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Resume Writing Tips for Dummies

Resume Writing Tips for Dummies
A resume is your personal advertisement. It is a presentation of yourself to potential employers. Follow these writing tips for creating an effective one.
CareerStint Staff
Most employers trying to fill a job opening will review hundreds of resumes. Out of these, only a handful will be called in for interviews. The biggest question in the mind of job seekers is: why did the employer select that specific set of resumes? The obvious answer would be that those candidates were most suitable for the job. However, this is always not the case. A well-framed resume can portray one as a superior candidate for a job, even over another well-qualified candidate.

Following are a few writing tips for the same that will help land you that sought-after job:
  1. Your resume forms the first step in how you market yourself. Its main objective is to get you that interview call. It should be able to convince the prospective employer that you will deliver.
  2. One of the first steps while writing it is to understand what the employer is looking for. Place yourself in the employer's shoes. If you are applying for a job in your field, you will know what would make anyone a perfect candidate. Otherwise, pick up pointers from the help wanted ads or ask people, working in the same field. You should write your resume with the intention of convincing the prospective employer that you are a truly exceptional candidate.
  3. Make a list of all that you have done that makes you perfect for the job. Don't limit yourself to work-related accomplishments. Every opportunity where you have utilized your talents or leadership skills, be it at a youth group or camp, can be used to convey your capabilities. This will illustrate the talents you will bring to the job, as well as all those additional attributes you have to offer a prospective employer.
  4. Ideally, it should have two sections. The first should include your abilities and qualities. The second section contains the proof of all that you have stated in the first section and should include your educational qualifications and work experience.
  5. A good way to start is by stating your objective. A good objective will demonstrate that you have clarity of career direction. One way to do that is by naming your intended job (the position you are applying for). Also, if you include qualities that are most important to the employer, it will create a big impact. An example of how to do this is: "Objective - a reporter's position in an organization, seeking an extraordinary record of uncovering new stories and delivering high-quality writing." This will convince him that you want to do exactly what the company desires and are likely to succeed at it.
  6. It must include a summary, composed of several precise statements that illustrate your most important qualities, achievements, and abilities. This information should entice the employer and provide reason for him to hire you, instead of the other candidates. The best you have to offer goes here.
  7. It is important to include a list of skills and accomplishments, either in this section or the next.
  8. There are four different types of formats followed while writing resumes. The chronological format presents information according to a timeline approach. Functional ones contain categories of work experience and skills according to skill area or job function. Combination format combines the first two while highlighting one's skills and experiences. The most detailed is a Curriculum Vitae (CV), which provides a lengthy descriptive statement of qualifications and experience. Choose the format that suits your industry best.
  9. List jobs held by you in reverse order. Start with your most recent and/or relevant job, and follow with earlier ones. Don't go into detail on the jobs early in your career. Education must also be listed in reverse chronological order, with degrees or licenses first, followed by certifications and advanced training. While writing about college, only include your major and distinctions or awards you have won, unless you are still in college or just recently graduated. Only include an impressive grade-point average.
  10. Your personal interests should appear towards the end. This objective of this section should be to convey well-roundedness, good physical health, or knowledge of a subject related to the goal. It provides good fodder for conversation during an interview.
  11. Most people conclude with references. However, it is advisable to say "references available upon request," instead of providing a list of names and phone numbers.
Presentation
  • Information in a good resume is presented in a symmetrical, balanced, and uncrowded manner. A good amount of white space between sections of writing is pleasing to the eye and makes it more readable.
  • There should be consistent use of italics, capital letters, bullets, and boldface.
  • Errors do cast a very bad impression. Check for typographical errors, spelling and grammar mistakes, and syntax or punctuation errors. Facts must be correct and all information provided must be updated.
  • The best place to include details of your name, address, phone number, and your email address is at the top of the first page.
  • Language used should be simple and direct. Sentences should be short and precise.
  • Use good quality paper and printing for this purpose.
Most people underestimate the power of a well-written resume. Use these tips to give your job search a shot in the arm and your career a boost.