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Weekly Resume Tips

9/18/2013

Should I re-write my resume to match a job?

Absolutely!

     Businesses that are looking for people try and describe their ideal candidate. Many if not most of the time they settle for someone a little off the mark by their description, sometimes they settle for someone well off the mark. In the process of interviewing they realize someone may fit that they weren’t expecting.

 When you set out to describe yourself it is from your perspective of what you THINK is going to be important to your next employer. This is a pretty tall task in view of the fact that you don’t know who your next employer is and you haven’t read their job description yet –you’d have to know in advance all the job descriptions you’re going to encounter! Impossible- obviously.

     When you read a job description you might find it contains attributes or task descriptions that they are seeking that you embody or possess but you didn’t see them that way or see their importance enough to include them.

When you see a job description that fits you, re-write your resume experiences to show the fit. Use the key words and phrases they use. This is the way they will recognize your potential to fill their need. This is the way you convey the fit.

Do Not Lie. Don’t stretch or imagine skills you don’t have but if the “shoe fits” by all means help them to see.  Arrange your resume to reveal the fit.

You’ll be doing both of you a favor.

8/26/2013

Organization of your resume.

The Following is a simple outline of what to include in your resume and what order to present it in.

A)     Candidate contact Information

Name

Address

Phone

E mail

 

B)     Objective

Description of the job you are hoping to secure e.g. “ I am seeking a position as a mechanical designer in a company involved with the manufacture of widgets”

C)     Education

List degrees you have earned awards you have received and any specific special additional education you have secured from classes or seminars including the title of any certifications.  You might want to limit this to course or seminars which pertain to the position you are seeking. This is a judgment call. For example I would find it interesting and could see where it might be important if you were certified as an Instrument rated pilot though it might have nothing to do with being an electrical engineer.

 

D)      Job Chronology (latest first)

Name of the company and a brief description of what they did at the facility you were involved with if it was a major business with many divisions or departments. Then describe how you fit in with your expertise. Use bullet points. If you’ve had a long history you can stop after 10 or 20 years and say something like “experience prior to xx/xx/xxxx is available on request”. Or my “experience prior to xx/xx/xxxx is consistent with the progression of my career and is available in detail upon request.

 

E)      Personal Information (optional)

Marital status –children- special interests or hobbies –volunteer work

8/9/13

Last week I discussed my view that "yes" resumes need to be letter perfect.

Today I’ll share a few things that might help you accomplish this.

First off use the spell check and grammar check on your word processor. This is obvious, yes I know, but I see so many errors where these would have been easily caught that it is obvious some people don’t use them.

After you use the spell check, check your resume again yourself for words miss applied but correctly spelled like -there- their –they’re or to –two –too  or buy and by etc. There are many opportunities in our language to make this mistake.

The next method I use will help you catch these errors and more: read your resume backwards.

Beginning from the end, read each sentence backwards. This will help you examine the appropriateness and spelling of each word on its own and will help you thereby re-read each sentence when you get to the beginning of the sentence with a fresh view.

After you’ve put it through these paces, have someone you know who is reasonably sharp but who may not know what you do, read your resume. See if they understand it in general and if they felt it read easily or if they had a hard time focusing. This is typically the type of person in a Human Resource department that will be filtering through resumes. You want to make sure people who may not be in your field or level of expertise, can  read it and understand it from at least a rudimentary level.

 

After this person has read your resume let someone who DOES know what you do read it and let them point out things you might have said differently or maybe even improve on or add skills or experience you haven't thought of.

Using these few tricks should have you well on your way to at least writing a resume without errors or important ommissions.



8/1/13

Resumes…Need they be PERFECT?

Yes.

    A resume is you….or at least until they meet you it is the only representation of you a reviewer has. They may draw all sorts of conclusions –right or not-from your resume but it is your only chance to make an impression. This document is important to your future. If you’ve allowed mistakes to creep in to it then it is a fair assumption that you’re either careless or ignorant to some extent. This gives them a benchmark for you and they will use your benchmark against other candidates of equal stature in their minds, to sort things out. All you can hope for with a resume with mistakes is that your competitors made more mistakes. This of course, is a weak position and a very poor tactic. About the only time where I can see making mistakes on your resume may be an advantage is if you are applying for a menial labor position. In that case mistakes will be accepted as to be expected from an under achieving, under educated, not motivated person, looking to get by. In this instance, they will view you as likely to be happy with their low paying position and that it will be unlikely that someone will hire you away before they are finished with you.

    Next week I will share some resume proofing methods to help you weed out errors.



7/25/13 
      

RESUMES….ONE PAGE ONLY??

Many times we get resumes and meet people who are well experienced but their resume does not do them justice because it is only one page. The myth that a resume needs to be kept to one page is not constructive.

     Yes if you are a new grad or have only been in the workplace for a few years or have had the same job for a long time then there probably is sufficient room on one page to describe your education, experience, goals and other  talents and skills.

If you have had 10 or 20 or more years of experience in positions that each lend important background flavor or increasing responsibility then they are important to the resume. Trying to short change a description of a position and what you did and what experience you acquired by being overly brief to fit on one page is not constructive.

If you have had many jobs of an unrelated nature then the position you are applying for probably doesn’t require a lot of detail about any of them. If your career took a direction at some point which you have kept expanding on, then take your resume history from now back to that point. For dates and information previous to then, merely offer a blanket statement like: Positions prior to (give a date or a company name where you were then) were not related to my current career but are available on request.

I hasten to add that overly detailed descriptions are just as bad as they will result in the reader “glazing over” and not focusing on the central theme of your experience. Use bullet points and direct straightforward language ( no prose or flowery language) in fragmented sentences to hit hard and step by step make your point and lead the reader to the end.


          

7/15/13


 

Including a brief description of what a company was engaged in when you worked for them helps the reader to understand and frame your experience in a wiser light.

The job history portion of your resume is the heart and soul of it, obviously, because it highlights your expertise based on experience. Many times I see people merely state that they worked for a company but never bother to describe what the company or the division of the company that they worked for does or did. This is a missed opportunity from not only a key word stand point but also from a clarity standpoint for the reviewer.

  The company description can easily have some keywords in it that the resume search engine can grab onto and ear mark.

  The company description can help a reviewer better understand your skill set and evaluate your applicability to their needs.

      As an example: If a mechanical engineer states in a job history “ Kimberly-Clark Corp Neenah, Wisconsin June 1995 to May 2010. And then goes on to describe duties and responsibilities, they are missing the opportunity to clarify that they really worked at a Kimberly Clark Corp. Neenah, Wi. R&D facility involved in the development and design of state of the art high speed diaper manufacturing equipment.

      Kimberly Clark is a major corporation and is involved in many things that require mechanical engineers. That extra experience highlight helps a reviewer to understand the ensuing description of duties and responsibilities better. This extra effort also helps a keyword searching computer to pick you out when it is looking for “R&D” or “high speed” or “diaper” if it’s searching for engineers or designers that embody that experience.

      On the other side of the coin, many times the employer isn’t known widely. Describing briefly what they do after you state their name and location helps the reader to understand your experience there and what crosses over to their needs.

      A question I like to ask is if you were an over-the-road truck driver with a perfect safety and delivery record what would be better to say; ABC Trucking, Caswell Texas June 1995 to May 2013 or ABC Trucking, Caswell Texas world’s leading transporter of Eggs and Dynamite ?

    We all make the mistake of assuming others know what we mean because it is so familiar to us. Fight that tendency on your resume. Speak plainly and try and imagine what they don’t know that could make a difference in their understanding of you.




 


 


 



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7/1/13 Writing a good clean direct objective can help a resume reviewer stay focused.

Resumes are a necessary evil. Writing a good one is important. A good one is one that gets read and the reader pays attention all the way through.

  One of the important things to keep in mind when you’re writing a resume is that they are almost as hard to read effectively as they are to write. The problem is the person likely responsible for reading your resume and digesting its contents has other larger tasks weighing on their minds, or they may be a generalist like an HR person and not really expert or experienced in your discipline or skill set which also makes reading them with interest and focus real work. The reading of your resume for both parties is a task they must tackle in order to get to the next step-deciding on whether or not to interview. To that end you always want to keep the action flowing in your resume with direct pertinent information.
 
One of the ways I like to see this handled is with an effective brief  “Objective”  statement at the beginning of your resume.  It isn’t always apparent from the body of your resume exactly what kind of job you are looking for. You can direct the readers’ interpretation of your resume in the proper light by letting them know right away.

An easy example would be: “OBEJCTIVE: To secure a position as a mechanical designer on Solidworks.”

Sometimes it isn’t even necessary to say Solidworks. It may be apparent from your resume that Solidworks is your platform of preference or highest competence, but at least now there is no question as to the area you want to be considered for.

A mistake I see in “ objective” statements  quite a bit is  something like this: Objective: To use my 20 years as a no nonsense ‘get it done’ designer accustomed to working on short deadlines,  fast and efficiently willing to go the extra mile to advance the companies goals.

 Hmmm. All this may be true but  your saying it is a waste of time and the reader has read this and statements like it so many times that it is almost as meaningless and numbing as the word ”quality”.

These things are unsubstantiated and merely claims you make about yourself which may or may not be true, but no one is going to interview you because you said it or not interview  you if you didn’t say it. Leave statements like this off your resume. It will save space. Use the brief time you have (we estimate as little as 30 seconds sometimes)  to make an impact with good hard hitting experience statements in the body of the resume instead.  

I would also leave off the “20 years” of experience as statement as well. The only time I'd consider stating your actual years of experience in a statement like this is if you are responding to a position which calls out for an experience level which you satisfy.   If they are concerned about the length of experience, let them do the math from the dates you provide. The reason why is this: If they are looking for more experience or less experience they will stop reading your resume right there and go on to the next, especially if they have a lot of them to read. You don’t want this. The more they read the more they may see some other potential in you. The more they read the more likely they will recall you when a different position comes along. The more they read the more chance there is that they see a an opportunity that you  and your unique background may present to them that they hadn’t considered. It Happens all the time.  Don’t give them an easy reason to put you in the pass column until they've read the whole thing.