Make your resume rise above the rest

PASADENA, Calif. "It's a showcase of your qualifications. 'All on one page? Can I do three?' No. 'Can I do two?' Maybe," said job placement expert Joumana Barakat during one of her resume workshops.

Barakat gives free workshops at one of the many One Stop Job Resource Centers in Southern California.

Barakat met Ric Romero at the office at the Foothill Employment and Training Connection in Pasadena.

The job search expert says the resume is the most important document in a job search because it is the first thing employers see about you.

"They don't know who you are, they don't know how you speak, how tall you are, what you look like. They want to see your qualification, they want to understand your skills, they want to get a general idea of you from this piece of paper," said Barakat.

After 15 years of being in the employment field, Barakat knows resumes. Her workshop is invaluable when it comes to getting a job.

"Not any resume works anymore. We know what the employers want. We are out there in the community every day," said Barakat.

One thing Barakat makes clear in her workshop is that employers don't want to see any mistakes.

"Make one grammatical error, you are out. Put one unexplained time gap, you are out," Barakat said.

Barakat says determining what should be on your resume depends on you.

"No two resumes are alike. No two resumes should be alike. And it's very important the way you prepare it, the information you put on it, the format that you pick," said Barakat.

There are three basic resume formats: Chronological, which lists your employment history; functional, which emphasizes your skills, accomplishments and problems you have solved; and combination, which combines the strength of both chronological and functional.

"It's been very helpful. I've learned some new tricks and I look forward to going home right away and updating my resume," said Cathy Cheney, who attended Barakat's workshop.

Barakat believes a cover letter is a requirement. She says keep the letter short and do not repeat the items already on your resume.

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