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PACKAGING YOURSELF FOR EMPLOYERS: design
In today’s image-conscious world, visual appearances count for a lot. As a job seeker, you must be aware of the professional identity you project through your resumé, application letter, portfolio, and other job-seeking materials. Like it or not, how you package yourself for employers can either rule you out or rule you in.design RESUMÉS You simply cannot afford to approach this all-important step to your career success without investing the time and effort it requires. Trust us, even mediocre resumés take hours and hours of work. Yes, it may be possible to offload the dreaded task onto your roommate, a family member, or professional resumé writer, but that’s akin to birthing a baby and handing it off to a passerby to raise. You’re a professional—or will be soon—and this is a professional task you need to know how to carry out. You may never come to love writing resumés, but you need to be able to write or update yours the moment you hear about a good job opportunity. Waiting for someone else to do it for you could cost you the job.design A “resumé” is a brief account of your personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience. In the best of worlds, it showcases your proven track record of being someone who can produce results on a job. A resumé has one purpose: to get your phone to ring with an invitation for an interview. Many people are confused about this subject, thinking the goal of a resumé is to get you a job. Wrong. A resumé is a marketing tool showcasing your talents, your abilities, and your experience. If your resumé is effective, the desired result will be an invitation for an interview from an employer. Showcase your visual skills when you design the resumé. Cathy Teal of FireBrand Design in Palm Spring, California, says, “If they can’t make it look pretty, I wonder about their skills as a designer. I’ve seen resumés that are overdesigned and not readable or where I can’t find pertinent information like a phone number.” Bob Wages of Wages Design in Atlanta agrees. “The resumé better be well designed,” he cautions. “If it’s on white paper, it better has an elegant design or typography.” What you’re shooting for is a design that stands out from the pack, yet doesn’t cross the line into being too showy or unconventional. As part of your entire employment “package,” your resumé should have a consistent look that is repeated in your application letter, reference sheet, leave-behind, and portfolio. Already Got a Resumé? If you’ve written a resumé to fulfill a class assignment (for example, in your portfolio development class) or one that you threw together at the last minute to get a summer job, you’re already ahead of the game. Not that you’ll be mailing this version out. Use this version as a starting place, a draft. Why not run with what you already have? Nine times out of ten a resumé that worked for a school assignment may very well not command attention and respect from designers looking to hire. As business communication professors with eagle eyes, we assure you the following errors are all too common in quickly dashed-off course assignments:design • Misspellings (lands you directly in the Reject pile) • Missing pertinent data (like your phone number or dates of employment. Puh-lease . . . do you really want to work?) • Inconsistencies in chronology • Vagueness/lack of specificity By reviewing the guidelines we provide in this chapter and then applying them to your draft, you’ll wind up with a solid professional resumé.