What is a Resume?
The most common answer to the question, “What is a resume?” is — a document that aptly summarizes your experience and qualifications for a particular job. True. But a resume is much more. Similar to a quick-hitting advertisement, a resume is a demonstration of your organization skills, your preparedness, and your ability to market yourself. It is an example of your value as an employee and your ability to solve problems. All of that in about ten seconds — the average length of time each resume is looked at. And a dirty little secret that companies may not want you to know; the resume is a weed-out tool. How? Simple, ask yourself why you are submitting a resume. To help an employer get a sense of whether or not they want to interview you for a full-time position.
You know how boring it can be putting together your own resume. So imagine what it must be like to read hundreds of resumes from people you don't even know. Sifting through resumes is rarely the top choice of how a human resources manager would like to spend her day. The key ingredients in a resume that gets noticed are wording that is kept to a minimum and making sure each carefully chosen fact produces a lasting impression on an employer. Your tacit goal should be to make the most out of the least.
If you were a professional baseball player, your resume would be your baseball card. Your employment history and accomplishments would be touted in your career statistics. As a relative new comer to the big leagues — or the job market — there would be a few sentences encapsulating your background in the farm system — or the university — and what you did there. There might be a few fun facts or some hobbies to round you out as a person. The one difference is that a baseball card can't hide the ugly truth that while you may have been a great power hitter, your overall batting average was lousy. On a resume, you can control which successes you want to talk up. And you should. The resume is the place to boast about all those achievements. In other words, a C in 20th Century British Literature should not and will not necessarily put you out of the running for a banking job.
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