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Resume Preparation Tips

All job seekers need a great resume. Resumes are often an employer's first impression of you, and you want it to be a good one. When preparing a resume we recommend that you choose a standard format that details your work history in a chronological order starting with the most recent work experience first. Resumes should be condensed, where you provide enough highlights and experience to entice the reader to want to interview you to find out more. The art of preparing a good resume starts with highlighting the positive accomplishments in each position you have held that would be of interest to a hiring manager. Here are some points to consider while preparing your resume.

GRAMMAR COUNTS:
Be sure to proofread your resume when your done writing it. Correct grammatical and spelling errors before an employer sees it. This serves two purposes: First, it makes you look better, by avoiding common typographic and grammatical mistakes. Second, you can avoid potential confusion when you accidentally misuse a word. (E.G., "Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE:
Your resume is your marketing piece. It should highlight your accomplishments, and bring out the best possible side of your professional life. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE:
Again, your resume is where you market your strengths, trying not to detail weaknesses. In a resume you want to discuss positive experiences. Avoid describing negative issues of past assignments and issues you may have with a past employer. These topics should only be discussed carefully during an interview under questioning, but again don't offer negative comments and when asked be direct and honest but choose your words carefully and don't show emotional bias while answering. This is the employer's first impression of you -- make it count.

AVOID HUMOR:
Humor is very subjective -- often too subjective for the written word in a business setting. What might be clever and witty in a face-to-face interview may not be appropriate on your written resume.

CUSTOMIZE:
It often helps to tweak and fine-tune your resume for a specific job. For example, if you are a computer programmer, and looking for programming positions, you might not need to detail a job you had five years ago as a network administrator. Highlight what is most important to the position, and downplay - or consider dropping entirely -- other information.

USE ACTION PHRASES:
You're not writing an article for the newspaper. You don't need to have complete sentences in your bullet-points. Stick to short, simple action phrases. Example: "Built 3-tier business systems using J2EE."

AVOID PRONOUNS:
The resume is about you. Therefore, you don't need to keep repeating, "I did this," "I was responsible for that." The hiring manager will assume that you did the work in question.

THE OBJECTIVE:
Including an objective as part of your resume is the source of some debate. Usually, your experience and education will allow the hiring manager to determine your objective. If you do include an explicit objective, make it relevant, and be specific about your goals. EG: "To become a software engineer in a large company specializing in high technology."

BUZZWORD BINGO:
Most large- and medium-sized companies are using technology to keep track of their resumes. Once your resume enters their system, the only way it's coming out is if a hiring manager runs a search for something appearing on it. Make sure you get as many buzzwords as you can into your resume. A skills table or summary at the end of your resume usually does a fantastic job of bringing your resume to the forefront of automated searches

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