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Writing A Resume That Works

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One resume may not be the answer


Everyone dreads preparing a resume.  To work so hard on something that might not even be read is a task that offers seemingly little reward.  But it is a requirement for the job seeker. There really is no way around it.  So how does one write a resume that works?  Well, the answer is simple - there is no one resume that works.  And as you search the online world of resume consultants, you quickly find that everyone will offer advice for a fee, or to drive more traffic to a site.  But what you will find is that most so-called experts on resume writing won't be able to provide you with the answer that you are looking for, because the real answer is 'I don't know.'

Resumes provide a potential employer with an outline of your work history and professional experience.  It is not a greeting card or an elaborate depiction of your entire history.  It is a document that shows that you meet the requirements of the job while exhibiting that you are not a one trick pony.  This is not to say that a resume can not contain a little personal flare.  But that flare should be limited to how well it is written and perhaps just little creative design that shows it wasn't taken right from a template.

But again, if consultants on this topic would offer up the straight skinny, they would tell you this - No one resume will attract all employers.  Quite simply, you need several resumes.  And every resume, cover letter included, should tell that employer that if you had an offer to work for them or an offer to dance with George Clooney, marry Angelina Jolie, or be an astronaut, you would choose to work for them.  That is what needs to be figuratively said to every potential employer, if you want to get very positive response from your resume.

What to do?

Here's a sort of guideline to preparing your resume for each potential employer.  Let say, for example, you have a bachelor's degree in philosophy.  I use this degree due to its stigma as the degree least likely to get you a "real" job.  You find a library offering a job in its art history department and you would like to apply.  Follow these steps:

1.  Change the resume to a little more formal - A library is going to want to see that you can write and are well-read.  Remove all indications that you have flare for graphic design and go straight for the I-know-where-the-salad-fork-goes approach.

2. Change you heading.  Maybe under your name it says - Philosopher.  Change it to Art Historian.  This will keep them reading to understand what you mean.

3. Change your mission statement.  Perhaps your goal was to get a job with a university or non-profit.  Now, that goal has changed.  Let them know that a library is a enchanted place that offers the history of philosophy, art and science.  Let them know that you have always dreamed of working in a library without saying, "I've always dreamed of working in a library."

4. Rearrange you work history so that the work experience most closely related to the job is higher on the list.  Do not try to list your entire work history.  And if you can, stay away from dates.  Just list the jobs and your duties in order of relevance.  Of course, you can not list a job you did ten years ago first, but you can certainly move that job up the list ahead of the short stint you did at Dairy Queen over the summer, five years ago.

5. In a section called additional experience or other interests.  List any thing you've done that relates to this job.  Perhaps you volunteered for a book sale fundraiser, or you worked in you grandmother's thrift shop (a.k.a used book store) when you were a teenager.  And this is where the flare for words comes in.  Did you work at your grandma's thrift store or were you a sales consultant and Rose's Used Books.

And that is at least a few tips for writing a resume that works.  The real advice is to design a resume to work for each job you are applying for.  Once you have you have all your information in a template form, you can just tweak it every time you decide to apply for a position. Furthermore, every time you tweak your resume, you should save it under a new and separate title.  This will give you a database of resumes that you can draw on as your job search continues.  Never stop searching for the perfect job.





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