Preparing Your Resume

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Worried that your current employer might just pull up your resume when it goes searching for new employees? No need to be most services allow listees to designate companies that their resume should not be released to, thus allowing you to conduct a job search with the peace of mind that your boss won't find out!

One warning about these services most of them are new, so do as much research as you can before paying to have your resume listed. If you hear about a database you think you might want to be listed in, call the company and ask some questions:
  • How long have they been in business?

  • What has their placement rate been?

  • What fields do they specialize in? (In other words, will the right people even see your resume?)

  • Can you block certain companies from seeing your resume?

  • How many other resumes are listed in the database? How many in your specialty?

  • Is your experience level similar to that of other listees in the database?
The right answers to these questions should let you know if you have found the right database for you.

To help you locate these resume databases, we have listed many of them in the Career Resources chapter of this book.

Don't Forget Your Portfolio

 When trying to land that first public relations job, your portfolio is just as important as your resume maybe more so. A portfolio is nothing more than a collection of your best work, gathered together in a display book (the book itself is also called a portfolio). Put together properly, a good portfolio highlights the quality of your work while also demonstrating your organization and presentation skills. Put together poorly, a portfolio can end your job search before it even begins. With that in mind, here is some sound advice on how to put together a portfolio for your public relations job search.

The first five cover employment, volunteer work, education, activities, and awards and are essential to any resume. The last two covering military service and language skills are important if, of course, they apply to you. I've only included one copy of each but, if you need to, you can copy the forms you need or simply write up your own using these as models.

Here are some pointers on how to fill out these all important Data Sheets:

Employment Data Input Sheet: You will need to record the basic information employer's name, address, and phone number; dates of employment; and supervisor's name for your own files anyway. It may be an important addition to your networking list and will be necessary should you be asked to supply a reference list

Duties should be a series of brief action statements describing what you did on this job. For example, if you worked as a hostess in a restaurant, this section might read: "Responsible for the delivery of 250 meals at dinner time and the supervision of 20 waiters and busboys. Coordinated reservations. Responsible for check and payment verification."

Skills should enumerate specific capabilities either necessary for the job or developed through it

If you achieved specific results e.g., "developed new filing system," "collected over $5,000 in previously assumed bad debt," "instituted award winning art program," etc. or received any award, citation or other honor "named Employee of the Month three times," "received Mayor's Citation for Innovation," etc. make sure you list these.

Prepare one employment data sheet for each of the last three positions you have held; this is a basic guideline, but you can include more if relevant Do not include sheets for short term jobs (i.e., those that lasted one month or less).

Volunteer Work Data Input Sheet: Treat any volunteer work, no matter how basic or short (one day counts!), as if it were a job and record the same information. In both cases, it is especially important to note specific duties and responsibilities, skills required or developed and any accomplishments or achievements you can point to as evidence of your success.

Educational Data Input Sheet: If you're in college, omit details on high school. If you're a graduate student, list details on both graduate and undergraduate coursework. If you have not yet graduated, list your anticipated date of graduation. If more than a year away, indicate the numbers of credits earned through the most recent semester to be completed.

Activities Data Input Sheet: List your participation in the Student Government, Winter Carnival Press Committee, Math Club, Ski Patrol, etc., plus sports teams and/or any participation in community or church groups. Make sure you indicate if you were elected to any positions in clubs, groups, or on teams.

Awards and Honors Data Input Sheet: list awards and honors from your school (prestigious high school awards can still be included here, even if you're in graduate school), community groups, church groups, clubs, etc.

Military Service Data Input Sheet: Many useful skills are learned in the armed forces. A military stint often hastens the maturation process, making you a more attractive candidate. So if you have served in the military, make sure you include details in your resume. Again, include any computer skills you gained while in the service.

Language Data Input Sheet: An extremely important section for those of you with a real proficiency in a second language. And do make sure you have at least conversational fluency in the language (s) you list One year of college French doesn't count, but if you've studied abroad, you probably are fluent or proficient Such a talent could be invaluable, especially in today's increasingly international business climate.

While you should use the Data Input Sheets to summarize all of the data you have collected, do not throw away any of the specific information report cards, transcripts, citations, etc.  just because it is recorded on these sheets. Keep all records in your files; you'll never know when you'll need them again!

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