What a Resume is—and What It's Not
SO, YOU'RE ABOUT to embark on a quest to land a new job. Perhaps you're looking to make more money, assume more responsibilities, or work for a new company. Maybe you're returning to the workforce after an extended absence, or you've recently graduated from high school, college, or graduate school and are entering the workforce for the first time. No matter what your reasons for beginning a new job search, finding the perfect job opportunity is going to take time, effort, and dedication.
The overall job-search process involves taking a close look at yourself, your education, skills, past work experience, overall qualifications, and marketability. You will need to determine what types of jobs or positions you're qualified to fill. Next, through research, reading help-wanted ads, networking, and surfing the Web, you will need to find job openings for which you're qualified.
Upon finding job openings, you will need to perform additional research to learn as much as possible about the potential employers and then submit a resume, cover letter, and/or an employment application to be considered for each position. Thus, your resume becomes an extremely important tool for marketing yourself to potential employers.
What Your Resume Needs to Do
One of the most challenging tasks you will embark upon during your job-search process is writing a resume. After all, it will likely be the information on one single-sided sheet of 8½-by-11-inch sheet of paper that determines whether or not an employer invites you to an interview. On one sheet of paper, you have to concisely summarize, using examples, all of the reasons why a potential employer should hire you.
All potential employers that evaluate your resume will have a series of questions that they will want instant answers to as they read your resume. The primary goal of your resume is to answer the employer's questions quickly. When any human resources (HR) professional or potential employer reads your resume, your answers to the questions need to be obvious:
During a job interview, you must be prepared to answer all of these questions (and others) in detail. Your resume also needs to work as a sales tool and offer a preview of what an employer can expect from you now and in the future. Your resume has to be powerful, positive, attention getting, and 100% truthful.
When a potential employer reads your resume, it needs to shout out, "Hire me!" not "File me!" Writing a powerful resume is a challenging process that takes time, planning, much thought, and the willingness to make revisions until you have written what you believe to be the perfect document.
Anytime a company markets an expensive product, such as a major appliance, computer system, car, or some other type of machine, one of the first steps for enticing consumers is to provide a brochure that lists the product's unique benefits and features. The sales brochure is designed to get customers excited about the product before they actually see it firsthand. Similarly, when it comes to landing a job, your resume is the brochure you will use to market yourself. Your resume must get potential employers interested enough in you so that they invite you in for that all-important interview. From that point on, your chances of securing the job rely on your ability to sell yourself in person, but more on that later.
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