If you are about to write a cover letter or a resume, you must think of it as the most important sale you have ever made. Think about it. If you were trying to sell a product or service, you would carefully script your presentation, so that the potential customer would completely understand how much s/he needed that product or service. So it is with a resume. You have one shot to sell yourself and get that interview, and you need to be very deliberate about how you write a resume and exactly how you package information about yourself.
There are numerous resume formats available all over the web and in numerous published works on career planning and job-seeking. In truth, everyone should have a current resume at all times – one that can be “tweaked” a bit for any job opportunity that may arise, even if s/he is not currently looking. Some resume types are suited for those with long histories in the same career; others are suited for those looking to change careers; still others will need a unique template if they have been out of the job market for a while or have had gaps in the employment history. Resume formats speak more to the word processing style and format used, as well as the method of delivery. Generally, today’s applicants know that they should use a standard, formal looking format and utilize the bulleting, bold and italics functions as appropriate. Delivery of a resume will now be via email or fax and, in other instances, will be posted on career websites. Formats will be MS word or PDF.
The “Meat” of Resumes
In constructing a resume, one must begin with a career goal. If you do not know where you want to go, then you cannot construct a compelling resume, because everything you include in that document must somehow relate to your goal. If not, the resume becomes disjointed and without overall point. In listing current and previous employment, the focus should be on tasks and accomplishments that speak to your career goals and to the employer’s specific needs. Superfluous information should be eliminated.
Targeting your resume to the specifics of a potential employer is the most important step in getting your document seriously read and considered. First, you must conduct research on the organization itself and in its industry/business in general. What are the “buzz” words on this company’s information? What challenges does this company or the business in general face? How can you bring value “to the table” in addressing those challenges? You need to find out the answers to the above mentioned questions before you type one word, brainstorm on these facets and determine how you can address them in your own employment history. Resumes that are set aside for further consideration will contain these important features.
The Importance of Grammar
No resumes containing grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors will be given further consideration. This is because employers see these errors as an indicator of one’s overall approach to work and challenges. Such an applicant does not review his/her work; such an applicant is not attentive to detail. If you have any concerns about your English skills, find some of the best resume writers to at least review it, if not construct it.
Resume writing is not for meek or timid people. You must be bold and assertive in selling yourself; not to do so will result in failure.