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10/24/2001
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The Write Stuff: Q&A With The Resum? Expert

It's not always easy to figure out what prospective employers are asking for. But sometimes they do provide understandable clues.

Your resumé is among the most important documents you'll ever write. Yet there aren't many people offering specific advice about how to do it well.

Have you been trying to figure out why yours isn't getting the attention it deserves? Rita Fisher will answer your resumé questions. (Naturally, she can't answer every question, but you can send her your clearly labeled questions via E-mail or, better yet, post a message in the Career & Workplace forum.

Q: Please help. I'm confused; I'm not sure what resumé format the employer wants.

I'm applying for a job. At the bottom of the job posting is written:

Interested applicants are required to submit a cover letter, along with a detailed resum, outlining how your skills and experience meet the position requirements.
What exactly is this employer looking for? Is this supposed to be a basic resumé with pertinent skills and experience? Or should it be a resumé format that lists all the employer's requirements as headings, with my pertinent information next to it?

A: What the employer really wants is just your resumé. You don't need to provide any special listings of employer requirements and your responses to them.

Why am I so sure about this, even though I haven't seen the job posting and I don't know the employer? Because what is being asked for--outlining your skills and experience and showing how it relates to the company's requirements--is exactly what a resumé is designed to do.

A resumé is not a listing of your duties and responsibilities. Rather, it's a document designed to showcase how your skills and experiences mesh with and complement what the employer wants. You can achieve this by talking in specifics: money saved or earned for your current and previous employers, details regarding how you contributed to the growth of your department or division, descriptions of programs and initiatives you've developed that resulted in productivity gain. The list is endless.

So really, the way the company worded the job posting is designed to help you by guiding you in the right direction. The company just wants to see how you can help it achieve its goals. What it wants your resumé to convey is what's in it for the company: how you can do the job better than your competitor and how your background gives you the perfect foundation for the job the employer wants you to fill.

To succeed, make sure you know what the position consists of and what the company wants. Then you can express yourself in a way that highlights your matching skills.

Best to you, Rita

Rita Fisher is a certified professional resumé writer, career expert, and owner of Career Change Resumes.

Visit the discussion board to ask further questions or to discuss this one.

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