Quality resume opens doors, improves pay

Friday, October 7, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 40

You have only a few tools to help you land a good job, one being a resume. Not having the right one can cost you.

There are different approaches you can use to create a resume.

First, you can do it yourself. If you are a good writer this may be a good option. But don’t try and do it without research.

Take a look online at the many employment websites. Much of the information on these sites is free. Look at the different styles and formats. There are usually plenty of examples. Select a couple that fit your profession and preferred approach and follow their lead. Pay close attention to what is used in the text, not just the format. Information you place in the resume is critical.

Another way to look at different resumes is to go to a bookstore or library and look at books on the different styles. These are often divided up into professions. Spend the most time looking under your field.

Most of these books on resumes can be purchased for under $25. Not a bad investment.

Secondly, there are a multitude of websites that craft resumes and will allow you to email information to them about yourself. They will take this information and have one of their writers prepare a professional-looking resume. These typically cost anywhere from $50 on up to a few hundred. Obviously, some are better than others. Most do not give a lot of personal attention.

There also are professional resume writers in the local community that will work closely with you. They usually require you provide a written description of your education and experience, as well as personal information. They will review this information, interview you and develop a well-crafted resume. They should work closely with you to make adjustments.

The cost for the latter approach generally starts at about $100 and can go up over a thousand. It all depends on what your needs are and what you can afford.

However, consider this. Not spending the time, effort or money on your resume can prove to be very expensive.

There are two major ways presenting the wrong resume can hurt you financially:

l It can lengthen the time it takes you to get a position.

l It can cause you to be paid less than you are worth.

In today’s climate of high unemployment, it takes more than six months on average to find a job. And, unfortunately, the longer you are unemployed the harder it is to find a position.

What is the cost of a poorly crafted resume? It could add up to be a greater amount than you might first think. For example, if your past or expected income is $60,000 annually, every month you’re unemployed costs you $5,000, plus what you might have to pay for health insurance. This does not include any unemployment benefits you are receiving.

If an improved version of your resume gets you interviews more quickly, it is possible you could cut your unemployment time by months. These few months could add $15,000 or more in your pocket.

A weak resume, professional in its wording and layout but not powerful in its essence, could result in you receiving less than your skills, education and experience should earn. So, instead of landing a salary of $60,000, you might end up making only $50,000. Though the loss appears to be only $10,000 a year, during your career the loss could add up significantly, eventually costing you in the six figure range.

Remember, it is your responsibility to get the finest job you can. Don’t let yourself down with a less than perfect resume. Do what it takes to show your best to employers.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.