Build Your Job Search Foundation: A Powerful, No Frills Resume

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As part of my career coaching practice (and because I'm a professional writer), I help women refine their resumes. Often women come to me because they think I'm going to create an eye-catching version of their resume that will dazzle and demand undivided attention from recruiters. Here's the reality: the only thing that gets and holds a recruiter's attention are the words in your resume. No color, format, or design will make any difference if you're not doing a good job of very clearly conveying your expertise and accomplishments. Your finished resume will be judged for accuracy (no typos), professional appearance (simple and straightforward), representation of skills (sell your fit), metrics (proof of your achievements), detail about key responsibilities (not a laundry list), and language (use powerful, high-voltage words that elevate, rather than trivialize your experience). Notice that I'm talking about your resume, singular—just one, not two or ten. You need only one version of your resume. This is why: you've had paid and volunteer experiences since you finished your education—and these experiences are unique to you. Your resume is a profile of all your current and past experiences. The purpose of your resume is to state the facts about you. The facts don't change—whether you're looking for a flexible job in Accounting or Zoology. If you zero in on your unique skill set, your resume can sell your fit for a job in any industry. It's the cover letter that you customize for each job.

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