5 Simple Resume Must-Haves

August 22nd, 2012 No comments

Asides from having a standard font and a clear format, your resume should have these 5 must-haves!

1) Have the right verb tenses.

For many, the common rule in writing is to keep the tenses the same.  Even when we have a conversation, we don’t suddenly switch from past tense to present.

Interestingly, that doesn’t always apply to resumes!  “Wait, why?” You may ask.  It’s good to keep the tenses the same, apart from two exceptions:

#1: You currently hold this job 

Experience

Feb. ’11 – Present    Microsoft Corporation, NY

Sales Coordinator

    • Processed Processing 100 orders daily to meet end-of-day sales review

#2: You currently hold this job, but you’re describing a role that you’ve already finished

Experience

Feb. ’11 – Present    Microsoft Corporation, NY

Sales Coordinator

    • Processing 100 orders daily to meet end-of-day sales review
    • Trained 5 new interns in the sales division

 

 

2) Save the creative email addresses for friends.

Does your current email address look something like this?

bakingoddess5299@example.com

Showing your creativity and personality is great, but save that for the interview.  Don’t be the candidate an employer wants to contact, only to be discarded from consideration due to a non-professional email address.

Similarly, this also applies to emails you use for job search sites or job search tools, such as StartWire.  It’s simple to just create one professional email address for all employment search purposes.

What should you do? Use a combination of your first and last name, along with numbers.

 

3) Listen to your voicemail.

Many people list their cellular number as a reference for employers to reach them.  What they forget to double check and re-record is the casual and maybe amusing voicemail previously recorded for their friends.

We all get moments where we can’t take the call or fail to hear our ringtones.  If an employer were calling, he’d be redirected to leave a voicemail, so make sure your voicemail leaves a good first impression.

Don’t let your amusing voicemail be the deal breaker!

What should you do?State that the caller has reached [your full name] and that you’ll be in contact as soon as possible.  Example: “Hi.  This is [first and last name].  I’m unable to take your call at this moment.  Please leave your name, number, and a brief message.  I will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks.”

 

4) Show/Describe/Quantify.  Don’t just state your skills.

Employers and recruiters shuffle through countless of resumes.  They are used to seeing “excellent communication skills” and “diligent worker”.  Instead of saying it, try showing it.

When you’re convincing a friend to go to the movies, you wouldn’t say:

“It’s a good movie.  You should come.”  You would go into details to really convince him/her that it’s a must-see, “It’s action packed with a car chase scene that was filmed off Bay St.—a block from where you live!”

What should you do?

Avoid: Responsible for product marketing in field events

Use: Marketed company product to 1,500 customers at field events and sold 35% of monthly inventory

 

5) The right keywords make a difference

Before your resume even gets skimmed by a person, it might go through an Applicant Tracking System that only selects resumes due to specific keywords.  If your resume is missing those keywords, it won’t make it to an employer’s desk.

What should you do?  Look at the job posting and take relevant keywords from it.  The job posting is your biggest clue on what keywords the company’s applicant tracking system are looking for.  Read more about this on  The Two Sides of the Resume Black Hole

Categories: Resume Tips Tags:

How to Rock Your Resume (Even if You’re Unemployed)

May 15th, 2012 No comments

Listing the wrong degree on his resume just cost Scott Thompson millions – and his job! The former CEO of Yahoo! resigned this weekend after several days of “should he stay or should he go” discussion among board members. Thompson’s resume listed a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Computer Science when it should have just listed a degree in Accounting.  When inquiring minds sought to verify the information, it ultimately led to Thompson’s resignation.

 

Having the wrong degree listed on your resume may be a much smaller error than the $2B trading loss that led to Ina Drew’s resignation as Chief Investment Officer at JP Morgan Chase over the weekend – but the end result is the same: job loss.

Writing a resume that sells your skills and experience can be tricky – especially if you are unemployed, meet most but not all of the requirements for the job – and have less than 10 seconds of your potential employers’ attention as they scan through your resume. You need to stand out. You need to show what you can do. And you need to provide all of this information without misrepresenting your experience, skills, or training.  It can be tricky.

 

To this end, here’s a crash course in how you can write your resume with accuracy and impact. Use these six strategies to make sure your resume stands up to scrutiny.

 

1. First things first: Start your resume with a short, tight summary that shows what you offer.

Start your resume with a concise header that includes key words relevant to the job – and a summary of how you fit those requirements. Here’s an easy way to find the right key words and a quick overview of how you can write a summary in three bullet points with what you need to include.

If the job is seeking specific technical skills and you have them – make sure you include this information in your resume summary.



2. Amp up your descriptions: Don’t just say what you did; say how your work was used!

One of the best ways to lose out on a potential job interview is to say exactly what you did on a job.

Here’s an example from my own work experience.

In a college internship, I edited a phone book and spent much of my day calling people to verify their phone number. Boring, right?

My supervisor helped me put this into perspective: The phone directory was actually the primary director for a Fortune 250 company – and I was one of two people who worked on it. Doesn’t “One of two fact checkers for global Fortune 250 phone directory” sound more impressive?

Even if you’re doing monotonous work with a high volume of routine tasks, the work can sound more exciting – and relevant to your next job – if you say how your work was used by the company, and what business impact that it made.

 


3. Mind the time gaps!

If you’ve been out of work for a while, it can be helpful to provide information on how you’ve used your time. (Just make sure any information shared is accurate and correct.)

If you’ve been volunteering, include this information in a “Volunteer” or “Leadership” section.

If you’ve taken time off to help a family member with an illness, add an “Additional Information” section and say “Caregiver” then list the dates – as if the Caregiving responsibility was a job…

If you’re unemployed, one way you can fill any gaps in employment is to become a consultant or freelance contractor – and list this on your resume. You may also want to consider starting your own business. Free resources on how to do this are available from several organizations, including Score and Small Business Development Centers located throughout the U.S.



4. Include as much education as you have!

Don’t have a college degree? Don’t beat yourself up – only 30.4% of all Americans have Bachelor’s degrees. A larger percentage of people have finished “some college.”

If you don’t have a degree but have attended college, you can list the school on your resume as well as details on what you studied – and indicate clearly that you did not graduate. Example:

Clemson University, Clemson, SC                                        2004 – 2007

Completed 17 classes towards a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management
Note that this does not list a graduation date – or say you earned a degree?

Before you list on your resume, verify the accuracy of any programs you list on your resume – don’t list a potential degree if you didn’t declare a major!



5. Be your own fact checker.

Who wants to lose a job on an error, incorrect date or other inaccuracy? No one! Verify your details as you apply for jobs.

If your school or company has changed names – list the one that is accurate for you when you were there and then the new name immediately after.

Example–

Dartmouth Medical School (now Theodore Geisel School of Medicine), Hanover, NH

If you can’t remember past dates, call up and verify them – as if you were applying for a job yourself.



6. Seek advice on what to say when you don’t know how to say it.

When in doubt, get a second opinion! If you feel awkward about how to say something, seek out others who have been in similar situations or ask individuals who won’t be in on the decision making process – before you apply. Find someone you trust and ask – you can do this through StartWire or on your own.

 

Follow these six tips and you’ll be on your way to mistake-proofing your resume. Got other questions? Run them by us in the Comments section – and we’ll get back to you!

Categories: Resume Tips Tags: ,

The 5 Minute Secret to Landing A Job Interview

February 15th, 2012 No comments

This is the third and final installment in our series of posts on how to keep your resume from falling into oblivion. This series was sparked by a Wall Street Journal infographic that says 25 out of 100 resumes submitted for any job applied to online are read.

What happens to the remaining 75 applications? They remain in the application folder online and aren’t opened because the key words and information in the resumes do not match the job requirements in the applicant tracking system used by the company where you’ve applied.

Most companies use applicant tracking systems — known as ATS for short — to help track applications, keep information on candidates, and share applications with hiring decision makers and interviewers. These ATS systems make the job search process more efficient for employers. They come loaded with features designed to save them time and — as mentioned above — one of these features is the ability for employers to specify key words and experience that is relevant for the job.

If you’re an employer, the ATS makes life easy for you. Because applications are ranked by relevance of keywords, you can review those applications that appear to be most in line with the job first.

If you’re a job seeker, the ATS can make your job search more complicated.  If you don’t have the right words and summary in your resume, you can get overlooked—even if you are actually the most qualified candidate to apply for the position.

Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to control the situation. Here is a five minute trick to make sure your resume gets read.

1. Find the key words you need to include in your resume.

To do this, copy the job description from the site where you found the job listing. (Note: StartWire has a slew of jobs listed on the site.)

Here’s a listing for a Production Manager job at MTV. We’re using this for a DEMO.

2. Paste the job description into a free tag cloud generator such as TagCrowd.

(Wordle and ToCloud also have this service.)

The results will highlight the keywords that are important for the job description.

3. Modify your resume to include the highlighted keywords.

Do you have a minimum of 70% of the qualifications listed in the job description?

Does your experience match the keywords that are prominent in the tag cloud?

If the answer is yes and yes, add a bulleted summary to start your resume that highlights your fit for the job.

Note: This exercise will not help you if your experience doesn’t line up with the job description. We recommend you apply for jobs that align well with your skills and experience.

Example of a resume summary:

Five years of production experience including multi-camera work and video editing. (Start by summarizing how many years of experience you have.)

Financial management experience with budgeting, process mapping, and forecasting experience. (Next, emphasize a skill you have that is relevant to the job. Here we focus on budgeting and management since they are prominent in our graphic.)

Strong technical skills with demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with staff and equipment vendors across production life cycle from proposals and pilots to live events and final cuts. (Finish up with a summary that directly relates to the subject matter of the job.)

Result: You’ve got a resume summary that shows both the applicant tracking system — and the hiring manager — your fit for the job. This should exponentially increase your chances of landing a job interview!

Categories: Interviewing Tags: ,

resume tips