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Does Your Resume Keep It Real?

Aug 11, 2008
Years ago, all a resume needed was a brief objective statement before you wrote anything about your experience. Some resumes even skipped the use of an objective completely. When a summary of qualifications section was used, it really made a big difference and was considered cutting edge.

One of the first resume writers to emphasize the importance of the summary of qualifications section was the late Yana Parker - a true pioneering trailblazer. Before long, it really became the standard and is used to this day in one form or another. One of the great things about Yana Parker's approach to resume writing was that she kept it real. Yes, people like to come across highly sophisticated on paper. But, if you are too sophisticated, it can work against you unless you have significant achievements.

Sometime in the last ten or more years, resumes have evolved significantly. The standard objective statement has been replaced by a title statement. Taking it to the next level, it is augmented by a tagline. This was in response to the objective being so generalized that it became cliche. Many job seekers failed to specify what they were all about and what they were looking to do. The result was a statement that wasn't worth the paper it was printed on or the reader's valuable time.

The same thing happened with the summary of qualifications section. Originally, it was meant to include important qualifications that related to the requirements of a position. After a while, job seekers would fill this valuable space with an extensive list of soft skills and attributes, failing to ensure their information supported their career direction.

The answer to the growing demand for qualified candidates and the need to make a strong impression on paper gave way to the career profile. This paragraph format serves more as a bio written in narrative as opposed to the bulleted summary of qualifications section.

Unfortunately, this too has been compromised with the over use of soft skills, attributed and too many overly descriptive words about how wonderful a job seeker is. The solution to that problem was to add a keywords list after the profile to give the reader a quick understanding of the job seeker's core competencies. This was effective for a long time. Now it is fast becoming passe to include a general keywords list following a profile. Recruiters and hiring managers do not pay as much attention to the keywords list these days because, again, it has become cliche.

And now? Mini sections and sub categories broken down by job-specific functions, not attributes. The format might end up being a title statement followed by a tagline followed by a profile. These elements will then be followed by a chart that is visually appealing and breaks down a few important core competencies by category and examples of real experience, not soft skills and cliche statements.

The result? A resume that has substance and gives the reader a true understanding of how the job seeker's qualifications are a good match for the requirements of a position. It will make them put the resume to the side for furthering reading instead of throwing it out.

It is important to note that this is all before you even get to the experience section. You must first grab the reader's attention. Later you must hold it. It is advisable to make the extra effort to include very specific information in a resume and not just fill it with fluff and fancy words. That said, keep the information both real and interesting throughout your entire resume.

Do your research to see what types of formats work best and be certain not to be too general. It is your one chance to make a good impression. Maximize that opportunity by telling the reader exactly what you have to offer. They are looking for someone to fill a particular position. Make it perfectly clear that you are that person. Without specifics, you are just another faceless job seeker in the crowd.

Make the extra effort and you will increase your chances of standing out from the rest who have not. Again, keep it real and interesting. Make it about you with their needs in mind to make it count.
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