Finding Your Perfect Job - Step 5: Prepare a Dynamite Resume

Step 5: Prepare a Dynamite Resume

The resume is one of the most important tools of the job seeker. It is a vital part of your marketing strategy that when written properly will jump out at prospective employer and say “hire me!” The resume is basically a written summary of your education, work experience, past achievements and interests that are constructed in a positive manner. When putting together your resume it is important to keep it short, focused, concise and accurate.

The resume itself contains specific components that are common to all. These include contact information such as name, address, and phone number; a career objective statement (optional); education; skills and abilities; work experience; volunteer work (optional), activities and interests; and references.

Each part is of significant importance:

Contact Information: Place your full name at the top of your resume, and include your address, telephone number, and e-mail. If you have a fax number you should include this as well.

Career Objective: This is a statement that outlines your career goals. It should be very brief, a sentence or two, and give a strong sense of where you are heading in your career path.

Education: Any relevant education should be included here, such as college, university or any technical schools that you may have attended. Your high school education can also be included. Any awards or scholarships can be outlined separately.

Skills and Abilities: This section allows you to highlight all those impressive skills and abilities that you obtained through school, past employment, volunteer work, and personal activities. To write this section you must complete step two - Identify Your Skills. This will require you to do some self-reflection.

Work Experience: In point form list your past jobs in chronological order. Include the dates, name and location of the company, as well as the responsibilities and duties you had in each position. Any volunteer experience you may have acquired can be included in this section.

Activities and Interests: The best type of candidate is one who appears well-rounded and has varied interests, including some diverse activities. This will signal to employers that you have gained some effective personal skills.

References: Indicating that “References available on request” is appropriate. Ensure that you have prepared these references from your academic, employment, or personal background should you be asked to supply them.

There are different resume formats depending on those components you would like to emphasize. The two most common styles are the chronological resume and the functional resume.

Chronological Resume: Organized in reverse chronological order so that your latest schooling and last job are listed first. This style emphasizes job duties and should be used if you have a steady work history, and if your most recent experiences relate to your desired field.

Functional Resume: Focuses on skills and abilities, while de-emphasizing job titles and employers. It should be used if you have been out of the work force for some time, or if you want to highlight specific skills and strengths that your most recent jobs don’t necessarily reflect.

Combination Resume: As a modified version of the above formats, this style emphasizes both work-related duties and skills so that you can highlight strengths from various past experiences.

Keep your resume organized, easy to read, and brief. Use point form beginning with action verbs that accentuate your strengths and positive experiences. Avoid the use of “I” when emphasizing your accomplishments.

We have outlined a brief list of some of the more common resume verbs that you can use instead.

Achieved / Administered / Analyzed Arranged / Assisted / Completed / Conducted Coordinated / Delivered / Designed Determined / Directed / Established Evaluated / Examined / Executed / Facilitated Generated / Identified / Implemented Initiated / Launched / Maintained / Managed Motivated / Organized / Planned / Prepared Presented / Processed / Produced / Provided Researched / Reviewed / Scheduled / Sold Supervised / Trained / Updated

Remember, your resume is the first contact that you will likely have with an employer – so make it a good one! Keep it on standard 8-1/2” x 11” premium paper, and ensure that you are using a printer that has good quality print. In addition, your resume must be 100% accurate in grammar and free from any spelling errors. While it may seem out-dated to prepare your resume in this printed format, you should always bring a hardcopy of your resume to an interview.

In regards to online, make sure you get on LinkedIn. Put your credentials on the Internet and open up your skills and attributes to a world of hiring managers. More than ever, companies are using social media to search and learn about potential candidates.

Make sure to show your resume to lots of people and allow them to critique it for you. One advantage to having your family, friends, and others close to you look at your resume is that they can pick up on important skills and strengths that you may have failed to mention. It may also be a good idea to post your resume on the Internet either through a job board, or by having it placed on a home page of your own. The more exposure your resume receives the better!

As well, if you are having trouble preparing your resume, or need some extra guidance, make sure to speak with a career counsellor. They offer a wealth of information and can help you in overcoming some of the stumbling blocks you may encounter.

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