Career Calling

November 16, 2012

If It’s Important, Put It First

Filed under: Resume Writing — claycerny @ 10:17 pm
Tags: , ,

There is only one rule in writing a resume: Don’t lie.  Everything else is strategy.  For example, when a client has good work experience, I put education near the bottom of the resume.  However, if a client has obtained a recent degree or certification that an employer will care about, education will move to the top of the document.

Here are two more complicated examples.  A client is trying to get a position in clinical research.  Her education is recent, so I put it first on the resume.  Most people would say that professional experience should be the next element.  The problem is that this client’s experience is not as relevant as volunteer work she has done for more than six years.  In this case, I put volunteer experience before professional work because it was more relevant to what potential employers need to know.

Similarly, another client wants to return to the type of work he did 15 years ago.  Rather than discuss this client’s work history in a simple most recent to least recent format, I put the work that matters most first even if it is 15 years old. It is this person’s best claim to be able to perform the kind of work he wants to do. Some employers might say that this experience is dated.  Others, however, might see it as relevant to the position they need to fill.

Everyone agrees that employers don’t have time to read resumes carefully and figure out what you want to do.  Make it easy for them.  Put the elements first that show why you are qualified.  Don’t hide your selling points.

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