Local

August 17, 2012

Mystery solved: Secrets to building a strong resume

by Talia Wesley
Workforce Development customer service career coach

(This article is the first of a three part series on how to compose an effective resume.)

Veterans and non-veterans often claim that they are not good at describing their occupational past. They often get frustrated and feel helpless because they have tried and failed to create a resume that shows off their strengths. After spending hours trying to create a suitable resume that yields less-than desirable interest from employers, the next step should be consulting an expert.

A resume is a brag paper that should reflect you best talents. A resume is neither your autobiography nor your complete memorial, but a document stating your professional credentials and qualifications. Its primary purpose is to get you the interview, not the job.

Your resume is an advertisement tool and is the first contact an employer will have with you. This document needs to sing and dance so the employer will want to meet you in person. Keep in mind there may be one open position for hundreds of candidates.

How can you separate yourself from the rest? Well, start by focusing on your achievements, which will separate you instantly from everyone else.

Achievements are the buying motivators. They are the contributions that you have made in your career that would encourage a hiring company to buy you or in other words hire you.

Key selling points in the achievement section of a resume should be posted at the top of your resume. They are similar to bullets on a military performance report.

Here are a few other examples of buying motivators or accomplishments:

  • Facilitated the company to save money or reduce costs
  • Implemented processes that saved time or increase work productivity
  • Improved company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace
  • Enhanced corporate image or building company’s reputation in its industry
  • Grew new product sales 100% in 120 days and sustained 20% annual sales growth

If prior military, it is recommend that you post your military training as one of your key selling components. Your military service has provided you with training and work experience that is very useful to many employers. Leadership training, the ability to conform to rules and structure, working as a team leader or member and knowing how to work under pressure to meet deadlines are your strongest assets.

When formulating ideas on how to present your professional [civilian] work experience, you should always list your most recent job first. Be sure to provide the employer with a brief overview using plenty of action words to describe your job duties and responsibilities. Use O*NET Career Exploration Tools to compile key words that translate over to your skill set. This free internet-based tool hosts career exploration and assessment tools that help individuals identify their work-related interests and abilities, so that they can explore occupations that match their preferences.

Visit www.onetonline.org and www.onetonline.org/crosswalk/MOC for more information.




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