Among the many myths about writing resumes, one stands out: You should never repeat yourself in a resume. In truth, there are two circumstances when repeating yourself is your best possible course. The first circumstance relates to the specific skills a company asks for. Suppose you were shopping for a used truck and the car salesman kept showing you brand new sports cars. You would walk out of the dealership. By the same token, if a company insists they need someone with four years of experience, the ability to speak Spanish and a B.A. in chemistry, you have to meet those requirements and your resume has to show you meet them. Otherwise, the company will move on to a candidate who clearly does meet their specific qualifications. One way to highlight important qualifications is by repeating them in more than one location. In the typical resume, you might relate this critical information in the summary and then repeat it later on in the body. You should also make sure it appears in your cover letter or e-mail. The second circumstance when repetition is essential is in federal resumes. Federal resumes have especially strong rules about the information they require. For example, they might ask for proof of the candidate’s leadership ability and business acumen, with supporting accomplishments. In a corporate resume, the standard practice is to describe a particularly strong accomplishment once, showing both leadership and business acumen. However, in federal resumes, it is far better to repeat the accomplishment, first to highlight leadership and then to highlight business acumen. The result is repetitive but recruiters can easily identify you as the candidate they want. I help candidates for both business and government positions with resumes that are fierce marketing documents. They tell recruiters what they want to hear, and make sure they hear it.
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