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Your Resume

Think of your resume as a self-portrait. Much like a self-portrait you want to be sure you presented in the best possible light and have the perfect image captured for a particular job. The purpose of a resume is to have your career history make you the perfect candidate for a prospective position. Most people only look briefly at a self-portrait or a resume, so you have to have an attractive package. This means you have to highlight the areas of your background that will speak best to the audience. Style and format are important. How do you want to be presented or how will you be perceived? Make sure you pick a style and layout for your resume that highlights your successes and downplays your routine activities.

Preparing to Write a Resume

When preparing to write a resume, there are many things to consider. Most importantly, do you have time to do the proper research and create a resume on your own? When beginning your resume, you should think about the style, format, buzzwords and length. Then determine if you are able to step back and look at your career as a third party or are you too involved? These are the first things to consider. If you feel this will not be your best strength, you should consider assistance from a Resume Writing Service. Resume Writing Services take your career history, ask you questions and then draft a resume with your career goal in mind using key words for your targeted position/industry. To get a resume written professionally is an important decision. Can you be objective? Are you in touch with resumes from within your industry in terms of key words? Also, you may want to consider the following before determining if you need a professionally written resume:

  1. English is not your first language or grammar is not your best quality. If this is the case errors will probably occur within your resume and this is a terrible first impression for a reader.
  2. You haven't written a resume in years and have no idea what is expected these days. Do they still put an objective on a resume?
  3. You have had a career that has included a lot of job hopping or gaps in employment and an expert is necessary to de-emphasize these areas with your career highlights in mind.
  4. You took time off of work and want to get back into the job market.

If any of these four points apply to you, contact a professional. Another option if you want to do it on your own is resume writing software.

Resume Styles

Know what is out there in regards to options in writing your resume. There are four common resume styles: College Students, Professionals, Technical Professionals and Executives. The college resume is for someone just out of college (not MBAs) with internships, clubs, courses, work experience and non-professional work experience. Technical resumes are more targeted towards the IT field or a specialty field or skilled trade. The executive resume style is for a director, vice president or C-level professional. This resume is written stronger than the rest and can be longer if necessary. If you don't fit into one of these categories you are probably like most people: a professional resume. The professional resume is most common. It is for everyone other than college, technical or executive. It is usually one or two pages in length.

Resume Formats

Now that you know the style of resume. Consider the format choices for resumes at this point.

If you determine the layout and style of your resume, you are half way there. Now all that is left is to determine key words HR professionals will be scanning for throughout your resume. Determine your successes throughout your career, utilize industry specific keywords and write your resume.

Cover Letters

Now that you have a plan for your resume, don't forget about the other documents. How about your resume cover letter? This is the cover letter that accompanies your resume. It will vary each time based on the way you want the resume to come across. That is why it is called a resume cover letter. You can use the basic format for each resume you send, but make it directly related to the advertisement or recommendation your received in regard to the job.

You can never send a resume without a cover letter. It is a must. The reader has to know the reason they are getting this resume. Is it a reference they agreed to give? A friend's resume sent over to review? A cover letter is your introduction. It is your initial handshake on paper. The goal of the cover letter is to peak the interest of the reader so that they want to read your resume. A cover letter should be brief, never more than 3/4th of a page. It should get right to the point for the specific job you are applying for with a lead-in like this:

Bob Jones recommended I contact you in regard to the Business Development position with your XYZ company and I am forwarding my resume for your review.

Then go into your credentials with qualities you possess that speak to the advertisement or job description. That should give you a great start to writing your cover letter and assist you in avoiding common errors.

You now have a good self-portrait through your resume and cover letter. How do you show off your amazing image to be seen by employers if you don't have any leads? This is when you start doing a little research to determine the best angle for your industry. Start posting your resume on all the job boards such as Careerbuilder.com and any job boards you uncover that are specific to your field. Maybe join the local Chamber of Commerce or a specific club in your industry to make contacts. Make a call to old friends that may be able to help you out. You have a lot to consider. Write your resume or hire a professional resume writing service? What job boards are out there that are relevant to your career goal? Have you found the job you are targeting? Is your cover letter correct? Don't over think it; just take it one step at a time and get your dream job.

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