Resume & Career Advice

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.

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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!

February 21, 2011

How to Level Up Your Job Search

Job Search

What does it take to level up a job search?

Writing a resume is a big part of the job hunting experience, but it is, by no means, the only part. There are other things that need to be done before you land your dream job—and it’s not just sending your resume to thirty companies and hoping for the best.

1. Contact your references. Now, this should be a given, but it is often overlooked. When an interviewer asks you for your references, you should be prepared with their details, and your references should know that you’re listing them as such.

2. Update your profiles. If you are like most jobseekers today, you have a LinkedIn account and membership in more than a few job search engines. If you don’t, then you’re missing out on a lot. Your networks could be the key to getting the job you want.

3. Create your own website. It neither takes nor costs much to put up your own site. It brings tremendous benefits in showing your prospective employers how you’re keeping abreast with technological advancements. Plus, it’s a venue to show off your skills, talents, and achievements that do not make the precious real estate that your resume is.

4. Research about the companies you’re interested in. You’ll never know when you’ll get a call—which is basically an impromptu interview. Of course, it’s better to research about the company before applying, but particularly in job boards, where employers can view your resume without your knowledge, it would be beneficial to know a little bit about the companies that are currently hiring.

5. Practice the interview. You may not be scheduled for one yet, but instead of cramming for an interview that is scheduled the following day, practice your pitch beforehand. Ensure that you know the overused buzzwords from the industry keywords.

Just because you’ve written an excellent resume does not guarantee that you’ll get the job. Follow these tips and level up your job search in no time.

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 31, 2011

Finding and Quitting: 2010 Career Lessons

Career Lessons

Which of the many career lessons of 2010 should you carry on to 2011?

It was the low and the high times, the best and the worst. Series of events happened that with all its varieties, certain lessons have to be learned and remembered in order for us to move forward. The year 2010 has just left us, but what are certain insights that remain?

Lessons for the profession are important to remember and the events regarding career in 2010 will allow us to reflect on what could be done in the new year. Below are news related to career in the past year with valuable lessons to treasure.

•   Mothers who are considering working while having an infant child isn’t such bad idea after all. In July last year, a Columbia University study indicates that mothers or parents basically should not feel guilty having to work while attending to children since it does not have any effects on their performance. Now that seems to be such great news especially when parents have to find a career in order to meet the demands of their children’s needs.

•   Choosing a career carefully is also one of the greatest lessons of all times. In a survey of The Conference Board research group, 45% of the Americans are unsatisfied with their jobs. Relative reasons would include their loss of interest about the job, the stagnant income due to rising inflation and the towering cost of health insurance adds to their burden of having very low take home pay. Showing low interest for a job can be a lesson to job seekers on finding the right career; but the two latter reasons can also be a call for ways on how the economy should be improved so that labor trend can be considered as stable.

•   Relative to the unsatisfied Americans with their job, quitting can be an option but it is also notable that finding a new one is very important. A Business Insider survey says 57% of their 225 participants have quit a job and have still not found another one in the past two years. This is actually depressing especially that today’s economy is experiencing a tough time. As we face 2011, we are faced with the challenge on either staying with our unhappy jobs or just quit.

January 17, 2011

Writing a Résumé for Jobs in the Healthcare Industry

Health Care Jobs

Are you ready for a healthcare job this 2011?

Reliable job-watch and career websites seem to agree that the Healthcare Industry will prove to be an industry of most number of and best employment opportunities in the year 2011. According to AOL Jobs, the top 10 most secure jobs in 2011 are: (1) nurse, (2) physical therapist, (3) pharmacist, (4) physician and surgeon, (5) computer systems analyst and administrator, (6) computer software engineer, (7) biomedical and environmental engineer, (8) accountant, auditor and financial advisor, (9) veterinarian, and 10) lawyer, paralegal and legal assistant. Ranked top are healthcare related jobs. The U.S. News Money Career says that “Healthcare continues to offer excellent opportunities for job seekers, and not only positions that require a medical degree. Occupations that call for fewer years of study and offer more moderate salaries are also in demand”— what could these news mean? Healthcare jobs are in demand this year.

To land a healthcare job requires a résumé that is formatted towards the healthcare industry. Generic résumés will NOT be of much help. It is highly important for an applicant to identify which healthcare job he or she is applying for. Knowing the specific position to apply for is like the guiding line on how to construct the résumé. A doctor’s résumé should not sound like a résumé of a nurse.

Make sure to highlight pertinent professional skills that are required in the healthcare professional. These professional skills and strengths should also be termed in the jargon highly accepted and used within the healthcare industry. Examples of strengths that must be highlighted are: Knowledge of medical terminologies; Nursing Aptitude— Neonatal, Medical Surgical, OR and ER. Use jargons according to relevance. Present background and work experiences that are relevant to positioned being applied for.

For those who are applying for entry-level positions, they should supply educational information first, especially if there are healthcare related, before presenting non-industry related work experience. Entry-level applicants and career changers/shifters may find it very challenging to identify their strengths and experiences that would allow good transition towards the healthcare industry. Professional help is always a good option.

January 10, 2011

How to Increase Your Value While Unemployed

Unemployment

Do you know your best options when facing unemployment?

As tempting as sitting on the couch, watching soap opera reruns and eating microwave popcorn while waiting for calls from prospective employers might be, they’re surely not the best bet to get you out of unemployment.  In fact, your unemployment status might just be the best time for you to increase your value to employers.

The average American stays unemployed for 33 weeks, and unless you do something about it, you could just add “and counting” to that.  When you submit a resume,that eight-month period when you don’t have a job is eye-catching—but not in a good way.  Make sure that that time of inactivity is anything but.

For one, try to find part time or freelance work. Nearly thirty million others do it, so it’s not about the lack of part time jobs.  But even if you are unable to find one, you can also sign up for numerous volunteer work and activities.  Especially when relevant to your skills and qualifications, part time jobs and volunteer work could actually be more than time-passers and resume space-fillers; they could actually convince employers that you want to be productive, and would thus be a valuable employee.

During your “extended vacation” from work, you could also enroll in a few classes or take certain courses that would improve your knowledge. Depending on your industry, there also are certifications and affiliations that would help you advance in your career.  You will probably be hard-pressed to spend on these, but simply consider them investments for your future.  If you are strapped on cash, you could rummage through the web for tutorials to improve your skills.  Take advantage of the time by improving something as simple as your Excel skills, your typing speed, or something else you wouldn’t have time for if you had a full time job.

Also, don’t allow your time off to render yourself obsolete. Keep up with the current trends in the field you belong in by reading industry news, visiting websites, subscribing to blog feeds, or writing blogs yourself.  You wouldn’t want to go to your first interview in almost a year, armed with outdated keywords that would give away your time in the living room.

Finally, use your time unemployed by reconnecting with your networks. Aside from getting news about the prom queen or hearing how your college roommate is doing, you could use your connections to get a job.  After all, eighty percent of jobs are found through networking.  Relying on job postings alone will not remove you from the 9.8%.

In the end, always remember that just because you’re unemployed, doesn’t mean you should be inactive.

November 29, 2010

Getting the Most of Job Opportunities for Teens

Teenage Jobs

How easy are job opportunities for teens?

If you’re a teenager with little to no work experience, finding a job—and in the process, attempting to beat out college students, retirees and just about every other older person in your city—is strenuous. These tips will help you make it a less stressful journey.

1. Determine what kind of job you want.
At any given point in time—whether the country is in a recession or not—people have always needed someone to wait on tables, flip burgers, operate the cashier, sell merchandise, or just to assist more experienced professionals. Therefore, there will always be job openings. The question is whether it’s right for you, and if you’re the right person for the job. Decide what field you would like to work in—one you would enjoy—to make sure you don’t end up going through the process again in two months. Browse for job advertisements and look at the required credentials. Before applying, find out if your schedule and qualifications are suitable for the position. This would make your job search a lot easier.

2. Prepare the paperwork.
Most jobs that hire teens do not require a resume. A well-written resume, however, will help you stand out from the crowd. Also, check the job postings if the employer has particular requirements, like a social security card, driver’s license, passport, work permit, or a high school transcript or diploma. Also, don’t forget to bring a pen (and a spare one) to the interview. Little things can show your preparedness.

3. Utilize your networks.
Along with the other paperwork, print out your references so you can provide them when asked. Just make sure you inform them in advance. Further, your parents or relatives might know some people from certain companies and could put in a good word for you. They could refer you to a hiring manager or someone else from the inside. You could also ask friends and acquaintances if the organizations they are working for have any openings. You might as well have some use for your 1,000 friends on Facebook.

4. Be persistent.
Finally, show your potential employers that you are determined to get the job. Ask for an interview in a cover letter, send a thank you note after and follow up your application. If a company you give your resume to says that they are not hiring, make sure to present yourself available if an opening comes.

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.

August 16, 2010

Five Things You Should Never Include In Your Resume

In Resume Writing, Less Could Mean More

What points should you leave out so that your resume gets noticed?

Writing a resume would seem pretty straightforward: Who you are, what school you went to, what you’ve done.  Still, there are certain details that would seem like a bed in the living room if they appeared in your resume.  Here is a quick list to distinguish the clothes cabinets from the couches.

1.    Your resume is your marketing tool, and just like any other tool, it can function without the word “Tool” inscribed on it.  Your potential employers know that it is a resume.  You don’t have to put the word “Resume” on top.  Would you want your F-150 with “This is a truck” painted on its doors?  I thought so.

2.    In writing a resume, avoid including information that is too personal.  Details such as your date of birth, marital status, religious or political affiliation, race or ethnic group, and number of children are better left out.  Putting your Social Security number is also a bad idea, while your vital statistics–including your height, weight, and health information–are not too vital when applying for that management job.  The bottom line is, whether or not discrimination still exists, those just don’t belong in your resume.  Further, unless you’re applying for a modeling, movie or TV gig, your resume should not include your picture.  In fact, even in those cases, it would be better to put your photos in a separate portfolio.

3.    While it might be interesting to know that you’ve once caught a White Sturgeon while on vacation or that you can play Flight of the Bumblebee in your spare time, don’t let your hobbies occupy the precious real estate that your resume is.  They’re better suited for small talk during the interview

4.    Salary information is another thing that is best discussed during or after the job interview.  This includes your previous and preferred salary.  Instead of placing salary information on your resume, you can talk about it in person, where you can use it as a bargaining chip.  By the way, detailing in your resume why you quit your previous jobs is also a no-no.

5.    Lastly, it is no longer required to insert the address and phone numbers of your references in your resume.  However, neither is there a need to put “References available upon request” at the bottom.  It’s taken for granted that you will provide your references if and when the hiring manager asks for them.  You may, however, want to print your references on a separate sheet of paper, so that you can easily hand it out when asked.

In the end, the clincher in determining what to put in resumes can be summed up in one word: relevance.

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