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Our Featured Article:

Resumes That Rock (16 Expert Tips)

Karen Fritscher-Porter

It's never too early to update your resume, even if you're not searching for a new job. Why? Updating your resume is a valuable reminder to yourself of your practical value to employers.

Refer to it when preparing your business case for a raise request or when preparing for your annual performance evaluation. Your resume is a good reminder of your achievements for your company as well as your capabilities and skills.

And if you suddenly find your company, or life, in upheaval and need to start searching for a new job, preparing your resume is one less stressful activity to worry about. You've kept your resume current so it's nearly complete. Just polish it, print it and add a cover letter targeted toward each individual employer and position. Then drop it in the mail, fax it or e-mail it per the potential employer's preference. It's so simple, right? Hardly.

If you could really capture your essence in a bottle and send it to the prospective employer, you'd certainly get the job. Why? He'd know how polished, enthusiastic, well-qualified and perfect you were for the position compared to the other trillion candidates applying too. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Your "essence" has to go into the brief resume and cover letter versus a bottle. And that's how the potential employer knows he or she just MUST meet you in person.

"Your resume is a snapshot," says Anne McKinney, author and editor of "Real Resumes for Administrative Support, Office & Secretarial Jobs" by PREP Publishing. "And when a resume is a great resume, from head (its objective) to toe (its personal section), an employer can really feel that he has met you. He might not know exactly what you look like but it's a photograph of you in lots of ways that you've brought to life. And that's not easy for most people to create since they're not writers."

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