46 Resumes can be powerful, too!

You may already have a resume. But as you read this module, or do homework in another class, or punch the clock at your part-time job, your resume is changing. It’s growing constantly. Everything you do can have a connection to future career goals, and a successful resume will help you make that connection.


When you apply for a job opening that requires you to submit your resume, you are probably going to be competing against many other people, many other resumes. And most of them will have comparable information on their resumes. You need to make sure yours stands out, so your audience will consider it. The professional style of technical writing we have been focusing on plays a very important role in creating and designing your resume.


Pay particular attention to your résumé’s appearance. Obviously, you don’t want to have coffee stains or smudgy fingerprints on it, but you also don’t want the slightest writing, spelling or grammatical error either. I once created a resume I planned to send to several companies. But on a final reading, just before I was ready to put it in the mail, I noticed I had spelled “maintenance” incorrectly (maintainence). I know students often say that English teachers are always over-emphasizing the importance of spelling, but that one mistake could have damaged the overall success of the resume.


Bosses want to know that their employees are going to do the best possible job for them. If they see a resume that isn’t the best it could be, a boss will definitely wonder if the person will make the same kinds of mistakes on the job. A spelling error on a resume could turn into a huge mistake in the monthly figures for a company.


Study resumes. Your textbook has two different formats emphasizing the order of information in your resume. Try to decide which is best for you, and place your experience in an order that will want your reader to meet you. Remember, the resume will not get you hired, but a successful resume may get you into the door for that all-important interview. The resume will also be the foundation for the interview, so make sure your prospective boss has valuable information from which to proceed.


As I said before, everything you do can become a part of your resume. When you are listing your educational experience, why not also mention the significance of what you took in school. Everyone is going to list their degree and significant courses they took. But try to mention some specifics about how those courses will benefit your reader. Why would your boss care that you took English 235? Well, because you learned so much about communicating succinctly and professionally, an asset any boss will appreciate.


The same holds true for jobs you have held. How on earth would the job at McDonalds you held five years ago have anything to do with the position for a social worker you are applying for? Well, you remember how important it was to communicate with the customers? How you had to keep smiling despite the rough day you were having? Jobs like that are full of experiences that will come handy in your life.


Your resume, in modern lingo, is an attachment, an enclosure. You will also be sending a cover letter, or letter of application, with the resume. In fact, it’s what the reader will see first. You need to influence your reader to turn to the resume. Borrow some important specifics from the resume to use as bait, kind of like the previews of a movie. The producers pick the best clips to influence people to go to the movies. Pick your top skills, experiences, activities and highlight them in your Letter of Application.

Your letter can also show your potential boss that you have knowledge of the position/company. You should always resaerch the postion/company. It will help you in showing that you have an interest in this job and in this company, but it will also help you decide whether you want to pursue the position. If you feel you are not truly qualified for the position or will not truly be happy with the company, then you may want to reconsider applying. Also, when you are offered the job, it becomes your decision on whether to accept or not. Knowing as much as you can about the position/company can help you with that life-changing decision.


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