By Marty Nemko
These resume tips have helped my clients find good work:
An employer usually decides whether to dump a resume within 15 seconds, so those first moments with your resume better be good.
Make it easy to read. The busy employer is relieved to see a resume that looks easy to read: mostly bullets with just a few words next to each, and plenty of white space.
After you’ve drafted your resume ask yourself:
· Except for any necessary jargon, could a high school student understand it?
· Even if not paying full attention, will the reader still understand what I wrote and be motivated to interview me?
Right after your name and contact information, include a headline, for example, “Reference Librarian with Top Evaluations.” If emailing your resume, use your headline as the subject line in the email.
Most people will want to use a chronological resume. If so, for each job, state your responsibilities in a line or two and follow with two or three bullets, each, in just a few words, stating an achievement on that job. Sure, if your brilliant scheme saved the company $9 zillion say that, but most people’s achievements aren’t that quantifiable. Achievements such as these are nothing to sneeze at: “Frequently praised by bosses for proposing good new ideas” or “Press releases were routinely approved for release with no edits.”
Use a skills resume if you’re just entering or reentering the workforce after a long absence or are making a major career change. In the skills resume, you list your achievements, not under each job, but under each skill category, for example, organization, project management, or writing.
Whether you’re using a chronological or skills resume, your assertions gain credibility if your resume includes two or three brief PAR stories in which you tell a Problem you faced, the smart way you Approached it, and its positive Resolution. Usually a PAR story describes a problem that demonstrates your professional expertise, but even a human one can work. For example, “My boss, a terrific executive, was under attack from an employee who wanted his job. With my boss’s approval, I orchestrated a campaign to protect him.” Since then, my boss has gotten a merit raise.”
Another way to back up your assertions are with positive quotes from your performance reviews or from informal praise bestowed on you by bosses, co-workers, or customers. For example, “Mary is always a pleasure to have around.” Need more praise quotes? Ask people for reference letters and quote from those.
Boldface any outstanding accomplishments or quotes.
Today, many resumes are first screened by computer. So, your resume should contain keywords your target employer would likely screen for. Put yourself in your target employer’s shoes. What skills would she be looking for? Be sure your resume includes as many of those words as you can legitimately claim.
Many people have gaps in their employment. Here’s how one of my clients, Mukul Bakshi, a San Francisco ad writer, filled in his gap:
May 1999 – March 2000. Loafed. Traveled. Looked up old friends. Wrote a 25,000-word coffee-table book on India. Never got a tattoo.
In your résumé’s education section, include out-of-school training, such as professional workshops and mentorships.
At the end, include an “Additional Information” section, which includes any hobbies, interests, or affiliations likely to impress or at least interest your target employer. For example, an environmental nonprofit will probably be pleased to know you’re an avid hiker.
What employers really want. Colleges and universities keep claiming that employers are seeking liberal arts- educated people. Even some large employers claim the same. But as the old saying goes, judge not by what people say, but by what they do. Here are the 100 words employers most often searched in Monster.com’s resume bank. Not a liberal arts-related job or attribute in the bunch:
Sales, Administrative Assistant, Recruiter, Customer Service, Outside Sales, Receptionist, Accountant, Accounting, Mortgage, CPA, Manager, Financial Analyst, Insurance, Physical Therapist, Executive Assistant, Inside Sales, Human Resources, Pharmacist, Nurse, Java, Business Analyst, Restaurant Manager, Project Manager, Audit, Payroll, Accounts Payable, Marketing, SAP, Collections, Loan Officer, Registered Nurse, RN, Japanese, Peoplesoft, Paralegal, Engineer, Staffing, Legal Secretary, .Net, Controller, Retail, Oracle, Staff Accountant, Construction, Technical Writer, Pharmaceutical Sales, J2ee, Buyer, Finance, Auditor, Warehouse, Pharmaceutical, Account Executive, Spanish, Bookkeeper, Tax, Underwriter, C#, Medical, Administrative, Telemarketing, HVAC, SAS, Civil Engineer, Manufacturing, SQL, Purchasing, UNIX, Help Desk, Accounts Receivable, Analyst, Legal, Automotive, Siebel, Call Center, Architect, Software, Data Entry, Series 7, Occupational Therapist, MCSE, Insurance Sales, Senior Accountant, AutoCAD, Financial, Polygraph, Technical Recruiter, Sarbanes, Websphere, Bank, Real Estate, QA, Healthcare, Gomez, Bilingual, CNC, ADP, Clinical, Recruiting, Entry Level.The search term I found most interesting: Polygraph. I guess most employers don’t trust most job seekers’ veracity.
© Marty Nemko 2004-2017. Usage Rights