The resume's primary job is to be persuasive. Think of your resume as a snapshot of your value to the job market. Like any food snapshot, it must be focused an appealing. Your initial approach in developing your resume is critical. Step outside yourself and look back. Change roles. Put yourself in the place of the reader. If you were the potential employer, what would you want to see? What pieces of your background would help you get hired? Put those pieces in. And what parts of your past would lessen your chances of getting the job? Leave those pieces out. Write the resume for the need and greed of the reader, not for yourself. Ask yourself the four questions What do you want? Why are you qualified to do it? Where have your done it? How well have you done it?
Give your resume the ultimate value test: Think of it as a piece of paper blowing along the sidewalk of a busy street. What is going to make the reader pick it up? What will grab the reader's eye? What separates it from all other sheets whirling around him? Make your resume worth the reader's time and effort. Paint an alluring picture of your value by concentrating on achievements and specific capabilities that are obvious. Give it flavor and uniqueness by showing specific instances of how you've helped your employer.
Make your resume visually inviting. Keep as much white space as possible. Don't crowd the page. Have it laser-printed by someone who will maintain the data file for easy updating and editing. Also, keep an MS Word and plain-text version on your own computer for emailing purposes. Use high-quality paper. Skip the wild colors. And have at least two other people including a colleague, if possible read your resume for typos, grammar, and content.
Finally, don't let the resume format make you uptight. Relax, and let your value points flow, the way you would when bragging to a friend. Don't worry about length at first. Get all the valuable material down and then begin to cut out what is redundant, not applicable, or not so persuasive. As you would when framing a good snapshot, show only what needs to be shown, then focus and shoot.
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