If you have been in the job market, you probably think you know the answer to the question, "what is a resume." A resume is something you prepare, to send to a company to get a job. While that may be the basic definition, in order to succeed in the job search, you need to expand your understanding of what a resume is exactly and what it does.
Think of your resume as a snapshot, your thirty-second elevator speech, your introduction. Your resume is the first (and possibly only) opportunity for an employer to “see” you. You only get one chance to put yourself in front of a recruiter and get them to like you. A chance to like you so much, they want to interview you.
So what is the purpose of a resume? A resume will cover skills, projects and accomplishments’ from your previous work experience. It will also provide a quick glimpse of what you can do for their organization. Don’t think of your resume as a list of jobs; think of it as a brochure your handing out to market yourself to a prospective employer.
Your resume will be used as a screening tool for recruiters and hiring managers to pick which applicants best fit the job. Take a look at the job ad. The employer is telling you exactly (hopefully) what the company is looking for. They are telling you the skills and knowledge they need – as many broad details as they can discuss in the space given. (Remember that’s why you do your research to find out the rest). Look at your background. If you were the hiring manager, would you say there is a match? The most effective resumes are those that target a specific employer.
You need to cover a lot of ground within a little space on your resume; so don't waste space. Your resume needs to be clear and concise to hold the reviewers attention for at least thirty seconds.
The top of your resume should list your contact information. This includes a correct address, a working telephone number and a real (and professional) e-mail address. If any of the information is incorrect, you run the risk of not being contacted. Remember, hiring managers will not chase after you; they will simply move on to the next resume.
The body of your resume contains education and training as it pertains to the job. A software recruiter is not going to care if you attended nanny training. The resume will also include professional work experience, including any pertinent volunteer experience. It should also include accomplishments. An accomplishment is different from the everyday tasks in your job description. An accomplishment is an act which had an impact on an important aspect of the organization such as the bottom-line costs, increasing profits or minimizing losses.
So what is a resume? A resume is more than just a piece of paper to list your experience. A resume is a live, ever changing document whose sole purpose is to make your light shine in front of hiring managers and recruiters.
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