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A Guide to Perfecting Your Resume

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You know that you should edit your resume before you send it off in the world, making sure it’s error-free.  But to make sure that resume is in the best possible shape? You should really take the editing process a few steps further.  Here’s the thing: Editing is more than just giving something a once-over to eliminate egregious typos and grammar mistakes. It’s really about looking at something with a critical eye, then making changes to ensure it’s the best it can possibly be.  And that’s what you want for your resume, right? From someone who edits all day, every day for a living, here’s a five-step editing plan that will take your resume from good to full-blown awesome (and—of course—eliminate the typos, too).

 Step 1: Consider the Big Picture

When I look at an article for the first time, I have to resist the urge to fix typos or make style changes (and believe me, as an editor, it’s hard). But it’s important—the first thing I need to determine is whether the piece is working as a whole. Is this right for our publication? Is the message of the article the one we want to send? Are there any major gaps or sections that are superfluous?  On that first read of your resume, try to do the same thing. Ignore typos or formatting issues, and think about the overall message your resume is sending:

  • Does this sell you as the perfect candidate for the types of roles you’re seeking?
  • Are there any gaps between the experience on the page and the experience required for the job?
  • If so, are there ways in which you could bridge those gaps?
  • What makes your experience stand out among other, similar candidates?
  • Does the top third of your resume serve as a hook to get the hiring manager to read more?
  • Is there anything on your resume that doesn’t need to be there?

Pro Tip: Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people at your level in your field, and see how they tell their stories. Which ones are most compelling or stand out the most? See what you can learn from them and how you can apply those lessons to your own resume.

Step 2: Scrutinize the Bullets and Details

As editors, we ask constantly ask ourselves if each word is the best one, if a sentence structure is right, if there’s anything that could be said more clearly, effectively, or quickly. And oh, do we add examples! Why say something if you can show it? It makes for better writing and a more interesting read.  Walk through your resume again. Your job at this point is to look at every section, every sentence, and every word, and determine if there’s a better way to get your point across. For each bullet point, ask:

  • Is this the strongest possible language you could use?
  • Can anything be said more clearly? Or in fewer words?
  • Is there any language that someone outside of your company or industry wouldn’t understand?
  • Could anything benefit from examples?
  • Can anything be quantified? Can you show a benefit?
  • Are any words used over and over? Can they be replaced with more creative language?

Pro Tip: Have a friend who’s not in your field read your bullet points, and ask what he or she thinks your strongest achievements are. Do you agree? If not, adjust so the most important ones really stand out.

Step 3: Fact Check

Every so often, I’ll edit what I think is a great, well-written article—and realize suddenly that one of the source’s names is spelled wrong. I’ll take a closer look and see that—wait—a book title is incorrect, research numbers are not quite right, and that other “facts” in the article need a second look.  It’s a good idea to do this for your resume, too. It can happen even with the right intentions—I, for example, recently realized that my resume said “3 million” on a figure that most certainly should have been 1 million. Whoops.  Read every word on your resume again, this time asking yourself:

  • Are the companies you worked for named the same thing? Still located in the same city?
  • Are your position titles accurate?
  • Are your employment dates correct?
  • Are all of the numbers and percentages you use to describe increases, quotas, budgets, savings, and achievements (reasonably) accurate?

Pro Tip: In the editorial world, we have to make sure every number we print is 100% accurate, but you have a bit more leeway with your resume. As long as you’re reasonably sure that you increased customer satisfaction, fundraising numbers, or sales 25%, don’t worry about having the “official” numbers to prove it.

Step 4: Proofread

As I well know, you can work intently on a document for three hours and somehow not notice that you’ve used “their” instead of “there” or mistaken “bran” for “brand.” So, proofreading one last time is a step you can’t skip. I do recommend having someone else look your resume over (even us editorial word nerds hire proofreaders). But before you do, proof word by word, asking yourself:

  • Are there any typos? Wrong word usage?
  • Does each bullet point end with a period (or not)? Either is fine, just be consistent.
  • Are you using the serial comma (or not) throughout?

Pro Tip: When proofreading, it’s helpful to temporarily change the font, or to read your resume from the bottom up—your eyes get used to reading a page one way, and can often catch new errors when you mix the format up.

 Step 5: Make Sure it Looks Nice

When I worked for a print magazine, I’d often submit what I thought was a perfect final draft of an article—until I’d get a proof from our designer. More often than not, my masterpiece would need some adjustments to look right on the page: shortening the copy so that it didn’t require a miniature-sized font, or lengthening a paragraph so that one word didn’t hang over on a line by itself, for example. Because part of great writing is making it look great, too.  While you don’t have to send your resume off to a graphic designer, do keep in mind that presentation is important, and that a few adjustments to your text can make a big difference in how it looks. Give it a final once-over with a designer’s eye, considering:

  • Does the page look visually appealing?
  • Is the page overly cluttered?
  • Is the font size too small? Is it difficult to read?
  • Is the font size and format for each section consistent?
  • Does the layout make sense?
  • Is your contact information easily findable?

Pro Tip: Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections. Check out section three of this great guide to resume formatting from LifeClever for instructions.

As a final note, I recommend editing your resume again and again—adding in your new accomplishments, shifting the way you talk about an experience based on something you’ve seen someone else do, and making sure there’s nothing you’ve missed. After all, as any writer or editor will tell you: The best masterpieces are never done.

cross posted from thedailymuse.com

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Word Choices For Your Resume

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On average, a hiring manager will look over a resume for only six seconds, and if they don’t see something that stands out, you may not end up landing an interview. Knowing this fact can add even more stress to the job search process, but don’t let it. Resume writing is easier than you think. Writing a precise resume is key to securing a job, so it’s important to pack the right words in your resume to showcase your skills and abilities. Your resume doesn’t need to tell your life story, but it does need to get the hiring manager’s attention.

Resume Word Choices
It’s important to use words in present tense when writing about your current job and use past tense when referring to a previous job. Employers aren’t only looking for skills, but also certifications, degrees, job titles, and company names. They are also looking for keywords that highlight your experience, personality, and abilities. Some of these keywords include:

Information-related

  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Compared
  • Compiled
  • Gathered
  • Organized
  • Prepared
  • Recorded
  • Researched

People-related

  • Coached
  • Coordinated
  • Consulted
  • Evaluated
  • Instructed
  • Managed
  • Negotiated
  • Persuaded
  • Scheduled

Objects/Material-related

  • Arranged
  • Assembled
  • Created
  • Inspected
  • Maintained
  • Operated
  • Repaired
  • Sold
  • Tested

Be careful not to be repetitive in your word usage. You can easily spice up your resume to convey similar actions by using different words. What are some keywords you’ve used in your resume? Share with us in the comments section below!

cross posted from blog.expresspros.com

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8 Things Your Resume Does NOT Need

The expression “less is more” is good advice to follow in your everyday life. In most situations, you will find that the less you do the more successful you will be, and this is especially true when it comes time to craft your resume.

You might think you are bolstering your case for the job by adding more information to your job application, but in reality you are doing yourself a disservice. Employers receive countless resumes and cover letters every day so the last thing they want to do is read something that is full of content that is irrelevant to their needs. It sounds simple enough to stick to the basics when writing your resume, but what exactly are the basics?

Information that seems irrelevant to the hiring manager might seem important to you, making it difficult to edit your resume. With this in mind, here are the eight things you should always leave off your resume:

  • Your picture
  • Interest and hobbies (unless they are specifically asked for in the job description)
  • References
  • Minor tasks you performed at previous jobs
  • Decoration (plain font will do just fine)
  • Negativity
  • Objective statement
  • Your family history

 

cross posted from the Nonprofit Times

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3 Steps to an Attention Getting Resume

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Your resume is the most important document in your career and the essential tool to help you get your foot in the door for an interview. If you are not getting calls for interviews, then you should review your resume to see if you are missing essential items that are causing it to be less effective. In short, the resume has to clearly answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Your answer comes in 2 parts: your SUMMARY where you state “Here is what I can do for you” and your EXPERIENCE section where you prove it by highlighting your accomplishments.

1. Does Your Opening Tell An Employer What You Have To Offer?

Your opening summary is the ONLY part of the resume that everyone will read. They will scan it and place you in a YES, NO, or MAYBE pile. As a result, you need to capture their attention up front – quickly. It’s easy to state what you are looking for, but what an employer really wants to know is what you have to offer to them. A good tip is to simply identify the 3-4 things that they are looking for and state that you can deliver them.
For example:
Manufacuring Prouction Manager with a consistent track record of exceeding productivity, safety and quality goals. Sales Professional – Ranked in the top 5% for sales performance for over 10 years.

2. Describe Your Background

You just stated that you can deliver what they want. Now, describe your level of experience doing that. There is a big difference between the project manager who has three years of experience and managed five projects versus the one who has over 10 years of experience and has managed dozens of projects. So indicate your credentials and be sure to drop company names if they are well known, especially if they might not see the company name on the first page.
For example:

  • Over 15 years at global leaders Accenture and KPMG leveraging proven methodologies and leading multi-million dollar projects for blue chip clients. 

OR

  • Over 10 years overseeing logistics and distribution including optimizing the efficiency of a 50,000 square foot warehouse with +10,000 SKUs.

3. Highlight Your Relevant Accomplishments

You have told them what you can do, so now prove it in the EXPERIENCE section. This is where you highlight your achievement against goals. Make sure these are in bullets so they are easy to see in the 10-second glance of your resume.
For example:

  • Increased on-time delivery rate from 77% to 98%. 
  • Increased productivity 22% against 10% goal while reducing safety incidents over 95%.

That’s it! Tell them you can deliver what they want, state your level of experience doing it, and infuse the resume with proof statements. How can anyone resist such a resume?

cross posted from careeralism.com

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The Ways Your Resume is Boring

Reumes

Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

5. It Doesn’t Focus On Hard Skills

And the championship goes to… hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill.

6. It Tells Vs. Shows

Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past.

WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

7. It’s Passive

Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like “served as,” “duties included,” “promoted to,” “worked with”…choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results.

The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.

Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. Therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview.

Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments today.

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Your Job Search: Who to List as Employment References

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Question

“I’m applying for a job, and it says I have to list two references. Do I have to include this? I’m not sure who to put.” – Lee from Reno, NV

Answer

Thanks for your question, Lee. If the job you’re applying for requests references, you shouldn’t leave that space blank. Employers who receive large numbers of applications or résumés will often give each one only a quick glance before deciding whether to advance that candidate to the next round. Any omission in your application could cause you to be passed by.

What Do You Need to Prove?

Think about the position for which you’re applying – what qualities does that person need to demonstrate? Maybe they need to know how to manage others, how to solve conflicts or be detail-oriented. If you’re responding to a job advertisement, review the words the employer has chosen to describe its ideal candidate.

Next, consider the characteristics that all employers like to see in their staff. No matter what job you’re applying for, you want to demonstrate that you’re responsible, dependable, honest, a team player and someone who shows initiative, just to name a few.

Brainstorming Potential References

Now that you have your list, you want to think about the people you know who can speak to an employer about the ways in which you demonstrate those qualities. While former job supervisors are the first people many job seekers think of in terms of references, you can also consider asking these kinds of individuals:

  • Professors or instructors
  • Coaches
  • Church or volunteer group leaders
  • Coworkers
  • Professional contacts who are familiar with your work

If you have a challenge in your background such as a criminal history including someone as a reference who can speak to your journey and positive qualities — such as a case manager or social worker — can be important.

Avoid listing family members or close friends as references – employers may perceive them as giving a biased opinion of your work. You should also avoid listing anyone who might have anything negative to say about you.

Contacting Your References

Once you’ve determined who you’d like to list as your references, reach out to them and ask them if it’s okay to list them on your job applications. You also want to make sure you have the most updated contact information – such as a phone number and email — for them.

If they say yes, brief them on the jobs you’re applying for and the qualities you’re looking to demonstrate. You may also want to provide this information to them via email, so they can refer to it if they receive a call from an employer.

If they say no, don’t get discouraged — after all, you only want references that are comfortable and willing to talk about you with potential employers. Be sure to thank them for the consideration and end the conversation politely.

 cross posted from goodwill.org

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. You Know?

Have you ever applied for a position and think to yourself “I don’t stand a chance. This job is way over my head but I might as well apply?” First off, good job, for being confident and ambitious enough to apply for the position. But what happens if you get a phone interview? I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you are trying desperately to find a job, just casually looking for that matter, you need to treat the process as though it is a job. Here are some tips on how to organize your search.

  1. Keep a book, note pad, Excel spread sheet, whatever is available to you and track ALL of the positions and companies you apply to.
  2. Beside each entry document the main job duties that are in the description. Then make note of the parts of your resume that you believe are most applicable to the position.
  3. If you are able to get contact information for any of the positions, make sure you document that as well.
  4. Continuously update the list and put the positions you are most interested in at the top. Date when you applied to them so you know when to follow up on your application.

Now, back to the position you have no chance at getting. You have a chance. In many cases job descriptions are carefully crafted by Human Resource departments and don’t always give an accurate depiction of the nuts and bolts of the position. Refer back to your organized list and see what information you already have on the job. Then, look over your resume and put yourself in the recruiters’ position. Ask yourself; “Why would this resume make me stand out?” Chances are there skill sets that have been identified in your resume that has gotten you to the opportunity to interview.  Take the items on your resume that align most with the job description and make not of them. You will need to refer back to this information during the interview.

At this point you still don’t have a good idea of the position and the phone is about to ring. It’s OK. Breathe. When the recruiter calls, it is absolutely OK to inquire further about the position. Here is an example of what you may say…”I want to make sure that I am able to provide the best answers possible. Could you tell me what the 3 most important responsibilities are?” This can help you tailor your answers to what they want to hear.  Without this information you will find yourself in a position where you don’t know what you don’t know.  You know?

 

 

The HR Recruiter

The HR Recruiter has over 3 years’ experience working in Employment Services and Human Resources. He is currently working on his Masters of Science in Human Resource Development at N.C. State University. He is also a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). 

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Resume Blunders

Goodwill Professional Center Director Randy Wooden speaks on the local Fox affiliate about what can send your resume to the bottom of the pile, or even worse, to the circular file.  Click on image to watch video.

Randy Wooden is a longtime Triad career consultant and director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC’s Professional Center. You may reach him at rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org.

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Top 100 Most Powerful Resume Words

Top Resume Words

 

In today’s society, your resume is the most important document you have to get yourself an interview.

Including power resume words will increase your chance of getting hired by 80%!

When a hiring manager is seeing the same old resume time and time again which includes the cliché words and phrases such as “highly dedicated individual” or “great team player” you are guaranteeing yourself your resume will be deleted.

Poorly chosen words and clichéd phrases can destroy the interest of the reader. Power words when chosen correctly can have the opposite effect of motivating and inspiring the reader

Power Resume Words will make help you stand out from your competition and increase your chances of getting hired!

Top 100 Power Resume Words

  1. Advanced
  2. Assigned
  3. Assessed
  4. Absorbed
  5. Accelerated
  6. Attained
  7. Attracted
  8. Announced
  9. Appraised
  10. Budgeted
  11. Bolstered
  12. Balanced
  13. Boosted
  14. Bargained
  15. Benefited
  16. Beneficial
  17. Comply
  18. Critiqued
  19. Closed
  20. Collaborated
  21. Designed
  22. Delegated
  23. Demonstrated
  24. Developed
  25. Detected
  26. Efficient
  27. Enhanced
  28. Excelled
  29. Exceeded
  30. Enriched
  31. Fulfilled
  32. Financed
  33. Forecasted
  34. Formulated
  35. Generated
  36. Guided
  37. Granted
  38. Helped
  39. Hosted
  40. Implemented
  41. Investigated
  42. Increased
  43. Initiated
  44. Influenced
  45. Integrated
  46. Innovated
  47. Instituted
  48. Justified
  49. Listed
  50. Logged
  51. Maintained
  52. Mentored
  53. Measured
  54. Multiplied
  55. Negotiated
  56. Observed
  57. Operated
  58. Obtained
  59. Promoted
  60. Presented
  61. Programmed
  62. Provided
  63. Projected
  64. Qualified
  65. Quantified
  66. Quoted
  67. Recommended
  68. Refine
  69. Revamp
  70. Reacted
  71. Retained
  72. Recovered
  73. Reinstated
  74. Rejected
  75. Sustained
  76. Skilled
  77. Saved
  78. Scheduled
  79. Supported
  80. Secured
  81. Simplified
  82. Screened
  83. Segmented
  84. Streamlined
  85. Strengthened
  86. Triumphed
  87. Troubleshot
  88. Taught
  89. Tutored
  90. Translated
  91. Trained
  92. Uncovered
  93. United
  94. Unified
  95. Updated
  96. Upgraded
  97. Validated
  98. Viewed
  99. Worldwide
  100. Witnessed

Cross posted from Careerealism.com

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How NOT to Write a Resume, pt. 2

So, last time we covered some basic “don’ts” of writing a resume. I would like to say that all bases were covered in the last post but alas that is not the case. Here is round two of “resume’ don’ts.”

1)      Just post one! A lot of people get to the point in the application where they are asked to post a resume’. This, for many, seems to be a terrifying feat. If you don’t have a resume’ that is fine. But, take the time to create one. There are a plethora of sources out there that can help you in doing so. Not posting a resume’ will surely prevent your resume’ from being seen.

2)      What is in a name? When you create a resume’ you save it. And when you save your resume you title the document something. DO NOT title it “Professional” or “Resume’.” Instead, title your document as your name. You can use your first initial and last name if your name is too long. DO NOT use your initials. In some cases this may be fine, however, if your full name is David Allen Madison, (DAM) OR Cameron Allen Nicolas (CAN, as to say you won’t your resume to last a long time)your resume’ may provide giggles for a recruiter but not necessarily in a good way. The more often your full name is seen the better and titling your resume as such is another way to achieve this.

3)      I Font take it anymore! This example ties in with the formatting don’ts from the last post. HR Recruiters look at hundreds of resume’s a week. When we come across one that has italics every other line, some parts bold, some parts not and a mixture of Courier New and Arial Black…we usually set it aside until our eyes are able to focus again. Keep it simple and neat. Use the same font for the entire resume’. Bolding certain parts are fine but keep it consistent.

4)      Spell Check does not always work! Nowadays we tend to get lazy when it comes to our spelling. We all do it, me included. However, the one place you want to make sure your spelling is absolutely correct is on a resume. So, don’t rely on spell check alone, but read your resume out loud to yourself. You may catch sentences like this…”I supervised to individuals.” Or, “Was a vitality part of the restructure process and prove import supervise of knew employees.” See the problems? Should be “Was a vital part of the restructure process and provided important supervision of new employees.” This may seem extreme but if you don’t know the difference between their, they’re and there you won’t get a job here.

 

These are only four examples but they are crucial. Next time we’ll focus on interview “don’ts” particularly phone interviews.

 

Until next time…

The HR Recruiter

The HR Recruiter has over 3 years’ experience working in Employment Services and Human Resources. He is currently working on his Masters of Science in Human Resource Development at N.C. State University. He is also a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). 

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