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Creating a Resume that Will Increase Your Odds of Finding a Job

Creating a resume is an important first step in finding a job.  This article explores the critical elements of a good resume that will increase your odds of getting your next job..

A good resume, is an important selling tool for getting that job that you are currently looking for. However, it’s not the end all or be all in accomplishing this important task. Now I won’t argue that it’s important that your resume is well written. I would also agree that your odds of getting a job are greatly enhanced if your resume contains an impressive work history and all kinds of academic accolades. However, please realize that you’re never going to get hired based solely on the contents of your resume. What ultimately decides whether you get the job or not, is if you get a job interview. Your resume just gets you the ticket to that important event.

So to reiterate, the primary goal of your resume is to get job interviews. It is the interview or series of interviews that will ultimately determine if you get the job. One interesting hiring statistic is that 40% of hiring decisions are based on whether the interviewer likes you. If they like you, they’ll assume that you’ll fit in well with their corporate culture.

So what are the critical elements of a good resume? In many resumes, the first section that is listed is the “Objectives” section. Many resume experts recommend either omitting this section from your resume or making the job title of the position being offered your objective. Whatever you decide to do, don’t state broad, vague resume objectives. Stay away from “I” phrases. Remember employers are looking for you to fulfill their needs, not yours. So the bottom line is if you don’t know the specific job being offered or if you don’t want to state a specific job objective, leave the objective section out.

Another controversial section that is commonly included as the second item in a resume is the “Resume Summary” section. This section is used to summarize career highlights, special skills and accomplishments. There are many opinions regarding the value of the “Resume Summary” section. Some experts recommend eliminating this section from the resume altogether. The resume summary can have significant impact if it contains a summary of your specific skills that are related to the job you are applying for. Whatever you do, don’t put in vague descriptors like fast learner, work well with others, self-starter, good communication skills, etc.

The next section, and probably the most important is the “Experience’ section.  Most  employers prefer a chronological resume format for this section.  With this format, list your work experience in reverse chronological order.  Each job experience listing should state the company name first, followed by a short descriptor of its business. Below that, list the most recent position you held and the years you had worked there. Finally describe in three or four sentences what you did there. Keep your descriptions, clear and simple. Try to focus your descriptions towards items that would make you a good candidate for the job you are applying for. For example, if you have experience in both research and management and the position you are applying for is for a research position, emphasize your research experience in your resume.

If possible, use numbers, statistics and percentages to describe what you achieved in your previous positions in the “Experience” section of your resume. You might also want to bold this quantitative proof of success so that it stands out. Remember, quantifying your success always trumps using vague and generalized statements. For example, who would you choose to interview, the person that increased overall sales by 50% or the person that significantly increased sales compared to the previous year?

Avoid using a functional/accomplishment format resume. With this format, your resume lists all of the functions and accomplishments without relating them to particular jobs. The problem is that it doesn’t associate your accomplishments within a context of when, where and with what company. Using this format tells potential employers that you are probably trying to cover up something bad such as a job gaps or too many jobs in your work history.

The next section listed in most resumes is the “Education” section. In this part, put down a reverse chronological listing of your education. Also list the school and the city and state where it is located. Below that, list the degree or certificate that was earned and the date of its completion. If you received any high honors such as graduating valedictorian in your class, list it under the degree earned.

Most resume experts recommend against including a “Personal Information” section. Employers could care less about your hobbies, or how many children you have. Often divulging personal information may work against you. For example, if you list that you have several young children, the hiring authority may assume that you won’t be as productive as someone that does not have these personal responsibilities.

When you are applying for most business positions, references will add very little value to your resume. If you want to play it safe you can always state “References Available upon Request.”

There are various templates that you can use for creating a resume that are available in and If you are searching for a job position, EmployAPro is an excellent site to find a job in either a startup or new business. Obtaining a position in a new business venture has many potential advantages such as the potential to receive a significant equity position and a major management title.

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