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Resume Tools!resume writing, resume tips, resume samples, resume cover letters, resume words

These are the basic principles behind good resume design and presentation.  These resume tools and tips have worked well for FacilitatorGuy and others for a long time and they will work for you, too!

Click one of these to read about a specific resume topic:
Overview]    [Objective vs. Summary]    [Experience]
Mgmt./Team Philosophy]     [Awards]    [Education]
Personal Development]    [References]


Also here is an item written by Shale Paul, a Personal Effectiveness "coach."
Consider these resume tools and tips in your preparation efforts!

Click one of these to read about a specific resume topic
in Shale's resume tools and tips article below:
Introduction]    [Avoid Personnel]    [Your Resume - Leave Behind]
Resume for Busy People]    [Your Objective]
Your Experience]    [Other Important Items]
How to Use Your Resume]


  1.   A resume is, maybe, only 10% of the total marketing/hiring process, but at the beginning, it may be the only thing you have!  Take it very seriously!

  2.   Your resume is, first and foremost, a marketing document.  It is not your work history.  Your goal is to present yourself to the reader, such that they will see how you can help their company.  Keep this as your baseline theme throughout the resume development process.

  3.   Your resume is never done.  It is a work-in-progress.  You need to fine-tune it on a regular basis.

  4.   Your resume is not a static document.  You may need a slightly different version for each prospective company so you can emphasize your strengths, as needed.

  5.   Regarding paper color, the most traditional is a white or off-white (cream color), heavier-than-usual paper.  Textured paper, paper with a watermark, pastel colors, all can work.  The goal is to set yourself apart, but regardless, keep a professional "look".

  6.   For most resumes, stick with a Times New Roman or Arial font.  Resumes targeted more toward a "creative" position (marketing, for example) may be fine with a more unique, yet readable font.

  7.   Don't go below a 10 pt. font size in your resume.  If you use a very small pt. font, your reader may become frustrated with all the fine print and never read your resume.  If you can do it, a 12 pt. font is best.

  8.   Leave lots of  "white space" around the edges and throughout your resume.  No less than a 1" margin is mandatory - up to 1.5".  It is better to go two pages than to have a crowded, difficult to read, one-page resume.

  9.   And, regarding the debate over how many pages is appropriate, don't let anyone tell you that more than one page is unacceptable.  If you can reasonably get all the important stuff on one page, that's great, but it isn't a crime if you don't.  Either way, you shouldn't go beyond two pages.

  10.   More and more companies are accepting (and sometimes requiring) an electronic version or a resume.  If this is the case, paper color, type, weight, quality, etc. don't matter.  What you say does matter -- the issue then is your use of KEYWORDS.

  11.   Keywords are those words specific to the position you seek.   Most likely, these will be in your resume anyway, but it is a good idea to make sure that any industry-specific verbiage you may be aware of is in your resume.  Some companies use computer software that searches resumes that have been scanned into a database.  This software looks for specific keywords so if your resume has them, you make the cut.  But, if it doesn't.......   In this instance, it doesn't matter how qualified you may be.  Be sure to get those keywords in your resume!

  12.   Be sure to say the most important things at the beginning.  You must grab the reader's attention within the first two or three inches (15-30 seconds) of page space.  If you don't, you may lose them.

  13.   If your strong point is your education, put it first.  If your strong point is your general accomplishments or awards and it is relevant to the position you seek, put it first.  If your strength is your employment, put that first.

  14.   Be consistent in your use of numbers.  Although there may be exceptions, a good rule of thumb is, if the number is less than 100, use the word - otherwise, use the number.

  15.   Use a consistent date format.  Don't switch back and forth between 1/1/1999 and 1-1-1999 and Jan. 1, 1999.

  16.   Don't staple your resume.  Stapling makes it more difficult for the reader to make copies and the process of removing the staple can damage your resume.  Use a paper clip instead.

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    Objective vs. Summary

  1.   Many people advocate the use of the "Objective" section at the beginning of the resume.  The FacilitatorGuy approach uses, instead, a "Summary".  An "Objective" states the obvious.  You want a particular job or to be part of a particular company or industry - something that can be stated in your cover letter, etc.  Rather than wasting your precious resume space in this way, use a "Summary".

  2.   A "Summary" describes you - who you are, your strengths - what you do.  Think about this...write your thoughts down and come up with two or three sentences that describe you.

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  1.   For each employer in your career, think about those things you did that helped the company, saved the company money, made a process more efficient, etc.

  2.   Use active verbiage in your resume.  Say "directed" or "managed" instead of "was responsible for".

  3.   Instead of saying "saved the company money", think of a specific thing you did to reduce costs or make things more efficient.  If you came up with a program to reduce overtime, for example, think of how many hours times the number of employees times the number of occurrences or days.  You will end up with a tangible dollar amount.  This may only be an estimate or projection, but it at least shows that you put some thought into it and can back up your statements!  Here are some examples of savings that employers like to see:

         - Increased sales, productivity, performance levels, safety
         - Reduced errors, injuries, product rejects
         - New products, programs, policies,
         - Effective management ($ savings), budgeting ($ savings)

  4.   Spend more time on your more applicable work experiences and less time on your less applicable ones.  You don't have to do a "memory dump" on everything you ever did.  This wastes time and space on your resume.

  5.   Let your first "bullet" be the typical "job description" section and let each subsequent bullet describe specific contributions you made or significant projects you worked on.

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    Management/Team-building Philosophy

  1.   This is a section you may never have seen on a resume and that may be just the reason it works so well.  Almost no one ever talks about the intangibles, their personality, work ethic, motivational style, attitude, etc.

  2.   You don't have to ever have managed anyone to have a philosophy (and you can take the "team-building" approach if it makes more sense to you).


  1.   In this section, include nominations received for awards as well.   Also, if you were selected to participate in a special organization, include that as well.


  1.   Expand on those areas of education that are relevant to the position, but include them all.

  2.   Some say only include your GPA if the average is better than 3.0.   Following that reasoning, if you include them for some education and not for others, what message are you sending.  Except for graduating college students with a real strong GPA and no work experience, etc., it is best just to leave the GPA out altogether.

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    Personal Development

  1.   Use this section for self-improvement courses taken, technical training, etc.  Briefly describe those items that may not be easily understood by the reader.


  1.   Just like the "Objective" section, it is assumed that you have references.  The oft-used phrase, "references available upon request" is a given and just wastes space.  If you are short on space, you are just as well served to balance your items over the document or try to expand a section.

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Shale Paul's resume tools and tips article begins here...

CAREERS – Updated Your Resume Lately?

Since the last issue was usurped by the piece on the economy, this will get us back on schedule. In recent weeks, I’ve been asked to assist several clients in preparing or updating their resumes. Can’t tell you why the traffic in this area has increased, but it suggests that the readership might benefit from a discussion of the subject.

When I began working with John Crystal in the career field in 1974, the approach was to urge clients NOT to prepare a resume at all. Instead, to help them develop entire career-planning strategies. That’s changed somewhat in the intervening twenty years plus. Today, you have vast internet based resume bins, extremely sophisticated sorting mechanisms, and tons more people in the job market. Even though unemployment is low, turnover in many industries is high—an indicator perhaps of the decline in organizational loyalty and the take-charge attitudes that many have been forced to develop.

So, today, in most situations, you need a resume … but, how it is developed and subsequently used is critical. Here are ten guidelines you may want to consider:

1. Where possible, avoid sending your resume to Personnel. Their role is to exclude rather than include. They get hundreds of resumes for many positions, and their task is to winnow the huge numbers down to meaningful size. Some use computer scanning/sorting for a first cut, many rely on largely invisible sorting criteria to weed out those who are unacceptable, and some (only a few, we hope) are motivated by their desire to submit only those applicants who, they feel, will make them look good. (I should say that there are organizations where the HR/personnel types don’t fit this description but, in my experience, they are definitely in the minority)

2. Treat your resume as a leave-behind rather than a send-before. Believe it or not, YOU are more important than your resume, so it only makes sense that the prospective employer meet you first, not your resume. (How you accomplish this miraculous feat is what strategy is all about)

3. Write your resume with one thought in mind: the reader (prospective employer) has little time and very specific interest. Every word should be carefully orchestrated accordingly. Example: the first and only thing at the top of your resume (center heading) should be your name, not your address and phone. Think about it. When will the interviewer call or write you? Only when he or she has made a decision to follow up, and that’s not when you walk in the door. Your contact information is the next-to-last item on your resume.

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4. After your name, the most important item is your Objective, typically set-off as a minor side head (initial caps only) followed two-spaces below with a sentence that begins: To … Your objective should be specific to the type of work and position you are applying for, and it should focus on the benefits to the employer (e.g.- your objective is NOT to develop your skills on the employer’s time!)

5. Once you’ve stated your objective, everything else follows directly from that objective. Does this mean that you may have a different resume and objective for each employment prospect? YES! The objective is to make your campaign rifle-like in its specificity.

6. Following your objective, the next minor side heading should be:

Relevant Experience. The word, relevant, is critical here, because it enables you to get away from the current-employment-first listing requirement. What you write under this heading (typically as bulleted paragraphs) is ordered in relation to your objective, not according to history. That is, the first item—phrased in terms of measurable results where possible—should be the most important contribution you can offer towards reaching your objective. The second item should be the next most important, and so on. Now, the reason for the word, Relevant, is that it enables you to list these items in order of their importance rather than their chronology. This is critical, because you may have worked in a job that does not contribute to your objective, so you want to avoid highlighting it.

7. Your next heading (minor side) would be something like: Education & Extracurricular, or Education & Military. Here you would list your degrees, highest first according to: type of degree, concentration, college, and year. (e.g., MBA, Finance, Cornell University, 1991). You would also list military experience and any activities that help describe you as the kind of person who could/would accomplish your stated objective.

8. Now we pay homage to chronological order. This is your Chronology section in which you list the organizations (and positions, if you like, though it’s often unnecessary and unwieldy if you’ve held a number of different positions in a single organization), and inclusive dates (years only, e.g.,1992-94). This section protects you from being accused of having left anything out. The word, Relevant, allows you be be selective in the most important section.

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9. Publications. If you’ve written books or articles that are relevant to your objective or that tell much about you as a person, list them here (title, publisher and date of publication plus any co-authorship). If you’re applying for work in an academic, scientific, or technical environment, you may want to be fairly inclusive here. The key measure is: is this item pertinent in relation to my objective and experience?

10. Contact information. This is the next-to-last item and, as per above, it includes your address, phone, fax, e-mail, etc. The last item is a single statement, set off as a separate line: References available on request.

Now, let’s say you’ve followed the outline above, prepared your resume with proper fonts and sizing. How do you use it? Well, for starters, you try to use it as an item that you present to the interviewer AFTER he/she has had a chance to meet and talk with you. With personnel types, this is hard, but with an operating manager/executive—if you set it up right—it’s much easier. The key point here is that the most important impression is YOU, not your resume. And incidentally, while the precise figures vary, there seems to be general agreement that you have about two minutes to make a favorable impression. Longer than that and it’s an up hill battle.

A second point regarding use of the resume. Use it as a checklist for spotting weaknesses or gaps in your experience, strengths, job history, etc. As in the old sales maxim: meet the objection head-on, you want to think ahead about any or problems your resume might reveal. For example, if you are applying for an accounting position and, somewhere between your accounting degree and your present position, you sold cars, have an explanation for the discrepancy! Don’t expect that it won’t be noticed, because it will. Don’t initiate discussion about it, but if questioned or challenged, be ready to respond in a way that seems reasonable to the interviewer.

Finally, use your Relevant Experience section as the basis for developing talking papers. These are papers you write, one for each item, which you virtually memorize so that you can talk without them fluently and with apparent spontaneity. In these talking papers, you focus on your accomplishments, the challenges you faced, the growth you experienced, and the insights you gained. This last item is extremely important, because it’s your way of demonstrating—in the give-and-take interview discussion—your capability.

I hope I haven’t discouraged you, but a resume is (or should be) more than just a nicely formatted personal history. In a way, it’s the evidence on which the impressions you create are based. It’s also (with your talking papers which the interviewer never sees) your script.

One final note. Even if you aren’t looking for a job, preparing a resume, a la the above can help focus your interests and effort. Have fun!

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Copyright 1998, Shale Paul. May be transmitted or reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line.


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