Dion E. Black is a 2003 law school graduate who is still looking for the perfect legal job.

Recruiters scan resumes rapidly, so two things must be established quickly: precisely what kind of work Black is looking for, as well as the unique skills, abilities and knowledge he would bring to the job, said Reina Bach, a career and transition specialist at Life Path Group International in Washington.

Black's resume mistakenly gives the impression that he has done a lot of job hopping, Bach observed, which is a red flag for potential employers. To address this issue, she suggested that he give context to the short-term assignments. For example, he had several summer internships; these stints should be clearly noted as such.

Black should focus on results, rather than duties. "It's important for potential employers to understand your roles at previous employers, but it's more important for them to understand the results of your efforts. . . . Use metrics when possible that really help to paint a picture for potential employers of what you've done and of what you can do for them," she said.

Black "loves to look at how systems work and to fix them, so I'm sure he can come up with strong impact statements for his resume," she added.

Finally, she said, make sure the resume is up to date. Black now works for the District's Department of Transportation, as part of the Capital City Fellows Program. Through the selective program, Bach said, Black is helping to streamline some of the District's municipal processes and regulations.

"It's definitely something to highlight," Bach said.

-- Mary Ellen Slayter