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Resume Writing

Learn the fine art of writing a resume that will get noticed and result in job offers.

Is Your Resume Falling Down on the Job?

by Kevin Donlin

Your resume must do two things to be successful.

Your resume must:

1. Tell employers what you want to do for them.

2. Prove you can do that job better than other applicants.

That's it.

Do this right, and your phone will ring with job offers.

If your phone isn't ringing ... it may be time to take a long, hard look at your resume.

To get you started, here are common blunders from actual resumes, with suggested corrections. Read on to make sure your resume is working for you and not against you.

Resume Task #1 -- Tell employers what you want to do

Some folks leave off an objective or summary statement from their resume, hoping that an employer will consider them for any job that's open.

This may work if you're hand-delivering your resume and are there in person to state your case.

But if your resume is in a pile with 220 others, about to be read by a frazzled manager trying to fill one SPECIFIC position ... don't be coy. You don't have time. Be as specific as possible about what you want to do.

EXAMPLE resume opening:

"Seeking a challenging position with a hard-working team, in which I can apply my IT experience and training."

What, you don't want a boring position? It must be challenging? A frazzled employer couldn't care less.

And you must be more specific about what exactly you want to do in IT -- do you want to be a Help Desk Technician? Software Developer? Systems Administrator?

Try an opening like this, instead:

"Seeking position in network administration where five years of experience and training will increase efficiency. Additional skills in network design and tech support."

Resume Task #2 -- Prove you can do that job better than other applicants

Don't fill your resume with a laundry list of duties and responsibilities... then expect busy employers to read between the lines and realize your value.

You have to blatantly spell out why someone should hire you.

This means you must focus on achievements and results in your resume. The more, the merrier -- but try not to exceed two pages.

EXAMPLE of tiresome duties/responsibilities:

"Addressed staffing and budgeting issues for IT/IS department for start-up firm. This included recruiting & hiring IS/IT professionals."

If you did this right, what good things resulted? Focus on those!

Try revising as follows:

"Planned and managed all staffing and budgeting for IT department. Recruited and hired 12 new IT professionals, four of whom were rapidly promoted (100% overall retention). As a result, enabled start-up to rapidly reach $1.2 million in profitable first-year revenue."

See the difference?

Telling employers what you want to do and then proving you can do it does take effort. But isn't your career worth it?

Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. He is the author of The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume Writing You'll Ever Need, a do-it-yourself manual with sample cover letters and resumes.