Creating the Perfect Resume

Competitive is a word that can be safely used to describe the state of the job market. When looking and applying for work it is important to have every advantage in order to stand heads above all other applicants. How a person presents his or herself is crucial. This includes not only one's physical appearance, but also one's resume. A resume represents a person even when he or she is not present. Whether an employer receives it via fax, email, or directly into his or her hand, the composition, appearance, and information on the resume will give an impression that sticks. This impression can be either favorable or it may be one that will land the resume in the circular file. The best way to achieve a favorable impression is to understand how to compose a proper resume that will improve one's appeal to employers.

To create a perfect resume a person should fully understand the basics of resume creation. The first thing to consider is the type of resume that is best suited for the job and one's work experiences. Three common resume types include the chronological resume, the functional resume, and the hybrid resume. A chronological resume is one that is used most frequently. This type of resume lists jobs in reverse chronological order. This means the current or most recent job is listed first. The resume type that focuses more on skill than employment history is the functional resume. With this resume the job seeker places emphasis on his or her accomplishments and skills. People who understand the differences between these resume types are more likely to select the format that will show them in the most favorable light. A functional resume, for example, is better suited for a person who has gaps in his or her work history. A chronological resume, however, is ideal for people who have worked steadily and are moving into a new position without gaps in his or her career. A resume type that allows for more flexibility is the hybrid resume. This style combines both the chronological and functional formats.

There are basic elements that each resume style should include, regardless of format. These elements are actually sections that the person writing the resume will need to add and complete. These sections, or categories, include the header, the summary of qualifications, education, work experience, skill, and activities/accomplishments. The header of the resume is the section that includes one's name and contact information. This is critical as it is the information that the employer will use to contact the person if interested. This section should not only include one's phone number and address, but it should also include an email address.

The resume should also include a "Summary of Qualifications." This tells the employer who the applicant is and what he or she can bring to the job. In the past an objective was used in place of the summary, however, because of the competitiveness of the job market, a summary better allows an applicant to market his or herself to employers. It allows the applicant to make a compelling introduction that encourages interest on the part of the employer. The applicant will be able to do this by understanding what the job entails and what attributes the employer is looking for. When writing a summary it should effectively tell the employer who the applicant is and it should convey why he or she is the right fit for the job. It typically consists of 40 words, but no more than 50. If not written properly an employer may look no further than this section of the resume.

The "Education" section of the resume should list what colleges or universities the applicant has attended, the dates of graduation and the GPA. The GPA may be left out however, if it is below a 3.0. Work experience should indicate the name of the business or company that the applicant has worked for, the city and state where it is located, the position, the length of employment by month and year, and a brief description of the job duties. When writing duties the applicant will want to shine attention on accomplishments and all positive aspects of the job. Under the "Skills" section, list every applicable skill. This should be done in a way that is specific and not overly generic or general. If a person is familiar with a particular software program it should be listed for example. Under the section for "Activities and Accomplishments" the applicant will want to list any activity that helps the employer gain a fuller picture of who the applicant is. Any activity that might be viewed as controversial however should not be included in the resume. Job searchers should also not be afraid to toot their own horns. Instead they should use their resume to list accomplishments and awards that have been won.

When writing the resume a person should consider it a marketing tool that will help them to better market themselves to employers. A person should include things that make them special or unique. It should be positive and written for maximum impact so that the employer is able to see why the person is best suited for the job. In the competitive world of job hunting, it is critical that job seekers know how to market themselves to employers starting with a professional resume.

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