Director/Sponsor's Message

Showcase Your Talents

By Rahel Bailie

Resumes. We know we need one. Most of us have one. But are we using our resumes to showcase what we can do, and to put our skills and talents in the best light? We can agree that a resume contains information about our work histories. Potential employers often use it to pick a short list of candidates to interview for a job. In other words, potential employers often use it to screen out most of the candidates that they decide aren't qualified enough to make the short list. So how do you use a resume to your advantage?

A resume can be used in a number of ways, as described in the following list:

What Goes In, What Doesn't

Information such as a career objective, work and educational history, credentials, and accomplishments are universally accepted, and expected, in a resume. As well, certain industries and professions have specific expectations. For example, academics list publications in their resumes; software developers list the coding languages that they know.

Oh, and don't forget the basics. Include your name, address, phone number, fax number, and personal email address in the body of your resume. You'd be surprised how many resumes don't have enough contact information to get in touch with candidates.

What should be omitted from a resume is extraneous information that companies can use as part of the screening process. When a company is trying to reduce a stack of several hundred submissions to a short list of under ten, you don't want to give them any information that may help them sort you out. Let the judging be done on your skills and abilities.

Resume Structures

A resume begins with a career objective. Everyone wants "an exciting job in a progressive company," so be specific enough to make your objective meaningful. State briefly what type of position you're seeking, what you can contribute to the company that you're approaching, and what type of company you'd like to work for. For example, an objective for a technical editing job could be: "To contribute to a technical writing team that uses my exceptional editing skills for a mid-size to large organization in the software development industry." A well-written objective also helps the "sorters" of the resumes determine which job in the company you are applying for.

Many resumes contain a section that lists skills and abilities and areas of expertise, or lists industry-specific information such as tools mastered. Such a list should not be so prominent as to detract from your skills. After all, listing the fact that you play the violin does not guarantee that you can play skillfully; neither does a list of software programs guarantee the quality of your writing, editing, or management skills.

Educational background, professional development, professional memberships, and any publications and awards should be listed. However, unless you have a newly minted advanced degree in a sexy new discipline, don't make this information particularly prominent.

You can structure your resume in four basic ways. How you structure your resume depends on how much experience you have, and what you want to emphasize.

Developing the right kind of resume is an important part of a job search. It is your public face, your marketing brochure, the "leave-behind" that can be read and passed around and used to decide your suitability once you have left the premises. The most important aspect of your resume is not to show your history, but your potential to an employer. Show off your talents and let employers give you a chance to use them.

Rahel Bailie is Director/Sponsor of Region 7. You can reach her at .