What is a Resume?
A resume is a marketing piece to show why you are qualified for the job. Most resumes strictly list jobs, but you want to go beyond that by writing a summary of the most important skills for your current objective. Employers should want to hire you after reading your resume.
What should you include in your resume?
Think about what employers are looking for, and include your matching skills and other credentials. Include these facts:
- Your profession/trade specialty
- Licenses, permits and certifications
- Years of experience in the field
- Important skills
- Equipment or machinery you can operate
- A brief mention of top career accomplishments
- Work Your Work History
The Work Experience section is your chance to prove your level of skill and accomplishment. Instead of just writing a list of job duties, show how your work performance contributed to your employer's operation.
Blue-collar workers often have trouble identifying their achievements, because they feel they are just doing their jobs. Think about responsibilities and achievements you may take for granted to include in your resume. For example, brag about your excellent attendance or safety record as an achievement. If you're having a hard time identifying your accomplishments, ask yourself these questions:
- Did you win any awards or receive incentives for your work performance?
- Did you earn superior marks on performance evaluations?
- Did you train new employees?
- Did your work enable the team to complete a project on time or on budget?
- Did you earn a perfect safety rating?
- Did you complete any special training?
- Did you build a reputation for reliability?
- Did you complete all jobs with zero defects or errors?
- Did you recommend or implement processes that improved efficiency, productivity or workflow?
- Did you submit all reports on time?
Mention Related Education
Employers like to see hands-on education and training related to your trade. Use your Education section to list schools attended, vocational training, continuing education, certifications and licenses. If you completed a program, list courses completed so employers understand the scope of your formal training.
Grammar and spelling errors are common on resumes. Avoid embarrassing mistakes that could cost you the job by thoroughly proofreading your resume. Show your resume to at least a couple of people with strong writing skills to make sure the document is error-free.
Seven Tips for Effective Resume Writing
- Pay attention to detail-Don't cut corners by, for instance, not proofreading the cover letter, failing to include information the hiring manager asked for, or beginning the cover letter "Dear Sir or Madam" when the hiring manager's name is on the company web site. Take the time to make sure the correspondence and information sent is correct and error-free.
- Do the basics-Proofread for spelling, grammar, and tone, and make sure you have followed the instructions of the employer. Firing off an e-mail is a convenient method of communication. However, don't let the sloppy nature and informality of e-mail correspondence seep into your communications-whether it's e-mailed or written-with potential employers.
- Construct an effective resume-Organize your information in a logical fashion and keep descriptions clear and to the point. Include as much work experience as possible, even if it obviously doesn't relate to the job you are seeking. Also, use a simple, easy-to-read font.
- Customize their response-Address the hiring manager directly, and include the name of the company and the position for which it is hiring in your cover letter/e-mail response.
- Make it easy for the hiring manager-Use your name and the word "resume" in your e-mail header so it's easy to identify. If the employer asks for information-such as references or writing samples-provide it.
- Focus on what you bring to the employer, not what you want from the job-This is an opportunity for you to market yourself and stand out from the other candidates. What can you do to make the hiring manager's life easier? What can you do to help the company?
- Be professional-You won't be taken seriously if you don't have e-mail or voice mail/answering machine. If you don't have e-mail, set up a free account through Yahoo! and Hotmail. Provide the recruiter with a cell phone number if your voice mail/answering machine doesn't pick up when you are online. Also, it's a good idea to ditch the cute e-mail address or voice mail/answering machine messages in favor of something that sounds professional.
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