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VOL. 35 | NO. 36 | Friday, September 9, 2011
Get a job!

Knowing what to spotlight is key to good resume

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When writing your resume, selecting the best examples of what you have done in your experiences and career and placing them in a short, concise space takes a lot of time and thought.

Second guessing your selections is a frequent result. So, what are some of the better ways to choose your very best activities and accomplishments?

Most every type of resume needs specific examples of what you have done in your jobs, volunteer work and schooling. These include chronological, functional and hybrid resumes along with CVs.

Hiring managers look for actions, accomplishments and results. Give the managers what they want with clear, well-selected examples.

One of the first steps many resume writers take is the writing of a summary and the placing of headings. These are guides to outline what is to follow. When developing a summary or headings, have in mind what supporting examples are to follow.

Another way to look at them is as claims that must be proven. And what is to follow, the examples, are the evidence to support those claims. Just like an opening statement from a prosecutor in a criminal case, the people reading your statements are expecting you to provide supporting facts.

Review your background from the beginning to determine your best examples. Consider your time in school and every job you have held. For more senior employees, with an extensive history, going back only part of your career, such as 10 years, may make you feel more comfortable than going back to your very first job.

Pick instances that indicate your greatest breadth and depth. Let the hiring managers know how much you have done and to what extent you were able to obtain your accomplishments. Give them the information necessary to understand your level of skill.

Provide examples that the prospective employer can use to relate to the job for which you are applying. For a general guide, ask yourself: “Would this past experience help me in the new job?” Remember, not every position you apply for may use the same skills or problem solving abilities. If the other applicant shows the employer skills you don’t possess, they may end up with an interview and you may end up with a letter of rejection – even though you were the best candidate.

Utilize qualitative and quantitative examples from your work experience. Hiring managers are looking for employees who will have either an impact on performance quality of an organization or its bottom line.

The higher the position, the more results the employer will expect to see.

If leadership is part of the position’s responsibilities, show you can deliver and have delivered in your past employment. Be careful that your examples demonstrate the appropriate leadership abilities.

Provide the examples for each function you have performed, one at a time. Don’t leave the employer confused.

Have others read your resume with a critical eye and make suggestions on any areas that are unclear. Don’t be overly sensitive to criticism. You don’t have to adopt any suggestions you don’t agree with.

Try and distinguish yourself when providing examples of your experiences. Are you the best? Don’t write “I am the best.” Show it.

A resume has to catch the reader’s attention quickly. Providing the best and most appropriate examples of your work is one of the key objectives of a good resume. Not doing so only lets you down.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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