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In Creating an Effective Resume, author Mariann Siegert provides step-by-step guidance on creating resumes that highlight accomplishments and specifically target a potential employer's needs. The course covers how to build a resume that encompasses action statements, keywords, styling, and effective content, while addressing common stumbling blocks such as handling employment gaps and career changes. Framing the resume as a vital component of a personalized marketing campaign, Mariann shows how to conduct employer research and utilize keyword optimization techniques to increase a resume's potential of being found by employers and recruiters on resume banks and job sites. Also included are tips on writing cover letters and thank-you notes. Exercise files accompany the course.
There's a simple technique that you can follow to help you create a more compelling and effective resume. It's called a PAR formula. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Result. The PAR formula tells a business story. In the case of your resume, you can use this formula to tell your success story to potential employers, the story that will show how you can help them and why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
All the stories have one thing in common, a beginning, middle, and end. The PAR formula works the same way. The beginning is the problem, the middle is the action, and the end is the result. During your career, you've had problems, you've taken the action to solve those problems, and hopefully received positive end results. Your resume should not be a laundry list of boring job duties, and responsibilities that you've performed.
You'll get much greater results by using PAR formula to showcase how you will help their bottom line. As an added bonus, creating PAR statements can even help prepare you for behavior-based interview questions, such as 'what do you consider to be your greatest achievement?' So how does it work? Let me begin by giving you a few examples. Let's say that you're a web site designer. The problem that you may have had as a web site designer is a client who is not getting enough traffic to their web site, resulting in low sales.
What action did you take? Well, you interviewed the client, researched their competition, created a new web site based on your findings, and then performed search engine optimization, or SEO for short. The result was increased web site traffic by 70%, increase in the client sales and profits by 55%. Based on the situation, your PAR statement would be, 'designed new Flash web site based on competitive market evaluations and client needs, resulting in a 70% increase in web site traffic and 55% profit margin.' Doesn't that sound better than 'created a web site'? Now, let's take a look at what PAR statement would look like if you were a secretary.
The problem was that the company was using an antiquated Rolodex system for their contact management system. The action that you took was that you created a new contact management database using Access. Your result was that the company can now use the information from the database to merge addresses for mass mailings and electronic mail distribution, saving time and money. This also increased efficiency, shortening the time it takes to send out mass mailings by 90%.
The PAR statement for this example would be, 'created a contact management system using Access to store data from outdated Rolodex systems, increasing efficiency of mass mailings to our clients by 90%'. Doesn't this sound better than 'sent out letters to clients'? Both of these examples contain action verbs and details. They also use numbers to quantify the results of the action. It sets your experience in motion. How do you write your own PAR statements? Always start at the beginning, the problem.
What are some of the biggest problems that you faced in your career, the action that you took to resolve the problem, and the positive outcome that ensued as a result of your actions? Think of things you've done in your career that you're proud of. Show the employer that you can take action when the situation arises. And don't let PAR statements intimidate you. It's not rocket science. It's easy. Have fun with it! If you're still stuck, try answering questions such as, did you win any awards? Did you direct, oversee, or manage any projects? Did you implement any new ideas? Did you organize an event or a function? Did you save the company time, money, or make something on the job more efficient? It can even be something such as getting promoted quickly.
For example, you could say, promoted from Helpdesk Technician to Helpdesk Manager within eight months of your initial hiring. Think back, think hard, and have some fun creating your own PAR statements.
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