10 Tips For Writing A Winning Resume
Your resume (or curriculum vitae), combined with the cover
letter, are the master keys to opening the prospective
employer's mind and door so that you can proceed to the next
step in the process - the big interview!
RESUME WRITING TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Here are 10 useful tips for anyone writing their own resume,
or who is having someone else write their resume for them.
These tips and strategies are an abridged version of what is
contained in my eBook, Instant Home Writing Kit.
Keep It Focused and Businesslike
A resume should be specific and all business. Don't try to be
too smart or cute. After all, you are asking an employer to
invest significant time and money by choosing you over many
other similarly qualified people. Employers mainly want to
know whether you are appropriately qualified and experienced,
and if you have the ability to "deliver the goods."
More Than Two Pages Is Too Much
For students, recent graduates, or people with just a few years
of experience, try to keep your resume to one page, two as an
absolute maximum. Even a resume for someone with 20 years or
more of extensive working experience, should not exceed three
pages. In some cases, one or two "optional" pages can be
referred to as "available upon request." These would be such
optional annexes as a list of references or an inventory of
recent projects and/or publications.
Get the Words and Punctuation Right
Make sure the grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your resume
are perfect. Any obvious mistakes will hurt your credibility.
Also, be sure to keep the language clear and simple. If you
draft it yourself, have someone with excellent writing skills
do an editorial review and a careful proofread of it If a
professional prepares it for you, such reviews are the
responsibility of the resume preparation firm. Use an accepted
English language "style guide" if you want to be sure of the
finer points of word usage, punctuation, capitalization,
Read Between the Lines
Customize the resume to match the stated requirements of the
job that you are applying for, without being misleading. Review
and analyze the job advertisement carefully. Look for, and
itemize the key qualifications, skills, and abilities the
employer is seeking. Then identify certain key words that are
usually repeated in such ads. Make sure that the wording and
sequence of points in your resume reflect and address these
"corporate terminologies" and "code words" as much as possible.
When possible, study the company's annual report and Web site,
and weave the themes and terms found there into your resume
and cover letter.
Make Sure It Looks Good
Use a crisp, clean, simple presentation format for a
professional looking resume. Just a bit of simple line work
and/or shading, done with standard word processing software
will do the trick. If you don't have the aptitude for this,
there is most likely someone among your friends or in your
office who can help you achieve a professional presentation.
If not, seek professional advice. It won't cost much for a
good simple layout, but it will make a world of difference
to the product.
Show What Can You Do Today
Focus, first and foremost, on your recent experience that is
most relevant to the position at hand. Less relevant and/or
dated experience should be either eliminated or summarized in
brief point form near the end of your resume. When reviewing
your resume information, a prospective employer wants to know
what you are doing now, what you have done recently, and how
that relates to the job requirements of the post they are
trying to fill.
Be A Straight-Shooter
Be completely honest. When people lie or "creatively exaggerate"
on their resume, they are almost invariably exposed, sooner or
later. Think about it - who really wants to get a job based on
a lie(s) and then have to live in fear of eventually being found
out? We often read in the newspaper about high-profile folks who
get caught in a resume falsehood or exaggeration, and it isn't
Follow the Instructions
Submit your resume in exactly the form that the prospective
employer requests. If they say e-mail or fax is okay, do it
that way. However, if they ask for it by regular mail, send
it the way they ask. They must have reasons for requesting
it in such a form and they are geared up to process it that
way. If your resume is to be sent by snail mail, use the
complete address that they specify, or it could go to the
wrong office, especially in a large organization.
Don't Get Lost In the Mail
Be careful to respect certain conventions that the prospective
employer may require in your resume. For example, make sure
that the cover letter mentions the exact name of the specific
position you are applying for, and the competition number, if
applicable. Sometimes an employer will request that the job
title and/or number be printed on the outside of the envelope.
You would not want to miss out on a job because you didn't
follow minor administrative requirements.
Don't Repeat Yourself
In the cover letter, don't repeat what is already detailed in
the body of the attached resume. It is a "cover" letter. It
should be short and to the point. Introduce yourself first,
and then briefly summarize why you believe that you have the
qualifications and experience to fulfill the duties of the
position better than anyone else. Express enthusiasm about
the job and the company. Close by stating how 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 during the
preparation phase, and when reviewing your resume just before
To see a fully-formatted "real-life templates" of a number of resumes, click on the following link:
(C) Shaun Fawcett is webmaster of two of the most visited "writing help" websites on the Net and is also the author of several best selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. His eBooks and his world famous f-r-e-e Writing Success Course can be found at:WritingHelpTools.com
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