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Creating Effective Resumes

Creating Effective Resumes

You may be the best-qualified applicant for a job, but unless you can portray your qualifications in a way that makes an employer want to interview you, you'll never get a chance to show what you can do. That's why creating resumes that bring your qualifications to life and show that you're a perfect fit for the job opportunity is such a challenge. Resumes either can open doors or eliminate you from the running. Be sure to demonstrate how you and your skills, experience, training and education match the employer's needs. Avoid misspelled words and bad grammar. Because your resume or application may be an employer's first impression of you, it's important that you put your best effort into ensuring your resume is a winner.

Few of us like to write and even fewer enjoy writing about themselves, but it is something you have to do if you want to succeed. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make this easier.

Learn
Attend job assistance training. Contact your ACAP counselor as soon as possible and sign up for a TAP Workshop. If you are not near an ACAP Center, you may use the services at Transition Assistance Offices operated by the other military services.

Focus
Set an objective and identify the kind of jobs you will go after.

Research
Make sure you clearly identify what employers are looking for.

Analyze
Review your skills, training, education and experience and make sure that you qualify

Ask for Help
Use your ACAP counselors. They have the tools and knowledge you need. Get their help in creating your first resume or filling out a draft application. Ask them to critique your work and then make the changes they suggest.

This isn't the place to teach you how to write a resume or complete an application. Your ACAP counselors can provide more detailed information and assistance. However, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.

Tailor
One size never fits all. Don't assume that you can use one resume for many jobs. If you do, you won't succeed. Start with a basic resume that matches well with your objective occupation. Then, as you respond to job opportunities, tailor your basic resume to match exactly with the employer's requirements. With today's computers and word processing software, there's no excuse for writing generic resumes.

Translate
When you first entered military service, you were unfamiliar with much of the language you heard and the terms that were used to identify people, equipment and locations. Now that you understand and speak military jargon, you're going to have to translate this jargon for the employers who will read your resumes. This will include avoiding terminology, abbreviations and acronyms that are typically military and writing out or explaining terms as you develop your resume.

Focus
How you present your skills and experience in your resume helps determine whether or not you are invited to interview for a job. In addition to tailoring your resume to the employer's requirements, it's important to portray yourself as a "doer" whose skills match the requirements of the position and who demonstrates the ability to do the job. This is easy to do when you include results, achievements and accomplishments you've produced that relate to the desired position.

Summarize
Employers don't always have as much time as they would like to review resumes, so it's important that you make it easy for them to quickly see what you can do for them. A summary of your qualifications, written as bullet statements, a paragraph or keywords, can be an effective way to introduce your resume and a quick way for the employer to view your ability and areas of expertise.

Format
There is a resume style that's best for you, but only you can decide what that style is. Generally, resumes, whether printed or electronic, are presented in one of three formats: chronological, functional or a combination of chronological and functional. While your counselor can help you to select the format that will best display your abilities, only you can make the final decision about the format that works best for you. Which you choose will depend, in part, on the type of work you've performed and whether or not you're going to continue to do the same work.

  • Chronological resumes list work experience according to date, with the current job appearing first. Chronological resumes work well if your career has been progressive and you plan to continue in the same line of work.
  • Functional resumes describe the skills you've used on the job. Functional resumes work well if you're contemplating a new career, don't have a lengthy work history or have held a number of different positions because they sell your abilities based on the skills you've acquired during your career.
  • Combination resumes both describe your work experience and highlight your skills. Combination resumes usually provide the most comprehensive overview of your career.

Content
Whether you apply for a position using a resume or a job application, employers look for the same basic information: your name, address and how you can be reached; your job objective, as appropriate; a summary of qualifications; information about your experience and skills; and your education and training. Creating a personal inventory and keeping your information up to date, enables you to quickly create resumes and applications in order to respond to job leads.

Appearance
You've probably checked your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and are confident that it will pass muster; however, you're not finished with it yet. Take a good look at its overall appearance. Is it appealing and easy to read? Is there enough white space; are the margins appropriate; and have headings, font and formatting style been used effectively? Was it produced using a word processing program or, at the very least, an electronic typewriter? Was it printed from a laser printer using bond paper? As you review it, keep in mind that your resume gives employers their first impression of you. Make sure it makes the best impression possible.

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Untitled Document
Job Assistance

Setting a Realistic Objective

Assessing your Abilities

Exploring the Market

Creating Effective Resumes

Applying for a Federal Job

Maxing the Job Interview

Dressing for Success

Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers