Resume & Career Advice

May 9, 2011

Techniques in Shortening your Resume

Condensing the Resume Draft

How do you keep your resume short without cutting your job chances?

So you’ve had quite a few stints in numerous companies since graduating from college. Perhaps you’ve been working for twenty years, jumping from one field to another. Whatever your background, you end up with a three to five-page resume that lists all your skills and accomplishments. You’re just about ready to take the first step to getting your dream job. But then you find out (and if you didn’t know, I’m telling you now) that most employers prefer to read resumes that are one to two pages long. Your resume turns out to be too hefty. What do you do?

• If your resume is just a little over two pages, the first option will be to experiment with the fonts. Times New Roman is thinner and occupies less space, and you can use a smaller font size, but remember that anything less than 10-point might be unreadable. Also bear in mind to keep the type and size in your sections consistent.

• However, the most important thing to do is to trim your resume. Tailor your resume to fit the job you’re applying for. Anything that is irrelevant to your objective is excess fat. You can do without it. You might have been a sales executive for 10 years, but if you want to get a job as an IT professional, it just doesn’t help your cause.

• Use bullet points with clauses instead of complete sentences and paragraphs in the list of job responsibilities. It saves space and looks better. While you’re at it, remove unnecessary indents in your sections.

• Further, you don’t have to list all your responsibilities in a position. Highlights of some of your achievements and accomplishments do the job better. Employers normally take 20 seconds or less to scan your resume more relevant and more readable often ends up shortening it. It doesn’t hurt that you’re making your prospective employer’s life easier even before you get the job!

April 25, 2011

Signs of an Overly Done Résumé

Resume Career Ambition

Is the ambition conveyed in your resume taking you to the right direction?

Majority of the people who send their résumés to professional résumé writers for objective and constructive criticism, think that their résumés are inadequate because they are too plain. Although résumés that are too plain are the majority, there are numerous résumés that are overly done. Yes, there are. These résumés, contrary to the belief that more information, more fanciful design is better— sabotage the chance of getting short-listed for job interviews. What is an overly done résumé in the first place? Answer the following questions to see if your résumé is overly done.

1. Is your résumé at least three pages?
2. Are your résumé’s job descriptions like an entry for an essay writing contest?
3. Do you see job descriptions with long descriptions of projects handled?
4. Do you see detailed job history on the position you have handled from 1983?
5. Have you included your high school and elementary under your educational background?
6. Are there words such as ‘jogging, working out, playing golf, reading books, collecting stamp, stalking’ and other hobby-related information?
7. Does your résumé look as colorful and fanciful as a Christmas tree?
8. Do you see a picture of you somewhere on your résumé?
9. Does your résumé look crowded?
10. Does you enumeration of your technical skills take up over 60 percent of your résumé?

If you have answered at least one ‘yes’ to the following questions, then it is highly likely that your résumé is overly done.

Résumés should be brief, yet informative. Recruitment officers look for more up-to-date experience, if the job descriptions are from the 1980s, better to simply indicate job position and year under the company of employment. Although writing and formatting résumés require artistic value, do not be Picasso and Michelangelo— keep colors used to a minimal and provide white spaces for eyes to breathe. Also, unless you are applying for a model, your photo is not required. Do not be discriminated or hired for the position because of your looks.

Get professional help if your résumé is overly done and if you find it hard to determine the appropriate format and which relevant information to include.

April 4, 2011

Drafting the Summary of Qualifications in Your Résumé

Summary of Qualifications

Can your resume’s summary of qualifications catch the attention of a potential employer?

So you’re already hyped up to create a résumé draft. You’ve already listed the names of the companies that you worked in, prepared job descriptions and list of accomplishments in every position you have handled and information about your education and some professional development activities you’ve had. However, in the process, you realize that you’re having difficulty with the summary of qualifications. According to an informal, unscientific yet practical survey employing random sample of 100 job seekers, the most difficult part of writing a résumé is the summary of qualifications.

The difficulty in drafting a summary of qualifications in a résumé is commonly not because of the lack of qualification but the lack of knowledge to discriminate the qualifications that matters for the specific job target. As all professional résumé writers would say, as much as possible be specific with the direction of your résumé. Having the knowledge of what position or at least field or industry you want to apply for. In drafting a summary of qualifications, answer the following:

1. What similar and valuable experience can I offer to the company?
2. What are my strengths that the company would benefit from?
3. What are my accomplishments in my past that is worth mentioning?

Funny, but true though, I.T. professionals tend to have the longest summary of qualifications. In fact, some can even produce a 100-page summary of qualifications because they either do not want to let go of some of their qualifications or they do not know which qualifications are relevant. Only choose relevant information. Below is an example of a badly written summary of qualifications.

Summary of Qualifications:
I am an intelligent sales professional with two years of professional experience in sales and am looking for a position in sales that can help me grow professionally in an environment that appreciates talent. My qualifications include proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and ability to handle pressure. I am athletic and member of the varsity team. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. I have been also recognized for excellence in organizing corporate parties.

If you’re current summary of qualifications reads similar to the example, either draft a new one or seek professional help.

December 20, 2010

Why You Need an Updated Resume to Start the Year Right

Updated Resume for the New Year

Have you already updated your resume in case you need to submit one this new year?

For many people, a new year represents a fresh start: a new look, new gadgets, new relationships, new attitudes. Many companies also follow this lead and take the opportunity to reexamine their goals, restate their objectives, reorganize their structure or reevaluate their workforce.

In line with these, it is not uncommon for hiring managers to revisit their files to look at the people who applied but were not hired. Who knows? These people could fill positions that have since been opened. Perhaps they could bring more value to the company, or they could replace people who left or plan to leave. The good news is that one of those people could be you.

With the escalating reliance of companies on online resume databases, it is prudent for a jobseeker to update their resumes. Ask yourself: What have I done since I last submitted or updated my resume? What certifications have I received or projects completed since then? Aside from what is currently in my resume, what other skill have I gained or improved on that would be valuable to employers? Write them down before you forget the impressive details.

Now, the assumption in answering these questions would be that you actually achieved something after you last edited your resume. If this isn’t the case, all the more would you need to update it. Your objective, if you have one in your resume, is expected to change after a period of inactivity. After six months of not getting that “supervisory position in an established organization that would utilize [your] skills,” now what? Sticking to a formula that isn’t getting results doesn’t seem to be the best way to go.

Also, even if you do not have an online resume (and I recommend that you make one) you should update yours, if only to prepare for the steady increase in job opportunities that a revitalizing (or revitalized, depending on whom you ask) economy presents. The bottom line is we’re definitely better than we were during the recession, and this could mean, among other things, more jobs and more applicants. Get a head start by improving your resume or seeking the advice of a professional resume writer.

Complete the “new you” today by updating your resume to start the year right!

December 13, 2010

Resume Writing: Choosing the Right Paper and the Proper Font

Paper and Font for Resume

Do you pay attention to the kind of paper and fonts you use for resume writing?

You have already identified what position you want to apply for. You’ve discovered that resumes written using non-industry specific templates will guarantee your resume will be shredded in pieces. The job posting you’ve seen suits your qualifications and professional skills perfectly. You’ve managed to compose strong words on your resume which you feel will market and sell your professional self effectively. Your resume now is more dynamic and professional content wise. The resume you imagined in your brain looks perfect and you think you’ve figured out everything that would set your resume above from all other resumes. However, have you thought about what font to use, what not to use and what paper to print on?

In editing and doing the layout of your resume, always set your goals on making your resume look ‘professional.’ What does this mean? Begin with choosing the appropriate fonts. Although some serif fonts, which are fonts with edges, are used for professional purposes, serif fonts are less readable. San serif fonts are cleaner and more reader-friendly. Avoid using Times New Roman because that is the font used by most MS Word users. You need to use a font that presents your resume as something fresh. However, this doesn’t mean using the highly artistic fonts. Again, think ‘professional looking’ resume. Arial and Arial Narrow are good fonts. Professional resume writers prefer font size around 10.5 to 12. Do not use more than two font styles in a resume.

It is a major ‘no-no’ to use colored, scented papers. Resumes are not invitation letters to your wedding or your child’s birthday party. As a matter of fact, choose a plain white paper with the correct thickness— not too thin (those that show ink print on the back) and not too thick (those papers that are hard to fold). It is advisable to use plain white paper that is 20-pound weight. The paper should not be extremely smooth to avoid ink smudging. Also, the standard size of the paper is 8.5” x 11”.

Always aspire to give your resume a ‘professional look’— that’s the only way to do it.

November 22, 2010

Resume Writing with Zero Work Experience

Finding a Job With No Work Experience

Can you get a job with no work experience?

People have the mistaken notion that a resume should be made up mostly of work experience. This becomes a problem when someone without any work experience tries to write a resume to get his first job. With almost nothing to write, should he just list his education, address, and phone number, and hope he gets a call?

Creating a resume is like making an advertisement for yourself. If you’ve worked for a couple of big name companies, then those could be your best selling points. However, they are not the only details that would get an employer to buy. If you have no work experience, you could instead write something about your academic life. Put the clubs you’ve joined or led. If you took electives that relate to the job you’re applying for, then that would work too. You could also include your academic achievements or awards. If you are a member of the student council or have won competitions, you may list those as well.

Outside school, you might be involved in volunteer work or community groups, which you could also write in your resume. If you have completed certifications or trainings—especially those in connection with your potential job—then those would also be beneficial. If you maintain a blog or have put up a website, you could write that too. That doesn’t end there. You can even include certain abilities that relate to the job. Find out what the employer is looking for, and write in your resume how your character and qualities answer that call.

Nevertheless, your resume shouldn’t look like a jumbled list of everything you’ve done since you were thirteen. List down everything you can—following the suggestions above—and pick the “experiences” that relate most to the job you want. The fact that you were a hit on karaoke night would not exactly help you get the attention of potential employers. Determine which ones actually show that you’re the perfect fit for the person the company is looking for, and illustrate them in your resume using experiences that you might not have been paid for, but you have definitely learned something from. You may have no work experience, but these experiences would certainly work too.

November 1, 2010

Resume Writing: Targeted vs. General Resumes

Targeted vs. General Resume Writing

Should you a write a targeted or a general resume?

Job applications can be likened to marketing. As an applicant, you try to sell your skills to potential customers – the employers. But, before you get the chance to “sales talk” with these customers, you first need to present a product catalogue – your resume.

Resume writing has evolved dramatically over the years. Gone are the days when applicants tend to have those same generic-looking resume that overly state their past experiences. Employers now prefer simpler resumes that speak about the specific qualities and competencies of applicants. These resumes are regarded as “targeted”.

A targeted resume has numerous advantages as compared to generic ones. First, it highlights those competencies that are highly relevant to the job specification. In this time of specialized job responsibilities, highlighting these competencies increase an applicant’s chance of getting a feedback from an employer for the reason that they help hiring managers to easily sort out qualified candidates from those who are not. On the other hand, a general resume can be cluttered with too much and at times irrelevant information, there is a tendency for hiring managers to miss out the information they need. Moreover, a targeted resume can speak about an applicant’s seriousness towards the job he or she is applying for since it shows the effort of tailor fitting the resume just for that specific position. A generic resume, on the other hand, might give an impression that the applicant might just be trying out his or her luck about that certain job opening.

Just like in marketing in which a product needs to be in focus, a targeted resume helps an applicant to position himself for the job and showcases his unique selling points to prospective employers.

October 20, 2010

Should You Hire a Professional Resume Writer?

Professional Resumes

Is your resume really “professionally” written?

In a vast online world where do-it-yourself instructions and how-to information abound, one would easily be able to look for step-by-step explanations on how to do certain things—perhaps, even everything—from playing the acoustic guitar to using a Microsoft Zune portable media player.  You need to change the batteries on your iPhone?  A quick Google search will yield numerous video demonstrations.  Your pecan pie not coming out the way you want it to?  Yahoo! Answers will have a host of suggestions for you.

It is therefore not surprising that people often decide to write something as simple as a resume without asking for help from professionals.  Besides, you might not even think you need help in writing a resume, and should you require any assistance, there is always the internet.

However, what people fail to realize is the value of professional assistance.  You could study all the steps about rewiring the lights in your home—and you could even end up doing a good enough job—but will you take the chance?  If you have any doubt in your skill in electrical installation, the best thing to do is to ask for help from a professional.  An electrician rewires homes for a living.  It is what he does.  You can trust him with your lights.

It is the same for resumes.  A professional resume writer creates resumes for a living.  If your current resume is not getting you the interviews you think you deserve, then it is time to seek professional advice.  A professional resume writer can make your resume play to your strengths.  He knows what employers want and will get you that interview.

In the end, you can go ahead and incorporate the advice that you got from the web and create your own resume.  You could even end up creating a good enough resume, and you might get a call from your potential employer.  But will you take the chance?  If you have any doubt in your skill in resume writing, the best thing to do is to ask for help from a professional resume writer.  After all, it is what he does.  You can trust him with your resume.

October 11, 2010

What Parts Should You Retain and Leave Out to Make an Honest Resume?

Building a Good and Honest Resume

A closer look on what an effective resume should be.

With the many elements of the modern age that allows free and easier access to information and connection to other people, many have gotten used to broadcasting day-to-day activities and all personal information. However, preparing and writing a resume is different. Writing a resume simply entails the philosophy – “less is more.”

The usual idea in writing a resume for some is presenting and squeezing all personal and background information available in order to acquire the impression of candor. But this is not a proper practice. You may be able to compose an honest resume by leaving out some points in which employers could avoid the chance of discrimination with regards to age, gender, religion, and ethnicity, thus, the lesser information you divulge in your resume, the more likely you make the cut.

In writing your resume, you may not put personal information such as your marital status, your family members and your religious affiliation. These information are not allowed to be collected, so you don’t have to give it out to them. Also, hobbies and political views that may link you with controversial issues need to be eliminated. Everyone is entitled his own opinion, thus you don’t want to be judged due to your stands, right? You may not include the year of your graduation. You can only include your degree and your major as well as the institution you graduated from. Not putting the year of the graduation decreases the likelihood of age discrimination. You don’t want the reviewers to be doing the math calculating your age.  Do away with irrelevant experiences. You don’t want to be putting all unnecessary experiences not at all related to the job you are applying for. It will not make you look “experienced”, but will only increase the chance for the reviewers of thinking that you may not be the one suitable for the job.

Resumes are designed to present the professional side of you, thus focus on your job description and place information that will only support your pursuit for the job.

September 28, 2010

Resume vs. CV

The Difference Between Resume and CV

Should you submit a resume or a CV?

Both the resume and the curriculum vitae (CV) are important marketing tools. They are documents containing the most vital information about a person related to his education and job experience needed for employment search. While most people use resume and CV synonymously in the workplace, this two are different. Knowing their differences is important especially in making sure what to use and when to use what.

A curriculum vitae is more thorough than a resume. Resumes are ideally made up of one to two pages only, as employers do not usually have the time to study lengthy documents. Only the information applicable to the job one is applying for should be included in the resume – contact information, relevant education and job experience. In short, a resume is a summary of all your skills and experience needed for the job.

On the other hand, a curriculum vitae is a much more detailed document. As what its name suggests, the CV highlights your educational and academic experiences. It contains not only your past jobs but the special trainings you have undergone, your awards and merits, your affiliations, organizational memberships and scholarly publications you have written, if there are any. You can also put some of your views about your past jobs in your CV, how they have contributed to your personal and professional development.

Employers would just usually ask for a resume but naturally a CV is needed if the work you are applying is more academically or research-inclined. In some countries a CV is needed when applying for academic or research positions or in applying for scholarship grants. The bottom line is, needless of what your potential employer may ask from you, you should write your resume or your CV well to ensure you of getting the job you want.

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