Are free resume examples the answer to the jobseeker's dreams? You'd think so, by the number of books on the subject to be found online or at your local library or bookstore. Just imagine: resume samples for almost any industry or profession, ‘before’ and ‘after’ versions with critiques by professional resume writers . . . manna from heaven!
Well, up to a point. Many resume examples are excellent models of design, presentation and technique - and there's a lot to be learned by seeing what has worked well for other job applicants. But like most good tools, it's important to know how to use them well.
Most well-designed resumes are the result of many hours of development to create a profile which uniquely represents its subject. This usually involves:
- analysis of the industry or job-specific requirements
- appraisal of the applicant's attributes and work history
- promotion of accomplishments and skills to match an employers’ needs.
But when a job applicant is faced with the challenge of producing a quality resume in a short space of time, their first recourse may be to look through some resume examples to find a style that appeals. The trouble is, creating your own resume by simply rehashing someone else's is unlikely to result in a document that sells you to an employer on the basis of your individual qualities and achievements.
So how do you get the best out of resume examples?
One of the biggest advantages of sample resumes is that they help to imagine what it must be like to be a recruiter. Faced with dozens - if not hundreds - of resumes, you're likely to scan each one to pick out the few that match what you're looking for. So when you stand for a few moments in your ‘employer's shoes', you get to assess the impact of different presentation formats: what's aesthetically pleasing, what layouts are best for reading quickly, how to pack a punch with powerful language.
But the savvy reader can get a lot more out of a sample resume than just an appreciation of its style. The real value comes when you take the time to peel back the layers of the resume ‘onion’ - for example:
- Does the resume show how the employer will benefit from hiring the applicant?
- Does it sell this benefit by highlighting the value the applicant added in previous positions?
It's an example of the ‘hidden gold’ in sample resumes - and the secret to one of your most powerful techniques: the ability to create and influence your reader's perception of who you are.
So be proactive and take the time to dig up the buried treasure in those resume examples. You'll be learning to select appropriate aspects of your unique skill set and present them persuasively to your prospective employer - marketing yourself, in fact!
Nigel Patterson is a business writer and publisher of http://1stClassResume.com
Visit his website for more tips and advice on writing a great resume, working with sample resumes , and preparing for a job interview.