One key to a winning resume is defining your career goal. Without a clear career goal, it is impossible to prepare a targeted resume. Assess your interests, skills, education, strengths and work experience. Be sure this assessment is honest and accurate. Write this down and begin the process of organizing your thoughts. You need to focus on the career you really want. As you set your goals and get focused, a sense of confidence will occur. You will have a clear picture of what you want to do and you will be ready for the next step. If your interests, skills, education and work experience fall into more than one career category, you will need more than one resume. Each resume will focus on your skills, education and experience that appeal to an employer for that specific career position. At this first stage of launching a job search, organization is vital. Create a folder for your goal list, thoughts, ideas, copies of the resumes and the cover letters.
Your first decision in writing the resume is whether to use a chronological format or functional format. In general, the chronological format is preferred by employers. However, if you are seeking a career position in a new field, the functional format will allow you to focus on skills, education and accomplishments that can be transferred to the open position. If you select the functional format, it is to your advantage to create a “combined format”. The combined format emphasizes the transferable skills, education and accomplishments but includes an accurate chronological work history. The importance of the resume cannot be overstated. It is worth the investment of time and money to arm yourself with the best tools to assist you in creating an excellent resume.
Keep in mind that no matter what career you pursue, the resume is your first opportunity to sell yourself. Research has determined that a resume is initially reviewed for 10-30 seconds. In other words, you have 10-30 seconds to grab the attention of the reader. Use job titles and skills headings as an effective tool to get the reader’s attention. If the job titles or skills headings are unrelated to the open position, the resume will most likely be tossed. Remember that in the current economy, the employer may receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for a single position. To expedite the initial review process, employers will discard resumes that do not appear related to the open position. The final resume should be letter perfect. It should be printed on good quality white bond paper, not on fancy parchment paper. Be sure the resume is not too long or too short; it is suggested that one or two pages is appropriate. After the resume is in final form and before you send it to anyone, read it aloud and then have someone else proof read it. There is only one opportunity for a first review of your resume. You need to convince the prospective employer within those first few seconds that you have the ability to solve company problems. You are the solution!