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How to Write a Winning Resume

Google's announcement in early 2011 that it plans to boost its workforce with 4,500 new hires during the year is welcome news to many job seekers. With such an aggressive hiring schedule, the Silicon Valley firm is likely to see more than three times that number of resumes hit the desks of its hiring managers. And with such a high number of applicants, it is more important than ever for job seekers to use their resumes as a way to set themselves apart from the competition.

Here are some tips on how to write a successful resume.

The Importance of a Well-Crafted Resume

The main purpose of any resume is to land that interview. A successful resume gets a candidate past the employer's screening process and places the job seeker in front of a company executive for an entry level interview.

The career consulting firm Rockport Institute in Washington, D.C. reports interviews are granted for just one out of every 200 resumes received by most employers. And despite all the effort put into crafting a good resume, hiring managers or screeners typically scan resumes for as few as 10 to 20 seconds--which doesn't leave much time to make your mark. There are many different types of good resume templates both online and in word processing programs, but crafting a solid resume can be boiled down to two main sections.

How to Write a Successful Resume

There are different schools of thought on what makes a good resume, but the two most pertinent parts of a successful resume are the objective and the summary, which contains a list of skills and accomplishments. Crafting strong advertising copy about yourself in these two sections can determine if you are either called upon for a job interview or passed up.

  1. Objective. This is where you sell the company on why you are a good fit for their job. Be crystal clear about your career objectives, and how you can best help the company. A good tip: Do not use "I" in your objective. Avoid first-person sentences and language in order to place the emphasis how you can fulfill the company's needs rather than your own needs.
  2. Summary of qualifications. The Rockport Institute says this may be the only part of the resume that is fully read by the employer, making this section absolutely crucial to gaining an entry level interview. The summary should be a concise list of your qualities, abilities and accomplishments. This list, which reads well as bullet-point items, should contain reasons why the company absolutely must hire you and not let your talents pass them by. Again, avoid first-person language. Your skills should be listed in brief, pointed sentences. Describe your vocation, follow up with statements of expertise, and finish with strong statements regarding additional skills, types of past work environments in which you excelled, and professional awards, promotions or accomplishments earned.

Nuts and Bolts: Work History, Education Level, and Other Tidbits

Chronological order is the traditional method of structuring work history and education level. Start with the most recent job held, and include brief sentences listing your successes in that position. Headings such as "Professional History" or "Professional Employment" read the best. Places dates in parenthesis after the job title.

List schools and colleges attended in reverse chronological order as well. Start with the highest level of college degree earned, and then list other types of professional training received.

Although other sections, such as community involvement, personal interests and references do carry weight, the basis of whether or not job seekers are called upon largely rests upon the first few sections. Nail those, and you might find your phone ringing from a company hiring manager.