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Constructing Your Resume

In order to get the attention of the decision-maker, your resume has to stand out and create a strong impression on paper.

Your resume serves to provide factual information about your background. It also serves as a means of selling your ability.

Despite the headaches of processing resumes, organizations rely heavily on the resumes they receive to screen for potential candidates. Often, the highly qualified candidate is overlooked because a less qualified candidate has presented a powerfully written, visually appealing resume.

Remember, your resume is written for the employer, not for you. Its main purpose, once in the hands of the reader, is to answer the following questions: How do you present yourself to others? What have you done in the past? And, what are you likely to accomplish in the future?

Considerations in Preparing Your Resume

Objectives. Many employers find that a carefully worded statement of purpose will help them quickly evaluate your suitability for a given position. But beware, a hiring manager who is hard pressed for time will often overlook a resume with an objective that doesn’t conform to the exact specifications of a position opening. If you are sure of the exact position you want in the field or industry you’re interested in, then state it in your objective. Otherwise, leave it off the resume.

Be specific as to your job title and identify employer, city and state. List employers in reverse chronological order.

Document your employment dates accurately. Employers don’t want to guess if 2000 to 2001 means 24 months or 12 months.

List responsibilities. For each position held, list responsibilities and key functions within area of responsibilities. Include the position you report to, positions reporting directly and indirectly to you, complete scope of responsibilities (budgetary planning, development, decision authority, execution). If you have held more than one position with your employer, list each individually with responsibilities and key functions within area of responsibilities.

List major accomplishments. This is a quantitative measure of your success and acknowledgment of your accomplishments. Be specific and don’t be shy about giving a one or two line description.

Be explicit. Don’t assume the resume reader knows what you mean. It is suggested not to use abbreviations when identifying colleges, degrees, etc.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation. One of the first things a potential employer will notice is typos. This is not the impression you want to make. Always use a spell-check program if you have it on your word processor, and always proofread your hard copy several times. It’s amazing how much you catch the second or third look.

Appearance and Presentation. Select the professional business format, type style, and stationery. If your resume takes too much effort to read, it probably won’t get read, regardless of your background.

Remember: the reader draws conclusions about your qualifications by the content of your resume, so be sure to make a strong impact. The greater the relevance between your resume and the needs of the employer, the stronger your impact will be.

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