The dos and don’t of an effective résumé

Feature Article- Thu., Jun. 9, 2011
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In today’s highly competitive job market, millions of people are preparing résumés in an effort to find employment. Before jumping headlong into a job search, it is important to consider the type of information that is appropriate to include on your résumé.

Jeannine L. Moentmann, paralegal and adjunct instructor at Brown Mackie College, teaches students how to write effective résumés that make potential employers want to learn more about them.

Moentmann specialized in employment law for six of her 15 years as a paralegal. “Most people think the purpose of a résumé is to get a job, but the real purpose of a résumé is to get the interview,” she said. “A résumé is the employer’s first look at you. It must stand out among the potentially hundreds they will receive for an open position.”

“Each résumé should be tailored to the individual job description. You can highlight specific areas of your background that target the position,” Moentmann continued. The Bureau of Labor Statistics supports this recommendation in the “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition,” advising applicants to emphasize the experience, accomplishments, education and skills that most closely fit the job they want.

Résumé content

As you compile your information, keep in mind the sections available to showcase your qualifications.

• Header: Include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. “Your e-mail address should not amuse or confuse a potential employer,” said Moentmann. “I recommend creating a professional sounding e-mail identity for your search.”

• Career objective (optional): A brief statement of the contributions you can make to a specific organization. A well-written career objective can add value to a résumé; however, it can also disqualify candidates if the objective does not match the job description.

• Summary of qualifications (optional): An overview of your most valuable career talents, skills and accomplishments. Leading with a summary makes the résumé easier to read and ensures your most impressive qualifications are not overlooked.

• Employment history: Included in most résumé formats, this add each relevant employer’s name and location, and dates of employment, job title, significant duties, accomplishments and promotions.

• Skills and accomplishments (optional): Highlight relevant skills, including software or equipment proficiencies, and aptitudes such self-motivation, working well under stress, teamwork, etc.

• Education: Include college information; omit high school information, especially among older candidates.

• Honors and activities (optional): Highlight professional and educational accolades, membership in professional organizations and volunteer activities.

• Personal data (optional): Consists of hobbies and interests. Exercise caution when deciding the information you want to share. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from asking questions about race, age, marital status, ethnicity and religion. It is not appropriate to include this type of information.

• References: A separate document that lists three to five professional individuals that can positively discuss your qualifications, skills and abilities.

A résumé is often a one-page document, however it can extend to two pages as years of experience grow. A well-written résumé reflects professionalism and competence in your chosen career. A good résumé is also never finished. “My own résumé is a constant work in progress,” said Moentmann.

 

Courtesy of ARA Content

 


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