Most resume books tell you, as the first step, to "take a piece of paper and begin listing all your positive attributes," or something to that effect. Why? I thought you wanted to write a resume? If you want someone to produce an exhaustive list of all your positive attributes, go ask your mother—moms are great in the "positive attribute listing" category. This practice in "positive attribute development" might be okay for someone about to graduate from high school who wants to figure out what they want to do with their life, but hey—are we not college grads? Why not take that quantum leap forward and just start putting together the actual information in resume format in a document which can be used, updated and re-used?
A great resume will not get you the job. But a poor resume can keep you from getting the job.
Successful resumes generate information as they are created. Think about it. Do you ever write a term paper from scratch? Not usually. You use either a template file with all the information and codes already set up (like the standard format for the bibliography section that comes at the end of every term paper), or you reuse the basic information from a previous paper.
The same principle applies to resumes. The very best way to create your resume is on the screen in front of you, capturing information as you go and updating it as necessary over time. No PC of your own? This is a good time to make your pilgrimage to the campus computer lab or career center. Take two jump disks/flash drives with you—one to use as your working copy and one as your backup for that inevitable point in the future when you accidentally destroy the first copy. Usually when you need it most.
Don't waste your time using one of the commercial resume software packages. Reason? First, they artificially force you into their format, which may or may not be correct and usually cannot be fine-tuned to your specific needs. Second, they are usually not portable—meaning that the output file can only be modified with that package. So the next time you want to update your resume, you either have to locate (or buy) the same package or you are out of luck. You are better off working with a standard word processing package (such as Microsoft Word) and creating your own.
Store your resume in a format that you can change and modify as you move forward in your job search.
An excellent way to get a jump start on your resume development is with Quickstart Resume Templates available exclusively at:
These templates contain preformatted resumes in a variety of file formats for more than thirty different majors (from Accounting to Zoology). Quickstart Resume does not require you to learn an entirely new software program, nor does it force you into a rigid format. If you can use a word processor you can use Quickstart Resume. Simply add your own content to customize your personal resume.
The following page contains a sample Quickstart Resume Template format for a successful resume. It provides you with the basic features you need for developing a solid resume structure.
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