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Writing a Successful Resume

In today's competitive job market, having a resume is a must. Before an employer takes valuable time to interview you, they want to meet you on paper. Without a resume, you can't even begin to compete, and an inferior resume will quickly eliminate you. That is why it is important to have a well-written, well thought out resume that effectively lets employers know what you can do for them and how you can benefit their organization.

A Resume is a Summary of Your Qualifications

The term resume comes from the French and means a "summary." That's exactly what your resume is -- A summary of your qualifications, skills, and achievements. It shows a future employer what you have done in the past. It details your skills and training, work experience, and education, and, most importantly, the accomplishments you have made with past employers.

Your Resume is your marketing brochure. Think of yourself as a product with unique features and benefits, and the employer or recruiter is a customer who needs this product. Your resume should be like a sales tool, telling the reader why they should want to meet you for a demonstration of who you are. Your resume should WOW the reader into wanting to learn more about you through an interview.
Video by Catherine Byers Breet, Job Hunt Coach.  view Catherine's Bio
Catherine Byers Breet
Chief Stripe Changer
Job Hunt Coach
Catherine is a professional recruiter, sales person, business owner and writer. Personally, she knows what it takes to go through a difficult job hunt. Chasing her own dreams, Catherine founded Arbez, Inc. in 2006.
www.Arbez.com

Key Components of a Resume

> Heading / Identification
The heading should include your full, legal name, permanent address and phone number, with the area code, cell phone number, and e-mail address. Your LinkedIn profile (if applicable) should be included in this section as well.

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Summary Statement
A summary includes a sentence or two highlighting your skills, enticing the reader to look at the rest of the resume. An example would be "Highly motivated, results-oriented professional with an 10-year track record of proven, tested results in successful brand building and market penetration with web-based digital media. Resourceful self-starter in developing community partnerships and strategic alliances to create brand awareness." This statement clearly summarizes one's years of experience and one's strengths.

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Core Competencies
This is simply a bullet point list of your core strengths to make them quickly identifiable to the recruiter or HR manager reviewing your resume.
  • New Business Development
  • Client Relations
  • Public Speaking & Presenting
  • Product Development
  • Innovation & Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Social Media Strategist
  • Strategic Planning
  • Highly Organized
  • Team & Independent Contributor
  • Expert Web Programmer
  • Expert Graphics Designer

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Education
Make sure to list all your relevant education, training, and certifications. List degrees(s) awarded, school(s) attended, dates of attendance or year of graduation/completion and your program/major. List your education in chronological order, starting with your most recent first. Include your grade point average if it is a 3.0 or better.

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Work Experience or Professional Experience
Include the name of the employer, geographic location (city and state only), position title, dates of employment, a brief statement of duties and your major contributions and accomplishments. Include military experience, internships/cooperative and volunteer experience. List these in reverse chronological order - the most recent first. It is also advantageous to list your "Key Successes" for each position before your list your tasks performed.

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Qualifications and/or Skills
Provide a concise list of your qualifications, skills, and accomplishments that are requirements for the position you are seeking. Use action statements to describe these and quantify whenever possible. List in order of importance. It is not necessary to identify the employment situation where these qualifications were obtained. Include computer software/hardware skills, technical skills, percent of increase in production, sales, etc.

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Awards / Achievements / Honors
You can use this as a separate category or place this information under the Education heading. This area should highlight formal recognitions, professional and academic awards.

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Activities and Associations
Include participation in professional associations, student government, clubs, or community activities. Include the name of the organization and any leadership roles you held.

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References
Indicate that these are available upon request. Prepare a list of references on a separate piece of paper. Include the person's name, job title, phone number, name, and address of the organization. DO NOT PUT YOUR REFERENCES ON YOUR RESUME.

Resume Guidelines

> One Page or Two?
Trying to get your resume onto a single page isn't easy; two pages are OK if your career history and accomplishments warrant it. Anything beyond two pages may overwhelm or even bore the reader. When detailing out your accomplishments and responsibilities, ensure that your two most recent positions have the most information listed, and are on the front page. No one really cares about what you did in your first job out of high school 20 years ago.

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Use a Font that is Easy to Read
A 10 or 12 point font in Arial or Times New Roman are the best choices for your resume and cover letter. They are easy to read and consistent with most business writings of all types. In addition, if the company receiving your resume uses scanning software, these formats are easily read by most scanners.

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Use Bullet Points
In the body of your resume, use bullets with short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. Resumes are read quickly. This bulleted sentence format makes it easier for someone to quickly scan your resume and still absorb the contents.

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Use Power or Action Words
Use words in your resume that are descriptive as the first word in your bullet points. Words to consider using are: Supervised, Led, Developed, Mastered, Coordinated, and Managed. These words convey confidence to the reader of one's abilities. To view more,
acceleratedadvisedanalyzedapprovedarrangedassembledassistedbuiltcompleted
conceivedconductedcontroledcoordinatedcreateddelegateddetecteddevelopeddirected
distributedediteddelivereddemonstrateddesignedeliminateedestablishedevaluatedexpanded
expeditedformulatedgeneratedimplementedimprovedincreasedinfluencedinstalledinstructed
maintainedmanagedmotivatedobtainedoperatedorderedorganizedoriginatedoversaw
performedpinpointedplannedpreparedpresentedprocessedproducedprogrammedpromoted
protestedprovedprovidedpurchasedreceivedrecommendedrecordedreducedreorganized
representedresearchedrevampedreviewedrevisedscheduledselectedsoldsolved
streamlinedstructuredstudiedsupervisedsupportedtaughttestedtrainedwrote


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Lead With Your Strengths
Since resumes are typically reviewed quickly, take the time to determine which bullet points most strongly support the type of job you are applying for. Put those strong points first where they are more apt to be read.

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Add Numbers to Your Accomplishments
Employers and Recruiters look for people with measurable accomplishments. Numbers, dollars, and percentages stand out in the body of a resume and grab the reader's attention. Some examples of bullet points where you can highlight your accomplishments are in the areas of people, sales and controllable costs.

Here are some example bullet points that highlight the accomplishments of the applicant to potential employers:

-   Increased sales 35% over last year and 12% under budget.
-   Developed new sales concepts that increased profits by over 40%
-   Supervised over 10 sales managers and 100 sales associates.
-   Recruited and trained 3 new sales leads increasing revenue by $1 million dollars
-   Reduced payroll expenditures by 10%

> Proofread Your Resume
The last thing you should do before submitting your resume to a company for review is to have it proofread. Your word processor's spelling and grammar check is a great tool but you can't always rely on it to catch every error. Have at least two other people review your resume to identify any additional mistakes you may have missed.