RESUMES: BASIC INGREDIENTS AND COMMON PITFALLS (PART ONE)

By Elaine Stewart, coordinator of job development

I remember the “good ol’ days” when we could read the job postings in the newspaper, call for an appointment or walk into a company, fill out an application, have an interview and more often than not, receive a job offer before leaving. So simple, so quick and easy!

Resume, pronounced reh-suh-may, is French for summary. Resumes were developed as a solution to productivity and lack of time needed to conduct numerous interviews. If you think managers enjoy reading dull resumes, select a resume book and try reading 25 – 30. Now, you can understand why writing a resume should emphasize a specific target job, focusing on your strengths to support the job, save money, make money and be a problem solver for the company.

There is no exact way to write a resume, but there are many wrong ways. Choose a format that best matches your background, qualifications and the position for which you are applying. The top half of your resume is the most important. The employer may take 10 seconds to read your resume. The purpose of the resume is to get an interview. It is your marketing tool.

What do employers want? Research the job description for keywords using the employer’s job description and by using ONET (www.online.onetcenter.org), developed by the US Department of Labor.

Most common resume pitfalls according to managers:

  1. Poor layout and physical appearance
  2. Too long, short or condensed
  3. Dated resume (over ten years old, old graduation dates, listing high school)
  4. Misspellings, bad grammar and wordiness
  5. Poor punctuation
  6. Lengthy phrases, sentences and paragraphs
  7. Amateurish
  8. Too boastful or dishonest
  9. Unclear objective
  10. Does not convey accomplishments
  11. Unexplained time gaps
  12. Text does not support objective
  13. Use of personal pronouns “I,” “me” or “my”
  14. Including personal information (i.e. marital status, children, political or religious affiliations)

Watch for Part Two of this article in next month’s issue of Cougar News.

For more information on resume writing, contact Counseling and Career Services:

Central Park Campus: 972.548.6747

Preston Ridge Campus: 972.377.1781

Spring Creek Campus: 972.881.5781

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