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January 2008
What Makes a Good Resume?

by Susan Reynolds

Striving for a better career position has been a New Yearís resolution for many professionals. Having a great resume that beneficially sells your abilities is absolutely key to a successful new move. Producing a well-written resume is an opportunity to present and reinforce your skills, abilities, background, education, personality, and work ethic. Remember, though, the resume is a tool. You must be prepared to sell yourself effectively as well!

First, a statement of what is probably obvious: Your resume must be honest. Beyond that very basic guideline, your options are almost infinite. Your document should be designed to effectively communicate your background and capabilities in as concise a format as possible. However, there are no strict rules for the precise length or format beyond honesty and clarity. Some people operate as if there were some mysterious Congressional ruling over resume format and length! Donít limit the effectiveness of your document with preconceived restrictions. Housekeeping is critical, however. Use the spelling check features in your computer, but donít trust that alone. Many mistakes can be made that cannot be detected by the computer.

Even when networking, having produced a thorough resume is important. The process of inventorying your skills and background will give you confidence when itís time to discuss your ability to contribute to your target organization. Even people who have worked with you in the past only know you in that context, and not beyond. They cannot possibly know every layer of your background and capabilities. A solid resume will bolster your readiness to negotiate what youíre worth. Youíll get better compensation.

This should be a life changing document. If you feel that you would be in better shape by having your resume professionally prepared, we will help you.

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers.  She can be reached at or

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