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Getting Your Foot in the Door - Part 1: The Resume

 by Carol J. Matchett

Clayton Reporting Company, Ltd., St. Louis, MO

Congratulations! You finally made it: you passed the insurmountable 225 wpm or 240 wpm to complete your school requirements and receive your certificate. Your next big hurdle is obtaining employment.

Don't be discouraged when you begin calling reporting firms, and they seem to brush you off with that ever-so-common rejoinder: "Send me your resume." Most reporting firms have hectic schedules, and the moment when you call may not be the best timing from their vantage point.

That's one reason they ask for resumes. Also, by enabling the owner/manager to pre-select the most promising candidates, resumes cut down on the number of interviews required in the selection process. To assure your chances of being an interviewee, you must present the best resume.

The most important factor, no matter what your qualifications, is the overall appearance of the resume. Because the reporting agency owner initially won't be seeing you in person, your resume must speak for you. Properly written, it will enable you to get your foot in the door.

First and foremost, you should have no typographical or spelling errors at all. There should be no noticeable erasure marks, either. If you cannot produce a two- or three-page resume with an accompanying introductory letter that is error-free and neat, your ability to produce a 100-page transcript is questionable. Have someone proofread your resume and letter. You need a second pair of eyes to be objective and to pick up mistakes you may miss.

The next most important item is to include your complete name, address and telephone number. It is amazing the number of resumes that come in without this vital information, which leaves those job-seekers in a quandary over why no one is responding to their applications.

As for the rest of the resume, the following information should be included:

  • (a) Education. High school, college, business schools and the dates of graduation should be included, along with certificates and degrees, class rank and grade point average, and honors and awards.

  • (b) Employment History. Dates of both present and past employment, names of the employers, job titles and responsibilities should be listed.

  • (c) Work History. This should include your experience as a court reporter, internships, CAT training and data processing training.

  • (d) References. Either list specific references or state that they are available upon request.

At the top of your resume, after your name, address and telephone number, you should present your employment objective. This should be a brief statement listing your goals for the future.

All this information is important to the decision-makers at your targeted employers. It gives them an idea of your qualifications and experience before they meet you in person.

Last Reviewed: April 14, 2009