Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Using Resumes for Taking Stock

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Using Resumes for Taking Stock

Article excerpt


A professional-looking resume that is a true reflection of one's academic background, work experience, and professional qualifications is an important tool used during the job-search process. Since job-search strategies are frequently included in chapters of Business Communication texts, Business Communication is a logical place to begin teaching students these important job-search skills.

When students are asked for their opinions concerning the fundamental purpose of a resume, the most common response is that resumes get you jobs. In reality, the primary function of a resume, is to get job interviews for the type of position being sought. At the interview, it is then the job seeker's task to convince the interviewer that he or she is the best candidate for the position, appearing as good in person as on paper.


Students have many experiences as they go through their academic careers. For many, college is little more than a succession of classes, tests, papers, and so forth. Others join clubs, participate in student organizations, and hold part-time jobs. Whatever their level of involvement, students need to take stock of themselves when preparing resumes to send to prospective employers. Peter Drucker (1994) indicated that few students look upon themselves as a product that must be marketed. According to Drucker, the resume establishes a marketing relationship where the customer (student) must begin by determining what the buyer (employer) wants. Once the employer's objectives are determined, students should write a resume to show how they fill those needs.

In order to look at themselves as products, students need to take stock of what they have to offer a potential employer. During the time spent in teaching resume writing techniques, students are encouraged to take stock of what they have accomplished and what they have to offer employers. Since this course is often taught at the sophomore level, it also serves to encourage students to evaluate what they plan to do for the next two years in light of what future employers will be looking for.

As various components of the resume are reviewed, these can be looked at as a way of meeting the employers needs. Instead of a general Objectives section, students learn how to research potential companies and determine what employers are looking for. Instead of merely listing jobs held in the Work Experience section, students can demonstrate that they have learned such things as problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and so forth. Not only does the resume creating process focus on what the student has accomplished, but for many students it is a wake-up call to encourage them to plan the rest of their academic career so that they will have something to put on the real resumes they send during their senior year. When writing resumes, students need to view themselves through the eyes of the prospective Human Resource Manager as job applicants.


It takes a high quality, professional looking resume to capture the attention of the busy human resource manager. The time spent by the average human resource manager reviewing the vast numbers of resumes that cross their desk each week can be compared to that of watching a 30-second television commercial. With the increasing number of job applicants sending out resumes and decreasing amount of time available to review each one, 30 seconds is about all the time many human resource manager have to review each resume.

Gomes (1995) reported that many Fortune 1,000-sized companies use new scanning technology that searches for key words, dictated by the company, and screens resumes by those selected words, storing the information in a computerized data base. Only those resumes that match with the key words sought by the company will reach the hands of the human resource manager. Resume scanning programs do have their idiosyncracies, and their whims must be accommodated. …

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