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Write A Great Resume And Get A Great Job

Updated on March 30, 2013

Be Professional

There is a great, high paying job out there for you right now. All you need is your foot in the door.
There is a great, high paying job out there for you right now. All you need is your foot in the door.

Be Prepared

A well written resume is the key to landing a great, high paying job. This is the determining factor for getting that first call. Without the first call, you have no chance of dazzling an employer with your charm in an interview.

The job market you are interested in should determine what your resume is geared towards. A good way to approach this is to sit down with a notebook and take some time to write down EVERY job you have ever had. For me personally, this is a broad spectrum of employment ranging from construction, sales and marketing, to hospitality and customer service. I even worked as a florist at one point. Compile the list and have it available to use as reference when drafting your resume.

Next, with your notebook, make a list of all the people close to you to use as references. You will want to list as many as you can and what they do. Ten or so would be ideal. Although you will not be putting all ten on your resume, the idea is to be able to choose from the list the people that are closest in relation to the job type you are applying for.

The purpose of having a broader range of employment history and references is because you never know what is going to be available at this point. You may have your sights set on just one field of employment and encounter a great job that you just were not expecting and want to apply for it

Find A Job

Now, with your list of all previous jobs, and all references made, your ready to scout for job openings you are interested in.

There are lots of online sites that can help you find job openings and point you in the direction of the employment you desire. Monster, CareerBuilder and Job.com are some of the bigger sites that can aid you in this process. However, do addition research into the field you are interested in because a large number of employers do not use such sites and may require you to apply directly to their official sites.

If you already know what type of employment you seek, then we are ready to begin drafting your resume.

Opinions on the length of your resume vary and all I can do is give you mine. Some people say that your resume should only be one page long. I prefer mine to be two pages. The reason for this is because, when listing my work history, I like to give a detailed description of my job duties and the daily tasks I had to preform there. For me, this is a vital part of drafting my resume because, if I am applying to a job to which I have limited experience, I can point out any tasks I preformed at a job that ARE related. However, When writing your resume, you always want to focus on skills, instead of tasks. Skills are transferable – you can use them no matter what the job is. Tasks are not.

If the employer sees that you waited tables for 2 years at a local restaurant, you’ll find that they’re not so impressed.

If the same employer sees that through waiting those tables, you developed organizational skills while working as a team in a fast paced environment to produce a satisfying experience to customers, they’ll be a little more impressed.

Get Started

Begin your resume with your full name and proceed to list your address, phone number, and email. Check and recheck that you have listed this information correctly. If the employer can not contact you, no job can be offered. If you don’t update your resume regularly, you’ll forget the things that you’ve accomplished when it comes to job searching.

I know, unlikely if you’re considering huge accomplishments. But sometimes, it’s not the awards & promotions that recruiters want to see. It’s the way you organized a team, or lead a committee, or sold more than average.

Open with the “Objective.” State your intentions and what you would like to get out of working for their company. Employers like to hear that a potential employee is versatile and has the ability to adapt to a new work environment.

Don’t use the words “I, me, you” in resumes

The “Objective” is really the only place those words belong. This is not the biggest deal, but if used too much, they can make you look unprofessional.

The traditional resume has Objective, Qualifications, Work Experience, Education, Interests, and sometimes volunteer experience (usually in that order).

If you have more relevant volunteer experience to the position your applying for, bump it up under objectives. If you have no relevant experience because you are a new grad, bump your school learning's up under objectives.

Don’t just list your classes. The recruiter won’t care nor will they likely know which classes those are.

Read the Job Description. Over & Over

HR puts a ton of time into job descriptions. A properly written job description can solve problems. It can ensure you don’t hire the wrong people. It can really bring out the skills necessary. It can show who wants the job and who doesn’t.

Those people that recruiters think don’t want the jobs are the people that clearly have not read the job descriptions. We know when you have and haven’t, and here’s how to make sure it looks like you have.

Print off, or pull the job description into word. Comb through it. Read it over once, tick off each skill on the job description that you believe that you have. Read it a second time. Highlight the skills that are repeated, seem especially important, or are emphasized. If the job description says
“Must be a meticulous organizer”, then it’s probably very important to them. Highlight it.

A well written job description will have 3-5 skills that are emphasized. They also might have 7-10 skills (usually in bullet points) under the “Skills” or even “Tasks” section. Use them. Pull out the skills from these sections, evaluate whether you have them, and use them all over your resume like they’re going out of style. Seriously.

Also, if it’s a poorly written job description, it might be task based (ex: Use a cash register, sweep the floors). If so, think. If I were an employer who wanted somebody who could sweep the floor, I’d really be wanting somebody who was organized and clean. Brainstorm the skills that would go along with the task.

If there was one thing I could change in everyone's resume writing style, it would be this. Sometimes, applicants apply for so many jobs they just don’t have time for this. But it’s what it holding you back from getting those jobs.

Employers want well-rounded employees. When writing your resume, don’t forget to include interests. If you don’t have any interests, or any room on your resume, it’s fine to leave them out, but interests and hobbies can really help develop skill too. In the case that you are well traveled, say so in your interests. This might show that you can work well with cultural diversity – important in today’s business environment.

Continue with your “Qualifications.” Simply list anything that you think would make you a good candidate for the position applying for. Otherwise known as skills. The skills section should be molded according to the job position sought. You would usually begin with the most important skills that you possess and those that match with the job profile. These also act like tags which are identified and picked up by the automated software increasingly used today by employers to filter the multitude of resumes they receive. Therefore make sure that you include the key skills relevant to your field and also stress upon your proficiency in computers and the number of languages you are in fluent in. If you possess any rare or special skills, this is the place to include them. However it is best to restrict the number of skills listed to not more than 8, the optimal number being 6.

Next, your “Work History.” Start with the most recent and go down. Refer to your note book with the list you have made earlier and select three or four jobs that are the most closely related to the position applying for. Give a DETAILED description of your duties at these places. Although, remember to associate tasks with the skills they developed. You must also remember to mention the dates between which you were employed in every job. However your work history should not look like a boring list of job titles and mundane responsibilities undertaken. It is imperative to translate your achievements into quantifiable figures and percentages as this offers more concrete evidence of your successes.

“Education.” Again, start with the most recent and go down. If you have no collage to list, feel free to list any sort of classes that you have taken outside of high school or seminars you may have attended. Here you would mention your latest degree/qualifications along with the date and the grades achieved and again work your way backwards. You can include even the diplomas, training or certifications that you have obtained as all these give a positive impact to your credentials.

Now for the “References.” Refer to your notebook again and list a few references that can vouch for your character. Be sure to contact these people to inform them that you are using them as a reference and ask if it would be ok to do so. Also, verify that their contact information is current and correct. These should be listed on a separate page with their full name, job title, place of employment, relationship to you, full address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address. Also, don't bother putting the statement "References available on request." Some people tell me that references are being used less and less these days, although I have received calls about people who have listed me as a reference. In general, my impression is that employers are relying more on the written job materials and the interview to make a hiring decision and are using references as a final check. However, references that are known to the prospective employer can be extremely powerful. These people often do get called, and if they are prepared to sing your praises, you have a terrific advantage. Do remember to prepare your references ahead of time for the possibility of inquiries.

The remaining space should now be used for any additional information about yourself that you think an employer would like to know about.

List accomplishments, awards, special skills, hobbies, interests, licenses, certificates, achievements or goals. This will give the employer a better idea of who you are and bring things to a more personal level. Any recognition that you may have received for your work is proof of your potential and can act as a huge plus point in your favor. Although professional awards should preferably be included, you could mention a personal award if it could help reinforce some invaluable quality in you.

Example

Here is an example of one of my older resumes that can give you an idea of what you may want yours to look something like. (I have omitted my personal information.)
Here is an example of one of my older resumes that can give you an idea of what you may want yours to look something like. (I have omitted my personal information.)
Be detailed. The more information you list about yourself, the better your chances of getting called.
Be detailed. The more information you list about yourself, the better your chances of getting called.

Cover letter

Also keep in mind that a cover letter is often a nice touch. When writing a cover letter, Cover these three topics succinctly (3-4 paragraphs).

For what position are you applying. How did you learn of the position and company?

Why are you perfect for the position?

What have you enclosed (résumé, transcripts, references?), and how may the employer contact you to set up an interview?

A cover letter should list your contact information and address a specific employer. List your intentions and write a brief description of how you would make an asset to their company if hired. Be succinct and to the point. Do not be long-winded. Fit the letter into one page. Be upbeat, with enthusiasm, albeit in a professional tone—not flowery, hip, etc. fonts and colors. No fancy fonts, colors, etc. Use a good basic font—a serif or sans-serif—and do it all in black type. When formatting, keep it sharp, simple, clean, and easy to read. White space is good. Paragraph 1: State why you are writing and which position you are applying for. Mention how you heard about the position. Specifically reference the company and why you are interested in this position and organization. Demonstrate to you future employer that you know about them and that you are sincerely interested in working with them. Paragraph 2: Describe why you are a good fit for the position. Open with a sentence that provides an overview of why you make a good fit, then back it up with succinct but specific descriptions of the skills and experiences that support that claim. Be selective and strategic, highlighting aspects of your background and experience that match the company’s needs and expectations. This will be your longest paragraph, but it should not be TOO long. It should not go into detail but rather give the prospective employer an overview of what you have to offer. Paragraph 3: In 2-4 sentences, state what you have enclosed with the letter (résumé, reference list, etc.), and indicate how to reach you to schedule an interview.

PROOF READ. There must be NO typos, misspellings, etc. in this letter.

I hope this lens has helped you to prepare a stunning resume that will grab your future employers attention and set you in motion for getting that call.

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