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8 Unwritten R sum Rules

There may not be laws for writing r sum s, but there are some rules everyone should follow to craft a great one

There are a number of unwritten rules you should follow when writing your r sum if you want to get hired faster for the job you deserve. In fact, there are eight. Check them off as you go along:

1. Give em what they want

You have, at most, 30 seconds to convince a reader that your r sum warrants a complete read, but in reality you may have even less time than that.

A recent poll I conducted among fellow recruiters revealed that most of them spend less than 15 seconds on the first page of your r sum . They often never get past your e-mail note or cover letter, let alone your carefully worded objective. And, human resource managers are no more patient than recruiters.

So, the first rule of r sum writing is to write one that gets to the point quickly. You must make sure readers can find what they want in your r sum fast. This requires you do a lot of careful planning about every word you write.

2. Be relevant

Presumably, hiring authorities reading your r sum have a job you re interested in, so show how your experience fits their requirements. Never assume people can or will read between the lines and figure out your value.

3. Target your reader

You must understand who your reader is, because different people are looking for different things in your r sum :

Recruiters look for marketable skills first because they want to make money placing you. If your skill set is not in high demand, they won t call unless you are an exact fit for a job order they have.

HR folks look to see if you have an exact skill fit with a job first, then they look at your stability in the profession and then your personality type.

Hiring managers look for skill sets first, flexibility second and your ability to learn on the job.

4. Use bullets

Bulleted sentences, that is. We live in a PowerPoint world. So, write in a style that exudes action and energy be punchy, concise and easy to read. This lets the reader get the gist of your main points quickly. You can elaborate later at the interview.

5. Highlight your strengths

Which of your strengths are most relevant to your reader? Those strengths should go first in your r sum . Always put your top accomplishments where they will get read in the first 15 seconds.

6. Demonstrate results

Use numbers, percentages and dollar amounts to emphasize your accomplishments. Remember that writing one million dollars is less likely to be noticed than $1,000,000. Numbers and symbols jump off the page.

7. Be concise

Your r sum should not contain one more word than needed to make your point because you ll never bore anyone into hiring you. In fact, reveal just enough information to pique the reader s interest.

8. Connect the dots

Make it easy for readers to see how you fit their job requirements. Before writing your r sum , research newspapers, job boards and Internet ads for positions that are similar to the ones you ll be seeking and write like terms in your r sum . For example: Use common keywords and phrases like Java, Audit Trail and channel management to connect the bullets in your r sum .

Scientists and senior executives should prepare an appendix of publications and papers they have written or worked on as well. Technical people should provide a separate technical summary page for the easy identification of skills.

David E. Perry is author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters and the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters Blog.

Copyright CTW Features

By David Perry

CTW Features

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