Resume Writing As A Survival Skill

2014-07-05 by admin

In an age where everything and everyone is a commodity, learning how to sell one’s self using a resume is a valuable survival skill. A sample resume, known more broadly as a curriculum vitae or CV, is a marketing tool that allows a worker to advertise their labor to employers. It usually consists of a cover-letter and less than three pages of flatteringly spun information about the applicant. CVs use a standardized format that allows workers to easily make themselves known to employers. For employers, standardized CVs allow them to quickly and conveniently search for employees that meet their needs. Without a CV, a worker’s prospects of being hired in a large and competitive workforce are substantially lowered.

In order to be hired, workers must stand out from among a huge pool of unemployed reserve labor. This reserve labor pool is carefully maintained through the use of strategic layoffs, outsourcing, downsizing, and other legal, political, and economic means. Employers depend upon this desperate mass of unemployed to always be in the background. Its existence means that labor will always be acceptably cheap, eager, compliant, and qualified (or at least willing to pretend to be all of these.) When there is an shortage of work, whether it is artificial or coincidental, labor costs go down while productivity and profit goes up. Therefore, there will always be a certain percentage of unemployed as long as there is capitalism. Knowing how to write a proper CV is one way to insure that one does not end up among the unemployed masses.

A CV starts with a cover letter, which introduces the worker to their prospective employer and advertises their overall suitability for the desired job. Employers often scan cover letters as a method of determining who possesses or lacks the necessary motivation and creativity to be hired. Cover letters, like the first part of any other advertisement, must be crafted so as to catch and hold the reader’s attention. This can be done by using key words and phrases that an employer is looking for, active verbs, and flattering language. Meticulous attention to proper spelling, grammar, and format are also important.

After the cover letter comes the body of the CV, which contains a summary of all the information that could possibly be relevant to an employer. This includes information on education, work history, credentials, awards, certificates, references, and contact information. Though a concise, “bare-bones” CV that merely lists all of the relevant facts can appear professional in certain circumstances, it is not always the best approach. Making a CV stand out from all of the others usually takes more than listing lots of experience, credentials, and good references. A few touches of flair, creativity, and charm are also needed.

There are several important methods for making a CV stand out from among the rest. The first, and simplest, is to know how to embellish. Note that there is a difference between embellishment and lying. Lying is risky and if discovered will result in job dismissal, denial of an application, or even criminal penalties. Being caught lying to an employer can ruin a worker’s chances at ever being employed in a certain field. Embellishing, however, is almost impossible to prove and is necessary to remain competitive. A good example of embellishment is listing a volunteer or other unpaid life experience as work experience. For instance, when applying for a job in the field of information technology, one could list amateur hacking as a professional familiarity with computer code. Claiming that one is a freelance professional or self-employed businessperson is also an excellent example of embellishment, as it is difficult to disprove. After all, an “unsuccessful” business or career is not necessarily an illegitimate one.

Another common method for making a unique CV that is very easy is to do is to change its aesthetics. Using high-quality colored paper will instantly make a CV stand out from a boring stack of documents printed on plain white paper. Additionally, using fonts other than Times New Roman or Courier New, which are the most commonly used, will make a CV stand out. Arial or Century Gothic are two fonts that will add a touch of class to any CV without being too flowery or extravagant.

One thing that is commonly overlooked when creating a CV besides creativity is directness. While it may seem counter-intuitive that flattery, embellishment, and obsequiousness go hand-in-hand with candor, it all part of the game. It must be noted that the world of modern business is a very duplicitous place. Directness should take the form of addressing the employer’s needs with specific examples of one’s skills and abilities, preferably with bullet points. For example, if applying for a writing job, one could list examples of successfully completed or particularly well-received writing pieces in one’s career.

The last and most important thing that any job-seeker can do to ensure that they will be considered before the rest is to send a follow-up letter. Most applicants assume that merely handing in a resume will be enough, not realizing that there is most likely a giant pile of others just like them. A follow-up letter expresses thanks for the job opportunity and reminds the employer that the applicant’s CV is on file. The mere act of impressing one’s self into the employers memory in this way is often enough to merit first consideration. Remember, in the capitalist market, jobs go to those who want them the most.