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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

June 24, 2011

Career Development

Land the job you want with a stand-out résumé.

When looking for a new or better job, a résumé is often the first impression you make on a potential employer – and you know what they say about first impressions. As you look to launch your career, advance to a better position, or change career paths altogether, earning a degree online is a great way to start, especially one that centers on proving your competency like WGU's.

But how do you write a résumé that makes that competency clear to your future boss and makes you stand out in a crowd of job-seekers?

WGU's Alumni & Career Services recently hosted a webinar to help you figure it out. Here are just a few tips from the roundtable, featuring AB & Associates owner Angela Barfield, Prince, Perelson & Associates recruiter Portia Blackhurst, and WGU alumni mentor Dawn Woodward:

Students earns a degree online.

What a résumé should be.

  • Your résumé is the chance for your would-be employer to "see the candidate as a whole package," Portia points out. Not only does your résumé explain your relevant education and experience, but it also lets a hiring manager get a glimpse at your writing and grammar skills, your professionalism, and your creativity.
  • The purpose of a résumé is to "compel a conversation," Angela says. You need to catch the hiring manager's attention and get them interested enough to pick up the phone and schedule an interview.
  • In the end, your résumé is a marketing piece for the candidate. Think of it as an advertisement for yourself – because that's really what it is.

So how do you successfully market yourself?

  • Clarity, purpose, and neatness. Be sure you are articulating a clear message about who you are and what you bring to the position, and keep that message consistent throughout your résumé.
  • Originality. Be thoughtful and creative – but not "wacky" – in how you present your information.
  • Metrics and concrete examples. Show your résumé's readers what you achieved at previous positions, educational successes, and volunteer or extra-curricular activities.

Other questions answered.

  • What if my résumé has a time gap, a career change, or other deviation from a linear career path?
  • What if I'm moving to a new career field or position?
  • How do I list education and degree work done during the course of my career?
  • Does my résumé need to include a "branding statement" or objective?
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