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Create a Resume That Comes Alive

Sep 7, 2008
More often than not, resumes are your first introduction to an organization - giving them the responsibility of persuading the reader to want more. It is common for individuals to agonize over writing a resume and more often than not the finished product looks more like a career obituary or personal statement than a first class ticket to your dream job. A resume is an advert, an advert that introduces an individual, their career achievements to date and predicts how they will perform in their next role.

With only one resume out of every 200 leading to an interview, it is important to ensure that yours is the one that gets noticed. There are a number of key tips to writing a resume that will come alive in the readers' hand, read on to find out more.

Step 1 - Research

Before starting to write your resume you need to do some preliminary research so you can tailor it to the jobs that you wish to apply for. Writing a broad resume can exclude you from specific positions that you apply for.

o What do I want to do? Research job specifications, websites, industry press.

o What makes me the best candidate for any job? Research job specifications, websites and industry press to discover the types of candidate's organizations are looking for. Use this research and speak to people within the industry to draw up a list of your skills, characteristics and experience that makes you the best candidate for any job.

o Select the jobs that you would like to apply for

Step 2 - Write your primary job objective (this gives the reader incentive to read on)

An XX position in an organization where YY and ZZ would be required.

Step 3 - Write your summary

Using the research and brainstorming create a summary that articulately matches your skills and experience to the job requirements.

o A short phrase describing your profession
o A statement of broad or specialized expertise
o Use 2/3 additional statements
o Breadth & depth of skills
o Unique mix of skills
o Special or well documented accomplishment
o Awards, promotions or superior performance
o 1 or 2 professional or appropriate personal characteristics
o Add in the sentence you created in Step 2

E.g. Solution focused and driven human resources executive with eight years experience in strategic management and large scale recruitment projects. The national lead for retention policies within a large healthcare provider that has lead to a 15% reduction in turnover among nurses nationwide. Seeking a senior HR management role that offers extensive project work.

Step 4 Resume Format

Now you have your job objective and summary, choose what format of resume best suits your type of job search. There are 3 main types of resumes:

Chronological - This is the most common. It is a chronological listing of your work experience with the most recent first. It is best for:

o People who have practical work experience without long periods of unemployment and minimal job / industry changes.

o Individuals who have shown growth within a single professions

Functional - This resume format focuses on skills, credentials and accomplishments. It highlights what the strengths are rather than when / where they were developed. The main formatting difference is that after the job summary / objective you list your professional or business skills and successes, followed by a list of the positions held. It is best for individuals who:

o Have lots of job experience and many jobs
o Are just entering the work force with no / little track record
o Are just pre-retirement and have lots of work experience
o Are returning after a period of absence (return after maternity/paternity leave or long term sickness)
o Are changing careers / do not have consistent career growth
o Are Military personnel seeking civilian jobs

Combination - This resume format is a combination of the chronological and functional types. It is best for individuals who:

o Are advancing in the prospective careers and have an established track record they want to keep.

Step 5 Success Stories

Whatever format you choose you still want to include between 2-5 professional success stories for each role you have had. A useful method to help you create a strong resume is the mnemonic is CARS. For each job held think of Challenges you faced, Actions you took, Results or outcomes and finally Skills / Strengths that this showed you have. Using this story to create a sentence that speaks to how successful you were at your previous role. Remember to refer back to the words used and requirements detailed in the job description and use them where necessary so your resume is tailored to the hiring manager's specific requirements.

E.g.

C - We needed to recruit 10 nurses before the opening of a new hospital ward in 4 wks time

A - Worked with team to create a shorter recruitment turnaround time, created a Team Leader specific to the project and negotiated the buy in of senior managers to sign off new recruits.

R - Recruited and trained all 10 within the 3 weeks, reducing the predicted $500k agency spend.

S - Negotiation, team leadership, meet deadlines, motivation, intuition and creative problem solving.

Resume - Successfully managed a team that recruited 10 nurses, expedited their training and start date in order to meet a 1 month deadline, saving the hospital a predicted $500k in agency spend.

Step 6 Education & Publications

Enter in reverse chronological order after your work experience and accomplishments.

The only time you put education directly under the summary would be:

o Recently graduated
About the Author
Lou Clark is a Career & Interview Coach and founder of Ętre Coaching based in NYC. With a successful background in Human Resource Management, formal coach training & accreditation with the ICF, Lou is experienced in providing support and coaching through career change. Visit Etre Coaching!
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