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The Resume HandbookFifth Edition

The Resume Handbook provides thirty-seven examples of professional, secretarial, managerial, service-oriented, technical, financial, marketing, academic, executive and consulting resumes with clear guidelines and explanations. Examples of poorly written resumes, and advice on how to fix them, provide perspective and insight.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker changes jobs every 3.6 years; the National Bureau of Economic Research tells us that we work for at least ten different employers during our lifetimes. Foreign outsourcing has added to job market volatility, and the trend is growing. The Resume Handbook can help prepare you for this accelerated rate of change.

The purpose of your resume is to get you invited for an interview. It precedes you in your job search like an emissary of good will, an advertisement of your skills, experience and knowledge presented in their most favorable light. Until you meet the interviewer (if you ever do), the resume is all they know of you. Approximately one interview is granted for every 250-300 resumes received. Obviously, a mediocre resume will rarely win an interview and a poor one hasn’t got a chance!

Research suggests that a piece of advertising matter has about a second and a half in which to attract the reader’s interest. There's no way someone sitting in front of a monster stack of resumes is going to accord them equal time. Your objective is to position yours to receive its fair share of the interviewer’s attention.

Who needs a resume? Unless you are retired or independently wealthy, you do!

First of all, you never know when opportunity will knock. The majority of desirable positions are offered to individuals who are employed and aren’t necessarily seeking a new job.

It is also valuable to observe your own career on paper. Your resume can place your past experience, growth, and goals into perspective, and help chart the path of your future career.

Finally, a well-prepared resume takes some of the anxiety out of the job search, especially in times of uncertainty.

Sample Resumes:

Our sample resumes were selected and edited from among the thousands we have reviewed over the years to represent the various techniques and purposes we'd like to share with you.

Each resume addresses a specific challenge and approach. You may find one that appeals to you; alternatively, you can draw upon elements from two or more to meet your personal needs.

The resumes are labeled as chronological (with dates), functional (thematic, without dates) and combined (both). They are organized according to the needs and objectives of different job-seekers, e.g.:

• Limited Experience
• Restaurant
• Secretarial
• Hotel Management
• Sales, Marketing and Product Development
• Graphic Art
• Teaching
• Health Care
• Paralegal
• Human Resources
• Business Management
• Engineering
• Banking
• Finance
• Technical
• Research & Academia
• Executive
• Career Change
• Consulting

Of course, there is unavoidable overlap between some of these categories, e.g., Professional and Finance, Technical, Research and Consulting, and so on. Still, we believe this organization will help you find what you are looking for more easily and conveniently.

Using the Internet:

The Internet has revolutionized the way most professionals and a lot of other people look for work, and the way companies and agencies seek employees. Failure to recognize and make use of the greatest innovation since fermented grapes may leave you out of the WEB and totally unlinked.

The Internet is the fastest way to get your resume to interested parties. Aside from speed, the pros and cons of using the Internet to circulate your resume and enhance your job search are fairly balanced.


Your resume has minimal impact on the success of your job search unless it finds its way into the right hands. Networking is one of the best ways to reach the people who can hire you, and many people consider it the most successful job search strategy available. The weight of evidence suggests that over half the people who switch jobs find their new employers through networking. All the other job search strategies (employment agencies, search firms, targeted & mass mailings, electronic networking and opportunity advertisements) combined account for fewer positions than networking.

Trends and Opportunities:

The most up-to-date market trends and career opportunities can be found on WEB-sites and journals that are published on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. By the time a book is published, some hot areas cool and others start to simmer. No one knows for sure what the future job market holds in store, but there are ways to prepare for even this uncertainty.

Foreign Jobs:

Most foreign openings available to English-only speaking people are in the sciences (research and development), technology (electronics, petroleum and communications), education (teaching) and international agencies such as the United Nations. US and Canadian companies looking for people to work off shore are still US and Canadian companies.

Faux Pas:

Laugh if you will, but the most amazing irrelevancies and otherwise inappropriate references are known to find their way into resumes and cover letters, which then find their way into trash bins.

Cover Letters:

A cover letter is used to introduce an enclosed resume. You may be sending it to someone who has asked to see it or initiating a contact with a placement or consulting agency; or you may be targeting a specific company or individual, or responding to an advertisement. Whatever the purpose, the person who receives your resume expects the courtesy and direction provided by a clear and purposeful cover letter.

Personal Promo Letters:

Not to be confused with cover letters, which introduce and accompany resumes, the promo (also sales or broadcast) letter serves as a substitute for a resume. It is primarily used when writing to selected prospects rather than employment agencies, classified ads, and so on.

Following Up:

The art of follow-up is overlooked by most job-searchers and can provide a winning edge when used with tact and proper timing. Follow-ups can be conducted via (e- or snail-) mail or phone; fax and personal visits are not recommended unless specifically invited.

Other Methods:

Six other strategies account for less than half of all job changes. These include Advertisements, Private Employment Agencies, Search Firms, State Employment Agencies, Targeted Mailings, Mass Mailings and Job Fairs.


In a buyer’s market, salaries may be lower than what you are accustomed to. If your skills are rare and in demand, you may well positioned to ask for a premium rate.

The bottom line is to be realistic. Find out what others in your field, with comparable expertise and experience to yours, are earning, and set your sights accordingly.


The guidelines and suggestions in The Resume Handbook are geared toward helping you increase your control over the factors governing a single aspect of your career: getting the interviews you want!

With regard to writing resumes, what is good or bad depends upon what works, and what does not. In the final analysis, it is the results that count.