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The Perfect Resume

October 6, 2010

Filed under: Coaching,Management — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 7:21 am

I have yet to see the perfect resume. I’ve helped a lot of folks write resumes and they are all ‘right’ when we’re finished but I’m not sure I would call any of them perfect.

The purpose of a resume is to get an interview. The purpose of the interview is to get a job offer and then you can start negotiating for the actual position. This progression is easy to write and most people understand the words but few understand what they mean.

People seem to think that the resume has to a multi-page treatise on their life. Rather than a document that explains the unique experiences and skills that make you the right candidate for the job opening.

Organizing your resume chronologically by position makes the reader search for items that suggest whether you can perform the functions of the job that’s open. It’s your job to connect the experiences to specific skills and relate them to the job you want.

Even if you have relatively few work experiences – as a recent college graduate, or an older worker re-entering the job market – you have skills that you have learned. They may be from part-time summer jobs, or from volunteer positions at a local community group but they are skills.

When I put together my first resume – typing and retyping – on my trusty Underwood (or later a Smith-Corona), creating a separate resume for each job was a difficult proposition – especially for a two-finger typist. But now with ‘copy and paste’ on my Mac, crafting a resume with specific skills and listing relevant jobs is easy.

Believe me, if you don’t take the time to customize you’re already behind the competition and might wind upĀ  in the circular file. Remember, anyone looking at resumes in this environment, is just looking for ways to edit the pile, so anything can be an excuse to put you out of the running.

Graphically it should be easy to read and the layout should emphasize the message. It’s not an exercise to show the HR folks how many typefaces you can use. If the experience you have that’s relevant to the position does not include a specific job, you can either leave it out or relegate it to a single line.

You can always add details during the interview.

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