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Improve your resume

Via Coloradoan : Tips to take your resume to a new level

My business writes more resumes at this time of year than at any other. My theory is that once the new year starts, career-progress hopefuls attempt to update their own documents, yet after a few weeks of trying, decide that working with a professional may ultimately get them better results, despite the $100 to $750 fee.

However, these tips can help you get professional results for a fraction of the cost:

Be clear on what you want your resume to accomplish. A successful resume is designed to help get you in the door for appealing opportunities. Having a defined career focus helps you prioritize which information it makes sense to include and highlight.

Simply documenting your work history isn’t enough to win the favor of hiring managers — they look at thousands of resumes, typically spending less than 10 seconds on each application. To move to the next step in their process, you need to quickly connect the dots for them about why you’re the right person for their position.

Also, as someone once said to me, “Who likes to read history?” Not many of us, so make your information concise and compelling.

Include the results of your efforts. How did you help your employers make money, save money, improve quality or improve their image? Be specific about this, and when possible, include metrics to help tell your story.

A resume screener uses a different portion of her brain when she encounters numerical digits, causing her to slow down and read your resume more carefully. That, plus digital results — percentage increases in profits, costs reduced, etc. — position you as more credible and effective.

Research eye-catching layouts online. Do a Google search of “effective resume formats” and select the Images tab to see hundreds of possible designs. Notice which draw your attention, and consider formatting yours similarly.

As a final step, ask a professional resume writer to buff yours up for you. In my business, we call this a polish, and in just 15 minutes an experienced resume specialist can take your resume from so-so to wow!

Via Forbes : Procrastinating On Your Resume? Five Steps To Writing A Resume Quickly And Easily

The first quarter of the year is a busy time for hiring, and if you want to jump on the job opportunities that come your way, you’ll need a resume. But the prospect of pulling together all the details of your background is daunting for many job seekers, especially if you haven’t updated your resume recently.

If you break down your resume into small, distinct tasks you can slay the resume monster in a few minutes a day. If you’ve been procrastinating on your resume and waiting to find that perfect time to get it done, here are five steps to writing a resume quickly and easily:

Create a formatted template without worrying about the content

One of the big problems with a resume is that it is structured in a very specific and unnatural way. Phrases need to be formatted with bold or italics. Margins need to be uniform. Some items need to be edited to fit in a single line on the page. Along with all the formatting, you’re keeping track of lots of content details — what is the proper name for my alma mater, what was my title five years ago, what were the exact dates I held that job? If you try to do this all at once, it will be a slow, confusing process, and you’ll be tempted to abandon mid-stream.

Instead, lay out the formatted template first without any content. Create your major sections — Contact Information, Summary of Qualifications, Experience, Education, and Additional Information — with generic or even nonsense words as placeholders. This way, your mind doesn’t have to switch back and forth between formatting and details. You knock the format out of the way, take a nice break and come back at a later point to fill in the content. A quick Google search of “resume template” yields a long list of sites that offer various formats to choose from. Pick one that looks uncluttered so it’s easy to skim, and start there.

Write in normal sentences rather than resume speak

As you put the content together, do a first draft where you just get the information out of your memory and onto the page. For the Experience section, you will likely bang out a first draft faster if you write in normal sentences rather than resume speak (bullets with active verbs at the front and no subject). Another option is to record yourself as you describe your jobs and then transcribe your words onto the page (as a bonus, this is good for practicing interview response). The point is to get as many details out of the way as you recall them, and then edit after.

For other sections, such as Education, where you may need to check details (e.g., what is the exact phrasing of my degree and concentration), put your best recollection down all at once, and block out a later time to confirm the details. This way, you avoid switching back and forth between writing and editing.

Use job postings to identify keywords to include

Now that you have the unedited, smorgasbord of details filled out on your resume, take job postings which interest you and look for keywords in those postings that also appear in your resume. If there is no overlap, look for words in your first draft that you can switch out for the keywords in the job postings. These keywords also give an indication of what you want to highlight in your Summary of Qualifications.

The qualifications listed in the job postings will also give you ideas for what to include in your Additional Information section. If you have specific skills that are listed in the job qualifications (e.g., computer skills, certifications), list them word-for-word. If your target companies are looking for a particular expertise (e.g., knowledge of social media platforms) and you have gained this through volunteer or community service, describe these activities in a way that calls out the desired expertise (e.g., X-Town Community Center social media engagement manager).

Choose specific, active verbs to lead each bullet under experience

Now that your resume has all of the details in the right places and keywords that match your target jobs, you can edit the full sentences into bullets that describe your experience, leading with specific, active verbs. Avoid passive verbs, such as helped, contributed, participated, or assisted. These verbs just confirm that you were there, but they don’t explain what you did. For example, say you participated in the sales presentation to the company’s largest client. Did you write the presentation? Deliver it? Structure it? Research it? Follow up with client? All of the above? The ideal bullet will use one or more of these active verbs: Researched, structured and delivered sales presentation to company’s largest new client.

If your full-sentence draft has a lot more detail that you think is important, don’t feel like you have to share the details in the resume. The resume is an overview and a teaser — it should give the reader enough information that they see your potential and want to interview you. A resume on its own will not get you hired, so less is more. Less detail is accessible, easily skimmed, and easier to understand. Save the full story for your cover letter or interview.

Identify your most substantive responsibility or result in each role

When you draft your resume quickly, you ensure that you get information on the page before you forget it or censor yourself prematurely. It’s better to get it out there, and then edit it later. You can always rewrite the wording or decide to leave out that fourth example but at least you have a choice.

In addition to editing the content of each bullet, don’t forget to edit the order of the bullets. The way you remember something initially isn’t necessarily the best way to relay that story. For example, say you held a job where 90% of the work was most administrative busywork and only 10% of it was substantive project work that showcased your best efforts. As you describe that job, you may default to describing mostly the administrative part of the job. That’s how you remember it, and that’s how you spent the bulk of your time. However, you want to lead with that meaty 10% and spend most of your details on that aspect of the job. This is what your next employer cares about. Edit your resume to your future audience, not simply a rehash of the past.

Now that you have your resume nicely formatted, with keywords matching your job targets, and your experience laid out in an active and relevant way, show it around to close friends in different industries and roles, and see what they take away. Can they describe what you do in the way you want to be seen? Are there words or phrases that they don’t understand because you put in a company-specific acronym or other jargon that is confusing to outsiders? Does the resume make them want to learn more about you? Stress test your resume in real-life, but low-risk conditions before sharing it more broadly. This enables you to make those final edits that ensure your resume is easy to read, accessible to a variety of backgrounds, and engaging.

Via WWMT.com : Polishing up that resume? Don’t forget social media; employers are looking

Looking for a job? Sprucing up a resume is just the first task. As part of their screening, potential employers will likely scour your social media accounts.

As Newschannel 3’s Kirk Mason reports, there are a few things you can do to put your best cyber-foot forward.

“The very first thing they told us was change your email, clean up your Facebook because we have checked, and your future employers will check also,” Jeanette Torres said.

She’s got that right. A CareerBuilder survey this year found 70 percent of potential employers used social media to screen candidates, and more than half didn’t hire someone because of something they saw.

Donna Rosato, a Consumer Reports senior money writer, said it was “maybe drug use, inappropriate comments, or illegal activity.”

Of course, there are limits on how employers can use what they find on social media. Federal law bars employers from considering a person’s race, religion, disability or age when weighing candidates, even if they glean that information on Facebook. Other rules vary by state. It’s against the law in some states for interviewers to ask you for your passwords; others might resort to something called shoulder surfing.

“That is when the employer will have you open up your social media account and literally stand over your shoulder checking out your page,” Rosato said.

Torres said, “I’m not comfortable with that.”

Still, one way or another, potential employers will be looking , so Torres polished her profile, starting with pictures.

“I put on my professional cap on and I looked through my profile pictures and I said, I don’t know, I kind of took that when I was 16 and I’m really not the same person,” Torres said.

As for photos other people post of you, you can’t delete them but you can untag yourself. You can also use your page to carefully craft the image you want employers to see.

“For example maybe you do a lot of volunteer work,” Rosato said.

In other words, accentuate the positive and eliminate — and untag — the negative.

And remember your profile picture and your email address are the first thing employers will see, so make sure both are appropriate.

Via Silive.com : Take space on your resume to personally brand yourself and your experience

Dear Sam,

I am writing to you because I need some help. To be honest, I am out of options. I am an educator, motivator and public speaker. I have two undergraduate degrees–Bachelor’s and Associate’s in Business Administration–and 15-plus years of work experience. I am also highly involved with my community. In brief, I love what I do. I’m diligently seeking a position that will not interfere with my teaching schedule. My heart is burdened because I have tried so hard and nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions on my resume? – T.


Dear T.,

Thank you for emailing me your resume so I could assess opportunities for improvement. There are a number of areas you can look to improve; let me touch on a few.

Packaging —
Your format lacks engagement, there is too little white space and the margins are far too small. The margins on your resume are, as mentioned, too narrow. While I am not a fan of large margins, I would stick to at least 0.7″ left and right. For the top and bottom, I usually stick with 0.6″-0.8″. As you are presenting 10+ years of experience, and as your resume is currently spilling onto page two anyway, do not be afraid to spread out your resume to add white space and ease readability. While content is the most important part of the development of your resume, you must pay attention to the format in order to immediately engage the reader. Take a look at samples on my website for inspiration.

Positioning —
There is no transparency to what you want to do or how you are positioning yourself. You must position yourself–or target your candidacy–otherwise you be seen as an expert of nothing. A hiring manager is looking for someone with targeted skills and experience, and will rarely be able to take the time to review your experience to see how you “fit” within their organization. You must communicate, via your content, how you “fit” by immediately positioning yourself on paper. In addition, what you do have on your resume–in your career profile section–is built on soft skills, not unique experiences. No one could read that section of your resume and understand where you are going and how you are uniquely qualified. Recreate this section based on a clear understanding of what positions you are seeking and what experiences, credentials, abilities, skills and education that audience is looking for in a candidate.

Promotion —
Your professional experience section lacks value based on limited content and no presentation or differentiation of responsibilities versus achievements. While self-promotion does not come easily to most, you must figure out how to showcase your candidacy through exploration of the context of your roles and the impact of your contributions.

When promoting your responsibilities and achievements, be sure to place your information in the appropriate manner. Your responsibilities would be presented in a paragraph format. Your achievements would then be presented in bullet points following that paragraph. By doing this, you ensure focus is placed on where you added value to your past employers. Rarely will readers choose to review a paragraph of information over more succinct bullet points.

I would highly recommend you check out samples on my website, other vetted sites, or in recently written resume writing books for ideas of how to structure and format your resume. Remember, your lack of success is not a reflection of your abilities, but rather a reflection of the strength of how you are communicating those experiences and abilities on paper. Revamp your resume and renew your search and I am confident you will find something great.

Via Refinery29 : 9 Essential Interpersonal Skills To Add Your Résumé

As you assess yourself and your work at the end of 2017 (either through formal evaluations or more general musings on your career), you’ll likely need to articulate your strong suits and weaknesses.

The importance of learning how to describe yourself starts at the very beginning of any job application process. First, you talk yourself up in private. (That’s what gives you the confidence to apply for a job in the first place.) Next, you figure out how to describe this in writing, in a cover letter or a résumé. Then, if you’re lucky, you get to explain everything in full during an interview.

“Since recruiters tend to look at résumés for less than 10 seconds, I believe most focus should rest on the candidate’s accomplishments and their top three to five most complex skills that relate to the job,” says Shannon Breuer, the president at Wiley Group. “Those who load their resume mostly with interpersonal skills tend to lose the attention of the reader because it’s hard to assess the level of skills without accomplishments and results to validate them. Also, many new hires are expected to increasingly have a base of technical or specific industry skills, so not having them becomes a red flag.”

Instead of randomly picking adjectives that sound impressive, think about the specific job, industry, requirements, and what skills might be important to perform well. Then, be honest about where your talents are and jot down examples of times you lived up to this professional ideal; that will make it easier to explain it concisely later in interviews.

Here are nine great attributes to start with:

1. Empathetic or Compassionate: Breuer tells Refinery29 this is a big one for people in service roles. Contrary to the saying, the customer is not always right — but they do always want to feel heard.

2. Tough Negotiator: Point this out if you are looking for a job in sales, Breuer says. You may assume it is a foregone conclusion, but there are plenty of people who are too embarrassed to ask for what they want or need. That’s a no-go in a job like this.

3. Organized and Detailed Oriented: Going out for an accounting or project management role? Play this up, Breuer says. But remember: You don’t want to lie (especially if the truth can be figured out very easily.) If organization isn’t your strong suit, talk about another skill; don’t play up your love of color-coding before the job if you’ll have too-steep a learning curve later.

4. Collaborative Team Member: Vicki Choi, the director of HR at Course Hero, says this is a very important one for candidates. “Including interpersonal skills on your résumé is a great way to stand out and demonstrate that you align with our core values,” she notes. If a position you are interested in involves a lot of teamwork, showcase your ability to go from working independently to brainstorming or implementing group projects.

5. Creative Problem Solver: Add this one if you’re good at getting unstuck, Choi says. Generating solutions to problems can be just as important as doing a job well in the first place.

6. Communicates Honestly: Being honest doesn’t mean telling people where they can go if they make you angry, or blurting out every thought that comes to mind. It does mean being willing to talk through any hurdles, even when they’re uncomfortable. Work isn’t always a cake walk. Many managers want to hire someone who doesn’t shrivel up at the first sign of a difficult conversation.

7. Inspires Others: Choi is a fan of this skill. You may not consider yourself to be an optimist or know how to get people to shine when they’re feeling down. But being good at building others up is an excellent skill for people who work in teams or are seeking managerial positions.

8. Transparent: Choi says she specifically looks for candidates who are “willing to be transparent about their successes, failures, and progress.” That can come up at the very beginning of an interview — think of the “What’s your greatest weakness?” question, for example. If you are proud of certain accomplishments, share them! If you are still working toward a few goals, explain what you are doing to get there.

9. Dynamic Speaker: Breuer says job seekers applying to lead large sales teams, or in a public relations role should include this on their résumés. If you are great at giving presentations, point that out. (And make sure to document your history of doing so in case the topic comes up in an interview.) Public speaking is difficult for many people. If you love doing it and are good at it, you can make yourself look like an even better hire.

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