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Ron Fry has written more than forty books, including the bestselling 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions and 101 Smart Questions to Ask on Your Interview. He is a frequent speaker and seminar leader on a variety of job-search and hiring topics and the founder and president of Career Press. Fry lives in New Jersey with his family.

101 Great Resumes by Ron Fry

Start your job search right with the perfect résumé to showcase your experience and land your dream job.

In 101 Great Résumés, you will find the résumé format that will work wonders for you, one that can showcase your unique background, situation, and career goals and help you land your dream job. It features résumés tailored to the individual situations, challenges, and aspirations of today's job seekers.

 
 

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THE ELEMENTS OF YOUR RESUME

Resumes are dead, some will tell you. Don't need one, shouldn't make one, never send one.

Or you still need one, but not the one you're used to. Has to be scannable. E-mailable. Online. Even better, a multi-media presentation on your own Website!

Well…no. Resumes are not dead. The process has changed in some very key ways—slapping together a quick list of your jobs and schools and, oh, yeah, some of that volunteer stuff and extracurricular clubs, is not going to fly anymore (presuming it ever did). Speaking of "key," who ever heard of "key words" a decade ago? But then, we weren't posting our resumes on Hotjobs.com, either.

There are more and more qualified people out there for most jobs than in recent memory. So what's really changed is the level of competition and the need, more than ever, to set yourself apart from all those other contenders.

Nope, still need a resume. Just one that's going to require more preparation, better writing, and a more professional, eye-catching presentation.

Exactly what is a resume?

Your resume is a written (or e-mailed, scannable, or electronic) document that is intended to convince an employer that his needs and your skills and qualifications are a perfect match. Which doesn't mean you will immediately be offered the job, just that you will get in the door for an interview.

Your resume should describe you and show what you can do by highlighting what you have already done. It should include your professional and volunteer experience, special skills, education, and accomplishments.

What shouldn't your resume be? Informal, lengthy, unfocused, lacking in pertinent detail, glib, highly personal, chatty, dishonest, or overblown. Oh, and it shouldn't be a mix of 14 different type styles (with liberal use of boldface, italics, and underlines) printed on canary yellow or purple neon paper.

Who needs a resume? You do. Whatever your age, sex, marital status, religious persuasion, or hair color. Whether you're graduating from high school, college, or grad school; moving in, up, or out of a career; "transitioning" from one career to another (or from the military to anything); or reentering the workforce after any substantial interruption.

Did I omit your situation? Sorry—but you need a resume, too.

Even if you're a student just applying for a summer job, internship, or part-time work, a well-prepared, well-written, well-designed resume will set you apart, show prospective employers you're serious, and present you in the manner you want to be perceived—professional, competent, and ready to work.

What will it do for me?

An excellent resume will not get you a job all on its own. But it does demonstrate that you take yourself and your career seriously—that you've put the necessary time and thought into communicating your qualifications, accomplishments, and goals.

A good resume helps you pique a prospective employer's interest and prevents you from achieving circular-file status. Whether you're making a "cold" call or have already developed a contact within the company, your resume is the personal calling card that will help you market your skills and experience…and perhaps land you an interview.

In today's job market, networking is essential. Your friends, neighbors, relatives, and former co-workers are all significant contacts in the business world. Having a current resume comes in handy when Uncle James or Neighbor Nancy hears about a position right up your alley. Circulating your resume among your network increases your chances of landing gainful employment.

Your resume also serves as a self-assessment tool, an opportunity to complete a self-inventory and see where you've been and where you'd like to go. Creating your resume allows you to evaluate your career and set future goals.