An Example Of A Good Resume (And A Bad One)

Tips on how to write a good résumé, list of what to include, and how to get your resume to stand out and grab an employer's attention.

The most accepted method of providing information to a prospective employer is a resume. Webster's Dictionary defines the word resume as -- a short account of one's career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position. Curriculum vitae is another term also used in reference to a resume. Depending upon the nature of the company, prospective employers may receive hundreds or even thousands of resumes. Many of these resumes will never be given a second glance, but an exemplary resume will certainly stand out from all the rest. According to some resume services, the average resume has to make an impression within the first 30 seconds. A good resume will definitely grab the attention of a potential employer in the quickest amount of time. Plus, a good resume not only opens the door to an interview, it will often clinch the final hiring decision of an employer.

There are several types of resumes. Some of the various forms include basic resumes, professional resumes, accomplishment resumes and functional resumes. So how do you know if you have a good resume? Here's a list of questions and answers that will help you craft an appropriate resume:

How long should my resume be?

A good resume can be as short as one page or as long as five pages. It will contain all the essential elements of a resume plus any specific achievements that relate to the position you are applying for.

A bad resume, on the other hand, does not contain all of the essential elements and does not address the needs of the employer. A resume needs to give a prospective employer time to actually evaluate it.

What are the basic elements of a resume?

A good resume will provide your personal information, your specific qualifications, your work experience, and your educational background.

A bad resume, on the other hand, will often show the same basic information as a good resume. But, items such as large gaps of time between employment without any explanation are often found in such resumes.

Why do I need a summary of my qualifications?

A good resume will have a summary of the applicant's qualifications for the prospective employer to review. This item will be placed below the stated objective of the resume.

Motivation, ambition, and commitment are some great words to use somewhere in your summary of qualifications.

A bad resume, on the other hand, will not list a summary at the beginning of a resume. Therefore, a potential employer must spend more time searching through the resume - only to find out that the applicant is not at all qualified for the position.

What should my work history or work experience include?

A good resume will include an accurate work history section. It will also highlight job skills that are pertinent to the position you are applying for.

A bad resume, on the other hand, often includes numerous details about former jobs that are not necessary. For instance, reasons for leaving a former employer should be discussed during an interview and should not be stated on your resume.

Should professional membership information be included in my resume?

Yes, a good resume should reflect memberships in professional or trade associations. This shows an employer that you have ongoing interests. In fact, some memberships are mandatory for many types of jobs.

A bad resume, on the other hand, will not reflect involvement in any type of professional membership. In today's world, many employers want their employees to be involved in the community in which they work. If you are not a team player in your community, employers may think you won't be a team player on their staff.

What should come first in a basic resume?

First, a good resume contains your personal contact information. This information is usually typed at the top of your resume. Type your street and city address information at the left margin. Type your phone information at the right hand margin. Next, leave two blank lines and type the title, RESUME. The word RESUME should be centered in the middle of the page. Leave one space and type the word OF. Again, leave one space and type YOUR NAME IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Your name should also be centered on the page. Centered on the page, you will have RESUME of YOUR NAME.

Next, you will need to type the OBJECTIVE. State the objective and be specific to the position for which you are applying. If applying for several different positions, be sure to change the objective for each resume.

The next item is to list your EDUCATION. Be sure to list any degrees you have or any specialty certifications.

Now you will list you WORK EXPERIENCE. You can just type the word EXPERIENCE. List dates and name of each company. Underneath the date and name of each company you will need to type the responsibilities of your job.

If you have any MILITARY SERVICE, be sure to include it at this point in your resume. List any honors and awards you have received.

Finally, at the bottom of the resume, type REFERENCES UPON REQUEST. Be sure to center these words. References should no longer be included with the resume. But, you will need to have your references available for a prospective employer. Never use someone as a reference without their permission.

These rules are for a basic resume. Of course, you may choose to expand your resume. Perhaps you needs are for a chronological or narrative resume. Choose the type of resume that offers you the best opportunity to highlight your achievements and your qualifications. A potential employer will usually look at both of these items.

It doesn't matter which type of resume you choose if the physical appearance of your resume isn't a strong one. Pay attention to all details when preparing your resume. Proof your resume manually. Spell check does not correct the word form when you meant to type from. Proof the spacing, margins, centering, and paragraphs of your resume.

A good resume makes a positive statement about you. It qualifies you for the position offered and does so in a concise, interesting, and honest manner. It grabs the attention of the potential employer. If your resume makes a good impression in the first 30 seconds, it's a pretty good bet that the entire resume will be read. If your resume is one that creates urgency for a potential employer to make a hiring decision - you may be hired sooner than you think!

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