Sample Resumes: Steal Ideas Legally!

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Almost everybody I've ever helped write a resume has said something like, “If I just had an example to follow. . . "

The problem is, most people don't follow the example, they copy it.

That can scuttle your job search at a recruiter's email inbox. He's seen hundreds or thousands of resumes. If somebody sends him what amounts to a copy of one he's seen before, he might not notice. If he gets 100 of ‘em, yours will go in the trash with everybody else's. And remember, he probably sees enough resumes that you shouldn't increase the odds yours will be a copy.

You really have to make your own resume (or pay somebody to do it for you).

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Please don't create some formatting monstrosity that's barely readable. That's also dead on arrival. And don't write it in some odd dialect either, just “to be different. " Whatever you do, don't “borrow" somebody's else's job experience.

What you need is a professional presentation of what you honestly can do for the person who might hire you. You don't need something completely unique. If it's going to be professional, you shouldn't be using fancy colors and formatting (unless you're applying to be graphic artist). Basic text, bullets, and bold and underlined text will do nicely.

But where do you start?

Even if you're a naturally gifted writer, you may stink at writing a resume that'll even get read, much less make an impression. It's a very different writing skill. The best approach is to find some top-notch sample resumes, and use their format and wording as fodder for your own.

Look at 25 or so examples and see what they do to make the candidate's accomplishments more obvious and forceful. If they have an objective statement, is it a marketing tool, or is it useless fluff? Is there enough white space, or is everything crammed in?

Once you collect a set of characteristics that make a composite “best" resume, fire up Microsoft Word and start typing.

Copyright (c) by Roy Miller

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