Generally, a resume is a list of credentials that serves as an introduction to those who will hopefully employ a person for a particular job or position. To write a proper and well-constructed resume is often a rather daunting task, due to the need to thoroughly assess one's personality, accomplishments and acquired skills. The act of composing and submitting a resume also requires a careful consideration of the company that might be one's future employer.
A person must know exactly what the company is looking for and if his/her qualifications meet the company's overall needs. But writing the resume is but one crucial step in the process, yet it is the most important element which will eventually lead to a new job or position. A poorly written resume often results in a negative response from employers, yet a well-written and conceived resume can influence the employer or interviewer to ask about one's strengths and the skills that a person can bring to a prospective employer.
Even a person with little or no experience can find a good job is he/she is helped by a thoughtful and well-polished resume. In today's modern world, employers do not have the time nor the patience to read lengthy and disorganized resumes, for in reality, they look for tightly-composed, straightforward and action-based resumes. Although a one-page resume is the normal type, a two-pager may be needed if the person seeking employment has extensive work experience or has changed careers and requires the proper space to relate their accomplishments and work experience.
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According to "Writing Resume Tips," the following traits must be part of every successful resume-careful proofreading with attention paid to spelling, punctuation, grammar and style; all information must be organized in a logical fashion; all descriptions must be clear and to the point; simple and easy to read fonts are mandatory, such as New Times Roman, Palatino, Helvetica and
Arial; if possible, the resume must be confined to one single page; always include as much work experience as possible, even if it does not relate directly to the job one is seeking; all information must be tailored to the job one is seeking, and lastly, if one is not sure on how to proceed with the writing of a resume, always seek out professional assistance, either at school or the local library (Jobweb, Internet).
Of course, knowing exactly what to include in a resume is an art in itself, for everything depends on a person's "individual career goals as well as one the professional goals of the companies hiring in (one's) area or field of interest. " Thus, through "research, planning, questioning and self-reflection," a person will be able to create a well-written and positively-viewed resume ("Your Resume: General Concerns," Internet).
There are three types of resumes that are currently being used by students fresh from the university and by professional persons seeking new positions or changing their careers. The first is called the reverse chronological resume in which the most recent job or position is listed first. This is the type of resume usually preferred by employers who have to read a large number of resumes and it is by far the most popular and widely circulated. However, this type of resume may not be the most effective means of highlighting one's skills and accomplishments.
A second type of resume is known as the functional resume which is generally used by those re-entering the workforce after many years or trying to change career fields. This type places the focus on achievements instead of the sequence of one's work history as in the chronological resume. In the functional resume, a person's experience is presented via general accomplishments and the skills developed over one's entire working life. Also, the functional resume is organized quite differently.
For example, the work experience section is divided in two with job duties and accomplishments making up one section; the second section contains the basic elements of one's work history and comes after the accomplishments section which is often called "employment history," due to being a chronological overview of former jobs and positions. In today's technological age, there is now another type of resume known as the electronic resume which is cut and pasted in an email and transmitted as part of the email message.
Generally, this type of resume contains no formatting-"Whatever was bold becomes regular type; underlining, italics, centering and justification disappear, and the resume ends up being transmitted in the font designed for emailing" (Eyler, Resumes for Success, 67). However, under exceptional circumstances, a person may opt to create a generic resume which contains no industry-specific information and is meant to appeal to a wide range of organizations and companies.
For the most part, all of these type of resumes, with the exception of the electronic type, contain two important sections-first, the primary section, made up of an introduction, experience and education, and then the secondary section which may contain the objective, professional honors and awards, publications, computer skills, professional organizations, community activities, club memberships, volunteer positions, college work experience, military experience and some personal information such as supportive references (Eyler, Resumes for Success, 78).
Obviously, the three most important elements of any well-organized resume are the introduction which gives the potential employer some basic background information on exactly which job or position is being sought, the experience section which details a person's work history and the education section which highlights a person's educational achievements at the high school, local community college and university levels. The experience section of a resume describes the work that a person has performed throughout his/her working life or career and thus appears first on the resume.
However, if a person is changing careers, his/her work experience may be completely unrelated to the type of job or position being sought which makes the education section more important, thereby placing it before the experience section. Also, if a person has held a position in which certain degrees or related documents were required for employment, such as in law, medicine, engineering or management, the resume must begin with the education section. If a resume is begun with the work experience section, it should be in reverse chronological order, starting with the most current or recent employer.
This section must also include accomplishments and duties via what type of work was done, what was achieved and how an employer benefited from one's accomplishments on the job. Special consideration should be given to supervision, such as holding some type of management position in which one supervised or managed a number of people along with the specific title one held (Eyler, Resumes for Success, 95). Following the primary section, the resume then offers more information on various personal traits.
With the objective, this statement refers to the type of position one is seeking, but often it is omitted, due to limiting the types of positions which may be offered to the prospective employee by the company or institution. When describing the job objective, it is a good idea to keep it extremely simple and direct and to make certain that it tells the employer what one wants to do within a company. Professional honors and awards can also be included in the objective, but only if they relate to the position being sought.
For instance, a person applying as a manager in the automotive business might include awards from major automobile manufacturers or recognition for some type of innovative change. A person might also include any type of publishing credentials, especially those related to the position one is seeking. Since today's world is so reliant on technology, it is a good idea to include a short description on one's computer skills, particularly if the skills are related to programs essential to engineering or statistical management.
Professional organizations can often play important roles, for they demonstrate "a sincere interest and commitment to one's career and reflect real involvement in a person's chosen field of specialty" (Eyler, Resumes for Success, 124). The same holds true for community activities, club memberships and voluntary activities outside of the work environment, and by mentioning them, it may be beneficial if the position one is seeking requires strong social skills, such as in management and personnel recruitment.
For those seeking to change careers and recent university graduates, including college work experience on a resume can make all the difference, for the potential employer will see that the person seeking the job or position was highly interested as a student in a particular vocation, especially if there is an indication that the work experience was as an intern, meaning that it was unpaid and voluntary.
Of course, military experience can often be highly influential, for some employers may be veterans or currently hold reserve status in the National Guard or Coast Guard. One final piece of advice has to do with mentioning memberships in organizations that indicate a person's religion, such as Masonic lodges or fraternities, and political preference, such as a member of a political party.
In the field of management, the narrative paragraph adds the finishing touch to most resumes and is designed to provide "key information about one's abilities, including any advanced or specialized education, publishing credentials and speaking engagements, all of which usually greatly impressive prospective employers" (Eyler, Resumes for Success, 126). When composing the narrative, those seeking positions in management should try to include descriptive statements that pertain to one's accomplishments, responsibilities and personal strengths.
For example, a resume could mention that the prospective employee is an innovative and energetic leader, a skilled communicator and team builder; an accomplished expert at organizational repositioning and the development of strategic initiatives; an accomplished corporate strategist; has demonstrated leadership abilities to develop and implement solutions that improve sales and revenues; an expert at identifying and capturing business in high-growth market segments; accomplished at managing diverse groups, people and situations and an expert at human resources development, motivation and management.
In conclusion, a resume is an extremely subjective document, and while its primary goal is to illustrate a potential employee's strengths, accomplishments and capabilities, the exact way to present these traits depends on the interviewer/employer. However, a well-constructed and written resume will always be appreciated by potential employers, for it not only demonstrates a person's organizational abilities but also illuminates one's dedication and perseverance to the often agonizing pursuit of finding the right job or position.
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