Are you trying to figure out how to write a resume? Writing a resume is a daunting task for anyone, especially if you don’t know how to describe your entire career history on paper. Many times job seekers get so frustrated that they end up over-editing their own resume to the point where various items become redundant or exaggerated. There must be a perfect balance of your experience, skills, and achievements that will show a successful career progression that nobody else can match. In today’s ultra-competitive job market, this is imperative. Setting yourself apart from the competition is key to landing interviews with potential employers and presenting a well written, clear and concise resume can open the door. Now that you know the importance of having a powerful resume during your job search, let’s move on to gathering some essential tips and advice that will get you to the next level. Format is probably the first thing you want to determine. Be sure not to use a design that has too many tables and fancy fonts. This could scramble your resume’s information in an applicant tracking system database and make some information ineligible. Use a simplified format that is well organized and easily scan-able, yet clean and appealing to the human eye. With the way jobs are found today, this is extremely important if you are using online career websites to conduct your job search. The way you organize your background information such as work and education history can depend on several different factors. When you are targeting a specific job, you must highlight your qualifications, skills, and key strengths that would be relevant to that job so your resume will appeal to a hiring manager at first glance. Grabbing their attention up front is the most important goal of a resume since you will only have about 30 seconds or less to impress the reader. Therefore, including your most relevant information up front should be next on your list of your resume writing project. If you are making a career change and don’t have much experience, you should highlight your relevant degree/education first and follow with your work experience last. These are probably the most important elements of preparing an effective resume, so follow these steps and you should be well on your way to creating a job-winning application document that should get you results. A certified professional resume writer can also give you the resume writing help and edge you need to make an impeccable presentation. This is always an option if you are completely stumped. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Myths vs. Fact: There are many myths floating around on the internet and throughout the job marketplace regarding the correct length of a resume and how far back a resume should go. These are all good questions and subjects to cover since there are many different approaches you must take depending on your particular background and target industry. The truth is, there are no standard rules that should be applied to the length of a resume. However, keeping the content concise and straight to the point may be a key element in the effectiveness of the document, depending on your line of work. Some job seekers will have more information than others, for example - a seasoned professional with 20 years of work history and eight different jobs held versus an entry-level college graduate with no significant achievements or experience. Obviously, there will be a distinguishable format between the two resumes. An entry-level job search campaign may be one of the examples when the rumor about a "one-page resume" would apply. Again, this is not a standard rule that one must follow. Every industry, recruiter, and employer requires varied amounts of information to be displayed on a resume. Therefore, it is important to hone in on those particular requirements to ensure you are gathering the necessary information to achieve your targeted objective. So, just to recap - how long should your resume be? Well, there is simply no definite answer to this question. So, when you are asking yourself if your resume is too long, remember, everyone's situation is different, job requirements vary, and some backgrounds are more diverse or extensive than others. Unfortunately, two myths regarding resume length continue to impact job seekers:
  • Myth 1: A resume should never be more than one page or it will not be read by busy HR professionals and managers.
  • Myth 2: Some believe a lengthy resume (more than 2 or 3 pages) is required to adequately describe a candidate's background.
Interestingly enough, these two myths represent opposing viewpoints; however, like many myths, they each contain some truth that derives from how a resume will be screened by hiring managers. Keep in mind some companies may also first use an applicant tracking system (ATS) for screening and organizing applicants. Resume Scanning: A resume will first receive a very brief scan, often 10-20 seconds, to determine if the candidate appears to meet the major requirements. While the entire resume may be quickly scanned, utilizing a summary of qualifications with keywords and phrases based upon one's career goal and job target is advantageous. A resume that passes the initial scan will then receive greater scrutiny to determine if a candidate qualifies for an interview. Here, relevant depth and detail in the history is best since the candidate's experience, skills, and strengths - as they apply to the position - will be more thoroughly assessed.

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There are many industry-standard guidelines to follow when it comes to writing a resume, and if you are not sure about how to follow these resume writing guidelines, you could drastically reduce your chances of landing interviews with potential employers who read resumes every day. First of all, it is important to keep your resume concise (straight to the point) for the simple fact you do not want to bore the reader with repetitive information or too much "fluff" about obvious responsibilities throughout your work history. You need to focus on many other resume writing guidelines as well, such as:

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There are many self-proclaimed experts claiming to know what’s best when it comes to preparing an effective resume. Let’s face it, anyone who has basic Internet skills can figure out how to type up an article just like this. We are living in the 21st century and technology is advancing quickly. This allows college-aged kids and people in their early twenties to make a small side income by giving uneducated and misguided career advice to job seekers on various blog sites. The problem with this is you never know who’s actually behind the keyboard. So, let me ask you a question. As an accomplished professional or executive, are you willing to put your career in the hands of a young, self-proclaimed expert who has little or no experience as a hiring manager or resume writer? I didn’t think so. To help you identify these incompetent resume experts, I have provided a list of the four most slipshod bits of advice you will find online that these amateurs provide.

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