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Resume Tips

Most employers will get their first look at potential employees from a resume, so why not make it a good one?

So what is a resume?

A resume is a document that outlines the details, skills and qualifications of an individual who is applying for employment. Your goal is to write a resume that best conveys the skills and qualifications you possess in a way that makes you stand out from other potential applicants. A  resume is tailored to address you and your individual skills and qualifications, but it should also address the position you are applying for and your goals.

There are several basic fields of information that need to be conveyed: an objective statement; education, skills, certifications and qualifications; employment history; and references. There is however no standard format for how this information in conveyed and a quick google search will show hundreds of sample resume formats.

We will first look at the objective statement and its importance to employers. The objective statement only needs to be a couple of sentences long, but tailored to what the employer is looking for and relevant to the specific position. This is not a generic statement, but tailored to the specific position you are applying for. Say for example if an employer is seeking someone to fill a position with specific required skills or certifications, make sure you state that in your objective statement in addition to listing it further down the document. Doing so will show the employer you are not only qualified for the position, but are aware of their specific needs.

Next on a resume we usually see a person’s contact details followed by a list of their skills, certifications, qualifications and education. This is where you will list any licenses, certifications and qualifications you may hold and education you have received. A common mistake many people make is failing to adequately list their skills. Say for example you have a background in painting and know several types of spray equipment inside and out. You can take the equipment apart, clean it and put it back together with your eyes closed. Even though there is no license or certificate for being able to disassemble, clean and reassemble an Acme mod. 124-C-2X  and 126-CV-2R Turbo sprayers, there is no reason why you should NOT list your knowledge of this equipment on a resume that you will be using to apply for a position as a painter. This goes for any industry. If you are proficient in a skill, understand the use of certain equipment that is relevant to the position and company you are applying at, you should list that information on your resume. It can be the reason you are contacted for an interview.

This is also the section you will list any schools you have attended including high school and your primary focus of education. You will also need to list any current licenses and certifications you have.

The next section in a resume is your employment history. An employer will expect a look at your previous employment that will go back up to 10 years. List each employer and reference: job title, employment dates, and explain the job’s duties and responsibilities. It doesn’t need to be a long explanation, but make sure to explain what your duties on the job were.

Last is the section for references. This is where you will list individuals who can give you a professional or personal referral. A professional referral is from an employer, supervisor or co-worker who can attest to your work ethic, skills and abilities on the job. A personal reference is from an individual who has known you for some time outside of work and can attest to your character. A professional reference will carry more weight with a potential employer than a personal reference.

You should have three referees in total, listing not just names, but professions and contact details.

Always make sure you check with individuals you will list in your references section so they will be aware that potential employers will be giving them a call.