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What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles
With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world's most popular job-search book is updated for 2018 and tailors Richard Bolles's long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today's job-hunters and career-changers.
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Six Steps to a Blockbuster Resume

STEP THREE: Qualification Summary & Skill Set

Picture yourself at the market after a long day at the office. Youíre in a rush, of course, and want only to purchase those items on your list, if theyíre on sale. Hurrying into the store, you glance around for the weekly advertising piece that indicates which items will be offered at a discount. Trouble is, thereís no advertising piece this week, and no one to answer your questions. If you want to purchase the items you most need at a discount, youíre forced to walk up and down each and every aisle until you find whatís available.

Doesnít sound like much fun or an effective use of time, does it? And yet this is the same type of frustration hiring managers are exposed to every time an applicant sends in a resume that fails to open with a well-written Qualifications Summary and/or Skill Set.

What is a Qualifications Summary?

Itís a brief paragraph that showcases your most effective skills and experience as they pertain to your job search. More importantly, itís your chance to convince a hiring manager of the skills you can bring to the position. This is essential, given that hiring managers generally afford no more than 10 seconds to an applicantís resume, unless theyíre compelled to read further.

So, how do you compel them to keep reading?

Letís use this example: Youíre an accountant who has worked at XYZ Company for nine years and been promoted every time youíve come up for review. Because of your organizational efforts, the company is saving $2500 monthly. Youíve passed the CPA exam. Youíre skilled in Profit & Loss (P&L), audits, taxation matters, and internal controls. Now, you want a Controller position.

Rather than including all of the aforementioned data in the body of the resume, where the hiring manager would be forced to look for it, but wonít (remember, youíll be given 10 seconds before the hiring manager moves on), the wise candidate would write something like this:

Results-oriented, detailed professional with comprehensive accounting experience. Background includes consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility. Skilled in P&L, audits, taxation, internal controls, and streamlining procedures, effecting a monthly savings of $2500 at XYZ Company. Recently passed the CPA exam; currently seeking a Controller position.

In five lines and a mere 45 words, youíve given specific examples of what you can do (P&L, audits, taxation, internal controls), quantified an accomplishment (streamlining procedures, effecting a monthly savings of $2500 at XYZ Company), indicated past performance (consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility), provided data on certification (recently passed the CPA exam), and provided your career path (currently seeking a Controller position). And youíve done all of that in a well-written paragraph thatís interesting and easy to read. (Note that personal pronouns are not used here. In business writing, which includes resumes, personal pronouns such as I, me, or my are never used).

Fine, you say, but what about an Objective? Where does that go?

In the modern resume, an objective statement is no longer used. The reason for this follows.

Qualifications Summary vs. the Objective

In the outmoded Objective, the candidate told the hiring manager what he wanted, whether that was a job at the company, room for advancement, a chance to use a new college degree, or any other reason an applicant could think of and the hiring manager could dismiss as self-serving. On the other hand, the Qualifications Summary proactively declares what the candidate can do for the targeted company, which places the hiring managerís needs first. A wise applicant always uses a Qualifications Summary, either by itself or combined with a Skill Set.

What is a Skill Set?

Generally speaking, it's a list of your core competencies as they relate to your targeted career goal. Again, letís take the example of the accountant who has just passed the CPA exam and now wants to be a controller. Rather than presenting all of that data in the qualifications summary, a portion of it would be showcased as a tag line (professional title or title of job youíre targeting) and skill set, and might look something like this (followed by a reworked qualifications summary paragraph):


P&L ~ Audits ~ Taxation ~ Internal Controls ~ Successfully Passed CPA Exam

Results-oriented, detailed professional with comprehensive accounting experience. Background includes consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility for notable achievements, including $2500 in monthly savings at XYZ Company by streamlining procedures.

This time, the first two lines, which contain just 15 words, present core strengths quickly and effortlessly.

Step Four: Accomplishments and Special Skills

The ResumeEdge© Process

* Step One: Targeting Your Career and Audience

* Step Two: Formatting for Maximum Impact

* Step Three: Skill Set and Qualifications Summary

* Step Four: Accomplishments and Special Skills

* Step Five: Professional Experience

* Step Six: Education and Training

Articles by Resume Edge

Curriculum Vitae
Difficult Questions
Executive Resumes
Functional vs. Chronological
Power Verbs
Six Steps to a Blockbuster Resume
Standard Interview Questions
Types of Interview

Resumes For Dummies

Resumes For Dummies(r), 5th Edition

by Joyce Lain Kennedy
  Get the jump on the competition with the first book that tells you how to create a resume that takes advantage of todayís technology. Say goodbye to ugly, plain text formats and welcome the return of the handsome resume - fully formatted and reader friendly. This newly revised guide shows you how to craft a "StandOut" resume thatíll get your foot in the door.
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