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    Writing a résumé (and the all-important cover
    letter) requires particular skills and a certain
    amount of knowledge, but it's not brain surgery.
    Depending on your occupation, the competition,
    and the industry, if you can form an intelligible
    sentence you can probably write a passable résumé.
    ON THE OTHER HAND...
    Résumé-writinglike writing great ad copy or a great
    short storydemands a rare combination of intuition,
    experience, and information. I've prepared résumés
    for hundreds of people in every economic sector, and
    not once has the thought crossed my mind, "This
    person doesn't need my help. She might as well do it
    herself." In my experience, people are too busy
    becoming experts in their own fields to master
the mechanics—spelling, grammar, punctuation,
vocabulary, syntax, and formatting;
the instinct for what to include, what not to
include, and how to self-promote with style and
brevity; and
the perspective—that is, the ability to stand back
and assess one's own strengths.

    In a single month, during a slump in the agricultural
    economy, more than a dozen farmers came to me for
    résumés. Most were pessimistic about their prospects.
    "All I've ever done is farming," they'd tell me.

    Pretty quickly I discovered what "farming" actually
    meant for these men. Each had decades of experience
    running a business, whatever that entailed—from
    repairing machinery to navigating commodity futures.
    Unfazed by information technology, they used
    specialized software for calculating yields, and email
    for keeping in touch with the grandkids. They were
    experienced mechanics, market analysts, builders,
    electricians, personnel managers, investors... all
    accustomed to long hours of strenuous work without
    benefit of sick leave or paid vacation.

    Once I pried the information out of them, I had to
    convince them that these were marketable skills. After
    all, everyone they knew was at least as capable and
    hardworking. Eventually, in every case, they overcame
    their modesty, presented their impressive résumés,
    and found jobs that suited their considerable talents.

    It's not unusual to see "objectives" front and center
    on résumés. Here are a few I found with a quick
    Google search:

I am a dedicated person who wants to use her skills
and education to help students achieve using both
traditional and modern approaches.
Obtain a challenging leadership position applying
creative problem solving and lean management skills
with a growing company to achieve optimum
utilization of its resources and maximum profits.

    If I'd been searching for "résumé gobbledygook" or
    "the silliest statement ever found on any résumé in
    any galaxy" instead of "objectives on résumés," I
    could hardly have hoped to find results that were
    more on target: empty words and hackneyed
    phrases taking up prime résumé real estate... and
    to what purpose?

    If I were hiring and, due to some terrible mistake,
    Mr./Ms. Creative Problem Solver's résumé landed
    on my desk, I would send it back with an invoice
    and a note: "Processing your résumé interfered
    with our ability to achieve optimum utilization of
    our resources."

    If you need to specify the job you're applying for,
    do it on the cover letter, and do it succinctly: "I'm
    applying for the job of assistant to the president."

    If you're not applying for a specific job, then begin
    the cover letter as follows: "I'd like to work for
    your company's marketing department. The
    attached résumé describes my background in online
    marketing with emphasis on social media." This is
    assuming, of course, that you have reason to
    believe the company might hire a social-media-
    marketing specialist.

    WHY IN THE WORLD SHOULD I READ YOUR LETTER?
    Everybody's busy. Billions of data units compete
    nonstop for the busy person's attention. If I'm a
    busy employer, at the hiring stage I'm not
    particularly interested in what you want, and
    telling me that you're dedicated is hardly going to
    sweep me off my feet. What might get my
    attention is evidence that you've done your
    homework on my company, my industry, and my
    competition. Based on your research, what—
    besides puffed-up boilerplate prose—do you have
    to offer?
    Do you know bad writing when you see it? Look for
extravagant modifiers
strings of prepositional phrases, and
inflated vocabulary
    to start with. If you can't form a mental image of
    what you're reading, it probably needs a rewrite.

    Are you an architect, or are you "a passionate,
    innovative, dynamic provider of architectural
    services who uses a collaborative approach to
    create and deliver outstanding customer
    experiences"? If you're not sure, read Jeff Haden's
    cautionary tale (Inc. online magazine),

    JIVE, as defined above, can be rich with meaning
    of Definition 2.

    This excerpt from Write Better Right Now, by
    Mary Campbell, lists "deceptive, exaggerated, or
    meaningless" words and phrases.
WHAT NOT TO SAY: Words and phrases that are
almost always unnecessary
BUZZWORDS: Common buzzword errors
CUT THE FLAB: Watch your vocabulary for
distancing versus inviting words and phrases
JIVE (n): 1. A form of slang associated with black
American jazz musicians
2. deceptive,exaggerated, or meaningless talk
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    * Phone interviews also available

Found online: A refreshingly straightforward
résumé that won't put you to sleep
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