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EvilKimEvil
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20 Apr 2008, 2:03 pm

Actually, I understand the general idea of a resume, like what types of information it should contain and what the purpose is. I just don't understand the details. There are so many different ways to do a resume. How does one decide among so many options?

I'm reading about resumes and finding out that you're supposed to use fancy paper and not computer paper. How do you know if the paper is fancy enough and how do you buy it if you don't have a job? Do you really need fancy paper to apply for a temporary job with minimal educational requirements?

Even more basic things are confusing too. How do you describe your strengths without sounding like you're bragging? What if you don't have a million impressive things to say about yourself? How do you even know what will sound good and what will sound bad?

And how to you do the fancy formatting in a word processing program?

I just don't understand this stuff at all and it's really holding me back, employment-wise.



ssenkrad
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20 Apr 2008, 2:29 pm

Yes, you should always use the heavy-weight paper, even for entry-level jobs. 70 lb white or off-white should do. It's not as expensive as you think, maybe $4 for a 30 pack or so. As for listing your strengths, why not list them under the heading "Experience"? Say you were the president of a certain club in your high school or college. You could list this as "Experience leading small focus groups and making decisions based on benefit to composite." Computer skills, such as typing speed (words per minute), software and/or hardware proficiency, and programming languages should be listed under a separate heading, "Technical Skills." Don't worry if you don't have impressive things to say about yourself - a temp job with minimal requirements won't necessitate that.

My resume has my name, address, email, and phone centered at the top, followed by a thick horizontal border and three headings: Education (with a subsection of extracurriculars), Work Experience, and Technical Skills. It's simple, but effective, -- I've received compliments from a few possible employers.

What are you having trouble formatting?



EvilKimEvil
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20 Apr 2008, 3:52 pm

I'm pleased to announce that the resume construction is going better than I expected!

After studying the sample resumes on my school's website, I realized that I don't have to do any super fancy formatting - it's enough just to have a basic line and play with font size, bold, and caps. I have my name at the top, then my contact info (in 2 columns!), then a line, and then 4 sections. The four sections are Objective, Education, Related Experience, and Related Coursework.

This resume is for a job that's related to reptiles so I had to emphasize my experience with animal care and my coursework in biology. Once I got over the overwhelming anxiety, it was actually kind of fun to make the resume. There are still two challenges, though:

1. To find a Kinko's-type place where I can print it on fancy paper (new town, no printer)

2. To reword the objective into something that makes more sense than, "A challenging position that will utilize my strong interest in zoology and experience in animal husbandry and customer service and will allow me to learn through experience." I mean, that's laughably horrendous!

Thanks for all the suggestions! The info about the definition of fancy paper was especially helpful. :D



ssenkrad
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21 Apr 2008, 6:50 pm

I'm glad the construction is going well for you. I suggest leaving the objective out for now - it will allow you more field flexibility and give you a chance to talk about your your objective and cater it to the interviewer, rather than having him or her simply read it and make an immediate judgment.

But then, it's all relative. An objective could help you if you're planning to apply for one and only one position. If you do decide to use it, focus more on what you stand to gain from employment. For example, how about "To secure a challenging position that will utilize my experience in animal husbandry and customer service to act as a catalyst for my planned career in zoology" or something along those lines.

If you have some heavyweight paper, it couldn't hurt to go to a local library and ask to use their printer to print a few pages (you will be providing the paper, after all). Best of luck.



silentchaos
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21 Apr 2008, 7:13 pm

Out of curiosity, what job are you applying for?



juliekitty
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21 Apr 2008, 8:51 pm

EvilKimEvil wrote:
How does one decide among so many options?


Put whatever makes you look best, first.

For example, if you have a degree from Harvard but no work experience, you would put your education first. If you have lots of great work experience but never made it past grade 9, you would put your work experience first.



GreatCeleryStalk
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21 Apr 2008, 9:04 pm

As someone who often has to review a fair number of resumes, I would advise against using any fancy paper. We make photocopies of your resume in abundance and the special paper sometimes leaves marks or shadows when it copies. We often put resumes that are on special paper at the bottom of the stack, because they're more difficult to deal with.

Regular white or off-white paper is more than sufficient.



MysteryFan3
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21 Apr 2008, 9:19 pm

How about something like:
"A position that will challenge me to use and expand my experience in animal husbandry and customer service as I create my career in Zoology."

I print my resume on 24 pound bond and I haven't received any complaints. I get it at Wal-Mart in the office supplies section.


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pineapple
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21 Apr 2008, 10:28 pm

Don't get too bogged down with the paper. List your relevant experiences chronologically, with the most recent experience first. For every job, have 3 or 4 bullet points describing what you accomplished, and always use active verbs. Remember that you can list volunteer activities and stretch the definition of a "job". You don't need to put your strengths on a resume; they'll ask you that in the interview. What you can put instead are your skills (I put all the computer programs I can use). Good luck!



EvilKimEvil
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22 Apr 2008, 2:20 pm

Thanks! I printed it last night on white paper that is slightly thicker than regular computer paper so I think it shouldn't offend anyone.

Unfortunately, I was so stressed out about the resume and cover letter, I left my bag (containing my laptop and most important notebook) at the copy shop - right before they closed. I got it back this morning and I will turn in the resume and cover letter today. Hopefully it will go smoothly!



tarl
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23 Apr 2008, 10:57 am

Sorry to post after it's done, but here was a bit of advice from a Personnel manager who was a family friend. If you can't format it better than the office templates, use the office templates.