career

Resume: before and after

Professional resume writers know what recruiters look for in a resume -- and how they look for it. They can take the average homemade chronicle of a work history and turn it into a presentation of a candidate's skills and accomplishments.

On the next page we have two resumes: the "before" written by a job seeker and the "after" -- after Jacqui Barrett got her hands on it. Barrett is a Master Resume Writer and president of Career Trend, an Overland Park, Kan., business that provides resume writing and related services. This job seeker has 12 years of experience and is looking to move up.

Layout and design

The change that first catches the eye is the layout or presentation. The resume has been designed, using graphic elements to set off the various sections of a standard resume.

The more important change, though, is how the information is organized. Where the before resume was simply a chronological list of the applicant's education and work history, the after version begins with a synopsis of the candidate's expertise, highlighting the skills learned from various jobs and schooling.

Since most recruiters spend maybe 20 seconds skimming resumes, it's important to grab their attention with a snapshot of experience. The details of each position can follow.

No touchy-feely

You'll also notice that the touchy-feely aspects of the before resume -- "Have a world view that is unique and varied. Have traveled abroad." -- are gone. While the job seeker put these in a prominent position on his resume, and these attributes are no doubt important to him, they aren't particularly important to an employer. In the after resume, the world travel has been moved to the "Education/Development" section -- at the end.

The education section has been radically altered. On the homemade resume, he listed most of his skills and experience as a description of his degrees. The professional resume lists the facts of his education and elaborates on what skills he's learned under his jobs.

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In short, the professional resume focuses on skills and expertise and concisely explains what the candidate's accomplishments have been.

This is what you can expect when you take your resume to a professional writer. Or you can study the before and after here and take a crack at giving your homemade resume the professional touch.

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