Resume Writing

May 28, 2008

This September I spent two days doing Resume Assessment at The National Job Fair and Training Expo in Toronto. 400 Job Seekers received free resume assessments from nine Resume Writers. There was a 2-3 hour wait for this service that was available from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Since a resume is critical to our employment success, waiting a few hours for professional advice wasn’t a big deal to most people.

Although no one gets hired solely on the basis of a resume, many job seekers miss the opportunity of an interview because of an inadequate resume. Your resume can (and should) have a distinct personality to it. It should separate you from all the people applying to land that dream job. Be unique!

A lot of people think a generalized resume describing everything they have ever done is a great way to show their experience and skills. This is not true. You should only include information that is useful to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a variety of positions, write more than one resume. To make this process easier, start with a general resume, and use it as a template by cutting and pasting the most relevant information for the different positions.

Style of Resumes

There are two basic resume styles: Chronological and Skill Based.

The most popular style for resumes is the Chronological Resume. It provides a job-by-job listing of each position you have held starting with your most recent. Use a Chronological Resume if you have consistent work history, and your job titles are supportive of your objective.

If you are making a career change, and your title and work history don’t match your job objective, use a Skill Based Resume. A Skill Based Resume should also be used if you have gaps in employment, a short work history, your skills are transferable, your most recent experience doesn’t support your objective, or you have an erratic work history.

Simple Crucial Resume Writing Tips

  • Know your audience before you begin writing your resume. Your resume must be consistent with the position you are pursuing.
  • Choose your language carefully and proofread. Your resume must be free of spelling, grammar, punctuation, or typographical errors.
  • Tailor your resume to your prospective employer’s needs – highlight the skills and abilities that will make you an attractive candidate.
  • Your resume should answer the potential employer’s questions, “Why should I hire you?” in 20 seconds or less.
  • Focus on your expertise, abilities, and accomplishments.
  • Use bullets. They make a resume more reader-friendly if used consistently.
  • Describe your roles and accomplishment with strong action words and key terms that will grab attention.
  • Keep all descriptions short. Descriptions should generally take up no more than three to four lines on the page. Full sentences are not necessary, however, be consistent with punctuation.

Length of a resume

There is no “rule of thumb” for resume length. For an experienced job seeker, a one-page resume may be too short and even look to “entry-level”. A properly designed, well-written, two-page resume would be far better. Your resume is your marketing tool. Can you market yourself on a one page resume or will you need two or three pages to include your best skills, accomplishments, and experiences?

Note: In every resume, the first 10-15 lines are the most important. They will motivate a recruiter to read on or to stop. Longer resumes need to be carefully designed to “sell” you up front.

The real cost of writing a basic or weak resume is valuable time and thousands of dollars in missed opportunities.

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