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Resume Writing - Tips To Land That Interview

Aug 17, 2007
Resumes are no longer simply a laundry list of job experiences and personal attributes. Today's resume must show a prospective employer that the job seeker is able to do the job from day one; is willing to learn new skills sets without complaint; and is capable of taking on a multitude of responsibilities. It's a professional marketing tool used to get noticed, showcasing an applicant's transferable skills and showing what unique talents and skills they can bring to the company.

Distinguishing yourself among the pack of other applicants is a must in order to land that interview. You're resume is the tool you can use to do all that - and more!

What Every Resume Needs:
There are a few basics every resume must include in order to be considered. They include:

-Name, address and phone number.
-Job titles. These can be changed slightly to be understood by a wider range of employers.
-Company names and addresses.
-Job responsibilities/duties.
-Licenses and certifications.
-Education.
-Professional memberships.
-Special skills that will benefit the position being applied for (and make you stand out).
-Once you have these basics down, then you are free to tweak the format and writing style of your resume to best showcase your ability to handle the job you're after. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive lists of things you can include in your resume, it's simply of the things you never want to leave out.

What Resumes Should Never Contain:
Just as there are items every resume must include, there are a few things you want to stay away from, according to the experts. They are:

-Salary requirements/history. When an employer asks for your salary history he is trying to determine one of two things: can he afford you, or how cheaply can he hire you.
-Writing "resume" at the top. Of course it's a resume. Hiring managers know it, and so do you.
-References available upon request at the bottom. Don't give a hiring manager a chance to set your resume aside. Include a separate list of references to make their job easier, and expedite the interviewing process.
-Reasons for leaving you're past job. If they want to know, they'll ask at the interview.
-Religious or political affiliation. This type of information can work for or against you, and by law, cannot be considered anyway when hiring a new employee.
-Any negative responses or opinions. You're trying to put your best foot forward here and look like a team player, so if you have anything bad to say about anyone or any organization, keep it to yourself!

Once you have the must-haves written down and the absolute no-no's crossed off, it's time to look for things that will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Some other things you may want to consider mentioning on your resume are: military service and a personal interest section that highlights what you love most (in 2-3 sentences). This enables the hiring manger to see you as a real person, and get an idea of some of your indirect skills that may be useful on the job.

Some resume writers also like to include an objectives statement on their resume to help better define your job goals for the future. Objectives are best when they are focused. Be as specific as possible. Avoid vague language.

When actually setting down to write your resume, you have to decide which format you'll use. The first is the chronological format, which lists your work history in chronological order (either from oldest to newest, or vice versa). Although the most popular style used by job seekers, it also tends to be the most boring, and doesn't necessarily offer the best way to showcase all the unique benefits you have to offer.

The functional format offers a summary of job-related information, emphasizing keys skills and experience, out of context. This summary actually replaces specific job descriptions. Many job seekers use this format to hide gaps in work history or other weaknesses.

One of the best formats for highlighting prospective employees strengths is the combination format, which takes the more flattering key skills aspect of the functional format, and combines it with the work history of the chronological format. Easy to read, easy to decipher and easy to highlight strengths, the combination format offers the most information in the most flattering style.

Writing a resume that gets attention isn't difficult, if you follow a few simple format rules and remember that it's a tool to distinguish you among all the other candidates applying for a job. Be direct, be assertive and be honest, to let your future employer see all the wonderful attributes that you can bring to their company.
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