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Writing an Effective Resume

    Identify the skills and strengths the employer wants for this position then tailor your resume to address these items. The most important skills should be at the top of the page.


    Most positions generate hundreds of resume responses. How can employers read them all? They canít wait! What they will do is scan the resumes. You sometimes have less than fifteen seconds to make that all-important first impression. That is why your resume has to stand out! Even in todayís high-tech market where many resumes are actually evaluated by a computer, when ultimately chosen, the hiring manager will read your resume and it must be written to impress.

    To ensure that your resume stands out in the crowd, concentrate on the 3 most essential factors in writing your resume.

    1. Select Your Most Powerful and Impressive Information

    Know yourself!
    Take a personal inventory of your transferable skills, and what you have accomplished. Remember to think of yourself as a product and the employer as the consumer.
    Selectivity is the key to writing a strong resume.
    You have only one chance to make a first impression, so you have got to give it your best shot. Donít bore the reader with endless facts about your past employment. Your resume is not an obituary or biography. Itís an ad. Like an ad, write to impress. Present only the most significant information about your professional experience.
    What is your most significant and impressive information?
    What information answers the employerís primary question, "Why should I hire you?" Your resume must communicate, "I will be an asset to your organization." It should reveal you as a problem solver with important benefits to offer.
    Be concise
    Focus only on your achievements and skills that are required for the job you are seeking. Eliminate any extra information that detracts from emphasizing what the job requires. In the case of a resume, less is more.
    How does one know which skills and benefits to highlight and select?
    Do research. Find out what sort of problems come with the job. If you are lucky enough to have a description of the position, then you can match your education, qualifications and work experience with the information on the job description. If you do not have a formal job description, information interviews are an ideal way to learn more about a particular position. Ask family, friends, instructors and professionals in your field of interest. Anybody and everybody may be considered a resource as you seek to become informed about the duties and qualifications of a specific position. Technical tools to use on the Internet are Oregon Labor Market Information System (OLMIS) and if available to you Oregon Career Information System.

    2. Write With Impact

    • Use an abbreviated writing style omitting "I, they, a, my" whenever possible.
    • Develop "power statements." Start each sentence with an action verb. Use numbers to quantify as much as possible. This helps to hold the readerís attention. Responsible for front office and telephone reception for manager and staff of 14.
    • Proofreading your own work is not a good idea. Have your resume proofread for content, grammar, and punctuation.
    • Objective statements may be summary statements designed to grab the employersí attention. Identify your objective then add concise resulted oriented supporting statements.
    • Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments. Action verbs conjure up a positive image in the employerís mind and give you an advantage. Action verbs describe you as a person who gets things accomplished. Action verbs are also more concise and make your resume more readable.
    • For electronic resumes, the name of the game is "keywords." These are usually nouns, buzzwords, or catch phrases used to describe your job and level of proficiency.

    Objective statements/summary statements allow the reader to immediately know what position you are applying for. It is usually best to include an objective statement. However, you can create an effective resume without one. You need to make certain that it is very clear to employers what you plan to do for them and/or the benefits you offer them.

    If you omit the objective statement from your resume, then it is wise to also specify the type of job you want in your cover letters. It is also important to know that many employers who process resumes by scanning them into computer databases do not scan cover letters. It is therefore wise to include an objective statement in your resume if you know that it will be scanned.

    Use An Eye-Catching Layout

    • Keep your resume to one page. If you have a problem keeping to one page use narrow margins to save space
    • Control and direct the readerís eye path. The readerís eyes should go immediately to the skills/benefits that you have chosen to emphasize.
    • Use "Bullets, Bold, or Indentation" for emphasis.
    • Appearance equals first impression Ė a clean clear type is a must. No fancy fonts.
    • Proofreading your own work is not a good idea. Have your resume proofread for content, grammar, and punctuation.
    • Print your resume packet on quality paper. White, cream, neutral, pastel, or the mold fleck recycled paper will give you a professional appearance. Do not fold the packet. Staple the four pages together and mail or hand carry in a manila or matching envelope.
    • The presentation of your resume packet is very important. The order is: Cover letter, Resume, References, and Application. All of these should have the same font, style, and same color paper. Then this is slipped into a 8x11 envelop. Folding your materials into a business envelop is out.

    The best resumes are one page long. If you have many years of experience, you may require two pages. But under no circumstances should a resume be longer than two pages. The more concise the better. Your most pertinent information should stand out with boldface, or italics.

    • You may also use bullets to draw the readerís attention to significant information.

    Electronic resumes have their own unique layout to accommodate for ASCII text, which is more easily read and scanned by a computer. Today it is imperative to have both versions of your resume accessible.

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