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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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.

September 13, 2010

Resume Formats: Choosing the Right Style for your Specific Job Credentials

Selecting the Right Resume Format

Does your resume format complement your career strengths?

A resume is an important marketing tool. It is the first glimpse of your potential employer about how qualified you are to be given the job you are applying for. So out of the hundred resumes an employer checks every day, yours must stand out. Your resume must highlight your accomplishments, skills and experience related to the job you are applying for.

If you are a fresh graduate and lacks related experiences for the job vacancy, don’t fret. You can make use of a resume that highlights your educational background and trainings you underwent while still in the university. This type of resume indicates the schools you have attended, the date you graduated, earned or pursued degree, and most importantly, your GPA. Emphasize on the courses you have taken or major in that makes you qualified for the job. Indicate the strongest and the most pertinent information on the top of your resume. You can also indicate the languages you are proficient with, certificates or licenses, computer or software programs you are good at and on-the-job trainings you have attended. Did you also attend any organization in your school, or joined any voluntary work? Include this information on your resume, so that your employer would know that you are responsible and trustworthy person.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of working experiences or other job-relevant information, you would want to make use of a resume that highlights these experiences. You can jot down your related work experiences from previous to the most recent. Include work, volunteer positions, appointments, assistantships, internships and any other activities applicable to the job you’re applying for. However, do not include everything. Note which of the work-related experiences are relevant to your goals and what is required from the ad and qualifications. You can pick one work experience and write a short description of your key responsibilities and accomplishments in the job. Always organize your content according to the most important and make use of verbs and professional words and correlate job-specific terms.

Remember, your resume is the first glimpse of the employer regarding your potential for the job vacancy. Make sure it stands out by making use of formats applicable to your experiences and skills.

September 6, 2010

Advanced Resume Writing: Using the Organizational Message Chart

Employing Organizational Message Chart in Resume Writing

Is your resume as organized as a well-structured organization?

Everyone has seen an organizational chart.  It is a diagram that shows the structure and hierarchy of a company, usually with the president in a box on top, then the rest of the chain of command under him or her.  The chart is particularly helpful for employees to determine who to tell if they mess up, or in some cases, if their boss messes up.  Career Coach Jay Block, however, found an ingenious application of the organizational chart: in writing resumes .

Mainly outlined in his excellent book, 101 Best Resumes to Sell Yourself, Block explains that a resume should have one core message and six to eight supporting messages that basically answer one question, “What can I do for the company I am applying for?”  He refers to the core message as the “presidential message,” obviously referring to the top of the chart, then pinpoints the rest of the positions in the “hierarchy of messages.”

First and foremost—just like the head of an organizational chart—the presidential message answers the question, “Why should the company hire me?”  Then, just as in the organizational chart, there are “vice presidential messages” and “support messages” that “support, defend, and complement the presidential message,” through highlighting your skills, abilities, qualifications, and credentials.  There also are “value-added messages” that show the employer that you have something to offer that goes beyond the job requirements.

Aside from making your resume appear, well, organized, the Organizational Message Chart helps you determine your best and unique selling points to the employer.  Constructing one would help you make better resumes, and soon enough, the number of job interviews you are invited to would be off the charts.

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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