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Engineer - Resume Tips
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Resume Writing and Resume Formatting Tips
The pages that follow offer an alternative to a few outdated (and dangerous) resume writing tips. They debunk a few myths based on misguided theory and provide tips that will help you write and format a resume that works in the real world. You have probably read resume format and writing advice on resume paper quality, proofreading, action verbs, resume length, etc. We will not address resume tips that are obviously appropriate, proofreading for instance. We will however, discuss some elements of resume writing "dogma" that could use some updating.

We need to point out that there are no hard-and-fast rules on resume format, content, length, or writing style. Depending on the circumstances, the best advice could be "do" or "don't". Ultimately, you will need to evaluate the information provided here and apply it to your own unique circumstances; the final decision rests with you.
 
Should you write your own resume? We think not.
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Let us rewrite your resume to deliver maximum impact.
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Thinking of
going it alone?
Consider the following resume tips...
A resume is like a sales presentation delivered via fax or email. Selling yourself on paper is considerably more difficult than selling yourself on the telephone or in person. You must write and format a resume that can sell your suitability to the ultimate decision maker through an intermediary (the gatekeeper). Think of it as trying to make a sale by faxing your pitch to the customer's lawyer. Your resume must be near perfect to pass muster.

Resume writing does not come naturally to most people, not even professional resume writers. Anyone who has reviewed tens of thousands of resumes, knows that most resumes are dangerously flawed. Many qualified candidates waste weeks on fruitless job searches because they do not understand the cold realities of resume writing and formatting.
 
If you would like to save yourself a lot of wasted effort, here are a few things to consider before you submit another resume:
 
A rapid-scan resume format is essential because recruiters rarely read resumes; they scan them in 10-15 seconds.
Recruiters and HR managers often receive hundreds of resumes for each open position; they are often overworked and cannot spend more than a few seconds scanning each resume. They often screen 100-200 resumes a day, based on vague, changing, and sometimes contradictory criteria. If you do not format your resume to sell you quickly and effectively, you will not get interviews.
 
Your resume must sell to two audiences.
You must write and format your resume to appeal to two audiences: resume screeners and hiring managers. These audiences often have different agendas. Corporate recruiters may be in no hurry to fill all open positions because open positions mean job security. Gatekeepers guard their turf jealously, so you can be certain that the hiring manager will not see any resume that has not been blessed by the gatekeeping crew. You must present a resume that can satisfy gatekeepers as well as seasoned hiring managers. If your resume makes it clear that you meet all job requirements, the gatekeeper will be compelled to forward it to the hiring manager.
 
Doubt means you're out.
Most employers receive resumes from people who are obviously qualified; they do not have time to contact people who may be qualified. Most gatekeepers have been burned by candidates who look good on paper but fall short in interviews. They know that they will be blamed for any poor hiring decision, so they tend eliminate resumes for the slightest infraction or omission. If your resume raises questions, recruiters rarely call to get answers. They simply move on to the next resume.
 
Job requirements are fluid.
Often, hiring authorities realize what they are looking for in a candidate only after they see it. Job postings are not updated to reflect new requirements because many HR departments are understaffed. In order to write an effective resume, the resume writer must anticipate resume screening criteria.
 
Strong Candidate + Weak Resume = No Interview.
Even if you are a strong candidate, your skills and experience cannot overcome a weak resume. Recruiters and hiring managers decide who to call for an interview after they have reviewed a number of resumes. Solid qualifications and good references make no difference if the resume is deficient. If your resume does not sell, you will not be considered for most desirable and lucrative jobs in your field.
 
Management experience is not a substitute.
Years of hiring experience, as a manager or executive, do not provide adequate preparation for writing a resume. One cannot fully understand the screening process unless one has screened hundreds of resumes, week after week, for several years. Many hiring managers and HR generalists will tell you that your resume should be one or two pages long. Not true. Seasoned recruiters who have screened tens of thousands of resumes know that a resume should be as long as it takes to get the point across.
 
Even superstars need a coach.
Many qualified candidates gain an edge by hiring professional resume writers. Go a step further by hiring a professional with strong writing skills and relevant professional experience. Lawyers seek legal advice and dentists see dentists because objectivity, neutral perspective, and professional detachment are priceless. If you go it alone you will be at a disadvantage.
 
Many online and offline resources on resume writing were written before 1998 — eons ago.
Some resume writing advisors have not updated their writings to reflect changes in technology and contemporary economic realities; they still refer to the Internet as the "Information Superhighway" and carp endlessly on the importance of resume paper. Expired resume writing advice can hurt your job search.
 
Free resumes can be expensive.
You could spend hours or days gathering "free" resume writing information of dubious value only to end up with a resume that sabotages your job search. You need professional expertise and objectivity to write and format an effective resume. If a new resume shortens your job search by one day, or results in a 1 percent increase in salary, it pays for itself. An ineffective resume can cost thousands of dollars in lost time, income, and opportunity.
 
>> More job search tips...
The following links point to pages with further advice on resume writing.
  - Resume Tips >>
  - Job Search Tips >>
  - More Job Search Tips >>
  - Electronic Resume Tips >>
  - Resume Writing Tips >>
  - More Resume Writing Tips >>
  - Online Resume Writing Tips >>
  - More Online Resume Tips >>
  - Resume Length Dogma >>
  - Resume Process >>
  - Resume Links >>
  - Resume Critique >>
  - Machine Scannable Resumes >>
  - Should you write your own resume? >>
  - Cover Letter Tips >>
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Should you write your own resume? We think not.
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