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While there are no hard and fast rules regarding résumé preparation, there are certain things that are definitely part of the do and don’t list. If you want a strong résumé that generates results, (who doesn’t?) then the following information will certainly be helpful as you embark on creating your own self-marketing masterpiece:

DON’T: Write an objective statement. The purpose of your résumé is to help the hiring manager understand what you can do for them, not what you are looking for. Your headline will address this.

DO: Make sure résumé has a strong headline at the top. This gives the reader immediate information regarding your professional background and a quick understanding of what you do / who you are. For example, if you are an operations professional your headline might look like this:

Marketing Consultants NYC

Operations Management: Reporting, Planning & Efficiency

DON’T: Write a summary with clichés and outdated phrases that are seen everywhere and scream: “I didn’t know what to put here, so I created something boring and uninspiring.”

DO: Create a short paragraph under the headline that drives an immediate impact. Provide an example of something you did that resulted in a positive outcome. Write the section so it provides information regarding what you are capable of complemented by some qualitative information that describes you as a person. Here’s an example:

Excellent team building and management skills applied to various situations and environments. Complete all projects on time and within budget. Proven skills leading teams in the development and launch of leading-edge operational and technology solutions that generate quantifiable results, including cost reductions and productivity increases. Analyze organizational needs and synthesize numerous resources to achieve excellent results. Project Management Professional (PMP).

DON’T: Highlight things that you are not interested in doing again on the résumé. You only have one chance to make a great impression.

DO: Provide the reader with a compelling look at what your capabilities are. Reference examples with the results for the things you enjoyed doing. Trust me, there will be plenty of things that you don’t want to do – there always is! Here’s an example:

Grew sales from 45% in 2007 to 78% in 2008 through the implementation of targeted marketing programs focused on previously untapped markets.

DON’T: Be redundant, repeat yourself, repeat yourself, repeat yourself. Once it’s on the résumé, you don’t need to repeat yourself!

DO: Keep your information clear and to the point. Remember the reader is going to scan your document and in a matter of seconds make a determination. Give ‘em a taste – not the plate.

DON’T: Go back more than 15 years. They don’t need to know everything you did since birth.

DO: Create an Additional Experience or Early Experience section that lists the name of the Company and your title. What you did during that time is probably not relevant to showcase. As they say: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Here’s an example:

Additional Experience:

ABC Company, Regional Manager, New York, NY (’90-’93)

XYZ Company, Sales Representative, New York, NY (’87-’90)

DON’T: List irrelevant hobbies or extraneous information.

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DO: Keep all of the information relevant and timely. Memberships, publications, licenses, and certifications should be referenced if they are connected to the position(s) you are pursuing.

DON’T: Worry if your résumé is two pages long.

DO: Ensure that your two-page or one-page résumé captures the information that markets you effectively. It’s not about length – it’s about substance!

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and chief career strategist of Careers Done Write, a career planning and management company. She can be reached at dwheatman@resumesdonewrite.com or via phone at 732.444.2854. Debra’s team of certified writers and coaches is committed to facilitating the growth and development of clients through unique personal branding and marketing strategies to drive career advancement and success. Recruiting Firms

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