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Five Essential Resume Writing Tips

Feb 2, 2008
As you prepare your resume in hopes of acquiring your dream job, keep these tips in mind to make sure you give yourself the best chance of being recognized and hired.

1.Most relevant experience/skills/education first. The order of the information on your resume is different for everyone. It all really depends on your particular education, experience, training, and other background. It also depends on the position you are applying for. You should emphasize your most relevant skills by placing them at the top of your resume.

2.Be specific and specialized - employers are looking to solve a problem by hiring someone. Let them know how you can solve their problem. I know you're proud of the varied background you have. You've done a little of this and a little of that. You think it makes you a more well rounded person and capable of adapting to new positions more easily. Guess what? You're right. But, most employers will not appreciate a diverse set of jobs and experiences the way you and I do. Hiring managers have a specific job to fill, and they're going to be stressed about it until they fill it. They need someone who can perform the specific duties required of the position. They're not looking for a jack of all trades, they want a specialist. So read the job description very carefully and rework your resume as much as possible to make it look like you are the specialist he/she is looking for. Hopefully you won't have to rework it that much. If you find you are having to, guess what, you're not the person for the job. Save yourself the trouble of writing and rewriting and applying only to be rejected later. Concentrate your efforts on job openings you are qualified for.

3.Use capitalization/bold/italics sparingly. As a professional resume writer, I can't tell you how many resumes I've seen that have LOTS OF CAPITALIZATION. If you capitalize everything, nothing stands out. Use capitalization only for section headings and maybe your name at the top of the resume. That's it. Capitalization should be used sparingly to make important points stand out. The same goes for bold and italicized font.

4.Only include relevant information. Resume is not employment history, but an employment summary. Resumes are not supposed to be biographies. No one ever said that your resume should include every job you've had since high school. Make sure that the jobs listed on your resume are relevant to the position you are applying for. People with lots of positions should limit the ones they list to the ones which demonstrate skills needed in the new position. Don't worry about employment gaps. The whole issue is definitely overblown. If gaps in your employment history is mentioned during an interview, simply be honest and say that you held a position that you chose not to include. Say that was a different line of work that you have since moved on from.

5.Spell check and read, then reread. Any basic errors could be fatal to your application. Definitely use the spell-check feature on your word processor before you submit your resume. But also be sure to read it before you submit because some words may not be misspelled (and not be caught by spell-check) but are incorrect grammatically. Then it's a good idea to reread again after several hours because sometimes we just see what we want to see. Sometimes an incorrect word is right there, plain as day, and we don't see it because we aren't really reading it because we're sure what it must say. This issue is so important because even one misspelling or incorrect word can spell doom for your job chances. Employers typically get so many resumes for each and every open position. This creates such intense competition that employers simply don't need to accept anything less than perfect. In fact they're looking for reasons to narrow the field down. Don't give them such an easy reason to toss your resume.
About the Author
Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and contributes to career related websites such as JobGoRound.com, which includes career advice and reviews of resume writing services.
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