...They can mean the difference between
winning an interview or not!
At the start of our Help Building A Resume Guide we explained how important resume and CV preparation is to your success.
Too many people get hold of a resume or CV template, populate the sections, sent it off and wonder why they hear little back.
CVs and resumes that win interviews are relevant and compelling. If you want to win interviews, yours must be too. And once you've done your resume preparation, writing the actual resume or CV is quick and easy.
Many CV and resume guides begin by explaining the different resume and CV formats and suggest you pick a style which suits you and/or your situation. They then explain what you should put under each heading.
We think this is the wrong way round because it forces you to think in 'boxes'. Instead, we believe it's better to think freely about your experience, achievements, skills and abilities and consider ways in which your potential new employer would find these useful, given the requirements of the job.
So we would suggest forgetting about CV and resume formats for now. You can think about how to present the information later and if you download this resume help guide instead, our example resumes and CVs will show you.
Your goal right now is to get the information right!
Here are the 4 steps of resume preparation:
The first step in resume preparation is to understand what the key CV and resume terms mean so that you can use them appropriately. Many applicants don't. Here we explain what is meant by knowledge, skills, responsibilities, qualities and achievements.
Knowledge is what we know. We learned it through observation, study or experience, and it's familiar to us. A doctor knows about the human body and a lawyer about the law, simply speaking.
A skill is the application of knowledge, usually comprising a practical ability. You are competent in something because of practice, training or experience. It's something you can do. For example, skills include working on a computer, driving a car, influencing and facilitation. Once learned, we can do these things without having to relearn them. Most employers are more interested in skills than knowledge.
Responsibilities are tasks we are required to undertake. At work these might include managing a budget, making sales, answering calls, taking orders or producing documents.
Qualities are what we are. For example, we may be trustworthy, reliable or flexible.
Achievements are things we've accomplished as a result of our knowledge, skills or qualities and we should be proud of them. Although we sometimes overlook achievements ("I'm just doing my job") most employers are interested in what we have achieved more than anything else.
You'll see us refer to these resume and CV terms again.