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What is the Purpose of a Resume?

What is the job of your resume?  
When you think about it, . . . . . its job is simple: To get you into the employment game and keep you there until you land your ideal job!
However, a well-crafted resume that is a strategic, focused, future-oriented, relevant, and succinct written representation  of you and your career history is anything but simple!  It is quite a complex document.  And the job it performs is no less complex.  Let’s take a look at the purpose of your resume and how it serves you.

The job of your resume is multi-purpose.  It is to . . . . . . . .
●  Create a first impression of you in the employment marketplace
Your resume is a career management and job search tool.  It is one of your marketing tools, and it is fair to say it is the most important of your marketing tools since it is the most visible.  Generally a two-page written representation of you and your career, your resume is seen by all prospective employers, current employers at times, and members of your network who often distribute it to other people.  It is the document that creates an employer's first impression of you.  So, it is critically important that this document create a favorable first impression of you. A lot is riding on it!

●  Sell you in the employment marketplace
Your resume is your sales brochure.  Have your ever been in sales?  Well, you are now!  When you are seeking a new position or new responsibilities, you are in sales  – selling the most important product or service you will you ever sell —YOU!

Think of a resume as your sales tool.  Its purpose is to sell you and your capabilities to employers in your target market.  It is a very important part of your sales presentation of yourself.  Therefore, your resume needs to present you in the following ways.  It should show:
    1.    What you have to offer.  The resume should strategically state capabilities  --  Strengths, Skills, Expertise, Knowledge (SSEK)  –  that you have to offer.
    2.    How you add (have added, will add) value to your employer.  The resume should strategically state how you have “benefited” your employers.  How has the use of your services benefited others?

●  Present accomplishments
Your resume should be “accomplishments-based.”  This means that you show outcomes of the work that you have done, not just a “laundry list” of duties you have performed.  Showing accomplishments is the best technique for (1) showing how you have actually added value for past employers, and (2) proving your claim that you can benefit your future organization.  (For additional information on accomplishment statements, please refer to “How to Write Accomplishment Statements” in the Resume and Marketing Tools section of the AJC website.)

●  Overview your experience
The resume presents an “overview” of your career history.  It can not and should not tell your whole life story.  It should include work you've done, and results you've achieved, that is relevant to achieving your career goal.
Remember, your resume is not a "tell-all" document.  It is a strategic, focused, future-oriented, relevant, and succinct professional representation of your career that shows prospective employers why you are worth devoting time to meet and interview because of the value you can add to their organization.

●  Keep you in the game
A resume is a powerful marketing tool because it gets you in the game!
When your resume arrives at a company in response to a position advertisement, scanners  –  human or computer  –  review your resume.  They are scanning initially to see if your qualifications match the position’s requirements, in total or in large part.  If they do appear to match, your resume is put in the “to further consider” or “to call” stack; if they do not match, your resume is put into the “do not call” stack.
Your resume first gets and then keeps you in the game!

●  Generate interviews
In a nutshell, your resume opens the door to opportunity!
Your resume does NOT “get you the job.”  Only you can do that.  Your resume is simply a tool to assist you in achieving your goal of getting a new position or new responsibilities.

There are many steps in the hiring process  –  think of them as hurdles to jump over and get past to get to the finish line.  The objective of the resume is to get you past the hurdle of anonymity.  Your goal is to present your qualifications in a document that spurs the hiring organization to contact you for an interview  –  generally a “phone screen” in the earliest stage of the interview.

A well-constructed resume that shows achievements earns you the opportunity to demonstrate in an interview why you should be the candidate of choice.  In a nutshell, your resume opens the door to opportunity!

●  Generate networking meetings
Networking finds the doors of opportunity!
Networking meetings often lead to interviews; they are, in fact, informal interviews (For additional information on networking, please refer to the Networking & Interviewing section of the AJC website.).  
Talking with people in your network in order to seek information and advice is a time-tested technique for finding a new position or enhancing the one you’ve got!

The key to effective networking is to learn to listen.  A general rule of thumb for a networking meeting is a 60 / 40 guideline:  you talk no more than 40% of the time during a networking meeting and spend the other 60% listening.  To hold this conversation successfully, (1) Clarify your objective as to why you are talking with this person, (2) Ask pertinent questions, and (3) Actively listen to their responses.

Your resume is a complex document that works hard for you.  It  first gets and then keeps you in the game! And, when crafted well, it opens the door to opportunity!
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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