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March 10, 2009

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Studies show that regardless of how long you labor over your resume, most employers will spend 10 seconds looking at it. That's it.

Because of the masses of job searchers, most managers and human resource employees receive an enormous number of resumes. Faced with a pile of paper to wade through every morning, employers look for any deficiency possible to reduce the applicant pool to a manageable number. Thus, your resume must present your information quickly, clearly, and in a way that makes your experience relevant to the position in question. That means condensing your information down to its most powerful form.

So distill, distill, distill. Long, dense paragraphs make information hard to find and require too much effort from the overworked reader. If that reader can't figure out how your experience applies to the available position, your resume is not doing its job.

Solve this problem by creating bulleted, indented, focused statements. Short, powerful lines show the reader, in a glance, exactly why they should keep reading.

Think about how to write up your experience in targeted, clear, bulleted, detail-rich prose. Here are some examples.

Computer and Internet Technician

Before:

Primary Duties: Computer repair and assembly, software troubleshooter, Internet installation and troubleshooting, games.

After:

Primary Duties:

  • Assembled and repaired Dell, Compaq, Gateway, and other PC computers
  • Analyzed and fixed software malfunctions for Windows applications
  • Installed and debugged Internet systems for businesses such as Rydell's Sports, Apple Foods, and Eric Cinemas

Theater Marketing Intern

Before:

Responsibilities included assisting with artist press releases, compiling tracking sheets based on information from reservationists and box office attendants, handling photo and press release mailings to media, assisting in radio copywriting, and performing various other duties as assigned.

After:

Experience includes:

  • Wrote artist press releases that contributed to an increase in sales by 23%
  • Compiled and maintained mailing list of 10,000 -- Cambridge Theater's largest ever list
  • Handled press release mailings to Anchorage Daily News, and Fox Four Television
  • Contributed to copywriting of promotion radio commercials for selected events

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