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Resumes that rock

If you are at midlife and it's been a while since you revised your resume, you're in for a surprise. A lot of the rules for resume writing no longer apply. Customization counts, as does the importance of key words.

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Let's start with customization: That means writing a resume that presents you in the best light.

If you've been out of the work force for an extended period, you'll probably want to skip a chronological approach, listing jobs and the dates you've held those jobs. Instead of dates, put the number of years you were with each company or arrange your resume by skills rather than chronology. "It's always a matter of choosing the lesser of evils," says Wendy Enelow, co-author of "Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work." "Sure, listing dates is usually the best, but if that works against you, don't do it."

Also, "sell it, don't tell it," she says. That means don't just list a job title such as"vice president of sales," but detail your accomplishments during that time: how much you increased sales, which campaigns you designed from scratch, etc.

"Quantify your achievements," Enelow says.

And if you're changing careers and don't have relevant work experience, then write an objective. That will tie in why you should be considered and will include the key words that will make your resume pop up rather than get screened out.

Key words are, well, key
These are important whether you post your resume online or send it into a midsized to large company. Chances are your resume will be scanned by a computer somewhere along the line, and it will accept or reject you based on the words you use.

While Enelow and others have written entire books on the topic of key words, here's one simple rule to get you started: To win "lingo bingo," research what the hot words are for your type of job. See what others use in resumes that are posted online, or pick up the same words that companies use in their job advertisements and on their Web sites.

3 types of resumes  
Click image for larger view
Excerpted from "Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work" by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark.
Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: May 17, 2006
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