The purpose of the resume is to get you the interview NOT the job. It should be clear and concise, not a lengthy, detailed document of your life. Your resume functions as an advertisement of yourself, a sales brochure for you! Think of it as a 30-second commercial spot where you are the product. Your resume must grab attention and spark interest, making the reader want to meet you. It must clearly differentiate you from your competition and it must make you stand out.
Building a Resume
1. Conduct Market Research
Without knowing what your targeted employers want and need in a new employee, you are just guessing. What skills do the employers want? Skills are the unique work-related attributes required for success.
2. Conduct Personal Research
Based upon the skills being sought in your chosen career field, which ones do you have? Highlight the skills you possess and can demonstrate to the employer. You may need assistance to identify “transferable skills”, which demonstrate your ability to do a job based upon your experience.
3. Answer the “Why Should I Hire You?” Question
Fundamentally, this is the one question that you need to answer to the employer’s satisfaction better than the other candidates. It will be examined in the interview as well, but it begins here. Your answer is based upon the skill set the employer wants (step 1 above) and the skills set that you possess (step 2 above). You will be asked to expand on this later, but for now it will become the “Profile” in your resume. It will drive the writing of the rest of the resume. This is NOT a job objective! Job objectives are typically generic phrases that tell the employer what you WANT. This profile tells the employer what you can DO for them, demonstrating why they should hire you. It is also used in your Elevator Pitch.
4 Phases of Resume Creation
Brainstorm: Brainstorming is the first step to effective resume writing. Start the creative process by generating a large pile of rough notes. This mass of information is the raw material from which your resume will emerge. Collect as many notes as possible, the more the better. Brainstorming and note-writing will help you recall forgotten stories that let employers get to know you. Neatness does not count at this stage in the process.
Organize: Decide which of these materials are relevant to the career you are seeking and only include those.
Refine: Ensure the resume is clean, consistent, concise, and easy-to-read. Make sure the most important points are addressed first, enticing the reader to learn more about you. Make sure there are no errors.
Distribute: Identify your target list of companies or graduate/professional schools and get your resume and relevant materials in front of the decision maker.
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