Simply stated, a resume is an advertisement about you, Debra Blount told the job-seekers who attended the resumé writing class at Army Community Service Nov. 7.
“The whole purpose of a resumé is to get the interview, because an employer will see the resumé before ever seeing you, and it needs to make a good impression,” said Blount.
Blount, a Virginia Employment Commission representative, works at the ACS within the VEC satellite service office, and assists military members, retirees and family members with employment readiness services like the resumé writing workshop.
At the November session, Blount helped several military spouses with their questions about resumés. Some were interested in learning key words – attention-grabbing action word used to accentuate a positive message about the applicant. Another spouse was looking to update her resumé and wanted tips to improve it.
Maria Cosme, an ACS volunteer, is looking for full-time employment when her husband transfers to his next duty station. She said the class helped clarify the resumé writing process.
“It was especially helpful to learn some of the keywords, and not to repeat the same words throughout the resumé,” she said.
A common mistake found on resumés, Blount warned, is when tenses are confused. Information on current work experience is written in present tense, while past jobs are referred to in the past. Blount recommends using one tense throughout. Along with word repetition, resumés often become word-heavy. Blount said that often one page is sufficient to get the information required, sometimes two pages to avoid a cramped appearance.
“It says a lot about your ability to communicate when you can avoid using multiple pages, and it grabs attention when you properly use words that are not redundant,” said Blount.
Overall, the resumé should fully articulate the job a person is seeking and how they are qualified to perform that job, according to Blount.
“There’s just not one cut-and-dry way of writing a resumé,” said Blount. “But the end result should highlight your
skills in the most appropriate way.”
While attendees probably won’t leave the class with a completed resumé in hand, they will have gathered enough tools and resources to write one themselves. Blount also informed the class that individuals can visit her office for further guidance and a critique of the finished product.
ACS Employment Readiness Program Manager Josephine Brady said that the class has brought in a good mix of retirees, civilians and active-duty military, and that the results are positive.
But how does Brady qualify good results?
“They get jobs,” said Brady. “I keep track of that. Most people will call or come back and tell me they’ve found employment. So that way, I know they’ve gotten something out of learning how to write a resume.
The next resumé writing workshop is scheduled at ACS, Dec. 14, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. To register, call (804) 734-7738 or 734-6388.