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Power Resumes

by Ron Tepper
John Wiley & Sons
304 pages, $14.95

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In today's ultra-competitive job market, even a slight advantage in the resume department can push you ahead of the competition. Power Resumes urges job seekers to step into the shoes of hiring managers to learn to look at resumes from the other side of the desk. Tepper recommends identifying your value-added benefits (specific examples of the types of problems you can solve) that will impact an employer's bottom line. Another helpful aspect is that Power Resumes does not just focus on what people are looking for on resumes, but also pinpoints major no-no's that can potentially sabotage a resume.

The importance of having a power resume should not be underestimated. Today, the need to sell yourself on paper and to generate a response from potential employers is magnified by the tight labor market. Tepper points out that with employers using computer-generated searches to determine if resumes contain keywords relating to a position, resume writers have to use tools at their disposal. Power Resumes is one of the tools that will help you even the playing field by showing you how to create a resume that will get noticed.

The author stresses the tactical approach of identifying your underlying skills, which he refers to as "value-added benefits." These are the types of solutions you are capable of performing that relate to a specific position. This approach contrasts with the typical resume features (job duties and responsibilities) that may not address the issue of matching your experience with a specific position. From a hiring manager's point of view, the main question is "How can you solve my problem?" Job seekers who zero in on a position's unique requirements and match their resumes accordingly make themselves more desirable candidates.

Power Resumes gives valuable tips on customizing the content of your resume. The book supplies examples of resumes that replace elements in order to draw attention to specific skills or traits identified as significant by an employer. Tepper stresses that the content of your resume is only part of the equation. How it is presented and whether you successfully tailor it to a specific position is the true measure of a resume's effectiveness.

The book also reviews what not to do on resumes, identifying red flags from an employer's point of view. Inaccurate and inconsistent spelling, grammar and punctuation are amateurish and give the hiring manager a convenient reason not to make a job seeker an offer. Surprisingly, previous salary, accomplishments, and job titles do not top the list of areas where people get creative on their resumes. Number of years in a previous position is the most common fabrication. The issue of job hopping is not as much of a red flag as in the past, and employers in different industries have varying expectations regarding how long employees stay with companies.

Ultimately, Power Resumes is a challenging book that stretches existing attitudes toward resumes and reshapes job seekers' mindsets in positive ways. Accentuating the positive and effective presentation techniques apply not only to resumes, but to the entire career-seeking process. Following these fundamentals infuses you with power that prospective employers will recognize immediately.

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