Most EMS agencies require applicants to submit a resum in addition to filling out a job application, and getting a new often job depends on how well you sell yourself in your resum . As a self-marketing tool, a resum is more than an outline of your career and education; it s a short, easy-to-read report of why the organization should hire you over another candidate. Here are some tips to help you start from scratch or tweak your current resum to develop the best presentation of your qualifications.

CV or resum ?
First, you should know the difference between a CV and a resum . A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a long, detailed, structured document that lists all your work history, awards, education, achievements, published articles and projects. For most entry-level positions, you re not expected to submit a CV.

A resum , on the other hand, is a shorter version of your work history and qualifications. Resum s are usually one of two types: chronological or functional. A chronological resum details your work and educational experience that relates to the expected qualifications of an open position. A functional resum is useful for new graduates who lack experience, because it emphasizes the specific knowledge and background that provides the potential for successfully fulfilling the needs of the position.

From the top down
Start with your basic contact information, including your name, address, phone numbers (but not your current work number) and e-mail address. Although it seems obvious to include this information, remember to double check it. If even one digit is wrong, the potential employer may not be able to get in touch with you, and it also sends the signal that you re less than accurate with your work. Exclude other personal data, such as your martial status, age or birth date, health condition and Social Security number.

An objective statement at the top of your resum isn t absolutely necessary. It conveys that you re interested in the position, but that s obvious by the fact that you ve applied. It also uses critical space if you re trying to limit your resum to one page, which I ll discuss later. If you do include an objective statement, be sure to update it for each agency and position; if the first line a prospective employer reads mentions any other agency s name, you can guess where your resum will end up.

Chronological resum : In this simple format, list your previous, relevant work experience, starting with your most recent position first. If you ve served with another EMS agency, in addition to including the agency name, your position, job title, and a brief description of your job duties, ensure that you list any teaching roles and unique duties. Also, if you were trained to provide instruction on CPR, first aid or swimming and water safety, these responsibilities demonstrate your interest and ability to communicate with the public.

Functional resum : Highlight your strengths in the first half of the resum . If you re just getting out of school and you don t have any field experience, emphasize your educational accomplishments. Also include specific courses or degrees that relate to the position.

Don t include references in your resum , but prepare a separate document to have ready for an agency that requests them. The list should include at least three professional contact names with titles, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Other tips
The length of your resum depends on the amount of relevant experience you want to present. If you have less than five years experience, aim for a one-page document; if you have several years experience and a number of accomplishments, don t try to cram them onto a single page when you have enough to easily fill two pages. The key is to keep it as short and concise as possible without under- or overselling yourself.

Read your resum several times and ensure that it s easy to understand. If it confuses you, how will someone else be able to read it? If you can trust a friend with the fact that you re searching for a new job, ask them to review it as well.

When completing online applications, ensure that any information you cut and paste into the Web form is correct and complete. In some cases, the form may limit the number of words or characters you enter, so you may need to modify it.

Although you may be able to use the same resum for different jobs, you should always review it with a specific employer in mind to ensure you haven t forgotten anything relevant for that position.

Don t try to make your resum stand out with colored paper, colored ink or different fonts. Stick to plain white paper, black ink and an 11- or 12-point, readable font printed on a laser printer.

Final reminders:

  • Emphasize your education and work experiences that best match the position you re trying to get.
  • Be sure all information is current and accurate.
  • Ensure your qualifications are evident on your resum when read by someone else.
  • Don t misrepresent your experience or education. Employers do perform background checks.
  • Don t rely on your computer s spell checker. Proofread your resum for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Numerous examples of effective resum s can be found in reference books or on the Internet. Do your research, and spend some time preparing your resum before you apply for any new job. It can easily take several days to develop a quality resum . Make your resum easy to read and hard to forget, and you ll be successful in obtaining the job you want.