By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume
Expert
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find a sample resume that
matches your background, copy it to your word-processing program,
make minor changes and be done with the arduous task of creating a
dazzling resume? While that would be ideal, you can shortchange
yourself and sabotage your job search if you base your resume on a
sample document.
The good news is that if done correctly, taking ideas from
resumes in books or free resume examples online can greatly improve
your own. Here’s how to use resume samples without copying them
verbatim.
The Pitfalls of Using Sample Resumes
“The problem with using a template or copying someone else’s
resume — whether from a book or from a friend — is that it
doesn’t allow for the uniqueness of each person’s skills,
experience and career history,” explains Louise Kursmark, a career
consultant and principal of Best Impression Career Services.
Kursmark is also the author of 18 career-management books,
including Expert Resumes for Managers and
Executives
and Executive’s Pocket Guide to ROI
Resumes and Job Search
.
Resume writing veteran and author Teena Rose concurs. “Job seekers
need to understand that resumes are like fingerprints; no two are
(or should be) alike,” she says. “Resumes should differ because of
the varying education levels, career experience and scope of skills
that job seekers possess.”
Additionally, copying a sample the author hasn’t given permission
to copy is plagiarism, so check the copyright notice.
How to Effectively Harness Sample
Resumes
Kursmark says there is nothing wrong with taking a little bit from
various samples to make it easier to construct your own resume.
“That’s what sample books are for: To inspire you and guide you,”
she says.
For example, “You might really like one person’s introduction –
the way they’ve clearly presented their unique value — and use
that introduction as a guide for writing your own distinct
content,” Kursmark says. “Or you might grab a
bold accomplishment statement from someone else’s resume
and update the numbers or results to make it applicable
to you.”
Here are more of Kursmark’s tips to help you make the best use of
resume samples:
  • Look for resumes in your field and mine them for
    industry-specific activities, terms and accomplishments. Have you
    done similar things? Is your skill set comparable?
  • After you’ve reviewed resumes in your field, peruse resumes
    across fields to understand how to vary the use of action verbs and
    get a feel for what makes a powerful accomplishment statement. Then
    write your own statements, as appropriate, modeled on the ones you
    like best.
  • Look for innovative formats and striking presentation,
    such as charts and tables. Can you include a strong visual that
    will immediately grab the reader’s attention?
  • Dip into numerous resumes to get a feel for good writing,
    concise yet compelling language and high-impact accomplishments.
    Work on your own resume with those examples in mind.
  • Read your revamped resume with a critical eye to make sure
    it reflects you. Will the image you present in person be congruent
    with your resume? “If you’ve included material just because it
    sounded good but you don’t have the details to back it up, you’ll
    destroy your credibility in the interview,” warns Kursmark.
Finally, when reviewing resume samples, think customize,
not plagiarize. “Use samples as a guide for ideas, but take pride
in writing a resume that has your own unique content and visual
appeal,” advises Rose.
This article is courtesy of Monster.com

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The amount of knowledge you have about a potential employer, and
on the industry in which you hope to work can give you a
competitive edge. This pertains both to making initial contact with
employers and before going on interviews. In addition, having
information on a company is also invaluable when it comes to
evaluating a job offer.
You should know the company’s industry, what they do, who some
major clients are, and the names of some of the company’s
higher-ups, i.e. CEO, President, etc. You should also know who is
in charge of hiring for the position you are seeking.
Here are some resources to find company information.
  1. Corporate Websites-Most businesses use their home pages as a
    marketing or communication tool for generating and retaining
    business. They may also provide annual reports, news articles,
    business ventures, and information about products and services. You
    should spend a good portion of your research time reviewing the
    information available at your company’s home page. You can locate a
    company’s web page by using a search engine such as www.google.com.
  2. Directories-Here you can get information on public and private
    companies, although you may be limited with private company
    information. A couple sites to check out are: http://www.corporateinformation.com/
    & http://www.hoovers.com/free/.
  3. Press Releases-Like an annual report, press releases present
    information in a way that appeals to the media, and in turn to the
    consumer. They are generally written by professionals who know how
    to make even the most damaging news somewhat palatable. If you need
    to find out newsworthy information about a company they are a good
    source.
  4. Local newspapers-Local newspapers usually publish articles
    about companies in their city or town. This is often the only place
    you will find information on small, local companies. Some
    newspapers publish special business sections once a week. You will
    also find information about employees at those companies. Should
    someone win an award or special recognition, a local newspaper is
    where you would find it. You are probably wondering what this bit
    of trivia could mean to you. Well, imagine this scenario. You learn
    you are going to be interviewed by Joanne Manager. You do a little
    research and find out that she just won a 10 kilometer race. It
    just so happens that you’re a runner as well. Isn’t this a great
    way to establish rapport?
  5. National Newspaper-While the New York Times is not
    planning to change its name to the U.S. Times, it can
    serve as a source of national information. The same can be said of
    other newspapers across the country, like The Boston
    Globe
    , The Chicago Tribune, and The Washington
    Post
    , to name only a few. Articles on larger U.S. and
    international companies are featured in the pages of these
    publications. If something newsworthy happens you will probably
    find it in any large newspaper. Many are also available
    online.
  6. Business Journals-The most well known is The Wall Street
    Journal
    . There are also smaller, more local business journals.
    You can find information on local companies as well as companies
    with a wider geographic scope. These journals provide a good way of
    tracking who has moved where, what companies have what clients, and
    which companies are relocating to your area. Openings of new
    businesses should also be announced in a business journal.
  7. Industry Journal-These publications follow companies within
    different industries. This is a great way to become more
    knowledgeable about the industry in general. You can look at trends
    and upcoming changes to determine how you can best make an impact.
    Remember, you are trying to show potential employers what you can
    do for them.
  8. Professional Journals-These journals keep you apprised of
    goings on in your field. In addition to providing company
    information, professional journals give insight into changes in a
    particular field. These publications also contain advice about how
    to do your job better. Being able to discuss new medical billing
    software with the office manager of a doctor’s office will show
    your level of expertise and interest in the field.

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