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The Most Important Question Your Resume Will Have to Answer

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Your resume accomplishes a number of very clear goals: It lets employers know that you’re familiar with standard professional communication, it showcases your writing and presentation skill, and it tells employers where you’ve been so far on your professional journey and where you’ll be heading in the future. Job seekers use resumes to tell employers that they’re reliable, mentally sound, hard-working, pleasant company, and willing to put the needs of the enterprise ahead of their own. These are all great qualities.

But as great as they are, these qualities represent the bare minimum necessary for your candidacy. Just letting employers know that you have a strong work ethic and a nice smile won’t put you ahead of the other competitors lined up the lobby with equally strong work ethics and even brighter smiles. To set yourself apart, you’ll need to answer one question that matters more than any other. What can you bring to this this specific job? In other words, what can you offer that will make you more likely to contribute and thrive in this role than any other candidate?

How to Answer the Central Question

Everything you state on your resume should somehow relate back to this central question. Every word you include in your work history, every accomplishment you list, and every award you describe should help employers understand why it’s smarter to hire you than the next person in line.

Start with your summary. Your summary will consist of short paragraph at the top of your resume, just under your contact information. It’s the first part– and often the only part– of the resume that employers may read. Use these three to five sentences to answer the central question in a succinct, clear, and compelling way. Before you start typing, you’ll have to do some close examination and soul searching to determine what you have that other candidates don’t, and you’ll have to figure out how these offerings align with the employer’s desire to make money.

Once you’ve addressed the question in your summary, you can move on to your education and work history sections. In your work history, you’ll have a second opportunity to present yourself as the one candidate, and the only candidate, who can best help can help this company reach its goals. Think carefully before you begin to write. And as you think, place yourself in the employer’s position.

To do this, you may need to visit the company’s website and learn everything you can about what this organization needs and how it functions. You may also need to reach out for some outside guidance. The Little Rock staffing experts at CSS are standing by to help you make your case. Contact our office today.

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