Monday, December 29, 2008


Everybody needs a resume. This is a very important document in your jobsearch.

"The purpose of the resume is to get an interview."

Sounds simple, but remember this. These days resumes are expected to look professional and should be tailored to the job opportunity. Your resume will be your first impression, and that means it is very important. When the hiring manager reads it what will it say to him? I need a job, any job or you need me because I meet all your needs? Big difference between generic and tailored resume results.

There are two main ways you can do your resume, in resume specific software or in a word processor. The downtown office has Winway software installed in the Resource Center for your use once you've registered at any county Employment Connections office. I'm not sure if any other offices have it installed, let me know. The downtown office also offers a hands on course to help you use this software.

The advantage of Resume Software is that it is focused on this task, it gives you hints and it allows you to make major theme changes easily. This software's strength is in its resume features, it is not a very good word processor. Keep that in mind, if you use it, take advantage of the resume hints and samples. When you are done, you will likely want to export it. Export it to Rich Text (.rtf), open it in word and then save as to .doc (Word 97-2003) format.

When you edit in MS Word, be sure to use the appropriate features. There are long term benefits to having an intermediate level of word. I have heard that the intermediate course expects a minimum wpm typing. This is making the assumption that you are using it as an office assistant, these skills have wide spread applicability, push to take the course even if you don't intend to be a typist because it will help you build more efficient documents.

Specifically, don't use spaces and tabs to position things, use paragraph and font styles. You can control the indent, hanging indent, space before and after the paragraph. Use enter to make a new paragraph and shift enter to make a new line in the same paragraph. Click the P to show the hidden tab, space, new line, and paragraph marks so that your content is formatted consistently. Use widow control (keep lines together, keep with next) rather than arbitrary enter keys.

Why go through this much trouble? Because your best bet is to tailor your resume to each opportunity by taking a superset resume, deleting extraneous info and arranging the skills to meet the opportunity. And that means lots of updating. The more effecient the document structure, the less time it will take to tailor it.

There's another reason, you might be sending this word file to the employer. They won't need to ask you about your computer skills, by displaying the hidden formatting and looking at style use you will have told them plenty about your computer skills. This is another reason to send a PDF version, see more here.

The moral of the story:
"Use the features of the best tool to accomplish your goals."

Status: First Draft

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