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How to Write Effecting Job Descriptions and Get the Job You Dream Of

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Job descriptions must be concise but complete. A common problem of resumes is that the job descriptions are too short and do not adequately describe duties, experience, level of responsibility, or accomplishments. As you begin, don't be concerned about limiting the resume to one page. While it is often assumed that a resume should be no longer than one page, my studies have verified that so long as it is well-written and concise, a two-page resume is perfectly acceptable, and for many people, essential.

Once you have thought through each job and listed your duties, responsibilities, accomplishments, projects, and results, you're ready to start writing a rough draft of your resume. Start by stating your objective. Your objective may be as simple as a job title, or it might be a longer, more descriptive phrase, such as "An entry-level position in marketing leading to management." You'll use your objective as a guide for writing the rest of the resume.

Although the wording of the objective may change later, you know that everything which appears in the final draft must demonstrate your capability of performing the work defined by your objective.

Begin by reviewing your job sketch for your current or most recent position. What are the most important things an employer should know about the job? Try to eliminate some of the less important du ties, but don't worry if your first draft seems a little too long. When you rewrite, you will be able to identify points that should be deleted or summarized more briefly.

From your resume the employer should be able to sense your positive attributes, such as diligence, efficiency, cooperation, effectiveness, and intelligence. Your duties must be adequately covered so that the employer will recognize the full range of your experience. The types of positions you will be seeking will determine which duties should be given the most attention. If employers will have no interest in a certain duty, it should be mentioned only briefly or not at all. Describing your duties effectively will help employers immediately realize that you are ready for more responsibility. Results and accomplishments will be the frosting on the cake that makes the employers wanting to meet you. The examples below demonstrate these points. Read the job descriptions as the person had originally written them, then read the re vision. Notice how the revisions were made and how they affected the impact of the information being presented.

Compare the following two versions of one woman's employment section. Notice how in the first version her descriptions are concise, but lacking in detail compared to the second version. Her second version provides a fuller, more vivid description of her experiences. Also, as you study the revised job description, ask yourself what you know about the person that you didn't before. The revised job description is longer, but it had to be to adequately describe what she had done and to give an employer enough details to fully appreciate her capabilities.

Version No. 1:


Employer: Wiggins Sportswear 1991 -Present

Position: Marketing Coordinator

Responsibilities: Coordinate the entire clothing program; Creating and utilizing Lotus spread sheets for marketing, production, and finance projections; Market research; Coordinating advertising with publication Work with outside contractors on special projects; Fabric and notion research/purchasing; Calculated preliminary and final costing of garment; Approved bills relating to the clothing program

Employer: Broadway Department Store 1990 to 1991

Position: Salesperson

Responsibilities: Sales; Interior layout and display; Opening and closing the department; Handling customer complaints and problems; Issuing merchandise transfers

Version No. 2


Wiggins Sportswear, San Diego, California: 4/91 to present

MARKETING COORDINATOR - Coordinate the production and marketing functions for a new line of active sportswear. Came into the project when it was two months behind schedule and in serious trouble. Worked with the designer to select colors, designs, and fabrics. Purchased fabric and accessories. Negotiated with two garment manufacturers to produce small lots, thus reducing the required unit sales to reach a break-even point. Worked out schedule arrangements with manufacturers and authorized any changes in specifications. Line was introduced on schedule with final costs one-third lower than originally projected.

Coordinated the production of the annual sales catalog. Designed order forms, verified prices, and consulted with graphics artists and printers. Had authority to make all necessary changes.

Set up the company's first computerized systems, using Lotus and other software to provide the first accurate year-to-date sales figures, as well as highly useful marketing, financial, and manufacturing projections.

Broadway Department Stores, San Diego, California: 9/90 to 4/91

SALESPERSON - Sold women's clothing and had interior layout and display responsibilities. Selected as Employee of the Month for December in this store of approximately 190 employees. Selected on the basis of sales, favorable comments from customers, and taking on added responsibilities.

The revised version is slightly longer than the original, but because it provides more background, you get a clearer picture of her capabilities. By mentioning a project that was behind schedule and in serious trouble, her ability to complete it on schedule and under bud get makes the accomplishment especially meaningful. Her original resume contains only a brief list of duties and gives you no information regarding whether she had been successful. The revised job description conveys a sense of her potential. It shows that she was given a lot of responsibility and that she handled it well. It suggests to the reader that she has some very interesting stories to tell about her experiences at Wiggins; but those details will be saved for the interview.

The experience at Broadway did not receive as much space because she has no intention of returning to retail work. The experience does, however, demonstrate valuable background which pertains directly to her career in marketing. It is important that she was able to demonstrate that she was successful even though it was a short-term job. Simply listing her duties provides no clues about the quality of her work, and could lead an employer to believe that she did not do well. Mentioning that she was employee-of-the month proves that she was valuable. By mentioning the basis for the award-sales, comments from customers, and taking on responsibility-she demonstrates to the employer that she was judged outstanding in each category. As you write your resume, look for ways to tell your story that convey your value and your successes. Even if you were fired from a job it is possible to show that you were valuable. Do that by stressing what you did well; simply ignore your problem areas.

Writing a top-quality resume takes time. From these examples you can see why. Also, describing oneself in positive terms is difficult for most people, yet it is necessary. Write your job descriptions and then keep editing until they approach the examples you find in this article. Everyone can do it, but it will take time and thought. Just re member that taking the time will pay off in interviews and job offers. And that's what you're after.

Employment Format

The format you choose for your employment section can make a big difference in the visual appeal and readability of your resume. The format below is the one that most employers prefer:


Balboa's Steak House: 5/89 to Present

GENERAL MANAGER. Miami, Florida: 10/91 to Present. Took over a troubled restaurant which had had six managers in two years and incurred losses each month during that time. Resolved serious morale problems. Instituted an effective training program, and redesigned the menu. During the first nine months increased lunch revenue 38% and dinner 29%. Losses were eliminated within two months and a consistent profit margin of 14% has been maintained.

ASSISTANT MANAGER. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: 7/89 to 10/91. Redesigned the menu and helped introduce wine sales. Provided extensive staff training which enabled the restaurant to become number one in wine sales in the chain of twenty restaurants. Purchased all food and supplies.

Saga, Inc., Tallahassee, Florida: 9/87 to 6/89

STUDENT MANAGER - For this college cafeteria, prepared food, scheduled part-time workers, purchased supplies, and oversaw lunch and dinner lines.
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