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Oh, jobs. To some of us, they're just the thing that our friends are always too busy with to hang out. To others, they're a way of attaining purpose and meaning. But regardless of your opinion of vocations, in the end we all need one.

Just like in dating, before you put yourself out there, the first step in job hunting is examining yourself and taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. This can be especially helpful if you haven't yet decided what you want to do. After all, you don't want to commit yourself to a career track only to discover later down the line that it wasn't meant to be.

Be honest with yourself in the beginning and save yourself time and pain. Make a list of the pros and cons of hiring you, and before you write each list item, double check that it's something consistently true about you. Can you really lift more than 30 lbs without doing serious damage to your knees? Are you really a people person, or is that just when you're inebriated? As little as it interests you, you really are good with numbers, so maybe that's an avenue to explore further.

Obviously you aren't going to hand your interviewer a pro/con list, so it's time to translate that list into an up-to-date resume. Consider each "pro" you've written down and think of any work experience you've had that best exhibits that pro. Be sure to use dynamic, engaging verbs. For instance, instead of "Sent sales staff on calls," you can write, "Planned and delegated sales calls to junior staff."
Very unorthodox resume. I'd hire this guy in a second.

I'm about to give you a tip that some might consider controversial. Nearly everyone will recommend a single-page (one page for every 10 years of work experience), black-and-white, Times New Roman resume, but experience has shown that as long as the resume is still brief and not garishly decorated, a little bit of design can go a long way depending on the job you're applying for, especially if it's a job that requires creative thinking.

Here are some great examples of well-designed, creative resumes. Think of it this way: an eye-catching resume is much less likely to be thrown away, even if you don't meet the qualifications for a job, and whoever receives it is likely to show it to someone else. You might just become the talk of the office. However, if you don't have design skills, or if you're applying for a job where design might not be appreciated, you'd be better off sticking to a simple, standardized format.

Read Part Two: Preparing for the interview.

or skip to

Read Part Three: How to be remembered.

10:30 AM


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