Posts Tagged ‘how to write a resume’

Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Which blunders will send your resume straight into oblivion? There might be dozens (apart from simple things, like bad grammar and spelling), depending on the job, but experts say including these five things on your resume are most likely to derail your job search:

1. A list of every job you’ve ever held

Hiring managers don’t want to know about that summer you worked as a lifeguard—unless you’re applying to manage the park district’s pool.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for relevance and stability. The key is to list the work you’ve done in the past 10 to 15 years that tells an employer you’re a skilled, reliable fit for the job.

Say you’ve had three employers in the past seven years but only two of them are in the industry you’re applying for. Employers don’t want to see a gap in your employment record, so you still need to list that third job — just make sure you list the accomplishments in that job that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

2. Your Age

Hiring managers need to know what you can do for them, not how many years you’ve managed to stay alive. Therefore, experts commonly argue against:

* Listing professional experience more than 15 years old.
* Providing an exact number of years of professional experience in your opening summary.

And don’t forget that age bias cuts both ways: A resume that tells a future boss you’re too young for the job is no good, either.

3. Lists of tasks or duties without results

Your resume has to go beyond saying which jobs you’ve done: It must establish what you’ve accomplished on those jobs. Many applicants miss this key distinction.

The only things that separate equally qualified candidates are the results of their efforts. For example, an administrative assistant may write, “reorganized filing system.” That provides the task. What were the results? A better way to write it would be, “Increased team productivity 20% by reorganizing filing system.” Results are what matter to hiring managers.

4. Explanations of anything negative

Everybody has dark stories in their past.

There’s no place for them on your resume. Your resume is a promotional document and all promotional documents need to be positive.

The time to explain yourself is when you’re talking to the hiring manager in person after you’ve scored an interview.

5. Personal details

Employers usually don’t care about your marital status, race, sexual orientation or hobbies, unless they are somehow pivotal to the job. Including personal data is a rookie mistake, and nobody wants to hire a rookie.

Crafting and sending a resume is part of the “discovery phase” of the hiring process so employers at this phase don’t need personal details beyond your name, city, state and a way to contact you. If you make it to the hiring phase, the human resources department will collect your relevant personal details then.

Most resumes are now transmitted electronically, and there’s no way to be sure where one might end up after you send it in. With identity thieves always on the prowl, you always need to protect your personal data. Never include your Social Security number.

6. A photo of yourself

This is probably more applicable to international candidates, who generally have more experience with resume and CV formats that include a photo. However, standard policy for US resumes is not to include one. Partly this is due to the age and personal details issues above (i.e., potential for bias).

But also, if your resume has your photo, a recruiter isn’t going to spend any longer looking at it. Instead, they’ll just waste part of the valuable 6-10 seconds generally spent scanning a resume looking at the picture instead of reading what they need to find out about you.

Good luck!

5 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume | by Tom Mangan via Monster.

5 Common Resume Lies & Exaggerations

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

The temptation to stretch the truth on a resume can be powerful, especially considering the modern, competitive job market we currently endure, where the slightest advantage can mean the difference between a successful career and a life mired in mediocrity.

Before you act on this temptation and give your credentials a fictitious boost, think twice. Beyond the serious ethical implications, consider a few other issues.

First, most employers keep resumes on file once candidates are hired. And if your exaggerations are discovered—even years down the road—you may be terminated on the spot (recall the embarrassing firing of CEO Scott Thompson from Yahoo! a few years ago).

Second, experienced hiring managers have usually been in the candidate-selection business for a long time, and they’ve seen many more resumes than you have. They tend to spot exaggerations right away, and if this is your first foray into the job market, some of your adjustments may be more obvious than you realize.

Here are the most common lies and alterations that managers tend to see on resumes, especially those submitted by less experienced applicants:

1. GPA Misstatements

Inexperienced candidates are more inclined to stretch the truth than workers with longer track records, and as it happens, many of these newbies are recent graduates, so their GPAs hold more weight than those of their mid-career counterparts. If you’ve graduated within the past two years, feel free to include your GPA in your resume. After two years, take this detail out. In the meantime, don’t round-up or “accidentally” misstate your GPA by a few tenths of a point. This detail is very easy for employers to verify.

2. Revenue Raised

You worked on a project, and the project helped your company make money. You wrote a grant application, won over a new client, participated in a successful product roll-out, or coached a sales team until their numbers improved. That’s great! And when you describe this accomplishment, you’ll want to quantify it by using dollar amounts, timelines, and sales figures. As you do so, keep these numbers honest and accurate. Your reviewers probably won’t be able to verify these claims, but don’t be tempted to overstate them or you may call your entire candidacy into question.

3. Head Counts

How many people worked right beside you on the project described above? Was this a single-handed effort or were you part of a 27-member team? How many direct reports did you manage in your last position? How many clients did you handle at once? Don’t add (or subtract) so much as one imaginary person. Keep your record and your conscience clean.

4. Skill Level

Sometimes, we are tempted to claim greater knowledge and experience in a subject than we possess. For example, while we may only have a passing familiarity with software like Adobe Photoshop, we may put on our resume that we are skilled at using it, thereby implying frequent use and in-depth knowledge. Or we’ve read some articles or books but have no formal training in a subject. Or we took high school Spanish and that makes us fluent. Always be sure to indicate the exact level of expertise you possess, when in doubt.

5. Timelines & Job Titles

Did you finish this project in three months or four years? Were you promoted from the entry level within one year or five years? Did you leave your last job in 2014 or 2010? When you held that job, were you the Assistant Branch Manager or the Assistant TO the Branch Manager? Keep in mind that dates of employment and job titles can be verified with a single phone call.

So the best policy is always to keep your certifications and accomplishments honest. An accurate resume will hold far more value for both your employers and yourself. The more information you share, and the more accurate it is, the easier it will be for both parties to find a potential match.

Good luck!

4 Common Resume Lies & Exaggerations | via LiveCareer.

Why a Targeted Resume is Critical

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

When applying for a job, it’s your responsibility to prove you’re the best candidate. This can be challenging if you can’t provide examples showing that this is, indeed, the case. A great way to show your worth is by focusing on what the employer needs most from the candidate who will fill the position, then tailoring your resume to address those needs specifically.

Targeting Your Resume Proves You Are the Best Fit for the Position

Employers absolutely need to know that the candidate they choose for a job is the best fit, which they do by confirming that a candidate’s past accomplishments and current skill set fall in line with the important day-to-day tasks and overarching goals of the position.

If you submit a generic resume that doesn’t address the specific needs of each company and showcase your professional capabilities, you are failing to prove that you are right for the position. And unfortunately, another candidate will be more than willing to pick up your slack — and take your dream job while they’re at it.

How Can You Ensure Your Resume Is Targeted?

So how do you create a targeted resume that will emphatically show an employer that you deserve the interview? Here are a few brief suggestions:

Research the company and position:

A great way to target your resume is to dig in and learn about the company and what the employer wants from its candidates. Once you acquire this information, you will be armed with specifics that can help you determine what contributions you can make to the company.

Customize a job target/title, branding statement, and career summary:

Instead of writing a bland objective statement, place a job target/title at the top of your resume that defines who you are as a professional. Also, create a branding statement (a one- or two-line statement that sums up the value you can offer each employer based upon their needs and how you can meet them) that is customized to the specific job. Then write a career summary (most commonly a bullet point list that shares your career highlights) listing accomplishments most pertinent to the position at the top.

Utilize keywords throughout:

It’s also important to utilize specific keywords in your resume. For example, if you are applying as an executive chef in the hospitality industry, you might incorporate keyword phrases like “menu planning”, “kitchen equipment”, “banquet meal production”, and “procurement of food supplies” as indicators of your knowledge of the field. Keywords should be used in your job target/title, branding statement, career summary, and most other sections in your resume.

Though targeting your resume requires a bit more effort (a resume writing professional can help!), it offers a lot more in return. By taking the time to customize a resume for each application, you give those companies no doubt that you are the best candidate for the job.

Good luck!

Why Writing Targeted Resumes is More Critical Than You Think | Jessica Holbrook Hernandez via HCareers.

When Should You Lie on Your Resume?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Probably everyone you’ve ever met has told you that you shouldn’t lie on your resume. But what if you can’t seem to get a job with the skills you have? You may really want to be honest, but want to be employed even more. What should you do?

When it comes to resumes, and many other things, you can’t look at every statement as black and white. You never want to outright lie on your resume, of course, but you do want to paint the best picture of yourself possible. This sometimes means leaving out certain information or finding the right angle for your experience. Here’s some rough advice on what you can do and what you should never do to enhance your resume:

Don’t Include Your Entire Work History

Whether you have a short or long work history, you don’t necessarily want to include all of it. If you’re applying for a marketing position and you’ve worked as an intern and an associate in separate firms, but also as a cashier at a grocery store, don’t pad your resume with the irrelevant job. Doing so wastes space that you can use to explain the good work you did at the actually relevant jobs.

Conversely, you may want to leave off jobs (and other information) that make you look overqualified. You don’t need an MFA to work in telesales or Vice President position to get a job as a programmer. Part of putting your best foot forward on your resume involves leaving out the stuff that makes you look wrong for the position, no matter how impressive.

Temporarily Lie About Skills You Can Learn

Do you know Excel? Probably not very well if you haven’t touched it since 2004, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include it on your resume. If you can spend a night learning what you need to know before you need to know it, you can claim proficiency in a skill you don’t really have.

Keep in mind this means taking a sizable risk and you shouldn’t take it often. You don’t want to claim to know JavaScript when you’ve never even learned the basics. That said, you can claim to know HTML and CSS if you’ve learned a little bit but not a lot. When you “lie” about a skill, you have to know you can acquire that skill quickly if needed by your employer. Don’t apply for jobs that require certain primary abilities you don’t have. You wouldn’t want to try and get a job as a front-end developer with limited knowledge of HTML and CSS, for example. You might, however, promote that same limited knowledge to find work as a blogger (or any job where those skills help but aren’t required). Although it’s always better to just tell the truth, if you need to embellish your skill set you can safely, under these constraints.

Don’t Embellish Your Position, Explain It

You never want to lie about your position. While your work might imply a more robust job title, if a prospective employer calls your previous employer to ask about a position that doesn’t exist, you’ll just seem like a liar. That said, you shouldn’t discount the work you did beyond the call of duty. For example: Let’s say you were an intern last semester. You worked really hard and you think, “Hmm, I worked almost as hard as my manager, I’ll just say that I had his title instead.” Sometimes a hiring manager catches this fib and sometimes they don’t. If you were a hardworking intern, illustrate that with the bullet points below your title, not by lying about your position at the company.

You can still call yourself by your correct title and explain only the great, relevant work you did. You don’t have to include remedial tasks that made up most of your job if it doesn’t apply to the job you’re trying to get. Instead, you can leave out more of the irrelevant tasks and focus on the ones that make you look like an intelligent, hardworking prospect.

All of that said, if you have a great relationship with the company you’ve left (or plan to leave) and want to use a more impressive title, talk to your boss or manager about using one. They may allow you to use a more impressive-sounding title on your resume and play along when called as a reference if they like you. Perhaps they’ll even award you that honorary title as a parting gift. If your boss or manager approves, it’s not really a lie.

Spin Relevant Experience When You Have None

The trick doesn’t involve lying, but rather digging deep to find relevant experience you didn’t really know you had. If you really want a job as a graphic designer but work as a receptionist, you can spin a lot of your experience to make it relevant. Perhaps you’ve created fliers, mailers, in-office posters, and so on. I worked as a customer service representative awhile back and found ways to make company videos, design posters, and even write code. If you want a different job, find ways to do the kind of work you want to do at your current job so you can claim it as experience on your resume. You still have to do the work assigned to you, but if you add a few other helpful tasks here and there your company should appreciate you for it.

When you can’t do something at a company, do it on your own time. Nobody can stop you from designing, writing, or whatever else after you clock out. When you have no relevant experience, you can always make some yourself. That might not get you an interview all by itself, but you can also try to meet someone from the company to give yourself a better chance. A simple email asking if you can take someone out to lunch to ask them for career advice can go a long way.

In the end, you want to lie as little as possible but find ways to make what you have look as attractive as possible. That means embellishing your skill set a little, including the right jobs, and focusing on relevant experience—even if it didn’t make up the majority of your work. If you just don’t have a lot of work experience at all, seek out internships to get some. Just don’t outright lie on your resume. That might get you an interview, but it probably won’t get you a job.

Good luck!

When Should You Lie on Your Resume? | Dave Yourgrau via Lifehacker.

Keys to a Successful Sales Resume

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

If you’re looking to enter the sales industry, or move up the ranks, or land a job with a great new company, your first task will be effectively “selling yourself” in your resume.

After all, if you can’t submit a convincing pitch or create an effective sales document, employers probably won’t take you seriously for even an entry-level sales job.

As great sales jobs are highly competitive, you will want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward. Here are a few tips for crafting a sales resume that will maximize your chances of landing an interview:

Show them the numbers

If you’re in sales, you know your numbers and how important they are. As you’re hitting your monthly quota and improving your company’s revenue, you understand the importance of impacting the bottom line. Don’t distract hiring managers with needless jargon. Instead, show them hard facts and numbers that tell a clear story about what you have achieved in your career.

Salespeople operate in quantifiable results, so make sure your resume reads the same way. For example, don’t say you generated $100,000 without saying whether that figure was above or below your target goal. While you need to use your numbers, you also need to be able to show them why those numbers are important.

If you’re entry-level, or simply new to sales, you may not have sales numbers to speak to, but you can still tell a story that resonates with the hiring managers. Focus on showcasing yourself as a numbers and results-driven professional by quantifying your past successes as much as possible. As an aspiring salesperson, your potential employer wants to know that you can bring the numbers, so show them that you’ve done this in your past roles and can do it again.

What makes you unique?

When you apply for any job, you need to make sure you shine. Mention any awards, certifications, selling techniques you’ve mastered, and experiences that make you uniquely qualified for the job. Instead of listing various achievements at the bottom of your resume for a sales position, be sure that the most relevant successes are front and center. Sales is about survival of the fittest and being the best man or woman for the job—don’t be afraid to show-off a little bit.

Keep it clean, clear, and accurate

Clean up your resume. Just as you’ll need to get straight to the point by showing recruiters your sales statistics and results, you also want to make your resume clear and concise. Cut out irrelevant details. Typos or formatting issues highlight an inattention to detail that could cost you a job. Meanwhile, you shouldn’t leave any inconsistencies or wide gaps in employment in your experience section. Even if you weren’t working in sales, include your volunteer work or jobs that could be relevant for the position you are applying for.

The pressure may be high, but be careful to showcase your best work without exaggerating your contributions. Results from a recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,500 hiring managers around the country showed that 56 percent of participants caught candidates lying on their resumes. Gray areas that qualify as lying include: inflated titles, incorrect attribution, and incorrect working dates. All of these inaccuracies could ruin your chances of landing the job so that you can begin closing sales at a new company.

Think outside of the box

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box while drafting your resume. Sales is about going with your gut and taking risks—feel free to be bold. Tailor your resume based on each individual role that you apply for. Imagine you are the hiring manager as you’re finalizing your first draft. Be honest when you look it over and think about whether you would take the time to give it a second look. Of course, you should share it with mentors, former coworkers, and friends who can offer a fresh, critical perspective. Just as you’ll try to sell your clients on new products or services, you want to discover the best way to sell your own skills and experience to your next hiring manager.

One final thing to keep in mind: confidentiality. Many companies consider their sales strategies and performances confidential information. The threat of competitors finding out about company success strategies is very real, so be sure not to include any information that would compromise your current or past employers’ confidential information. You certainly can include information that is available to the general public (for example, stats found in an annual report or on the company Web site).

Good luck!

6 Résumé Tips to Help You Land a Great Sales Gig | Dave Yourgrau via Startup Institute.

“Accomplishments” to Leave off Your Resume

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

In the perpetually competitive job market, you need to show hiring managers that you can make an immediate contribution. As we all should know by now, including your biggest professional successes in the “Accomplishments” section of your resume is an effective way to do just that.

But keep in mind that any achievement you cite should be a) truly noteworthy, b) relevant to your current career goals and c) relatively recent. Far too often, job seekers miss the mark. For instance, you’re unlikely to impress prospective employers by highlighting the fact that you were a finalist in a local pageant held in 1982.

And even something that would normally qualify as a solid accomplishment is not as impressive when it happened over thirty years ago… there is often a “what have you done for me lately” mentality at work.

The following are more examples from resumes that feature “accomplishments” that aren’t worth mentioning in your resume, as well as advice for crafting statements that will catch a hiring manager’s attention:

The Unquantifiable Accomplishment

· “I am the most talented employee my company has ever had.”

· “I am the best and most awesome employee in New York City.”

· “My last client called me a god.”

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements by noting how you helped previous employers increase revenue, cut expenses, or improve productivity. (Example: “Increased territory sales by 150 percent within one year of being named district sales director.”) Boldly heralding vague, unverifiable accomplishments is less compelling and often comes across as arrogant.

The Not-So-Notable Accomplishment

· “Maintained a 2.0 GPA.”

· “I get along with coworkers.”

· “Overcame procrastination.”

Make sure any accomplishments you place on your resume will impress a potential employer. Your ability to do average or even below-average work, or fulfill the most basic requirements of a job, does not warrant special mention.

The Offbeat Accomplishment

· “Set record for eating 45 eggs in two minutes.”

· “Raised over $6,000 for an organization by sitting on a commode.”

· “To be honest, the only thing I have ever won was a Cabbage Patch Kid. This doll was the result of a school raffle, and I was hated by many children for it.”

Honors and awards received from professional associations, industry publications and educational institutions hold weight. But being overly playful and mentioning odd accolades as a vehicle to showcase your wacky sense of humor could cause employers to question your professionalism.

The Mistake-Ridden Accomplishment

· “I have successed in all my endeavors.”

· “Dum major with my high school band.”

· “I continually receive complaints on the high quality of work I perform.”

As with every other section of your resume, remember to carefully proofread the descriptions of your accomplishments. Don’t undermine your achievements by misspelling them. Hiring managers are looking for applicants who demonstrate attention to detail. Research indicates that just one resume error can sink a job seeker’s chances of landing a job interview.

While it’s important to have accomplishments on your resume, that doesn’t mean you should lie, or add items that are irrelevant, just to fill the space. Consider carefully what you have achieved so far in your career, and be sure to track these efforts over time so you can keep your resume up-to-date. Remember: recent, quantifiable, and relevant accomplishments are the key to impressing hiring managers and landing job interviews no matter what field you are in.

Good luck!

“Accomplishments” to Leave off Your Resume | Doug White via CareerUSA.

Resume Guide for 2017

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Another year has arrived, and with it comes the obligatory style guides and fashionable advice for your resume. Though the overall trends usually stay the same, and most advice remains constant, there are always a few new tweaks when the calendar changes, as the warped and twisted realm of HR and human capital belches out new gimmicks that go viral and then are quickly discarded (to be picked up and recycled again in a later generation).

But though it might be easier to ignore the hype guides and the ceaseless barrage of “helpful” advice, you really don’t have the luxury. With each recruiter or hiring manager giving your resume maybe six to ten seconds these days at a first glance, even a subtle mistake can be enough to land your resume in the trash. With so little time to make a first impression, it certainly doesn’t pay to stick with an outdated and ineffective resume.

So here are a few tips you need to remember before sending out your resume in 2017:

The robots are dead (or dying)

One of the main tips that has become canon in recent years is the need to include keywords and buzzwords. This was to get past the infamous ATS (or applicant tracking software), which scan the many resumes that reach the inbox of the HR manager and let only ‘specific’ ones pass through. So, the probability of a worthy candidate’s resume being rejected because of the lack of keywords was high. However, most companies are now moving away from such systems as they have identified its numerous shortcomings. So be honest and precise about your skills in your resume. A skills section is still helpful for readability, of course, but don’t be as worried about the robots ditching your resume because you didn’t pad it enough.

Make it visually appealing

Given that the scare of robots does not apply anymore, it’s safe to make your resume as visual as possible. Infographic and multimedia resumes seem to be the new rage now, with candidates in creative fields like design, film, creative writing, and digital marketing embracing it. They showcase your creative skills, personality and experience all in one go. While there are many recruiters who feel that such resumes should not be the primary one you use to reach out to employers, others encourage using it if it fits the job role you are applying for. It is logically more likely for a quirky startup to be interested in a creative resume. If you are from a field that does not encourage extreme creativity, just add some color to your resume to liven it up.

Ditch the objective

It’s 2017, and no one has the time to care what you have regurgitated in the form of ‘career objectives’. Recruiters have realized the pointlessness of these objectives after hearing every candidate state that they want to “use their skills to contribute meaningfully to personal growth as well as that of the organization”. Instead, what they want to see upfront in your resume is a summary of your experience and skills. Keep it short and precise. Writing it in bullet points is even better. It should convey the number of years of experience you have, your job history and your big career achievements. This is all the information that an employer needs to have before he or she decides whether to read your resume further or not. So, include all the relevant information, but remember that this is just a summary of your profile.

Easily accessible contact information

We would suggest that you start off your resume providing relevant contact information. Don’t make hiring managers hunt your resume for your contact in case they need to call you for an interview. On an online resume, make sure that you hyperlink your email id and, it goes without saying, include all social media profiles that are relevant to the application. LinkedIn is the first on this list, followed by Twitter and the rest. However, resist the temptation of including all your profiles, because while creative designers may need to include their Instagram and Behance profiles, accountants and engineers may not. As we warned you earlier about dying ATS, what is replacing them are such social media profiles. So keep these profiles up-to-date and be active on them. And please, for the love of God, don’t be that person who tries to be cute by not including an email address at all… do you really want to make it harder for potential employers to reach you?!

Titles and fonts

Your resume may not get read word to word by the employer so make sure you have highlighted what you don’t want them to miss out on in case they choose only to scan or skim through it. Keep such position titles or phrases in bold, so that even someone who glances at your resume gets a full picture without having to read what is written under every point. Ditch traditional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Courier for more modern and chic fonts like Garamond, Cambria and Calibri. The standard font size can vary from 10 to 12 point for the body, with larger sizes acceptable for headings or subheadings. Always remember that different people may have different font settings on their computers, so it’s best to send a resume that has uncommon fonts in PDF format so that the appearance is not tampered with.

So what does it all mean? That infographics and social media resumes are the wave of the future (remember the video resume)? Probably not but it pays to keep apprised of what everyone else is doing. In the long run, though, it’s always best to have an easy to read, targeted, honest, and consistent resume ready at hand for when that dream job finally does come along.

Good luck!

How Your Resume Should Look in 2017 | Monty Majeed via Your Story

Crafting a “Tailored” Resume

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Since the advent of modern computers, the job application process has certainly become more complicated than it once was. These days, instead of a typed letter of intent sent along with your resume via snail mail, to be screened by an HR clerk perhaps on the other end, you now have Application Tracking Software, massive job board application systems, and “shot-in-the-dark” emailing to hiring managers, all of which has made your job search a hundred times easier and a million times harder than it ever was before.

Imagine the postage and time necessary for each application in the past… now, it’s just a few button pushes and your resume is carried along automatically to the hiring company… to be trapped in an email spam folder, or discarded by an ATS robot for something as simple as using “online content” instead of “digital content”.

You’re also certain of getting into a much bigger pile of applications than ever before, as the ease of applying means dozens, if not hundreds, of totally unqualified people send along their resume as if it’s nothing, for just the merest possibility of an interview, or out of shear desperation, making it easier and easier for your resume to get lost in the shuffle of human and robot eyes.

So, it’s now become common to hear the advice “tailor your resume” to get around these obstacles. If you tailor your resume to a particular company and role, the choir says, it will have a much better chance of sneaking through the filtering of robots and a greater likelihood of being noticed by tired HR clerks, which in turn increases its chance of eventually being seen by hiring managers and the real decision makers.

The instructions are clear: no more stock and bog-standard resumes. Now, you’re making the suit fit the wearer. Certainly a lot more work than before.

encrypted_resume

But a major question remains: how do you craft a tailored resume?

Here are a few quick expert tips to get you started:

Actually Read and Try to Understand the Job You’re Applying For

First things first: Sit down with a highlighter and really read the job description. Go through and highlight the points that seem important (think the ones that are mentioned repeatedly or anything that’s slightly out of the ordinary) and the points that you could speak to with your particular experience and skills.

This is always step one—after all, you can’t tailor your resume for a position if you don’t really know what the gig entails.

Make Your First Point Immediately Relevant

Next, with your newfound knowledge of what the hiring manager is looking for, take your resume, find the experience that would make him or her most excited about your application, and rework the document so that’s what’s at the top. Maybe it’s your current position, or maybe it’s some specialized certifications or the freelance work you do on the side. Whatever it is, make it the first section of your resume.

And yes, even if it’s not the most recent. There’s no rule that says your first section must be “Work Experience.” Tailoring your resume means finding what is most relevant, creating a section for it, and filling it up with experience or qualifications that will catch a hiring manager’s eye. If that means nixing “Work Experience,” creating a “Marketing and Social Media Experience” section, then throwing everything else in an “Additional Experience” section, then so be it.

resume

Revamp Your Bullets Even for Less Relevant Experiences

Now that your relevant experiences are at the top of your resume, that doesn’t mean you should ignore everything else. Nope, it just means you need to pull out the relevant bits of those experiences in your bullets.

From the job description, you’ll likely find more than just the technical qualifications needed to complete the job. Strong communication skills, ability to work in a team, and other soft skills are probably listed as well. So, while your tutoring experience might not be directly related to the sales position you’re interested in, you can definitely still highlight some of the soft skills that both positions require.

Check to See if It’s Clear Why You Are Applying

Finally, your last quick assessment to make sure you’ve successfully tailored your resume is to see if someone else—like a friend or mentor—can explain why you’re interested in the position just based on reading your resume. If your friend can’t suss out why you’re applying or how you’re a good fit, then more tailoring is likely needed.

This largely used to be the role of the cover letter, and many companies and hiring managers still appreciate receiving these, but because of the shear number of applications they will likely be reading through, you can’t rely on them ever reading or even seeing it… so you’ll need to factor this into the resume itself as well.

Of course, sometimes there’s only so much you can do. If you’re making a big career change and you just don’t have the relevant experience, then no amount of tweaking bullets can spell that out. In this case — and only in this case, I might add — you may actually want to use an objective statement to properly explain your interest in the position.

Tailoring your resume, especially if you’re applying for a lot of positions, certainly isn’t the most exciting or enjoyable part of applying for a job, but it’s definitely one of the most important these days. After all, regardless of media reports to the contrary, the resume is not a “dead” document and is still essential… and it’s the document that decides what first impression you make. It might take a little extra work, but it’s worth it to be that much more memorable.

Good luck!

What it Really Means to “Tailor Your Resume” | Lily Zhang via The Muse

Beware the Risks of Resume Humor

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

resume-funny

Another frequent way that job candidates attempt to set themselves apart from the competition (besides the bizarre options mentioned before) is via humor.

While it’s certainly fine to inject a touch of wit and personality into your application materials, don’t go overboard with the playfulness. Prospective employers seek insights into your skills – not your wacky sense of humor. Hiring managers won’t take you seriously if your top priority seems to be cracking one-liners.

Check out some of the over-the-top comments job candidates have inserted into their resumes (from a recruiting company that has likely seen them all):

“JOB HISTORY: As a consultant, I was responsible for public service announcements, identity packages, brochures, client meetings and approximately 73 chewed-up pen caps.”

We’ll be sure to lock the supply closet.

“LANGUAGE ABILITIES: I can bark like a dog and make the best monkey sounds ever.”

Not the bilingual skills we had in mind.

COVER LETTER: “I’m entertaining, but be warned that I’ve got a potty mouth. Ha-ha.”

We’re going to have to swear off this candidate.

joke

“JUST FOR FUN: A self-proclaimed ‘Lord of the Geeks,” I am a true champion of useless knowledge.”

You said it, not us.

“TRAININGS: Currently training to become humorous.”

That gives new meaning to the phrase, “Flex your funny bone.”

“TALENTS: I do not slurp my coffee loudly during Skype meetings.”

We’ll drink to that.

“OTHER POSITIONS I WOULD CONSIDER: Hot tub tester.”

Nice work if you can get it.

So keep in mind the main purpose of your resume: to sell your skills and your background to a particular company, for a particular role, and not to entertain. A bit of levity is certainly warranted in some situations but don’t derail your job search by appearing to be less than serious about the application process; after all, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other applicants waiting in line behind you should you come across as more wit than substance.

Good Luck!

Resumania: Beware the Risks of Resume Humor via Robert Half

Tone Down Your Resume To Improve Results

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Dancing Resume

In the past, we have highlighted some of the crazy, over-the-top resumes that people have used to try to get attention, from candy bars to beer to odd videos to Legos to billboards to wandering around the streets with a sign. From the amount of media attention that sort of behavior gets, you would be forgiven for thinking that trying something equally creative is a must, if you want to make an impression.

But while that sort of thing may get you hired at Google or a media company (if you’re the first person, and not the second or third, to try it), where creativity is valued above all else, it might not get you anywhere if you’re trying to land an HR generalist role at a small construction company. It’s important to tailor your resume to your audience, if you want to stand out with the types of companies and hiring managers appropriate to your discipline. A recent blog article addressed this disconnect:

Unfortunately, the media’s need for sound bites and traffic-generation often supersedes providing pragmatic value to the job-seeking audience. While boots-on-the-ground resume strategists who have intimate experience working alongside job seekers sit quietly holding their tongues, the airtime often goes to reports touting sexy, outlandish resume methods under the guise of ingenuity.

If this confusing message has sent your blood pressure soaring and compelled you to seek the craftiest way to market yourself, calm down – creative resumes that tell a ‘value story’ still net the best results.

More than ever, in fact, doing the roll-up-your-sleeves work to research your target company, hiring manager and company culture is critical. By doing the arduous work in understanding your recipient’s needs and then vetting out your methods of fulfilling those requirements in your resume, cover letter, emails, elevator pitches, biographies and social media profiles you will ultimately stand apart and get the right person’s attention.

While the flash-in-the-pan resume infographics may dazzle a news reporter, the reader that matters is the one who will choose your resume from the stack of thousands and ask you for the interview. That person is silently waiting for the most qualified candidate, not the most innovative sound-bite resume.

So the bottom line is: know your audience. Stay away from the kooky and weird; even if they worked the first time, by the time you hear about them, they are already old hat and you definitely don’t want to be someone who is the second or third or even fourth person to send a no longer clever gimmick to a hiring manager.

The Perfect Resume

Instead of wacky and weird, think targeted and framed. Don’t spend a hundred years trying to think of the perfect, original idea to craft the perfect resume; focus on getting your individual value across as succinctly as possible to the people who make the hiring decisions. Regain control of the mess your resume has become and remember that, ultimately, it’s not about you and your resume… it’s about THEM.

Good luck!

How To Tone Down Your Resume For Better Results | Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter via Glassdoor