Resume & Career Advice

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.

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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.

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 9, 2010

Formulating a Competitive Value Proposition

Value Proposition

Do you see your value proposition at the core of the company?

Even marketing professionals fail in drafting an effective resume. “Its all about selling and marketing yourself,” says a professional resumé writer from a leading online résumé service provider. “It is all about creating an effective, competitive value proposition,” he added. So, in marketing oneself, one has to think about a good value proposition for them. In business organizations, including online businesses, effective competitive value proposition is a must. What value proposition exactly?

In a business or marketing setting, value proposition answers or summarizes why a consumer should choose to buy a product or avail of a service. In other words, value proposition is a statement that aims to convince potential customer that one particular product or service will add more value or will provide better solution to a problem than other similar offerings. Companies use value proposition to target customers who will benefit most from using their products. There are many considerations that must be thought of when creating or formulating value proposition. Below are some tips in formulating a competitive value proposition.

1. Know your company’s or business’ strengths. Get everyone involved in the company and do brainstorming. Ask everyone from customer service to top management and all departments ‘what the company or business does best?’ Identifying strengths is the first key in knowing what to offer.

2. Identify the market. Just as there was brainstorming with ‘what the company or business does best?’ there should also be brainstorming in identifying the market and segment it targets. ‘What is the target market?” Example, which particular segment of online users is the target for the product or service?

3. Learn from the customers. Ask the customers through surveys. Learn what the customers want through other forms of research.

4. Know the competition. Learning the competition’s value proposition can help you improve your value proposition. How to do this? Well, buy from the competitor and subscribe to their newsletters. This will be very beneficial to your company.

Value proposition can make or break a company. It is a must for any businesses to draft a highly effective and competitive value proposition in order for customers to patronize the company’s products and/or services.

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.

May 24, 2010

The Cover Letter, Follow-up Letter, and Thank You Letter

Cover letters, thank you letters and follow up letters are great reinforcements of a well-written resume. In fact, an outstanding resume is most possibly useless if submitted without a cover letter, so are your chances of getting hired insufficient if you’re not used to submitting a thank you or follow up letter. These correspondences make you engage closely with the employer that could either make or break your chances on landing on that coveted job.

A cover letter serves as your employer’s motivation to consider your application – it is your introduction. It reflects whether you have read the job ad carefully and your resulting interest for the position. Hence it should be optimistic, to the point, and concise. An ideal cover letter has three to four paragraphs with an introduction, body, and closing. It should not be a repeat of the information already present on your resume. Most importantly, every cover letter must be personalized in that it should be tailored exclusive to a specific position. Never submit the same cover letter for all your job applications.

Thank You letters must be sent to interviewers shortly after an applicant completes a job interview – preferably within 24 hours. Just like the cover letter, thank you letters must be personalized to the point that you can actually opt to have them handwritten rather than typed. Assess the personality of a company by reflecting on your interview then decide the writing that will suit your thank you letter best. Aside from your expression of gratitude, thank you letters also strengthen your interest for the position and leave the interviewer with a good impression of you.

Follow up letters may be sent when job seekers do not hear back within two weeks concerning their application. Remember: never send a follow up letter when the job post specifically stated that applicants should not do so. Things that may be incorporated in a follow up letter are inquiries such as whether all applicants will be notified of passing or of not passing the recruitment process. You may also ask if there are other steps in the hiring procedures that you must fulfill to continue your application, or if there are other requirements that need to be submitted.

Creating a cover letter, thank you letter, and follow up letter is as important as tailoring your resume. A deserving applicant must be able to introduce his credentials, express his gratitude for an interview, and follow up and show his strong interest for a position. He may also seek for a professional resume writer’s assistance to ensure that his sincerity to get employed is conveyed in the best professional manner on paper.

May 17, 2010

How to Write a Competitive Entry-Level Resume

Competition in the job market is tough and you can only wish that you had enough work experience to stay afloat. As such, an entry level resume or what seems to be an incomprehensive one seems not enough to market your professional profile to give you a fighting chance for that job you’re targeting on. So, the first step is to focus on the goal – target to create a competitive resume with enough patience and courage to complete it.

To create a compelling entry level resume requires that you do not underestimate your experiences that may take the place of formal previous employment. Internships, trainings and seminars, part-time work, and similar activities are best laid out on your resume highlighting the skills you have acquired during such experiences. Involvement with non-profit work may even show a potential employer a glimpse of your character. These factors are key and will potentially set you apart from the pack.

Choose your resume format wisely. Since chronological resumes focus on work history, it is best to employ the skills format – which will emphasize your skills and abilities learned from various work and non-work experiences. The skills format is also employed by non-entry-level job seekers who have great skill qualifications but who may not be as attractively presented to an employer via the traditional resume format.

Highlight your educational achievements. An entry-level job seeker may choose to list down his educational history on top of his resume to emphasize qualifications obtained from school. If you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, this must be indicated along with other achievements and recognitions that you received. Courses, projects, and extracurricular relevant to the position applied for must also be described.

Stand out but be simple and professional. Some resumes go as far as using flashy colors and designs for uniqueness – this turns off employers. The last thing you would want to do as an entry-level job seeker is to show your inexperience through a bizarre resume style. Use a professional email address and choose a legible font style and size. Black is the best font color while light shades of pastel are best for a resume paper, with the right size.

There is always a competitive resume for a determined entry-level job seeker. If you find it really challenging to market yourself for a particular position, a professional resume writer can easily help you recognize your strengths and search for pointers that can compensate for weaknesses in your career profile.

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