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Improve your resume

Via Forbes : Resume Rules: Why There Is No Such Thing

There is a copious amount of content published about resumes each day. Yet, not everything you read is true or beneficial. When it comes to writing a strong, interview-winning resume, I caution job-seekers to qualify advice carefully. Avoid being led down rabbit holes warning you about strict resume “rules” that promise instant results. Honestly, there are no rules in resume writing — just best practices and guidelines.

Over the past dozen years as an executive resume writer for business leaders all over the world, I’ve seen the resume evolve and advance dramatically. Once a simple chronology of work experience printed on paper and hand-delivered, the resume has become a strategic document that must be eye-catching and system-abiding. This personal marketing tool will be scanned, screened and meticulously evaluated by various hiring authorities.

Yet, developing a resume that gets you noticed does not require a standardized approach. Here’s why:

1. You are unique. Therefore, your resume must be, too.

No two job-seekers are alike. Each comes to the table with unique experiences and a select arsenal of skills and expertise. What matters to employers the most is “What can you do for me?” That’s it. Standardizing your resume into select templates, formats or strategies can restrict information-sharing and prevent the reader from deciphering true value.

Write your resume with your audience top of mind. If your industry is more formal (think accounting or finance), try a more reserved format that positions your value offering without any distractions. On the other hand, if your industry is more visual (perhaps artistic design or social media marketing), you may want to employ a format that demonstrates a bit more personality and flair.

2. Solid substance trumps page length.

What works best: one page or two — maybe even three? The answer is whatever length is appropriate to get key content across. If you are reading suggestions of very specific page lengths, question the reasoning before producing.

Today’s modern resumes often go through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which don’t discern length. These systems are programmed to search for related keywords and key phrases. Summarizing a detailed career history onto just one page could work against you.

In addition to ATS, actual human readers want facts, details and proof of ability. A simple summary of work history can’t possibly give employers enough context and rich results to spur them into interviewing you, especially if your career spans 15 or more years. Yet, extremely lengthy resumes don’t work well, either, as they fatigue readers.

So, instead of focusing on some silly page requirement, think about quality of content versus quantity. Distill details down to what matters most, and let value dictate length.

3. Different application avenues call for different types of applications.

Perhaps the most relevant reasons that resume rules are limiting are the diverse ways modern job-seekers search for, and apply for, jobs. Online applications remain popular, albeit trying. More productive avenues now include direct applications, networking and referrals. Some of these avenues involve human resume readers; some don’t.

To ensure a resume is easily reviewed and approved by both people and computer screeners, unique strategies are required. Each type of resume screener has distinct ways to parse details, skim content and qualify career facts. Therefore, ATS-compliant resumes are needed for online applications and a human-reader-ready format must be considered for direct distribution. If you aren’t sure what format would work best, a certified resume writer can partner with you to create a customized strategy.

Following strict resume rules can be limiting or damaging. If you want increased success in your job search, qualify resume advice carefully and create a resume that best addresses your distinct value, job target, career history, employment barriers and industry. Unnecessary confinements won’t help your resume rise to the top.

Via CNBC : Even CEOs struggle with resume writing—but this one simple question can help

Crafting the perfect resume is a daunting task even for CEOs and C-suite execs. Like many applicants, they also struggle with aptly describing their prior work experience and explaining what they bring to a new employer, says executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx.

Getting this description right can be critical. Employers need to understand what you’ll bring to an organization and how you compare to other applicants.

An effective way to tackle this section of the resume, says Smith-Proulx, is by answering this simple question: “What’s my legacy?”

Posing this question as you re-read every bullet point and resume blurb can help you focus on the mark you have made at each company — and know if your description tells that story.

Perhaps, you were great at building consensus, spotting new market opportunities or leading a team. Whatever the case may be, your resume should explicitly state how you effected change and the reader should understand how your workplace changed with you in it. Be descriptive. Use numbers. “Really show those achievements through metrics,” says Smith-Proulx.

To highlight your past results, try this three-step formula that’s recommended by Google recruiters: “Accomplished X, as measured by Y, by doing Z.”

For example, if you have a technical job, don’t just list the tools or platforms you worked on. Explain the ways you made things better, saying things like: “I improved server query response time by 15 percent by restructuring our API.”

You can also describe the situation before you took ownership of a project, to really drive home your impact. For instance, you might say “Launched our company’s Instagram presence, growing followers from 1 to 300,000 in just one year.”

If you’re applying to a new job while a project is still in motion, Smith-Proulx advises mentioning the expected result.

“It could be as simple as, ‘if we pursue these projected markets, we [forecast] this revenue,'” she explains. “Show that you’re putting things in place that will have actionable results when executed.”

Finally, although popular convention is to list work experience in reverse chronological order, Smith-Proulx warns her execs not to follow this format. Instead, “start with the coolest most impactful jobs,” she says. “Don’t bury the good.”

Via Business Insider  : A head recruiter at Amazon says the biggest mistake people make on their résumés comes down to their job title

  • Your résumé is a recruiter’s first impression of you during the job search.
  • Celeste Joy Diaz, a recruiting manager at Amazon, said not explaining your job accomplishments clearly is one key way to alienate recruiters from the outset.
  • Instead, use hard numbers to demonstrate how you succeeded in previous roles.

Celeste Joy Diaz, the recruiting manager for university programs at Amazon, said her team doesn’t like to talk about “red flags.”

But there is one big thing that can irk recruiters like Diaz during the application process: namedropping your place of employment, without explaining what you did there.

“Titles are great, but we want to understand what was the project you owned, what was the scope of a project, and what did you accomplish,” Diaz told Business Insider.

Simply stating in your résumé that you worked at Google, The New York Times, or some other name-brand company is impressive, but it doesn’t really communicate what you did with that opportunity.

That doesn’t just apply to recruiters at Amazon, either. Career experts across the board have named lack of explanation as one of the biggest mistakes that applicants make in their résumés.

“Lack of measurements and results in the file is my biggest résumé pet peeve,”executive résumé writer and career strategistAdrienne Tom previously told Business Insider. “Without any measurements of success, the file is lacking proof of skill.”

So, expand upon what you did in that job that brought value – whether that’s an amount of revenue you produced, projects you led, or how you excelled in your monthly goals. Including the numbers that back up your success is key, Tina Nicolai, executive career coach and founder of Résumé Writers’ Ink, previously told Business Insider.

Be as specific as possible. Write, “Helped grow revenue by 500% to $1 million in 12 month period by doing X” instead of “Helped grow revenue,” Nicolai said.

“Employers need numbers to be able to fully evaluate the scope of your bandwidth,” Nicolai said. “No position is exempt from measuring results. And metrics help employers determine if a person is capable of leading a team, managing clients, or growing the business.”

This extends to job interviews as well, Diaz said. She recommended discussing your previous roles with other people, so you can practice giving concrete examples of your achievements and explaining what your job meant beyond the title and the company.

“People might not take the time to think about the impact of the work they’ve done,” Diaz said. “I want to understand scope of impact more than just job titles.”

Via The Ladders : 4 ways to slash your resume down to one page

Slicing off bits of your resume in order to keep it to one page can be so tough. When you’ve accomplished a lot in your career, it can be difficult to pick what to remove — so here’s what to cut out.

Say goodbye to super-old positions

It’s just not worth keeping them around.

Kim Isaacs, a resume expert for Monster and founder of Advanced Career Systems, writes on Monster’s website that you should “eliminate old experience.”

“Employers are most interested in what you did recently. If you have a long career history, focus on the last 10 to 15 years. If your early career is important to your current goal, briefly mention the experience without including details. For example: Early Career: ABC Company — City, State — Assistant Store Manager and Clerk, 1980-1985,” she writes.

Watch your wording

This can make a big difference.

Lily Zhang, Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab, writes in The Muse that you should “shorten bullets.”

“Your bullet points are really the meat of your resume. This is where you actually talk about your experience. To ensure that people actually read them, absolutely do not let them trail on to a third line. Two lines max, but preferably one,” she writes. “To decide between one or two lines, use your space efficiently. If your bullet is one line, plus a little bit that dangles onto the next, find a way to condense your language down. Ultimately, you’re going for a dangler-free resume.”

Don’t include this line — it’s unnecessary

Pay close attention to this advice.

Alison Doyle, an author, career expert and founder and CEO of CareerToolBelt.com, writes in The Balance that you should “skip the references.”

“It’s not necessary to say ‘references available upon request’ on your resume. It’s understood that you will provide references, if required, as part of the job application process,” she writes.

Choose the right examples

This is key.

Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet and co-founder of ServingTalent, writes in U.S. News & World Report that you should “filter out responsibilities.”

“Employers can likely find almost exact replicas of your job descriptions by doing a Google search for your job titles. It’s your responsibility to tell them more of your story and what you are capable of,” she writes. “Replace your laundry list of duties with specific examples and the impact of your work. This is what is going to get you noticed.”

Via LifeHacker : The Most Efficient Way to Keep Your Resume Up to Date

Looking for a job is difficult under the best of circumstances, and it gets considerably more so when you’re not prepared. Optimistically, we stick with a gig for a while even if we don’t love it, neglecting to keep our resumes and other materials prepped if an opportunity comes up that we want to jump at.

If you want to (or must) move on, here are some tips for keeping your resume organized and up-to-date for when it’s go time.

Don’t Wait to Update

The subreddit r/LifeProTips is usually a font of helpful, no-duh info on life, but one post that rose to the top from u/hey_im_allison this week embodies the spirit of accepting a new job while preparing for the next. They write:

When you get a new job save the description and requirements from the application and use it to later add the job to your resume

When the day comes, you’ll be able to explain exactly what you were doing to your next employer. In fact, just add it to your resume ASAP, followed by the current date, a dash, and a blank space for the date you leave.

In response, u/chaoticnuetral added that it’s good to have your specific job description on hand because it makes it easier to negotiate your salary if future duties are added. They also quoted Quora on the definition of assigned duties:

The more concretely your job role is defined, the less out of that scope they can reasonably expect you to operate

If they are changing your job function substantially away from the original description, it’s a lateral transfer or a promotion, and it needs formal recognition

If you are working extra time, you need extra pay

If you are working at a higher pay grade, you should (minimally) get a title bump, and a promise of a salary review in the near future (set a concrete date no more than three months out! They need your work product on tax day!)

Being clear on what your job description is is good for when you have performance reviews, think you deserve a different title, or are looking for other employment and need a concrete list of your specific qualifications. But yes, about that resume…

Keep It Current

So, you added your new job to the resume, but you’re there a year, then two. Then BAM, all of a sudden layoffs come around. Does that old job description still reflect what you ended up doing the last 24 months? According to u/KungFuHamster, you should be checking in on your resume more regularly than a Tamagotchi:

Keep a work journal. Every major accomplishment should be noted. Best practice is to update it every day before you leave or you’ll forget.

  • Reacting well in a crisis situation
  • Finishing a project or a major milestone in a project
  • Learning something new that makes you better at your job
  • Adding new responsibilities, job titles, new people you oversee
  • Lessons learned
  • Improved standards

But, they add, be sure not to violate any company security policies in place about protected information, on the off-chance you work at the Pentagon or something.

Make It Your Own

You are copy-pasting for ease of reference, but before sending that resume, it’s recommended that you try to adjust the language, at least by u/DuffinDagels, who claims to be a recruiter that sees a lot of resumes:

As a recruiter, I’d say be careful with making your resume read too much like a job description. Recruiters and employers want to see what you have achieved and accomplished in your job. Not just a list of responsibilities that can be pretty standard. Your resume should be personal and sell YOU.

Make things a bit more personal, but also remember that you often have a cover letter for that, too. Try to take what your job responsibilities are and put into words how you fulfilled them or accomplished measurable results in your time at a company. It’s the accomplishments, not the requirements that people notice. But that copy-paste serves as a good backbone to start with.

Stay Organized

With all this copy-pasting, updating, journaling, and adjustment, things can get wild pretty quickly. Which brings us to a different post from u/rlc327 two months ago. They recommended keeping a “separate master resume” that you can return to and adjust. It should include all of your previous work experience:

When sending out a resume for application, duplicate the file and remove anything that may be irrelevant to the position. You never know when some past experience might become relevant again, and you don’t want to forget about it.

And if you want to HAM, u/dannyisagirl says they keep a spreadsheet similar to the journaling recommended above, but mostly to help them through interviews:

To add to this, I actually keeps a spreadsheet with other information that might not be put on a resume. Things like the full dates that I worked there, actual titles I held, actual duties vs ‘resume duties’ (a list of keywords that could work while remaining honest/accurate), pay rate, managers/superiors/good co-workers names and full titles, physical addresses and phone numbers, the real reason why that is no longer my job.

Not nearly all of it is always necessary nor will a good chunk of it ever actually be seen by an employer, but it can help jog a number of memories as well as help you think of better spins on negative experiences. Especially if you’re a nervous babbler like me.

Now, go forth and get new jobs that you’ll be ready to leave immediately!