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November 2004

by Susan Reynolds

Are you selling your history or are you selling your capabilities? The traditional chronological or "obituary" resume sometimes suffers from "last-job-itis." If you're selling just what you did at your last job, that had better be what you're trying to do next because it sure is the product your reader sees. This "last-job-it is" leads to limited opportunity in a career, because it encourages lateral moves instead of growth positions that better utilize your potential.

Take a moment to evaluate your skills and abilities. Are you an excellent leader of people, with a highly defined managerial style? Are you a motivated and self-starting salesperson? Are you a talented project manager who enjoys independently taking a project from conception to implementation? Are you a highly developed and educated engineer, with keen mechanical aptitude? Are you an innovative problem solver? Do you like to research and document? Are you a dynamic presenter, teacher, and trainer?

What positions have you held that have given you pertinent experience? How many people have you managed, and at what levels? Just what have you done?!

A strong resume must be truthful and ethical, obviously. From that starting point, you must factor the information needs and preferences of your readers. Then you must balance your document to put your best attributes in that reader's mind. Don't forget good housekeeping; a tidy legible presentation is much more important than dramatic paper and fonts.

Your reader must take away a strong image of the contribution you'll make to your new organization. That will lead to a rewarding opportunity to make a difference!

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 661-755-3308.

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Manners Matter . . . On Both Sides of a Job Search

Accept a Position that Suits Your Career Growth Plans

Are You Coasting in Your Career?

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