How to Make a Positive First Impression With Your Resume

As you begin your search for a new job, preparing the necessary materials can present what seems like a long and confusing process.  Preparing your resume can seem bland, repetitive, and unimportant.  Well, preparing your resume may be bland it certainly is not unimportant.  Your resume represents the first impression you will make on potential employers.  It needs to succinctly summarize and highlight your qualifications for the position you are applying to.  An easy way to avoid feeling overwhelmed about preparing your resume is to think of it as a personal marketing document.  Resumes are not your entire life and work history.  They are not required to contain all of your failures and shortcomings.  Resumes should be used to highlight your qualifications for the position.  A quick Google search will turn up thousands of sites with sample resume templates (here and here).  These samples are helpful if you are concerned with formatting a resume, however, they do not help you decide what the content of your resume should be.  How can you communicate the highlights of your education and work history in way that will stand out to potential employers? If you can remember several important tips your resume will practically write itself.

Where to Start
Getting started can be the most difficult part of constructing your resume.  The best way to begin is to locate a copy of your latest resume.  If you are applying for your first job and have never written a resume performing a simple Google search for resume templates will give you a jumping off point.  Once you locate a copy of your resume give it a once over.  Be sure that your work history is current.  When you begin the updating process, compile lists of all the previous jobs you have held since you last wrote your resume.  Be sure to remember that you may have held several different jobs within the same companyInclude promotions, lateral transfers and any random job title changes.  Also include temporary jobs and volunteer work. These little things separate you from the droves of other applicants who are likely applying for the same position.  It is also helpful to make a list of the tasks you performed for your previous employers.  No task is too insignificant. Making a list of all the small tasks you completed may jog your memory and remind you of more significant work you performed.  Scour your performance reviews and make notes of any accolades or achievementsAs you move on to writing your resume these are likely to become major points.  Gather up all of your degrees, certifications, and licenses. Everyone knows that you need to include any degrees you have earned but it is also important to jot down any continued educational classes you have taken.  Once you have organized all this information you can move on to writing your resume.

Writing Your Resume
Now that you have compiled all of your prior work history,degrees, and performance reviews it is time to actually begin writing your resume.  The best place to start is with your contact information.  Include all of it, your home phone, cell phone, email and home addresses.  Be sure that your email address is professional.  If you are still using an email address like “raddude@hotmail.com” it may be necessary to create a new account.  Simply go to gmail.com and create an account using some form of your name or initials.  The next section should be your “Objective” section.  This section should express how you will fit into the organization. Avoid being too broad or too specific. Express what type of position you are seeking and briefly identify why you would be a perfect fit for that position.  A sample would read something like “A clerical position where proven analytical skills and attention to detail will be utilized.”  Next, continue with your educational background.  List any degrees you have earned along with any other education or training you have received that is pertinent to the position you are applying for.  Now it is time to list your work experience.  You should list your previous jobs in reverse chronological order.  Start with the most recent position you have held and work backwards from there.  After you list each job give a brief, bulleted, description the duties you performed.  You may also want to include several optional sections if they apply to you. Volunteer work, awards and honors, certifications and licenses, and special abilities (language or computer skills) are just a few examples of these optional sections.  Once you have finished writing your resume PROOFREAD IT!  The worst thing you could possibly do is have spelling or grammar mistakes in your resume.  Mistakes such as those portray you as sloppy and disorganized, which is definitely not the impression you want to make on a potential employer.

It is important to remember that a resume is a tool used to quickly inform your potential employer why you are qualified for the job.  Use it to your advantage.  You are not required to include embarrassing information or past failures.  When a resume is used correctly it can be an extremely useful marketing tool.  It will portray you as intelligent, professional, and most importantly, qualified.

 

My Take
Writing a resume can be a daunting task.  To make it as easy as possible get organized. Gather up all potentially helpful information, and use your resume as a tool to market yourself to potential employers.  Sell yourself by using your resume to make a positive first impression on you potential employer.

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