Resume: 
• Is concisely written 
• Contains relevant information about your: 
• Academic background 
• Work Experience  
• Occupational interest areas 
• Activities out side of work 
• Honors or recognition received  
• Is well organized  
• Draws the attention and interest of a busy employer 
• Is easily read and with appropriate use of white space on the pages 
The Purpose of a Resume is to: 
• Represent you on paper 
• Be an advertisement for you – a sales presentation 
• Convince the employer that you are right for the job and the career area 
• Demonstrate your job worth: the skills and abilities related to the work for which you are 
General Writing Guidelines: 
• Name, address, and phone number (e-mail if applicable) at the top 
• The rest of the information should be in a logical, easy-to-read sequence. 
• Education and experience should be listed as most recent or present first 
• One page is typical if you are a B.A., B.M., B.S., or B.S.N graduate 
• More than one page is appropriate if relevant and important information requires more than 
one page to best present you to an employer. 
• A resume should not be more than two pages. 
• Should be clear and concise, as well as consistent in your display techniques 
• Avoid using the pronoun “I”, slang, jargon, trite expressions, and abbreviations 
• Spelling, grammar, and typography must be perfect 
• Use action words (list is provided in this packet) 
• Must have eye appeal to present a positive impression of you 
• To achieve this, use appropriate separation of the categories of your resume 
• Underline, use italics and/or capitalize key headings and titles 
• Employment Objective 
• Education 
• Work Experience or Relevant Experience 
• College Activities or Community Involvement 
• May add: Honors, Professional Memberships, Publications, Certificates Held, or Military 
• References 
• *Ministry positions only: may include items such as age, marital status, children, etc.

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