No Resume Jargon!

Read this great article on Yahoo Jobs (Liz Ryan) the other day about resumes, and thought I’d share. Be creative with your resumes, don’t just use the same old jargon that everyone else is using!

“The 2009 job market is very different from job markets of the past. If you haven’t job-hunted in a while, the changes in the landscape can throw you for a loop.

One of the biggest changes is the shift in what constitutes a strong resume. Years ago, we could dig into the Resume Boilerplate grab-bag and pull out a phrase to fill out a sentence or bullet point on our resume. Everybody used the same boilerplate phrases, so we knew we couldn’t go wrong choosing one of them — or many — to throw into your resume.

Things have changed. Stodgy boilerplate phrases in your resume today mark you as uncreative and “vocabulary challenged.” You can make your resume more compelling and human-sounding by rooting out and replacing the boring corporate-speak phrases that litter it, and replacing them with human language — things that people like you or me would actually say.

Here are the worst 10 boilerplate phrases — the ones to seek out and destroy in your resume as soon as possible:

  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation

You can do better. What about adding a human voice to your resume? Here’s an example:

“I’m a Marketing Researcher who’s driven by curiosity about why people buy what they do. At XYZ Industries, I used consumer surveys and online-forum analysis to uncover the reasons why consumers chose our competitors over us; our sales grew twenty percent over the next six months as a result. I’m equally at home on sales calls or analyzing data in seclusion, and up to speed on traditional and new-millennium research tools and approaches. I’m fanatical about understanding our marketplace better every day, week and month — and have helped my employers’ brands grow dramatically as a result.”

You don’t have to write resumes that sound like robots wrote them. A human-voiced resume is the new black — try it!”

Tips to Get Your Resume Noticed!

I wish I could take credit for this great article about how to get your resume noticed, but alas, the story is from Yahoo HotJobs author Tory Johnson:

“Gone are the days of simply mailing your resume, receiving a call, shaking hands at the interview, and agreeing on a start date for that new job. The Internet has taken over the recruiting landscape, and everyone is required to submit a resume online. While that brings greater efficiency to the process for employers, it can be awfully maddening for job seekers. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you know how to navigate the system.Consider these 12 tips before pressing “submit” to send your resume:

1. Search job boards and the websites of employers that appeal to you. Print out the job postings that you’re interested in pursuing before you apply.

2. Use a highlighter to mark the keywords and industry language used to describe the requirements and responsibilities.

3. Compare those words and phrases to the language that appears in your current resume.

4. Figure out how and where to add the most relevant keywords to your resume, assuming you have the specific knowledge, skills, and experience. Applicant tracking systems will search for keyword matches — the more matches, the better, which often determines if a recruiter opts to view your resume.

5. Once you’re confident that your resume reflects a strong match, go ahead and submit that targeted resume online.

6. If the system requests a cover letter, write a short one that expresses why you’re a strong match and why you’d like to join the organization. This is a chance to tout your research on the role.

7. Never submit a generic, one-size-fits-all resume or cover letter. If you really want the position, you’ll customize all documents for each job.

8. Once you apply, get to work to find an internal referral to make a personal introduction. Here’s how:

  • Make a list of 50 people you know and ask each one if they know someone who works (or has worked) at that employer.
  • Attend job fairs to meet face-to-face with employers and other professionals.
  • Create a free profile and become active on LinkedIn.com or Facebook.com, which boast a combined 60 million users. Surely you can find someone who knows someone to make that connection.
  • Create a free Twitter.com account and “follow” friends and post requests for help. (You can follow me at Twitter.com/ToryJohnson where I post job leads and where fellow followers can help with contacts.)
  • Join an association in your field and network with like-minded peers.
  • Connect with your high school and college alumni groups. Old pals could be new connectors.
  • Talk to your unlikely network. For example, look at the class list of the parents of your kids’ friends. Anytime my kids hear about a friend’s mom or dad who’s lost a job, they tell them to call me. Even though we don’t know each other, we have a common connection that can sometimes lead to a contact.

9. Follow up with a call or email to the recruiter responsible for filling the position. Never say, “Did you get my resume?” Instead be ready to reiterate your strong qualifications and interest in the role. You’ll have just a brief moment to sell yourself, so rehearse before making the call or sending the email.

10. Don’t know the name of the right person? Cold-call the company and ask an operator to put you through. If that doesn’t work, do a Web search on the term “recruiter” or “HR director” along with the name of your employer of choice. The results may reveal the name you’re trying to find. LinkedIn is another resource to find the correct name.

11. Stay top of mind. Every recruiter is different, which makes this a challenge. Some say you’re welcome to follow up weekly. Others say every other week is enough. And then there are some who’ll tell you to never call. Find the right balance so you’re politely persistent without crossing over to a pest.

12. Ask directly for advice on how and when to follow up. A simple question, “What’s the best way to keep in touch?” will give you the details you need to stay ahead of the pack.

NOTE: Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the Workplace Contributor on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Connect with her at womenforhire.com.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely the author’s.”

“BEEN AT THE SAME JOB FOR YEARS” RESUME

Last year, after many years with the same employer, my orthodontist to be specific, my mom was about to be back into the job market. The orthodontist retired, and my mom decided she needed to find another job instead of working for the orthodontist who took over her former boss’s practice. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a resume. 

No matter what your age, if you’re just entering the job market, or trying to find another job after years and years with the same employer, a great resume is always needed. In my mom’s case, she was concerned that nobody would hire her because she’d been at the same employer for so long. 

If you’ve been at the same employer for a very long time, don’t worry. As you’ll see from the enclosed resume, my mom held various job positions with the same employer. For her resume we listed each job and the responsibilities for each (bulleted) along with the dates for each position. In her case, she listed job titles in reverse chronological order, but you’re welcome to list them in any order you choose. It’s all up to you! Just be sure that your job history is clear, and, if there are any gaps between dates, and/or jobs, be certain you have an explanation for each (took some time off to raise my family, did volunteer work for the Peace Corps, etc.) during your phone/in-person interview.

So for my mom’s resume, we created the following sections, which gave a nice overview of her skills and background: 

* Heading

* Overview

* Professional Experience 

* Education

* Computer Skills

* Additional (Volunteer Work, Awards, Etc.)

Back In The Job Market Resume

FUNCTIONAL/SKILLS RESUME

Another type of resume you might consider using is the functional/skills resume. Instead of listing your job history in chronological order, this type of resume if organized according to your skills. It’s the perfect resume if: 

* You’re changing careers
* A chronological resume doesn’t indicate all of your skills and accomplishments
* You’re returning to the workplace after many years for any number of reasons
  (raising families, military service, etc.)
* People just entering the workforce (ie. students graduating college) 

According to authors John Brereton and Margaret Mansfield, “A functional resume will highlight your abilities, not necessarily how well you climbed the corporate ladder. However, many employers are suspicious of functional resumes, thinking that people using them may have something to hide. Avoid this problem by confronting it head on in the Overview/Objective section of the resume:

‘New Psychology B.A. with experience in counseling and student relations seeks personnel position. Pre-college experience includes 10 years as a successful administrative assistant at a Fortune 500 company.'” 

Or, explain your career change and/or return to the workforce in your cover letter:

“Ten years of engine repair in the Air Force showed me I was best at working with people, so I enrolled in courses in training and instructional design.”

Unlike a chronological resume, where you list your most recent position first, a functional/skills resume lists the skills/experience you have as opposed to going into specific details about each job you’ve held. I’ve included a sample functional/skills resume at the bottom of this post, but in general, this resume should include: 

* Overview/Objective
* Experience (Skills)
* Brief Employment History
* Education/Training
* Any Other Pertinent Information

To see a sample of a functional/skills resume, click on the resume below:

RESUME TIPS

I’m feeling a bit random today, but had more thoughts about putting together your resume. It’s easy to write your resume once you decide what you’d like to include in it.

Follow the following tips to help it from getting thrown in the trash, and of course, making it look great: 

* One half inch to one inch margins are ideal. 

* Use and easy to read font like Arial or Time New Roman

* Spell Check! Enough said! 

* Honesty Counts! Tell the truth on your resume. Many people have been fired once lies on their resume have been discovered. Tell the truth!

* One to two pages (at most) is a good length. No need to write a long novel! 

* Don’t include your marital status, race, age, sexual preference, religion, or citizenship. 

* Use accurate job descriptions and your title. Always use action verbs when describing your job. For example: trained 50 technicians, planned company offsite meetings, investigated false insurance claims, etc. etc. Hiring managers as well as the individuals you might encounter when you’re interviewing want to look at your resume and understand what you accomplished in each position. 

* References: Most hiring managers know you probably have reference available. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to speak with former bosses, coworkers, etc., who can attest to what is was like working with you. Ideally, you should not put “Reference available on request” in your resume.

A KEY TO FINDING A GREAT JOB: YOUR RESUME!

Resume Basics!

Whether you’re just entering the job market, or are a seasoned professional, the key to getting noticed by Human Resources or recruiters, or anyone you’d like to work for is a GREAT RESUME.

Please remember that there isn’t a perfect resume! Your resume is as unique as you are, so what you’ll include in it will vary to some degree for each job submission, as well as from what another job applicant will submit. But, first things first! 

Resumes are used to highlight your skills, job experience, and any other pertinent information to help to get you noticed and, hopefully, get an interview. We’ll discuss the essence of the job interview in a later post, but for now, let’s focus on what to include. At the bottom of this post, I’ll include a copy of my most recent resume, to help you visualize formatting. 

 

Resume Sections 

The most common resume is the work history resume, which highlights your experience and lists your jobs in chronological order.

The resume I’ve enclosed at the bottom of this post, contains the following elements, which are standard for most work history resumes:

·   Heading: Your name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and link to an online portfolio (as applicable)

·   Summary of Qualifications: Also known as an overview, this is a quick and easy way to list your skills, accomplishments, and experience. Let people know what you’re all about! An experienced manager? The perfect administrative assistant? Whatever you’re background, tell them all about you!

·   Experience: Describe your work experience, listing the company you worked for, its location, your job title, and your dates of employment. For each employer you list (in reverse chronological order), describe what you did for the company, with your most recent position with the company listed first, depending on if you’ve had more than one job at a company. The most important aspect to describe is your accomplishments, with as many specific details as possible. Did you increase revenue? Create and amazing training which cut losses by 50%? Let them know!

·   Computer Skills: List all computer applications you have experience using. Microsoft Word? Photoshop? Captivate? Flash? Whatever is your area of expertise, write them down

·   Education: List your most recent degree first, even if it’s still “in progress”. College degrees are fine, so no need to list the high school you attended unless you didn’t go to college. List the degree you earned, along with your major and minor if you have room. This is also the perfect section to list any job-related training courses or certifications you’ve earned.

·   Awards: Won a scholarship? Awarded best employee of the month? Nominated for best instructional designer of the year?
If you don’t include these in your job experience section, you have the option to list all awards, nominations, and/or kudos you’ve earned in a separate section. Again, this section is optional.

·   Interests: Hobbies, interests, languages you speak, travel, enjoy classic cars, and even volunteer work well in your interests section.

Work History Resume Sample