How To Get a Great Job - Build a Great Resume

by redelf

Get the job you want by describing past job duties effectively

One of the most time consuming sections to write when you're working on your resume can be the Work Experience, or Employment History section. No matter where you are in your career, whether just starting out, or a seasoned professional with many years experience, writing up the descriptions of each job you've had by listing and describing the job duties can be a challenge.

It can be equally difficult for someone who's been working many years, as well as for the new worker. Either you're trying to figure out how to fit everything important from a long career into the required one or two pages, or you're caught trying to make something out of what seems to be too little work experience to impress anyone.

Prioritize your job duties list

Set down your most important, or key duties

This dilemma never seems to get any easier as we progress in our careers, but the key is to prioritize your job duties, or responsibilities according to your career goal, or professional objective.


Often when we are asked about our job duties, or main responsibilities, the first things that come to mind are the things we did every day - the routine mundane items.

Unfortunately, these items rarely reflect the important responsibilities of the job, nor the skills we needed to acquire out te job effectively.

As well, listing the routine things first often leaves the key responsibilities and qualifications at the bottom of the list, not highlighted at or near the top.

Anyone who is familiar with that type of job will already know about the routine duties. They aren't interested in the routine things that they will assume you should be able to do, so they will most likely be interested in what else you bring to the table. They will want to see those skills highlighted.

Conversely, anyone who is unfamiliar will not know which are most important, so they may assume the key qualifications are listed first, and so overlook more important skills you possess. Again, you need to highlight the important things for them, too.

This could be a costly mistake, as most managers, or reviewers of resumes, spend as little as seven seconds looking over resumes. If they don't see what they are looking for in a candidate almost immediately, they discard that resume and go on to the next.

Resume help

Books and software that can help you build a better resume
Resume Magic, 4th Ed: Trade Secrets o...
$20.0  $10.99
Resumes For Dummies
$13.96  $9.98
Career Essentials: The Resume
$8.99  $14.51
Gallery of Best Resumes: A Collection...
$30.08  $19.57
Unbeatable Resumes: America's Top Rec...
$14.58  $1.48
Plan B: Separate Yourself from the Herd
Only $3.4

Begin at the Beginning...

The best way to start is to list all your job duties

To help avoid this pitfall, start by writing down every job you have ever held. Then write down everything you have done in every one of these jobs - the responsibilities, or job duties. Don't worry too much about how you are describing the job duties, you can always edit that before it goes into the resume.

Leave some space between each job on the list, in case you remember something else to add as you work your way through your list.

Once you have written down everything you can remember about each job, take a look at the duties/responsibilities for each job. What skills did you have or did you learn to help you carry out these responsibilities?

Links for resume building

Here are a few good places to start looking for assistance with your resume

Resume Writing Services
Resumes provides free sample resumes & resume writing services, resume cover letters, help, tips and templates to write great resumes

Professional Resume Service
Searching for resume writing services? ResumeEdge is a professional resume writing services company with experienced resume writers that will help your resume stand-out.

Resume Examples and Cover Letter Samples
Resume writing guides including free resume samples, resume templates, cover letter examples, resume format, follow up letters and thank you letters

Resume Samples and Templates
Free resume samples that provide job seekers with examples of resume formats and layouts that will work for new college graduates, students, moms returning to the work force

Shaping your resume for potential employers

How can you look at your resume through the eyes of an employer?

Now you can edit and rewrite your job duties. Put them in as plain wording as possible, and keep them brief, and to the point.

Once you have prioritized, re-written, and shaped your descriptions of your job duties, it's time to look at your resume through the eyes of an employer.

Re-check the job description of the position for which you are applying. If no job description is available, try searching the position online to find out what other employers are looking for in this job. That will give you a pretty clear idea of what a potential employer is seeking in terms of skills and qualifications.

Do your skills and qualifications match up and have you presented them in such a way that anyone can clearly see that from your resume?

It is your responsibility, as a job-seeker, to present yourself to your prospective employer in a clear and easy-to-grasp manner.

Employers don't have a lot of time to devote to reading the hundreds of resumes that pour in for each job that is advertised.

The clearer you are, the more convincing you will be, and the more likely a potential employer will be to respond positively and affirmatively.

(c) 2012 Text by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved

Updated: 07/24/2012, redelf
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
redelf on 02/13/2014

That''s an interesting comment, Rose. I don't think I have ever seen that on a resume. Usually employers are more interested in what you have done and where you've worked than in how much someone else paid you. In fact, your highest paying job may bear little relevance to the position for which you are currently applying, and you would NEVER mention salary expectation in your resume.

Rose on 01/08/2014

I would list your highest paying job first. Employers look at your most recent pay when deciding what salary to offer you.

You might also like

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Writing a CV is one of the most important parts of the job seeking process. ...

Resume Websites: Market Yourself

Successfully market yourself by including a resume website in your job search...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...