When jobs are tight and unemployment is high, job hunters are sometimes tempted to throw everything but the kitchen sink into their resumes. The hope is that an employer will sift through their information and find something that will appeal to them. But thatís not the best approach.
Itís better to create your resume by deciding what kind of a job you're going after and focusing on the aspects of your background that fit the needs of that particular type of employer.
This strategic thinking is the foundation of a great resume. Excellent writing is important, but it canít overcome a failure to understand what employers want, and to position yourself as a candidate who's got it.
Figure out what your strongest assets are for the job you are going after, then arrange your resume to showcase them.
For example, if itís your past jobs rather than your more recent ones that make the best case for you, use a format that puts them at the top.
Always give the most attention to aspects of your background that are similar to the challenges you would face in the new job.
Accomplishments that are less relevant should get less space. No matter how impressive they are, if they arenít relevant to the type of job youíre applying for, they shouldnít get top billing.
In these tumultuous economic times, itís not easy to get an employerís attention. The best way to do that is to analyze what they 're likely to want, then spoon feed them the parts of your background that directly address their needs.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)