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The second point I brought up Monday’s post was Truth in Advertising.

If your resume is your self-advertisement, it can be very tempting to . . . buff up the picture a bit. Add a bit of shine. White wash those black marks.

If you do, you are setting yourself up for some major problems. Just like there are rules about companies lying in their tv commercials, there are rules about job seekers lying in their resumes.

But no one likes write a resume with major gaps in employment, minimal work experience or other problems.

So what can you do?

Try being truthful. If you took a few years off from work to raise a family, include it in your experience – Position: Home maker, responsibilities included managing budget, preparing meals, planning and managing family events, caring for 2 children. As usual. don’t worry about detailing experience that isn’t relevant to the job your currently applying for, but a lot of what goes into making a home is experience that can be useful in several different job fields.

College clubs are can be good experience also. Treasurer for the sci-fi Movie Club may not sound like much, but if the position required handling all the administrative work the college required for the club to be authorized, it can definitely count. Head of costuming department for a theater group requires strong organizational skills, managing and ordering supplies, keeping time tables and schedules, staying with in budget and a high level of multitasking – in addition to being good with a needle.

You may not be able to create the perfect resume telling the truth – but by being creative and expanding beyond traditional experience and skills, you can do your resume a whole lot of good.

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Anyone remember the first rule of advertising from yesterday?

Grab Attention
This is one of two key ideas for formatting your resume – the second should be obvious, but isn’t always –

Keep your Resume Readable
Too much clutter may grab attention, but if it isn’t clear cut and easily readable, all that grabbing attention will get you is first spot on the line to the shredder.

For some truly insane and eye catching resumes, not all of which follow rule #2, take a look here.

Now, most of those resumes are designed for artistic or gtraphics industries – making the visual cacophony of some of them more acceptable to their market.

But some of the examples on that site suggest ideas that can work for any job seeker – displaying job experience as a time line, or skills in a bar graph will definitely grab attention, and if done well can be easily readable to the employer. Adding simple visual elements, like using an industry relevant image as the bullet point for a list of skills (telephone for telecommunications, stethescope for medical field, red check mark for education – I’d steer away from dollar signs for acounting – but that’s a personal opinion).

One simple way to make your resume stand out visually is to use different colored paper. A beige or off white paper is easy to read, and stands out in a sea of white paper.

How have you made your resume a visual stand out?

Whether you are just out of school, or have been working for years, it is helpful sometimes to sit down and think about what a resume is, before you start writing one.

Everyone will have their own view of what a resume is. I consider it to be a sales pitch. You are trying to ‘sell’ yourself to an employer, so they will hire you, instead of any of the other applicants whose applications come across the hr department’s desk.

And all the ‘usual’ rules of making a sales pitch apply –

  • Grab attention within the first 30 seconds.
  • Truth in advertising.
  • Show what makes you different from the competition
  • Tell them about the need that you can fill.

It’s important to keep these points in mind when you are writing your resume – they tell you a lot about what and how you should write it.

Grab attention – make your resume visually interesting, and your resume objective compelling.

Truth in advertising – do no exaggerate or lie about your experiences or abilities.

What makes you different – you are a unique person, not a collection of job data, let your potential employer see that person.

The need – they wouldn’t be hiring if they didn’t have a need to fill – what is that need and how will you fill it? (BTW – if they are hiring a customer service representative, they don’t need a customer service representative, they need excellent customer service that will encourage repeat business and promote good word of mouth about the company.)

Hello again.

This week is going to be all about resumes – what they are, different kinds, how to write them and more.

To start us off, here is a selection of articles and blogs that are great references for any resume writer –

Resume Articles
Best Resume Writing Tips – The name says it fairly well.

Resume Mapper – Link and information on a very useful resume tool.

6 Questions – Thoughts and advice on brain storming before starting work on your resume.

Resume Templates – If you work better with firm guidelines, check out info on resume templates, to help you color within the lines!

Cover Letters – An Essential Part of Every Resume Package – Because a resume by itself isn’t enough.

Resume Blogs
Blue Sky Resumes – a blog that focuses on everything about resumes.

Write Powerful Resumes – another resume blog by a wonderful writer.

Job Mob – This link is to a specific post on a more general blog that introduces some very unique and interesting ways of creating a resume.

Well, see you tomorrow, when we start with the bare basics – What Are Resumes – And Why Do They Matter?

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