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How to Write a Better Entry-Level Job Resume

Sep 14, 2008
Don't dash out the front door and go shopping for a new job without a resume. A resume highlights your past skills and current knowledge; it's formatted in a way that helps employers know at a glance what skills and experience you'll bring to the job.

Look at a resume this way - it's a one page personal business card, highlighting everything good about yourself. This may be one of the few times you can brag about yourself and get away with it.

Although Microsoft Word and other word processors will equip you with pre-formatted resume templates, I recommend not using them unless for inspiration. These resumes focus too much on what you previously "did" at work versus what you can do now.

Make your resume reflect you, the hard-working, skillful job seeker. Most resumes in MS-Word lack creative freedom to talk about your outside personal life. What other activities do you spend doing? This helps expand what you really know; it does not just define technical tasks you did at your last place of employment.

Use this list of tips to craft a compelling resume without going insane.

Tip 1. Bold-face your NAME at the top of the page. Use a 16 point font. Now center it. Your name is your headline, like in a newspaper.

Tip 2. At the right, put your contact information. Include an e-mail address. These days many employers rely on e-mail for contact or follow-ups.

Tip 3. Write an objective. I know it's hard to craft an eye-catching objective, but think of it this way: your objective is a simple 10-word sentence or less. You can come up with 10 words, can't you? What job are you applying for? Are you applying for a teaching assistant at your local school district? Then write: "Position as a teaching assistant at Monroe College."

This lets the employer know you are seeking employment with them. It is specific to them. You leave an impression that you are not mailing your resume to hundreds of other places. Mass mailing a resume is also known as "broadcast mailing," and employers frown on it.

Tip 4. Open a new MS-Word document. Now brainstorm. What have you accomplished in the past including jobs, volunteer opportunities, vacations, schools, classes, and so on.

You want to highlight certain skills that your potential new employer will find useful through your various experiences. Your experiences are proof that, yes, you can do this and that.

Previous Experience: You played the piano for 7 years while a kid and now want to get a job as an executive piano instructor.

Skill: You learned how to type in grade school and can move your fingers rapidly across the keywords. You can type 75 words per minute. You back up this skill with prior experience from another or related job or experience.

Tip 5. Spell check, spell check, spell check. It's horrible to send a resume to an employer without combing through your resume with a fine-tooth-grammar-comb. If you need to correct grammar and spelling, use www.WhiteSmokeSoftware.com

Ask a few friends or colleagues to read over your resume. Also, take a break from your resume for two or three days so your eyes and brain come back fresh to proof it again. When you take a break and look back at it later, you may notice errors that jump out at you that you swear did not exist before. Maybe you need to change the way something sounds or you need to add new ideas.

Your resume is a living, working document representing you. When you are seeking jobs online or offline, dissect the job description. Does the job description list a skill you can perform? Write that into your resume and use a few of their words. By using their language, you give them exactly what they want and you raise your chances of landing the job.
About the Author
Brian Scott is a contributing writer for http://www.LousyWriter.com, a free website on how to write better. He recommends college students visit http://www.MasterFreelancer.com for english grammar software to help with writing resumes.
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