Professional Resumes

Professional Resumes : A good, focused and concise resume requires a lot of think time, decision making and writing and revision. It is much more time-consuming to construct than a generalist resume.

What is the biggest mistake I can make in developing or submitting resumes? L Professional Resumes

In my twenty years of experience as a career counselor and educator, I have found that not having a specific objective in mind followed by a resume that parallels or reinforces that objective is the single major stumbling block to writing an effective resume. Even if an objective is not stated in the resume itself, it should be apparent in the structure and organization of the resume and should definitely be stated in the cover letter that goes with it. Oftentimes, as a result of this lack of focus, these resumes come across as weak or unimpressive, with the applicant seeming unsure or indecisive about what he or she wants. It says, "Here I am, tell me what I can do."

The source of this flaw is varied. Some applicants don't want (or know how) to be specific and want an all-purpose resume. For example, I worked with a client with experience in both sales and management in electrical engineering and manufacturing. She tried to use an objective that allowed her to work in sales, management and research, that is, to open as many doors to employment as possible. She came across as having a few sets of skills and experiences in two of these three areas, but none with depth or a real sense of accomplishment. Her objective (as relayed to me by the CEO of a technical employment firm) was vague and he quickly passed over her resume.

Had she written a resume for sales positions, she could have expanded her sales experience content and included other sales and marketing related experience from other jobs and any relevant college, graduate school, coop, internship or even volunteer organization experience. There are many sources of viable skills and experience and I have found that people tend to underestimate the full range and depth of their skills. A single objective or focused resume requires digging deep into a person's work and educational background and doing a thorough skills assessment. There are a number of self-assessment tools to be found on the Internet and an applicant can usually get a comprehensive job description from company websites to try to match their skills and achievements with those required in the position sought. Many job search web sites contain very brief job descriptions which is why one should go directly to the HR department of the company.

A good, focused and concise resume requires a lot of think time, decision making and writing and revision. It is much more time-consuming to construct than a generalist resume. In reality, most people need several different resumes with nonoverlapping objectives as they seek different positions. The lesson here is, there is no shortcut to writing an effective resume. Too much is at stake to be casual or cursory about one's resume.

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