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Quiz: Do you know when to rephrase your résumé?

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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Sometimes a résumé was once good, but now it's stale. Sometimes it was never that good to begin with. Either way, how do you know if it's time to rephrase your résumé?

Below you'll find five sentences commonly found on a résumé. Each sentence could be rewritten to better reflect the job seeker's skills. Choose the option you think best describes why and how the sentence should be reworded. Once you've finished, review the results to see if you know how to write a winning résumé or if it's time for some rephrasing.

1. "Objective: To obtain a challenging position in leadership that will allow me to apply creative problem solving to achieve optimum results."
A. The objective is pretty vague; it should also include the company or position title, as well as a desired salary.
B. The space for objective statements could be better used if replaced with a summary of your job-seeker brand, or a one-sentence statement that summarizes your expertise and skills.
C. Simplify the objective statement and use language from the job description.

2. "Summary of qualifications: Maintained strong business relationships with new and old clients, and cultivated strong connections with team members to create strong communication at our company."
A. This could be separated into three bullet points to make a stronger statement.
B. The repetitive language should be removed, and there should be individual bullet points with clear descriptions of each qualification.
C. Leave this as is.

3. "Professional experience: Independent business consultant at ABC Co., 2006-present; account executive at JRR Sales Co., September 2000-April 2006; cashier at Jerry's Ice Cream Shop, June 2003-April 2006."
A. Bullet points should follow each title, as well as daily tasks performed.
B. The only work experience listed should be relevant to the job you're interested in and should include three to four bullet points of major accomplishments that relate to the position for which you're applying.
C. This is fine, as long as the location of each business is also included.

4. "Education: College University, Class of 1998."
A. Include the school's location.
B. Include the school's location, your degree information and any training or certificates received. Revise the title to say, "Education and training."
C. Leave this as is.

5. "References: John Baker, supervisor at ABC Co., phone and email included; Linda Cook, manager at JRR Sales Co., phone and email included."
A. Leave this as is.
B. Leave references off of the résumé, and use the space for something else.
C. Use the line, "References available upon request."

Results

Mostly A's: You're on the right path, but most of your answers would make the résumé too wordy or unorganized. You may want to edit your résumé so it's more concise. In each section, ask yourself if the hiring manager would find that information helpful, relevant and easy to understand. Résumé space is too valuable to be wasted on unnecessary information.

Mostly B's: Your résumé rephrasing skills are top-notch. You clearly took the time to research the position you're applying for, and you're able to communicate your personality and experience in your résumé. You've likely included only relevant information on your résumé and everything included supports why you're the best candidate for the job.

Mostly C's: Although minimalism can be an attractive quality in business, your answers indicate that you're holding back on your résumé. Hiring managers can go through thousands of job applications when searching for the right candidate, and it's important that you stand out from your competition by showcasing your individuality, experience and personality. If you don't have much work experience, include information that's relevant to the position of interest, and communicate why you're right for the role.

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 01/10/2012 - 5:22 PM


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