By Diane Hamilton
Special to The Toronto Sun
The first step in a job search is a resume that creates a favourable impression.
Let's go through the steps to the perfect resume.
As you are writing your resume, always remember that the purpose of your resume is to get an interview. The person who sees your resume may have already looked at hundreds like it.
To stand out, you need to showcase your skills and abilities in a clear, concise way, avoiding extraneous information, and positioning yourself as someone with the necessary skills, experience, and ability for the job in question.
Prospective employers want to know what you did, for whom, for how long, what you achieved, how you achieved it, and what skills you have learned. Any extra information will serve only to distract them from these essentials.
Your resume should be as cleanly formatted as possible. A fancy format on expensive paper or on a graphic background will not only not help you, but can actually work against you! Clients want to know the basic facts with no added frills, and anything that distracts them away from this lessens your impact.
Also bear in mind that a resume that is not formatted to current standards can also hurt you. An easy to read resume which has poor electronic formatting, or is typed on poor grade paper on an old typewriter will lesson your credibility as an up-to-date professional.
Avoid fussy, hard-to-read fonts, excessive text, and long descriptive sections. Break up your resume with clear headers and sub headers -- these divisions will make your resume easier to scan quickly and absorb. Use short, dynamic sentences or bullet points.
The basic content of a resume should include five components -- contact details, work experience, education, and special skills and abilities.
Contact details: This section should provide the necessary personal contact details for the employer to be able to reach you. Make sure your contact information is comprehensive and up-to-date.
Do not include any irrelevant personal information in this section, such as marital status.
Work experience: List your work experience from the most recent to the last job worked. Make sure you list your job position, dates worked, your responsibilities and achievements.
Responsibilities should give a clear picture of the scope of the position. The achievements listed are very important, as hard, quantifiable achievements have the most impact with employers. The most effective resumes contain measurable achievements. Saying you increased sales is not as effective as saying you achieved a sale increase of 10%. As the employer looks at your resume, he or she will get the impression that you are someone who gets things done, whatever the field of your responsibility.
Education: Include your educational experience, achievements and training in this area. If you received a degree, certificate, or diploma, highlight it in this area.
Skills and abilities: Use this section to highlight all your special skills that relate to the position you are applying for. Examples include computer skills, technical skills and languages.
Diane Hamilton is President of Enterprise Partners, providing search consulting to Health Care, Pharmaceutical and General Industries with offices in the Durham Region and Toronto. www.entpartners.ca
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