Careers & Education

How to write a resume

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Since a resume is a primary tool in finding a better job, extra time spent on its preparation is a good investment.
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It's important to learn how to write a resume

Better jobs have become more competitive than ever before, and they will continue to get more competitive. A good resume cannot get you a job; but a bad resume can prevent you from getting the interview - and without the interview there's no chance of getting the job. Here are some helpful pointers on how to write a resume:

The essentials of a good resume are: •A clearly stated JOB OBJECTIVE targeted to the job you're applying for. •The HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS. •A presentation of directly RELEVANT SKILLS and EXPERIENCE. •A chronological WORK HISTORY. •A listing of relevant EDUCATION and TRAINING.

Among the things you have to learn about how to write a resume are the do's and the don'ts. First, the never list: •Never lie. If you're lucky enough to get the job, you could lose it. •Never give reasons for termination or leaving a job on the resume. In almost all cases, the reader can find negative connotations to even the best reason. You're far better off explaining it in person. •Never state "References Available On Request". It's assumed, and clutters up the resume. Other things to leave out include your social security number, your spouse's occupation and your personal philosophies. •Never list references on the resume. •Never use exact dates. Months and years are sufficient. •Never include the date your resume was prepared. If your search takes longer than a few months, the resume will appear outdated. •Never include your company phone number unless your immediate boss is aware of your departure. •Never include your height, weight or remarks about your physical appearance or health. •Never list your high school or grammar school if you're a college graduate. •Never state your objectives on your resume unless the resume is targeted to that job or occupation. •Never use professional jargon unless you're sure the resume will be read by someone who understands the buzz-words, •Never use the so-called "action words" like sparked, accelerated, and streamlined. They're passe. •Never provide salary information on the resume. Save it for the interview. If you are required to give that information, reveal it in the cover letter.

Next, the always list: •Always print your resume on standard letter size, white or ivory rag paper. •Always have the resume professionally typed, but not typeset, with plenty of space between paragraphs, and allow for adequate margins. •Always use conventional English. Stay away from multi-syllable words when a one or two syllable word is clearer. •Always use short paragraphs - preferably no longer than five lines. •Always make sure the resume and the cover letter are error-free. Proofread, and have others proofread also. •Always rewrite a resume for a specific company. It's extra work, but may well pay off. •Always include your significant contributions at each one of your jobs. •Always allow the most space to the jobs that are most relevant to the job you're applying for. •Always list your activity with professional, trade and civic associations - but only if they're appropriate. •Always keep a permanent file of your achievements, no matter how inconsequential they may appear to be. This is the basis for a good resume, and it is also essential information to get a raise or promotion. •Always give each of your references a copy of your resume. •Always send a brief, customized letter with each resume. •Always send your resume by messenger overnight mail if you're applying for a high salary level job and you're reasonably convinced you fit the job specifications. •Always re-read your resume before interview - chances are the interviewer did just that too.

Now that you know the essentials of how to write a resume, assemble the five parts of your resume - Job Objective, Highlights, Relevant Experience, Work History, Education - and type up a draft copy and proof read it several times.

Keep it to one page if you can. If your resume is on two pages: Present your "aces" on page one (job objective, skills, accomplishments). 1.Use page two for the work history and education. 2.Be sure to write "continued" on page one, and "page two" PLUS your full name on the second page. 3.Print it on two sheets of paper, and don't staple them together (the two pages can be placed side-by-side to view the whole resume at once).

Good luck!

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