Writing a resume is easy—so say some! On the one hand, it should be somewhat easy—since it’s about you: your educational history and employment history. On the other hand (this can be the more difficult part), it’s about your future employment goal(s). The tric, is in knowing how to make yourself ‘stand out’!
In putting words to paper, it’s impossible to ‘underscore’ a point you’re trying to make (as you would during conversation). Therefore, it’s important to be able to make your points as succinctly as possible through choosing the right words. One of the best methods for ‘standing out’ (making your point) via your resume is through highlighting those achievements!
Perhaps the most prolific manner in successfully highlighting your achievements is through quantifying them. In highlighting an accomplished cost reduction strategy in overtime wages, expressing your accomplishment as ‘realized a 30% reduction in overtime wages, through implementing plan X’.
Further, your resume is not an autobiography of your work history. Essentially, your resume should be targeted toward the type of position (career) that you aspire to. With that focus, your resume should highlight past work history which is relevant to the type of job opportunity you’re in search of. Further, past employment experiences that are 15 years in your past probably should be excluded from your work history.
Other, non-employment skills and experiences that are also relevant to your employment search should be highlighted. For example, volunteer activities, community service experiences, and even hobbies (again that hold relevance to your search) should be included.
Finally, proofreading your resume is essentially just as important as the quality of information contained therein. It’s always good practice, after you have reviewed for substance, grammar, spelling, etc., to have another set of eyes perform the same function!
John McCarthy is Associate Dean for the College of Education at Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.
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