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Information should be easy to follow, says resume expert

The person seeking to make a good impression with a resume should follow several basic guidelines, according to authority Tom Jackson. Be sure that a resume is not too long (one page is preferred), that information is organized in an easy-to-follow way, and that it is well typed and printed. It should be neither overwritten nor too sparse in information, and it should always show what the applicant has accomplished on the job.

A resume should not include too many irrelevancies, since height, weight, sex , health, marital status, and names and ages of children are not needed today. It should also be carefully proofread before being printed to avoid misspellings , typographical errors, and poor grammar.

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A good resume never appears "to try too hard," he adds. It involves no fancy typesetting or binders, photographs, or exotic paper stock. It is directed to the right person, at the right address, and carries a cover letter that explains why an applicant is writing, what skills might be valuable to the firm, and what specific job, or job area, is of greatest interest. Applicants should also indicate how they think they can make a contribution, and their willingness to do so.

For women reentering the job market, Mr. Jackson says, "All experience counts , including much of what you have done at home or school, and in volunteer activities." Be sure to include such human factors as organizational skills, people skills, supervisory ability, and ability to communicate.

He advises women to become familiar with topics in the work world by reading trade journals, business publications, and books. Get exposure to actual working environments through temporary service work, volunteering, and working with friends and relatives who are in business.

He asks women reentering the job market to get rid of any tendencies toward self-disparagement. In addition to resumes, job-seekers can demonstrate their abilities in the way they dress, the quality of their communication, and in their ability to discover opportunities to create value for others.

Use all available resources, he urges (including friends, relatives, professional contacts, ex-professors, and neighbors), to get positive reinforcement, honest criticism of a resume, and leads.

Mr. Jackson advises college students looking for their first job to consider using the functional format for a resume, since there isn't much job chronology to report. He tells them to include those human factors that go beyond the courses they studied, such as organizational ability, leadership, budgeting, willingness to take on a variety of assignments, etc.

He also tells students to talk about what they have accomplished in non-classroom activities such as clubs, fraternities, committees, school events, and to set up a resume on a top-notch professional typewriter that makes it snap with authority. He warns against succumbing to a convenient photocopier, and tells them to spend a bit more money and have the resume printed.

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Finally, he advises graduates to confine a resume to one page, and to have it triple-checked before printing for typing mistakes and errors in grammar and punctuat ion.

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