The Purpose of a Resume

Consider how dramatically the professional world has changed in the past 10 years:

  • The explosion in new technologies-desktop and laptop computers, smart phones, the Internet, and wireless technologies-means no boundaries. You can work from almost anywhere.
  • A global economy means the elimination of barriers to entry for many businesses and products. However, finding customers all over the world also means competing with companies based all over the world.
  • The Internet hasn't replaced the job search process, but enhanced it. Social networks- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others--are increasingly used to uncover and advertise potential job openings. Job boards that are targeted to your skills and experience can help you focus your search.

With the changes in the job market, and in how companies are advertising open positions, what you did 10 years ago to find a job likely won't work today-and that includes the same old résumé. 

Although the employment environment has changed, the résumé is still the primary tool for obtaining a job. In a competitive job market, you need to set yourself apart from other, equally qualified candidates. Your résumé must clearly communicate the value you can bring to a potential employer.

Your résumé is your calling card. It is a powerful tool that can land you interviews that can lead to job offers. For that to happen, your résumé must be found and read by potential employers, and it must persuade them to contact you. That's a lot to expect from one short document.

As a technical professional, you must present your background and experience in a way that matches the potential employer's needs. You may be well-qualified, but in a slow economy and increasingly global marketplace, the most qualified person doesn't always get the job. The person with the best job search skills, which includes an effective, targeted résumé, is the one most likely to land that coveted position.

With this in mind, we present the basic components of all résumés, discuss how you can construct the best résumé possible, and present some good examples of résumés and cover letters. Knowing how to avoid common stumbling blocks in résumé preparation will also put you on the right track.

ACS Career Services