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Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume
By Dr. Jerry Bills

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You've decided you can write your own resume - after all you have a computer, know how to type, and think that it is a simple procedure. Turns out that writing an effective resume is not a task to be undertaken lightly. According to HR professionals, nearly 95% of resumes in circulation (either on paper or in cyberspace) are bad. You can have a big advantage by avoiding some of the most common mistakes:

* Don't grab an old book on "How to Write a Resume." Resume styles are very dynamic and in constant change. Start with what you think the reader needs to know. Hints:

o Who are you and how do I reach you?

o What can you do for me?

o Are you smart enough to train?

o What have you done in the past that might be helpful to me?

o What did you accomplish in those jobs?

* Don't leave off dates because it looks like you can't hold a job. This can lead to the reader assuming all sorts of things like "Has he/she been doing hard time?" Hint:

o Try a functional style where you can list your skill set.

* Combine employment dates when in the same field. Include your duties, of course, but don't leave out your accomplishments. These are what set you apart from the crowd. Hints:

o Increased sales by x% in six months.

o Acquired x new clients in existing territory, increasing sales by y%.

* Leave off the personal information. No one cares and some might find your information objectionable. Hint:.

o Do not include your age, gender, race, church affiliation, or hunting skills. For everything you like, someone can find a reason to disqualify you on paper.

* Don't get long-winded. Resumes have a life span of about 20 to 30 seconds. If you don't get their attention quickly, you'll never get it. Keep your resume short and concise.

* Proofread and then proofread again. A resume with a typo is a killer.

* Use good paper and a good printer. If you don't care how you look when you want a job, what will the employer think about how you will handle yourself once you have the job?

* Don't just send out bunches of resumes hoping that someone will call. Target your mailing to firms that could use someone with your skills.

* Avoid the use of industry slang. If you can walk the walk the employer will know you can talk the talk.

* Write short, easy-to-read, statements about your skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Dr. Jerry Bills, the Writing and Resume Wonk
[Wonk (noun): An expert who studies a subject or issue thoroughly or exclusively.]

Colorado Springs, CO
1.719.447.1147 (in Colorado) or, toll-free,
1.866.666.1147 (outside of Colorado)
Outside the USA by e-mail only

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