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Monday
Oct292012

Effective Resumes

What is an effective resume? In simple terms, it's a tool that gets you the job or, at the very least, an interview for the job. An effective resume succinctly describes your talents, experience, and expectations while giving an accurate window into your personality and ability. A good resume is one that is chosen from a large pool, one that, at a glance, instantly illustrates your fit for the job. It is critical that you effectively communicate your most valuable assets. And to succeed, be sure you emphasize these three important traits: creativity, aptitude, and drive.

Choosing Your Resume Format

You will need to carefully assess what is the best way to approach your career goals and clearly identify what it takes to get a job in that area. In selecting what kind of resume you will use, first you must identify answers to these questions:

·       What formats are most suitable for the career and industry you are pursuing?

·       What formats are most suitable for me?
 

Resume Styles

Let's have a look at some of the more conventional styles that are being used today and figure out what's appropriate for you and the company you are applying to. The three typical styles are:

·       Chronological

·       Functional

·       Targeted

Chronological

The chronological resume is by far the most common. This style of resume lists topics in reverse chronological order, from most recent to least recent. Employers are most accustomed to this style. Most prefer it, because it shows your experience and career path in a well-presented format.

Functional

The functional resume is best suited for those of you that have just graduated from college or are looking for an internship. It also works well for career changers, who might find it must useful to accentuate skills that would transfer to industry that is different from past specific experience. Those making a career change will find in most cases that the functional resume is more beneficial to them, as it doesn't rely on chronological job experience but focuses on specific talents. This format also works well because it allows you to include skills that you attained from experiences carried over from non-paid employment such as internships and volunteer work.

With the functional resume you can layout the document concentrating on key areas such as:

·       Objective

·       Qualifications

·       Professional skills

·       Employment history

·       Technical skills or computer skills

Remember, employers are sometimes more accustomed to the chronological layout than the functional layout and may find the document difficult to decipher. In most cases, they are busy and have to read through hundreds of resumes on any given day.

Targeted

The targeted resume will specifically speak to the requirements of the job opening and chart how your specific experience for the role. The targeted resume is the least utilized of all resume, as it has to be created for each position you are applying for.

Resume Formats

The Internet has drastically changed the way we search and apply for jobs. You, as the job applicant, have more options than a single sheet of white paper for the format of your resume. Web-based resumes and text-based scannable resumes have added more flexibility to resume building techniques, thus giving employers more information than ever to base their decision making on. Here is a list of the most popular resume formats:

·       Standard

·       Scannable

·       Web-based

Each format has its inherent benefits and it is a good idea to know exactly who it is you are applying to and what type of resume is going to suit their needs. In many instances, a combination of all formats will be effective. Let's take a closer look at each format.

Standard Resume

This is the formatted, well-laid-out, user-friendly paper resume. It serves the same purpose today that it has served for decades. In it, you:

·       Clearly identify yourself

·       State your objective

·       List your key accomplishments

·       List your relevant education

·       List your experience

Employers want to see the parallels between your experience and its correlation with the requirements of the job. To emphasize your strong points, use bold headings and bullet points. Allow ample space between headings, and at the edge of the page. Don't clutter the document. The employer wants to get vital information in less than a minute, and a cluttered document can be difficult to read. Use strong action verbs and convincing language to convey your ability.

The standard resume is still the most popular resume used today.

Scannable Resume

The scannable resume is a plain text document. It includes none of the formatting that a standard resume did — no bolds, italics, columns, etc. Companies use document scanning software to quickly scan your resume to determine if you are qualified for its job openings. The scanning software looks for keywords and phrases that describe the skills and education required for the position. Scannable resumes are most used by companies that receive a large number of unsolicited resumes on a daily basis.  An employer may scan you resume in order to file it under a specific job specification for later use.

The scannable resume is void of any formatting and leaves you with the challenge of communicating your unique abilities in a sequence of words and spaces. Here are some guidelines that will help you assemble the document:

·       Stick to the standard fonts only: Times, Helvetica, Arial, and Courier.

·       Stay away from colors, graphics, or shading

·       Forget about bullet points or underlining

·       Align the document to the left

·       Keep your type at a point size between 10 and 14 points

·       Print it out on a blank piece of paper stock 8.5 x 11

The content will be the strongest and only real asset you have when it comes to creating a scannable resume. Remember it will be automatically scanned for key words. Ask yourself some simple questions before continuing. What are words are contained in the job specification and what in your estimation are the most likely keywords associated with the job?

Web-Based Resume

The Web-based resume can be summarized as your personal Web site. It has all the functionality of a Web site, allowing you endless possibilities of presenting your objectives, goals and past work experience in a potentially very creative manner. 

 

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