Archive for Resume/Cover Letters

ResumeRead the following bullet point describing a secretary’s duties and form a picture in your mind:

  • Answer telephones, file, and word process.

Do you have a picture of this person’s level of responsibility in your mind? 

Now, read the following bullet points quantifying the same duties:

  • Answer as many as 25 customer service calls per day.
  • Maintain and update filing system of over 4,000 accounts.
  • Word process all correspondence for 8 managers.

Did the picture in your mind change substantially?

The best way to convey the level, depth, and breadth of your responsibilities to an interviewer is by quantifying each accomplishment. If you can’t think of a way to add a number to your responsibilities, then add a statement of why your duty is important.  For example:

  • Compile monthly report and submit to manager for use in company’s monthly financial forecasting.

Quantifying makes the difference in an acceptable resume and an outstanding one, so review your resume and quantify, quantify, quantify. If you need any help, just contact us. We’ll help your resume look exceptional!

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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ResumeHere is a great report recently from CareerBuilder.com regarding the language you can and can’t use in your resume. This was also reported on the Today Show March 13, 2014 with several good points. Some of the jargon people want to use on their resume means nothing or tells the reader nothing. How many times have you seen or read a resume and not understood what the words meant – or felt like they sounded like fluff? It happens too frequently. When you are writing or revising your resume be very careful to avoid jargon. Ask a friend or family member to review it for you.

Here are some of the terms to avoid:  Go-getter (27 percent), Think outside the box (26 percent), Synergy (22 percent). Great advice… show them the results you provide, demonstrate how you are a go-getter or how you work well in a team, don’t just use the jargon. Read more from this report here.

Hallie Crawford
Job Search Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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Resume AdviceWhat goes at the top of your resume? We get asked this question all the time from our resume review clients. The difficult thing with resumes is they can be very subjective. You can find a lot of differing advice regarding the same topic – how your resume should be laid out, whether a functional resume is acceptable instead of a chronological resume, and whether you should have an objective statement at the top. Don’t they know what your objective is? It’s to secure the position you’re applying for right? Here’s a better, lengthier explanation of what to place at the top of your resume, from one of our own resume experts, Jasmine Marchong:

Objective / Profile summary:

Starting your résumé with a short summary / combined objective statement is preferable. Although objective statements were typical in the past, it’s not necessarily recommended. Objectives typically indicate your wants, instead you need to look at your résumé from the employer’s perspective, i.e. what skills do you bring? What value do you have that I can utilize? Why should I even read the rest of this résumé? Your profile/summary summarizes your expertise or value proposition, sets the theme for your resume and the rest of the résumé should be a validation of this. See examples below:

FINANCIAL ANALYST 

DRIVEN, HIGHLY MOTIVATED PROFESSIONAL…An energetic quick study and enthusiastic learner, with a track record of delivering immediate results.

MULTI-TASKER & QUICK THINKER…Manage multiple departments and projects, with a proven ability to follow thru regardless of circumstances.

SELF STARTER & TEAM PLAYER…Eager to learn and master the tasks and tools needed to excel in each position.

The bottom line is, you need to tell them why you’re qualified for the position, up front – right away. Remember the space on your resume is valuable real estate you want and have to use wisely! Thank you Jasmine for your advice :)

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

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ResumeAs you know, potential employers rarely take the time to read resumes thoroughly. Statistics show that employers spend a max 10-15 seconds scanning a résumé to determine the candidate’s fit before they decide to keep or toss. Many factors in addition to experience come into play in making sure your résumé makes it to the “keep” pile. If you make these 4 mistakes, this will not happen so keep them in mind….

Four Major Mistakes: Most often the résumé is your first impression to an employer before they meet you. Mistakes imply an inattention to detail, sloppy work standards, and lack of pride in work quality. You do not want to give this impression, so take the time to read and reread your documents thoroughly to filter and mine out those mistakes. Mistakes can include:

A: Incorrect grammar- your résumé should be written in the first person implied. If you have “I” or “me” in your document, it is incorrect. 

B: Each sentence should start with an action verb.  

C: Use capitalization of words properly – be selective how you use it to emphasize info. Note: Exceptions to the rule include titles, company names, and section headings.

D: Inappropriate use of punctuation.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
Job Search Coaches

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

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Resume WriterAll the recommendations and information below may not apply to your resume, however it should give you a better understanding of what employers are looking for and how to best market your skills for the position of interest.

As you know, potential employers rarely take the time to read resumes thoroughly. Statistics show that employers spend a max 10-15 seconds scanning a résumé to determine the candidate’s fit before they decide to keep or toss. Many factors in addition to experience come into play in making sure your résumé makes it to the “keep” pile. This can include:

Formatting: an eye-catching presentation can make a huge impression vs. one that looks and blends in with the others, or one riddled with formatting inconsistencies. If your résumé looks like the rest, it may be hard to distinguish it from the rest.

Formatting mistakes can include: 

A: Usage of too many font styles

B: Inconsistency in layout, use of indents, tabs, font style, bullet style, punctuation, and spacing

C: Too small page margins. Page margins should be minimum 0.6”

D: Incorrect use of white space. White space is your friend and can be used to emphasize and deemphasize information. If you remove all available white space, then your résumé looks like a page of block text – difficult to read and certainly not getting the information across quickly.

E: Overuse of bold, italics, underlines, etc. Note: do not use underlines – this can distort your information when scanned into an Applicant Tracking System (APS). 

Make sure before you start revising your resume, you keep all of these tips in mind. The content is once they read it, but to ensure they read it in the first place, you must follow these formatting guidelines.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
Certified Career Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

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LinkedInOne of the best actions you can take to build a powerful and current LinkedIn profile is to collect recommendations. These are real testimonials from colleagues who can attest to both your hard and soft skills. If these messages can amplify the value you demonstrate through your experience, should you include them on your resume?

I say yes. Depending on how much white space you have on your resume, current length, and number of past relevant positions, I suggest including two or three, each about one sentence long. Note that this is purely a style and content option that may or may not fit your personality and industry.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure the recommendation is extremely positive. Do not include even a neutral message if it is not clear and favorable.
  2. Only include recommendations testifying to relevant skills. For example, if you are transitioning to a customer facing, account management role, do not choose a message that highlights your quantitative engineering skills from your last position.
  3. Do not over-use recommendations or sacrifice the clean organization and readability of your resume to accommodate the extra words.
  4. Use only a phrase from the recommendation as opposed to a paragraph. Choose the most relevant, powerful sentence so that the message is only one to two sentences long.

Where should you put the recommendations? Since they are testimonials giving depth and weight to your performance in specific jobs, I suggest including them below the bullets under jobs listed in the experience section. You can make them distinct and smooth by formatting them in italics within quotation marks.

Finally, be sure to include the name and position of the person who made the recommendation. If you place them anywhere other than below the job they belong to, definitely include your job title and company to which they refer.

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to solicit and use evidence of your skills in creative ways that attest to both your hard and soft skills.

Hallie Crawford and Stacy Smyk-Santiago
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

Check out my latest video as I discuss the recent article, “Job Applicants Wary of Resume Sorting Software”. Most job applicants are wary of resume sorting software, and employers use them for good reason. Learn more in this video about why they are used and what you as an applicant looking to improve your job search and career change can do about it.

Here is the article to learn more:
http://www.npr.org/2013/02/28/173122980/job-applicants-are-wary-of-firms-resume-sorting-software

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

ResumeWe always hear we need to sell ourselves on our resume, of course, without being dishonest. If you have been out of the workforce for a while, are changing careers, or have been in school without working for a few years-what are some of the experiences you can use to enhance your resume and fill those gaps where you lack traditional work experience. Here is a quick list of possibilities. Instead of experience you can list:

1. Sports team memberships – Yes I had a client at a presentation say she did this with great success. *She played a leadership role on the team. That makes a difference. If you played a leadership role, add that higher up on your resume under a category called Leadership Positions and Activities for example. List the role you played there. If you did not play a leadership role, leave it at the bottom under Volunteer Work and Activities or leave it off completely.

2. Internships – Yes they count, even if they are informal for example if you worked at a friend’s office for free for a few months. Only include them if they are relevant of course but if they are, list them and specify a) what you learned, and b) the results you provided while there.

3. Volunteer work – This can be included, again, as long as it’s relevant. Reference the location, length of time and specific duties focusing on results and achievements.

4. Classes – If you have just completed your MBA for example and attended full time so did not work, list the relevant coursework at the top of your resume in your Professional Profile section. Mention is was a course and, if there was a specific project you were involved in that is relevant, for example a corporate case study, be sure to include that as well! It’s about showing relevant experience or knowledge, however you came by that experience. Focus on results here as well. Was there a report you provided to the organization, what did they do with that report and your results or suggestions? For example did they adjust their marketing efforts based on your project recommendations? Be specific here, use numbers to quantify whenever possible.

5. Involvement in organizations on campus or otherwise – Again, only if you were in some kind of leadership position and utilized skills that would be relevant. Did you serve on your child’s class committee for fundraising and raise a certain amount of money? If you were just the class parent with no specific relevant results, leave it off. Each listing on your resume has to demonstrate relevant skills. Relevancy is critical.

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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