Archive for Resume/Cover Letters

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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Check out my latest YouTube video as I discuss a very interesting job coach article about a study revealing what recruiters look at on your resume. Watch this video where I reveal what you can learn from it and how to improve your resume as a result, to improve your job search efforts.One hint: Make your job title as clear as possible. For example if your official title is somewhat generic and doesn’t fully explain what you do or did, add verbiage to it that explains it right after you list the title, even if it wasn’t your “official” title so they can clearly and quickly see what you were responsible for.

You can read the article here

Hallie Crawford
Job Coach 

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www.halliecrawford.com – Hallie Crawford, Certified Career Coach, shares three stories from working with clients who have had great success in filling the gaps in their resume using a career assessment and more. Learn how to beef up your resume even when you’re lacking work experience and transitioning into a new career.

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

ResumeHere is a very helpful article that our certified resume writer, Jasmine Marchong, shared with me recently about being a polite pest during your job search… (I’m telling our clients this all the time by the way, be a pest, just be professional and polite about it!) We’re doing this as a Q&A format again to help you think outside the box using your resume as a tool for your search. Read the article here.

Hallie: How can you be a polite pest specifically with your resume, meaning – what do you think about sending your resume in to a job application in a different way than usual, like via snail mail?

Jasmine: Finding all avenues to apply for a position is most definitely recommended as it provides more opportunities for the employer to notice you. Similar to the advice given in this article, you want to do something different from the masses that shows your persistence,  determination, and initiative. Use your network to find someone on the inside or a colleague to submit your resume with a recommendation on your behalf, or try connecting using LinkedIn, or attend mutual professional events and take advantage of the opportunities available. There are many ways you can make a connection and it’s up to to you to step outside the box and capitalize in on those opportunities.

Hallie: What do you think of the use of social resumes these days?

Jasmine: Given the advance in technology and advantages/disadvantages an online visibility can present, I highly recommend each person own their online identity and use the tools available to help develop and advance their presence. Keeping in mind that employers conduct web searches to find and eliminate potential and new talent, the last thing you want is incriminating info that can negatively impact your career and future.  Here’s an article that provides some great advice.

Hallie: They talk at the end of the article about following up on a job application as a way to demonstrate you have effective communication skills? How can your resume enhance that image of you being an effective communicator as well?

Jasmine: Statistics indicate employers spend 10-15 seconds maximum (and sometimes even less) reviewing potential resumes to determine the candidate’s fit. Having a clear, concise resume that quickly communicates your value proposition is important to getting you noticed and in the door. The employer is not going to read a lengthy, wordy resume. In fact, you need to get the point, identify what you bring to the table and validate this with measurable results. This type of resume shows your ability to communicate clearly and given the correct application, should induce action.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
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.

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