How to write a resume - your guide to targeting and tailoring a resume to a job listing

Creating your resume is the most important thing you must do to prepare for one of life's great transitions: applying to college, applying for job, applying to join a volunteer organization.  Before we begin this process, let’s look at what a resume is, who it is written for, and some general rules for writing a resume.

Your resume is like your own personal commercial. It is a snap shot of you, your most important qualities, and your skills and talents.  The purpose of your resume is to gain attention. Therefore, you must always be positive and focus on your best attributes.  Remember, there are several other candidates applying for every job, and your resume must get your foot in the door for an interview.

Who are you writing your resume for?

Normally, two people are going to look at your resume.  The first person is a human resources manager.  This person works at the company you will be applying to. They may have many different job titles such as: recruiting manager, recruiter, sourcer, sourcing manager, or HR specialist. For simplicity we summarize these diverse roles simply as HR Manager.

They look at candidates at the broadest level.  They ensure you meet the minimum qualifications or requirements for the job. Sometimes, the HR Manager will also spot check a resume for accuracy.  Often, the HR Manager is the first hurdle in getting an interview. From a pool of resumes, they select only a few of the best candidates.  These resumes are forwarded to the other member of your resume audience — the supervisor.

The supervisor, regardless of the actual job title (manager, consultant, etc.) is the person you would be working for if you were hired.  This person will be looking for very specific skills, knowledge or experiences that qualify you for the job.  Since this person may have several resumes to go through (in addition to normal work duties) they may only look at your resume for one to two minutes. In that brief moment they are judging whether you are worth following up with an interview.

This may seem harsh, but it is the nature of the business.  Do not view this as an obstacle.  Instead, turn it to your advantage.  

Continue...and learn the three rules for writing a resume.

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