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Resurrecting the Perfect Resume, Part Two

By Cheryl Lynch Simpson
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2005

Are you in denial about the lifelessness of your resume? If you are reasonably qualified for the type of work you seek, yet your resume is consistently failing to win you interviews, then you need to face the reality that your beloved document is dead.

Try these professional resume writing techniques to resurrect your resume and your job search today:

Problem #3: Resume Is Blind

In your eagerness to cut your job search work load have you reduced your objective statement to something grandiose and vague, something that you hope speaks to every employer but which, in fact, communicates to none? A resume with no focus is blind; without a clear focus in your resume an employer cannot perceive what you’re offering them; without a concisely stated vision in your resume an employer cannot grasp the big picture of how you fit into their organization.

Solution#3: Give Your Resume Vision So Employers Can See You

* Craft a creative career summary statement. A career summary statement is just that - a summary or profile of your career to date. Remember that your “career” includes all the paid and unpaid things you’ve done and that even if you don’t value this experience, an employer will. Claim your career focus in your summary, then in 2-3 sentences profile your most relevant skills and experience.
* Describe your creative gifts in terms that relate to the employer’s needs. Whatever your specific creative gifts (and you do have them), describe them in the body of your resume. Use adjectives and nouns to describe yourself in your summary, mini job descriptions or success stories.
* Match your resume’s layout, font style, graphics and paper to your career goal. If you are seeking work in a conservative industry like banking or insurance, then choose a traditional layout, a formal-looking font, few graphics and conservative white, beige or gray paper.
* If you are looking for work in a highly creative industry like advertising or graphic arts, then choose a creative or functional resume layout, an unusual but readable font, creative graphics and expressive textured paper, perhaps with a colorful border around the edge.
* How do you know what is right for you and your preferred industry? Conduct informational interviews with hiring professionals in that field and ask them what fits and what does not.
* Use your resume to hint at your responses to interview questions. If you’re like most job seekers, you hate having to prepare answers for interviewing questions. A resume acts like a template for your interviews, so if you consider the typical questions you will be asked and succinctly weave bits of your responses into your resumes, you will be leading the interviewer in the direction you choose.
* Use your resume’s content to design a powerful cover letter to match. Do not send resumes without cover letters! Do not take shortcuts with cover letters! Do not send the same generic cover letter to every employer you contact! Doing so will guarantee you failure. If you prefer success you will have to work for it, but it will pay off.
* Select the 3-5 most critical points you made in your resume and restate them in the second paragraph of your personalized cover letter. Weave some of the same adjectives and nouns you used in your resume into your cover letter.

Problem #4: Resume Has No Personality

One of the greatest weaknesses of most resumes is an almost total lack of personality. You are selling you, not a piece of wood! Nothing adds life to a lifeless document like uniqueness, so talk about yours.

Solution #4: Give Your Resume Personality To Attract Employers To You

* Draw attention to your uniqueness. Consider carefully the 5-7 adjectives or descriptive phrases that best describe you, your qualifications, your values and your personality and weave them into your career
summary, your success stories and your cover letter.
* Take those same 5-7 adjectives and identify other words that mean the same thing. Use your second set of adjectives and phrases and use them to describe yourself in interviews.
* Express who you really are, not who you think you should be. Select graphics, font style and paper that express your essence as well as they match the industry you hope to join. Know what makes you you and describe it in writing for your resume/cover letter and express it verbally for interviews.
* Stress your people skills. Interpersonal skills are critical for many jobs; possessing them can be your ticket to great opportunities, but you must a.) honestly possess them; b.) know how/when to use them; c.) be willing to learn what you don’t know; and d.) be prepared to demonstrate your skills in your resumes, cover letters and interviews.
* Be personal and warm rather than impersonal and objective. There is a difference between being personal and intimate in writing and conversation; strive for the former, yet avoid the latter.
* Read company literature and web sites and quote their own words back to them as you use their words to demonstrate the match between you. Use quotes from other sources as appropriate.
* Be quotable. Let your research show: Let your reader know that you know something about their organization and its needs.
* Consider your personal style as a job seeker and as a professional. Do you know that how you job search conveys to an employer how you will perform on the job?
* Reflect on your personality and work-related values and design a job search and work style that expresses them. Make sure all your written materials, thank you letters included, convey that style.

Dead resumes create lifeless results! Work is too important in life to allow your search for it to drain you. Resurrect your resume with these simple solutions and you will revitalize your job search and your work life.

About the Author
Cheryl Lynch Simpson is a Spiritual Director and Solutions Coach who helps women discover and create the life they've always wanted to live. Cheryl is the author of over 30 print/Internet articles and the founder of Coaching Solutions For Women, a coaching website that produces and showcases career, business, and life solutions that improve the life balance of today's busy women. For a complimentary copy of her latest e-book, Ten-Minute Stress Zappers for Women Service Business Owners, visit (http://www.coachingsolutionsforwomen.com).