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The Resume Writing Process

Whether you are just graduating and looking for your first job, or you have decided to change jobs, you will need a resume. You will need a resume in order to let potential employers know what your work experience is, what your skills are, what training and education you have.

There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to writing a resume and some controversies as well. However in my over a quarter of a century of management and recruitment, I have written hundreds of resumes. Let’s walk through the process that I always found to be extremely effective in getting an interview.

Preparation

The goal of the resume is not to get you the job. The goal of the resume is to get you an interview. From there getting the job will be up to you. So you want your resume to capture the attention of the hiring manager or interviewer. You want your resume to stand out from the others in that stack of 100 resumes on her desk. How do you do this?

Your first step is to get yourself prepared to write your resume. What materials will you need? What information will you need? Will you need educational transcripts? Documentation regarding other training or certifications if you have any are helpful. Now make sure you know the spelling of the names of the companies you have worked for, their address, and your official title. If you have a job descriptions for your current or previous jobs keep that with you as well.

Lay Out the Format and Data for your Resume

First decide what the format will be for your resume. Will you use a chronological resume or will you use a functional resume? This decision often depends upon how closely your current job is to the one you are applying for or if there are gaps in your job history.

Chronological Resume

With this type of resume you list in order from the most current to the first one, every job you have had. For each job you list the official title, the dates you held the job, and the responsibilities and duties of each job. You list your education and special skills as well. Sometimes you might list an objective, though I advise against it. Why lock yourself in to one specific vision?

The chronological resume used to be the only resume and it is the traditional resume. However these days it is used specifically when the job you are applying for is in the same field as the jobs you have worked in already. This format is used when your education and experience are exact preparation for the job that is available. In today’s technological society you need an email address but not a street address. You also need a phone number. You will want to set up an online profile that the employer can look at also. You need to put a link to this page on your resume.

You might also include information about achievements such as the dean’s list, projects you succeeded at, or volunteer activities. Just be sure these items are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Functional Resume

You would use this type of resume when you want to highlight your skills more than your job responsibilities. You might have gaps in your resume due to childcare or you might be attempting to change the career you are in to the one you are applying for. You want the hiring manager to notice your transferable skills.

With this type of resume you will list your name, phone, email address and online profile site. Then list your education. What comes next makes the functional resume different from the chronological one. Next you will list your skills as opposed to listening job by job with duties and responsibilities. Instead you will have a section entitled Skills and list things such as fluent in C+ language if you are a software engineer.

You should follow the skills section with an achievement section. The achievements should be quantified – such as “rewrote the software for product X and in so doing saved Company A $50,000. In other words list the achievement and what it did for the company.

Follow this with a very brief chronology of employment. Just list the company, where it is located, your specific title and the years you held that job. Do not add any responsibilities and duties.

Conclusion

So if need help in getting started with a new resume, follow the tips in this article. Decide for yourself which type of resume you need and make sure you put clear and concise data in it. Be straight forward and honest.