Before Writing – Gather Your Information This chapter will help you find your most marketable skills, then find achievements in your past that prove you have those skills. The data you assemble will help you write your Guaranteed Résumé (in the next chapter). Find your marketable skills Your Guaranteed Résumé will highlight your most marketable skills in such a way that employers are more likely to call you. What are your most marketable skills? Answer these two questions: What do you do well? What do you most enjoy doing? Is it the job you’re doing now? Your course work in school? If not, what do you do well? Is it a hobby? Volunteer work? Other? Write your answers on a sheet of paper. What do you enjoy doing? What skills do you most enjoy using on the job or in school right now? What skills would you use even if you weren’t paid? Write out your answers. If you enjoy doing something that you’ve already written down in answer to the first question, underline it this time. Ideally, you’ll have several skills underlined at the end of this exercise. These are things you do well AND enjoy doing. Now, list your 2-3 most marketable skills. From your list of underlined skills, choose the 2 or 3 you think will be most attractive to the person reading your résumé. These are your most marketable skills. You’ll use them later to write your résumé. This is the most important step in the process of writing your Guaranteed Résumé. Why? Because if you know what your most marketable skills are, you can highlight your most relevant experience, which will help you find the job that’s best for you. Prove your case with achievements Now, what achievements prove the 2-3 most marketable skills you listed above? Write at least three things you did that you’re proud of and THEIR RESULTS. What have you done to increase productivity, profits, efficiency, sales, etc.? Use facts, figures, years and be as specific as possible. Your achievements can be from paid or volunteer employment, school projects or even hobbies. As long as they’re relevant to the work you want to do, you may include them in your résumé. Don’t include everything ⎯ what to leave out Some things don’t belong in your résumé. Here’s a list of six things you should not include: • Title at the top of the page, such as “Résumé of Qualifications,” “Confidential Résumé,” etc. If the reader needs to be told that he’s reading a résumé, he’s in no position to hire you. • Months of employment. While you must include the years you were at each job, don’t include the months. This is perfectly acceptable and helps cover up any short gaps in employment. Your dates should look like this: (1997-1998). • Reasons for leaving. This information is irrelevant and uses valuable space. You can always discuss these facts in a job interview. If you feel compelled to explain why you left a job after a few weeks or months, just leave it out of the résumé. • Salary. Never discuss this until you have a job offer. • References. Write these on a separate sheet and bring them to the interview. And don’t’ include the phrase: “References available upon request.” It’s understood that you have them. This line wastes space • Age, sex, religion or health. In the United States, it’s illegal to discriminate against you because of these. Don’t refer to them in your résumé. If you’re in doubt about whether or not to include something in your résumé, ask yourself: “Will this make an employer more likely to call me?” If the answer is a definite “Yes,” include it. If the answer is “No,” consider leaving it out.
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