How to Write A Great Resume

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Now more than ever a great resume is essential to securing the career of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for a temp position, entry-level position or managerial position, a good resume can make a big difference. High unemployment combined with high college attendance and graduation means the job market is flooded with highly qualified workers. You need to make sure your resume helps you stand out.

Compiling Content

Your resume is like a personal advertisement. Just like any advertisement, it needs to be tailored to each individual it reaches. That means you have some legwork to do just to write your resume. For every job you're applying for, ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is the position I'm applying for?

  • What does the company do?

  • What can I do for the company?

  • What makes me better than the other applicants?

  • What qualifications do I have for this position?

By answering these questions, you’ll be better prepared to highlights the skills and experience you have that makes you a good fit for the job. Once you have all of this information gathered and organized, you’re ready to begin pulling together your ideal resume.

Your Contact Information

The top section of your resume should be contact information. Your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website if applicable should all be present. Phone numbers and websites should be labeled, and do yourself a favor by creating a professional sounding e-mail. Something with your name is good; something like darklord256@hotmail is probably not the best. Leave out your website if it's not relevant to the job you're applying for -- you don't want your employer to visit and see it’s not pertinent.

The Hook: What Claims You Make

The next text section is one of the most important parts of your resume. It's the first thing your potential employer will read and will state your goals and intentions in your job search. Keep your paragraphs short, readable and in active voice.

Objective. The first paragraph is your objective. Tell your employer clearly what you can do for them.

Claims. The second paragraph is your claims. This is a brief summary of all of your qualifications and how you can put them to use in your new field. Every word should entice the reader and tell them how you're perfect for the job, without coming out and saying so. This means every claim needs to be handpicked for the job you're shooting for.

Your Experience

Try to decide if your potential employer is traditional or not. This will help you decide how to format your education and experience. The two main methods are chronological and functional. Chronological means listing your experience in the order it happened. Functional means listing it in a way that presents a list of your abilities without worrying about which bonus went with which job.

When you're listing education, start with the most recent and relevant. If the first thing an employer reads is your high school attendance record, it doesn't leave a good impression. Meanwhile for job experience, list the oldest first, but don't dwell on it. Spend more space on more recent and relevant experience.

Don't forget to add extra awards and qualifications that don't fall in either heading. Any professional award that's in the same field is beneficial. List the years, names of the awards, and any relevant specifics.

Remember, there’s no need to list every school you’ve studied at and every job you’ve worked at. Do your best to select only the education and experience you have that is most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Formatting the Perfect Resume

Make sure your resume is clean, simple and easy to read. Don't use a funky looking font. Stick with the classics. Don't stray outside of 10 or 12-point font. Smaller is harder to read, while larger makes it look like you're padding. If you write your content right, you'll be running out of space as it is.

Speaking of space, stick to 1-2 pages. Print them on plain white or slightly off-white paper. Avoid funky colors and graphics, unless you're a graphic designer showing off your skills. Avoid templates -- if it comes stock in a word processor, your employer has seen it a million times and will dismiss it. Make sure your use of bold and italics is consistent. If one title is bold, they all are.

If you've done everything right, you should have an excellent resume packed full of pertinent detail. Don't be afraid to cut the worst bits out to save space -- you're selling yourself in the best light possible. With the right resume, you can display all the skills and experience that make you a great choice for the job.

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