Writing A Compelling Resume

By: Mort Ferguson

When searching for a job, there is one critical factor that will either help you in the door of a prospective employer or get you nowhere; that is your resume. A resume is "you on paper." That is, for most job opportunities, your resume is a brief summary of your work and education history, and normally serves as the only tangible item your potential employer has before him to decide whether you would be a good fit for the company. It is a concise document providing key details about you for the benefit of that employer: your job history, qualifications for the position, and more importantly, the type of person you are.

As it pertains to a resume, the first impression you make is by far the most critical. If the resume does not look professional, for example, your effort will simply be thwarted and tossed into a pile along with others that will never receive a call. So, it is vital that you spend sufficient quality time and effort needed to write a resume that grabs the reader's attention. There are many online web sites that offer handy tips on the mechanics of resume writing. To assist with those other resources, below are a few basic recommendations.

First, always start a resume with your contact information, such as name, address, phone number, and email address so that if a prospective employer is interested, they can easily get in touch with you. If to this point you have never previously used email, now is the time! You do not want to miss a potentially great opportunity simply because the hiring or HR manager is not able to select a means of contact with you that is convenient to them.

The next information that should be included near the top of your resume is your career objective, one or two sentences which state the kind of job or career that interests you. It should be short and to the point, with a very specific goal you plan to accomplish.

Below that preliminary information comes your employment history with relevant skills and qualifications. This list is important because those details are what the employer will evaluate to determine whether you are qualified and sufficiently experienced for the job. In this section you should highlight your major accomplishments and any experiences you have under your belt that may be pertinent to the job you are pursuing. By using "power" words that accentuate your experience, you communicate a subtle message to the employer that says you are worth hiring.

After you list your work experience, highlight your prior education. By listing your degrees (including the schools and years of attendance), relevant licenses, and other credentials related to the position, you help to demonstrate that you meet the educational requirements.

A resume should never be too long. Often with documents, the more detail, the better. But with a resume, that is not the case. Even if you have years of experience, you should keep your resume to one page if possible so that you do not take up too much time with your potential employer. They only have a few minutes to look through a number of resumes, and you want to make sure this person notices all pertinent information on the first page alone. Think of your resume as a means of "marketing" yourself. If a product for sale doesn't quickly capture the attention of its intended audience, it will be ignored. This is no different with a resume.

If your resume is clean and polished looking, and you show all relevant skills require for the position you seek, you may well make a sufficient impression to be invited to the next step - a job interview - where you can "wow" them with your personality and enthusiasm as well.

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