2-minute summary, or my personal summary
Oftentimes, employers want to know something in addition to the nuts and bolts of your employment history. In other words, they want to know a little about you. Here are some topics you might want to touch on in your personal statement:
- YOUR FORMATIVE YEARS. Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for a living? What kinds of things fascinated you as a child? How did the events of you childhood affect or shape the course of your professional life?
NOTE: Don't spend too much time discussing your early life if it doesn't have much to do with where you are today. On the other hand, if your early obsession with rocks eventually led to a career in the petroleum industry, talk about it. Employers like to hire people who're genuinely interested in what they do.
- YOUR EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS. Where did you attend college? What did you major/minor in? How did the course of your studies impact the direction of your professional life? Why did you choose to study what you did?
- YOUR CAREER TO THIS POINT. Where have you been? What is particularly interesting about the progression of your career to this point? What are some of your biggest and/or most important work-related accomplishments?
- YOUR CAREER IN TRANSITION. Why are you in transition or changing jobs?
- YOUR CAREER IN MOTION. What do you want to do next? Why? Why do you want to it in a particular setting?
- YOUR FAMILY STATUS. Feel free to comment on your family life, if you feel it's significant. You'll probably want to omit this topic entirely if you're recently divorced or temporarily separated from your spouse. Don't give employers the wrong impression — that personal issue might negatively affect your work.
- YOUR INTERESTS. The advantage of telling employers about your interests is that they can indicate a skill or an area of knowledge that is related to your career goal(s). For example, someone looking for a position in a public relations office might describe his or her interest in photography. Hobbies can also be an effective way of conveying your well roundedness to employers.
What you need to know before you start composing your résumé
Effective commercials always target a specific audience to generate sales. What good would it do to market a convertible to people over sixty, when all they really want is a safe, reliable car for taking their grandchildren to the park? The same is true of résumés: You can't expect an employer to hire a bricklayer when he or she really needs a computer programmer.
You must give some thought to the audience of your résumé. Usually, the person reading the résumés is the person who will be doing the hiring. This is the person who is responsible for the bottom line productivity of the organization you hope to be a part of. And, this is someone who cares deeply about the quality of the work that will be done. This is also the person to whom you should target your résumé.
Put yourself in their shoes: What would they want to know about a prospective employee? What would get them interested in and even excited about meeting you?
The first thing you need to do is get clear what an employer is looking for and what you have to offer him or her.
Finding out what employers want
If you're seeking a job in some field you know well, you probably already know what would make someone a superior candidate. But, if you aren't sure, you can gather clues from want ads and people presently employed in that field. You could even contact an employer and ask him or her what would make someone an ideal candidate for the position. This information is vital for writing a résumé that markets you to prospective employers. You can use it to tailor your skills and abilities to match the requirements of the position you're seeking.
Figuring out what you have to offer
If you're like most people, this is the hardest part about writing a résumé. It's often difficult to see connections between the things you have done and the things an employer is looking for. You have knowledge and experience of all sorts, but an employer wants to see your qualifications. They want to learn about your marketable skills and characteristics, which means you need to learn how to brag