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How to Write the Perfect Resume

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The purpose of a resume is to communicate your accomplishments and qualifications to an employer. A resume lists in a single place everything you have done in your career so that an employer can scan through it quickly to see if you are a match for the position in question.

The perfect resume is focused, clear, and well written. Here are some tips on how to craft your resume successfully:
  • Include your full contact information
  • Include your objective and the position sought. This objective will let the employer know what position you are seeking and will keep you on task as you write or update your resume.
  • Include all of your past positions. If you don’t want prospective employers to know where you’re currently working, leave that information out and put down something like ''Top Fortune 500 company'' or ''Small boutique firm.'' If you have more than twenty years of experience, you can list positions before that time as bullets or simply include a note that reads ''Additional work history can be provided upon request.''
  • Include volunteer work. Work is work, whether you have been paid for it or not.
  • Include the results you've achieved. Use percentages and dollar amounts. For example, you ''increased production by 25 percent.” You ''made $500,000” for your company. You ''reduced turnover by 50 percent.” Numbers make your resume stand out and pop for the reader.
  • Include education and any awards you’ve received.
  • Be clear and concise. Know what you want to say before you craft a new resume or update your current one.
  • Make a note where gaps exist. If you were let go from a job, make a note of that on the resume. If you took a break, were out of work for a while, did consulting assignments or temp work, note that on the resume. Anything that seems out of place will be questioned by the reader. Don't expect to be able to explain it yourself. You don't want to be passed over because someone had an unanswered question or reservation about you.
  • Choose a chronological or functional format and stick with the one you’ve chosen.
  • Be consistent. If you spell out a month for one position, do the same for all positions.
  • If you use periods at the end of some bullets, use periods for all of them.
  • Use a font sized 11 or bigger.
  • Leave some white space, or your resume will look too crowded.
  • Proofread your resume and eliminate typos.
  • Don't include personal references or hobbies.
  • Don't include your Social Security number.
  • Don't exaggerate or lie about your experience.
  • Don't include your current salary.
  • Don't be the only one who reviews your resume before you send it out. It's important to have another pair of eyes (or several pairs) give you feedback. If you get conflicting opinions, go with what feels right for you.
  • Don't think you have to get your resume together on your own. It's okay to hire a professional to write it for you.

Your resume is a promotional piece about you, and is your opportunity to shine and impress employers. If you are a match for a position, an employer will bring you in for an interview. If you have less than what an employer is looking for, you will be seen as insufficiently qualified. If you have more than what the employer is looking for, you will be seen overqualified. No one is going to give you a chance to explain yourself. If you want a job, it's up to you to prove that you can do it. Your resume is your proof.

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