a member of the Professional
Association of Resume Writers (PARW)
and a member of the National
Resume Writers Association (NRWA)
Welcome to BestResume, where our goal is helping you achieve
your career goals. An effective, professional resume is the first
step, followed by polished and professional interview skills, and BestResume
can assist with both. This site contains some helpful job process information
below, as well as information about BestResume and getting your
own best resume and best interview techniques, to start you
on your way to the job you've always wanted!
Job Process Information
The Best Type of Resume
This is a trick title because there is no one best type of resume.
The best type of resume for you is the one that presents you at
your best advantage, and that is where BestResume can provide
valuable assistance! There are two types of standard resumes -- chronological
and functional, as explained briefly below.
A chronological resume is what most people picture when they envision
a resume (see Sample Chronological
Resume). It lists jobs held, starting with the most recent, and describes
duties performed in each one. It is a good way to show job skills that
you've acquired, as well as to show a progression in those skills. A good
thing to add to a chronological resume is a Qualifications Summary, where
before you describe your jobs, you stress five or six key abilities/characteristics
that you want to "jump out" at the reviewer. This helps achieve some of
the focused nature of the functional resume, while maintaining the format
of the chronological resume.
A functional resume is good way to stress your skills when you haven't
had a lot of paying jobs that show your strengths (see Sample
Graduate Resume), because you can choose the headings that best
capture your unique skill set and then stress the skills you've
acquired from a variety of experiences. You should choose three
or four skill categories, and then have at least three, but preferably
four, examples of the work you did in those skill categories. After the
skills section, you must still do a brief chronological listing
of the jobs/experiences from which you gained the skills. And as with the
chronological resume, you should consider adding a Qualifications Summary,
where before you describe your skills experience, you stress five or six
key abilities/characteristics that you want to "jump out" at the reviewer.
A functional resume is also good if you have gaps in your employment
(see Sample Re-entering
Work Force Resume), because you can stress your skills and strengths,
but in the chronological list at the bottom you only list the jobs/experiences
from which you gained the strengths. Since these include volunteer experiences
as well as paying jobs, gaps can be camouflaged.
Additionally, a functional resume is good if you want to change careers
(see Sample Career Change
Resume), because you can stress skills and strengths that would not
normally be associated with your particular job(s), and reviewers will
not have a pre-conceived notion about your abilities based on your job
title(s). And again, you can include volunteer experiences.
Following are some very basic resume tips if you choose to prepare your
own resume. But even better, let BestResume
prepare a winning resume for you!
Above all, keep in mind that the reviewer may have only 15 seconds to review
your resume before interviewing you. Therefore everything needs to be easily
visible, and if you want something emphasized, it should easily stand out.
When listing employment dates, show just the year and not the month. This
is especially important when you have gaps in employment that you'd like
Keep the resume to one or two pages if possible. Do not feel you need to
have two pages; reviewers can tell when a resume has been padded for length
Do not describe your job duties in lengthy paragraphs. Instead use phrases
(called "bullets"), and begin each bullet with an action verb. For example:
Increased sales from $20,000 to $100,000 in less than two months
Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments, as in the example above.
Do not include any personal information, such as marital or health status.
Don't forget to include any activity that has contributed skills relevant
to the job, even if it's volunteer work.
Be sure to include courses you've taken that are relevant to the job you're
Do not rely on spell check programs. The following phrase will not be questioned
by a spell checker, but is obviously incorrect:
-- Increased sails from $20,000 too $100,000 inn less then to moths.
Proofread your resume. Have several friends proofread it. Then proofread
Special Interest Groups
Many recent graduates make the mistake of thinking that they must use
a chronological resume that features only their "real" jobs. And if they've
only had one or two paying jobs, such as house painting or tutoring, that
makes for a pretty skimpy resume, one that probably doesn't highlight the
skills that most employers are looking for. Instead, recent grads should
consider a functional resume (see Sample
Graduate Resume) that features whatever experience (paid or unpaid)
is most relevant to the desired job.
Re-entering the Work Force
For individuals re-entering the work force, or entering it for the first
time late in life, their paying job(s) may have been many years ago or
they may never have held a paying job at all. In this situation, a functional
resume (see Sample Re-entering
Work Force Resume) really is essential, to stress the skills that have
been acquired from volunteer positions or education during the period of
Often, after years of working in a particular career field, people decide
they want to do something completely different. But a chronological resume,
where duties are described for the jobs held, would not likely suggest
to an employer that the individual could do something in a completely different
field. A functional resume (see Sample
Career Change Resume), however, could highlight the relevant skills
gained from past jobs, as well as any volunteer or educational experience
relevant to the desired career field.
The cover letter is very important, as it is often the first piece of information
a potential employer has about you. Your letter should have an opening,
a body, and a close, as explained briefly below.
There are three different types of openings, depending on the
situation you're in:
The body of the letter should briefly describe your skills (specifically
addressing every requirement listed in the ad, if applicable) and strengths,
the work you would like to do, and how that would benefit the company.
If you are answering a "blind" ad from a newspaper, where you do
not know the company's name, then your opening should simply state which
ad you are replying to. If you do know the company's name, make an effort
to find out who the manager is for the area you are applying to, so you
can address your letter to that individual. (Note: If you cannot find out
the manager's name, do not let that stop you from sending your letter.)
Ideally, if you know the company's name, do a little research on the company;
then mention a few tidbits about the company, to distinguish yourself from
the other respondents.
If you are fortunate enough to be applying for a job and you know someone
in the company, mention that individual in the opening. (But be sure
your acquaintance has given you permission to do so, and that they are
well thought of in the company!) Many companies give immediate priority
to such resumes.
If you are sending resumes "cold" to companies where you do not
know anyone, and you are not responding to a known job opening, then it
is essential that you convey some knowledge about the company and why you
would like to work there. Also, in this situation it becomes more desirable
to find out who the manager is of the area you would like to work in; otherwise
your resume may simply go to the personnel department, which may or may
not forward it to the appropriate department.
There are two approaches to the closing. In one, such as with
a blind ad or when you do not address your letter to anyone in particular,
you include a summary sentence, express your desire for an interview, provide
your phone number, and thank the individual, perhaps adding that you look
forward to hearing from them soon. This approach is also acceptable when
you do address your letter to a particular person. However, the other approach,
only possible when you address your letter to a particular person, differs
in that instead of taking a "passive" role and expressing a desire to be
called for an interview, you take an "active" role and state that you will
call them to arrange an interview. There are obviously drawbacks and benefits
to this approach, and you must use your judgment to determine if it is
right for you in a particular situation.
Once your BestResume resume has led to an interview, there are some
basic tips to help you succeed in this next step of your job process:
Try to learn as much as possible about the company, and casually sprinkle
that knowledge into the interview.
Know everything on your resume and be prepared to discuss it.
Dress appropriately for the company and position. If the company requires
suits for women, then wear one. If everyone wears jeans all the time, then
a suit may not be appropriate.
Greet the interviewer(s) with a firm handshake. (Yes, this applies to women
as well as men.)
Maintain eye contact on a regular (not constant) basis.
Where possible, give examples. To the question, "How do you handle pressure?"
you wouldn't just respond "I handle it well." You would instead reply,
"I handle pressure well, as I found first-hand when our customer came in
at 4:30 and demanded that ...."
If you need time to think about your answer, then repeat the question to
buy yourself some time, or say "That's a good question."
Be prepared with an answer to the question, "Tell me your greatest strength
and weakness." It is essential first of all that you are able to list a
weakness, and second, you should say how you are overcoming the weakness.
For example, "My greatest weakness is a tendency to overcommit, which is
why I've been using the DayTimer system, and I've seen my ability to prioritize
Be aware that many interviewers, either intentionally or out of ignorance,
still ask illegal questions. You cannot be asked your marital status, or
whether you have children, or what your future plans are in those areas.
Be prepared with what your answer will be. You may want to go ahead and
answer, and complain later. Or in a pleasant manner make an issue of it
then. Just be prepared for what you'll say.
A follow-up letter, in which you send a note to the individual(s) who interviewed
you, can distinguish you from the other applicants. The letter should be
brief and hand-written, on a simple but formal "fold-over" note card. It
should simply state that you enjoyed meeting with them on whatever date
you interviewed, state something you found memorable about the job or company,
restate how you could benefit the company, thank them again for their time,
and state that you look forward to being a part of their company. (Note:
If a secretary was particularly helpful to you, consider sending him/her
a letter as well. Stories abound of how this clinched a job for someone.
But beware of doing it simply for effect.)
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