Resume & Career Advice

June 21, 2011

Is Career Objective Still a Good Resume Strategy?

Resume Career Objective

Will you still employ a career objective on your resume?

No. Definitely not. Human Resources Managers and Recruitment Officers will say the same:
“Indicating career objectives is no longer considered a good resume writing strategy.” May this short post help you understand why you should no longer employ the outdated resume strategy.

The resume reads: “Career Objective: To be able to enhance my professional skills in a dynamic and stable workplace and to grow with company.” Admittedly, this doesn’t sound as bad as it may seem. However, HR specialists and hiring executives are now more critical than ever. Read again and identify whether the text is company-focused or personally-focused. Recruitment specialists have found out that most career objectives are centered towards what the applicant wishes to get from his or her possible employment for the company. While ‘to enhance professional skills’ and ‘to grow with the company’ are positive objectives, they do not indicate what the applicant’s objectives are for the company. Because majority of non-professional resume writers write similarly text to the above example, experts suggest that applicants should no longer use career objective in their resumes.

The alternative to ‘career objective’ is the presidential message, which is also called as banner.
Presidential message, unlike career objective that tells what they want to achieve in the company, tells the employer ‘why should the employer hire the applicant.’ Presidential message is quite more difficult to draft though than their outdate career objective. However, the presidential message provides stronger impact because it tells the prospective employer what his/her company can expect from the applicant and what the applicant’s professional strengths that will benefit the company. The best ways to write the presidential message are: (a) Point out the strength of experience (number of years in the field/industry); (b) Point out greatest accomplishments within the field; (c) Point out the professional strengths that are required for the position. For presidential message to be more effective though, it needs supporting statements.

Career Objective is no longer a good strategy to make your resume standout. Presidential Message is the new and more effective strategy for your resume. Seek professional help if you have difficulties in coming up with the presidential message that would carry your qualifications in your resume.

June 13, 2011

What You Need to Know About Resume Designs and Styles

Resume Design

Are you taking advantage of the right resume design?

It is true— resume is an art. However, resume should not look like the text version of a Pablo Picasso work. Resume should look professional, symmetric, clean while being distinctive and appealing.

Just like art, form should follow function. Always keep in mind that the main role and function of resume is to serve as a marketing tool for job seekers. Therefore, the structure and design of the resume should highlight the applicant’s qualifications. How is this done? When establishing sections, employ the F-Pattern, which is the way most people read— start from the upper left hand side move to the right, down, then to the right again. Important information and stronger experience should come first. When you are still a level-entry professional, you should place the ‘education’ section first before the ‘professional experience.’

Use only 2 font styles at maximum. Don’t be too colorful. Avoid using red, green, pink, yellow and orange. Font size should not exceed 12 and not be smaller than 10. Observe the importance of white spaces. This is accomplished by providing a distinct space between sections. Margins should not be more than 1” from all sides and should not be less than .5” White spaces are breathing spaces. Choose white, thick and unscented paper, preferably letter-size or A4 size.

In order to make your resume stand out, you may try to come up with personalized logos and experiment with font size, lines and background hues. The tricky part is how to make the design appropriate to the industry. Research, research, research. However, if the challenge is very tough, it is always a good investment to let a professional make a personalized and professional-looking resume for you.

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.

February 28, 2011

How to Start Writing a Résumé from Scratch

Resume Writing From Scratch

Does it take you this much to build a resume from scratch?

Sam, not his real name, was a top sales and marketing executive in a high performing financial services company. He was delivering sales way above the majority of his colleagues. He was on top of his game when all of a sudden the financial crisis happened. The company was dissolved and the next thing he knew, he was out looking for a job. Being the sales and marketing professional that he is, selling himself through a resume shouldn’t be a problem— however, it was. Sam never made a résumé his entire life. Believe it or not, many people, even those with years of professional experience, do not own a résumé. Sam found out that writing a résumé from scratch is a difficult task.

One of the most important matters to remember when writing a resume is the target industry or position. In order to draft an effective résumé, the résumé writer should be able to use industry or field-specific jargons that would increase the probability of the prospective employers’ recognition of the applicant’s capability or compatibility to the position or at least the industry/field. Another important consideration should be assessment of professional strengths and skills. These core strengths should imply that the applicant has the qualifications best fit for the position.

Perhaps the most important and essential part of writing a résumé from scratch is the listing down of the two most common parts of a résumé— education and professional experience. List down the names of the companies, inclusive dates of employment, and relevant job descriptions including accomplishments achieved during the term of employment. This must be written chronologically. Not all employment experience though should be expounded in the résumé. Only relevant employment or work experiences with similar tasks must have longer job descriptions.

Résumé writing can be very difficult, even for marketing experts like Sam. Remember, it is never a sign of professional weakness to ask professional help when drafting a resume, especially drafting résumé from scratch.

February 14, 2011

Modern Resumes: Old Practices That Need to Be Left Behind

Resume Strategies: Now and Then

How have job search strategies evolved from traditional to contemporary resumes?

The term “old school” is often viewed in high regard—whether in sports, music or fashion. It mostly allows the older generation to reminisce in fond admiration of the old days, and the younger ones to marvel at the past. This, however, does not work too well in resume writing.

For one, old school resume writing involves buying the best quality paper you can find, and using your Smith Corona typewriter—okay, electronic typewriter—to create your resume. Good luck finding one nowadays. Still, letters typed over whiteout is not the only way your resume would look outdated.

1. Resume writing tips from the 90s allow for the word “Resume” in the beginning, and “References Available Upon Request” in the end. It cannot be stressed enough that people should NOT do that anymore. Everyone knows it’s a resume. Everyone knows your references are available upon request.

2. As late as 2004, some professional resume writers advised job hunters to include street address and fax number as essential to resumes. This is no longer the case. With the current emphasis on privacy, your city and state would suffice. On the other hand, fax machines are so outdated that you might as well just send your resume via pigeons.

3. Further, unless you want hiring managers to envision you as wearing a suit of armor, make sure you include your email address. These days, it’s almost as essential as your name.

4. Contrary to traditional resume rules, abbreviations are okay. Just make sure your audience knows what you’re talking about. To be sure, spell it out the first time you introduce it, then, use abbreviations thereafter. If, for example, you keep on writing “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer,” it not only wastes space, you would also sound like a toddler who just learned a new word.

There’s nothing wrong with being traditional, but you’d want to stand out from the rest of the applicants in a more flattering manner than to appear like you’re from ancient history.

 

January 24, 2011

How Long Should A Resume Be?

Resume Length

How long should a resume be to effectively showcase your career strengths?

With the competition on the job market getting increasingly competitive, an applicant must not compromise the presentation of his abilities just to save space. After all a résumé sells you as the product, so it must catch the attention and interest of the buyer. Most of the time, only applicants with very impressive résumés only get to the interview, so résumé length must not get in the way of landing the job you want.

Gone are the days when one-page résumé is a must. According to Grant Cooper, president of Strategic Resumes, “Brief resumes are simply no longer effective in today’s increasingly competitive job market. . . The advice that ‘They only want to see one-page resumes,’ is perhaps the single most outdated and incorrect statement job-seekers hear today.” Résumé length truly depends on the applicant’s experience and position he is applying for. Usually, though not always, new graduates and entry-level job-seekers often write one-page résumé while most executives at the highest levels need résumé that exceeds two pages. The thing is, if an applicant does not have enough experience to include onto a second page, one page is enough. If a single page is not enough, however, to sufficiently communicate the depth of their experience and skills, it is safe to go for two pages.

Remember to put only the most vital and helpful information about yourself in your résumé. Never submit a document that looks more like an autobiography than a résumé. Stick to career objectives, relevant job experiences, years of experience, industry, title/position, educational and special trainings and accomplishments.

Needless of length, an applicant must remember only to include relevant information for the position one is applying for. Word conservation must be practiced and the formatting must be crisp and clean. One must not cram all the information to follow the one-page résumé rule. Some even resort to using 8- or 9-point type to “cram” everything in a page. Experts say that many companies are perfectly fine with well-written, concise and well-formatted two-page résumé that is easy to read and includes all the information they need. Also, it is very important to remember that a resume must capture attention on the first page. The use of powerful objective (headline) and strong summary of qualifications (executive summary) will make your résumé impressive at first glance whatever the length is.

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.

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