Tag Archives: jobs

More résumé tips

Before you send that résumé out, take some time to make sure it’s the best it can be. Here are some general tips:

  • Be sure to proofread. Have someone else proofread too. It is easy to skim over typos, punctuation errors or grammar mistakes when we review our own writing. Check it twice and then check it again. Errors may be perceived as an indicator of a lack of attention to details – often an important job skill.
  • Use action keywords. Here’s a list of Power Words.
  • Stress accomplishments using metrics to demonstrate success; for instance, if you increased sales from one year to the next, show the percentages:

 Increased sales from 2009 to 2011 by 30%

  •  Try incorporating a bar graph to further demonstrate these accomplishments

    Use a graphic to demonstrate your accomplishments

  • Be honest with details. The Dean of Admissions at MIT lost her position because she lied on her résumé. Don’t run that risk.
  • Make your areas of expertise stand out near the top of your résumé. Consider using a text box framed with shadow and color to really make a splash.  See the image to the right.
  • Put your finest assets on center stage. In other words, if your education is your strongest point, put it near the top; however, if you have years of applied experience, you should list your experience first and move your educational background to a lower position within the body of the résumé.
  • If you have limited experience and education, a one-page résumé is suitable, for instance in the case of a new graduate, but it is no longer the norm. We discussed this in my last post. Don’t be afraid to use two, or even three, pages to support the targeted positions and demonstrate your worth. Remember that today it’s about keywords. The more keywords you use in your résumé, the better your chance of being selected. So use the space you need to describe your skills and qualifications.
  • If you are using a professional résumé  writing service, request that you receive your final files in both Word (or rich text) and PDF formats.  And if you plan to submit your résumé via email, ask about a plain text (ASCII) file format too. Or you can convert it yourself from the Word (rich text) version. This plain format is often required at web-based job sites and is also recommended for embedding your résumé within the body of an email. More about plain text or ASCII format for your résumé next time.

If you have résumé questions, please leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you and what challenges you are facing!

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Key Accomplishments section for your resume

The Key Accomplishments section is an important component of your resume

Photo credit: Words Etc

Keep this section close to the top of your resume so it is one of the first things the reviewer sees. Be sure to make this section eye-grabbing by adding some color and putting in a text box of one type or another. This key accomplishments area is also easy to edit without interfering with the main body of the resume so you can adjust for different uses or jobs.

 So just what are key accomplishments?

  • These may consist of some exceptional or unique roles you filled or goals that you met
  • Think about things for which your boss or manager complimented you.
  • Did you receive awards or commendations?

These are great places to start. I suggest you identify one major key accomplishment for each job as this shows a consistent level of growth and expertise in your given area or areas. And be sure to add metrics that apply. For instance, instead of:

increased sales consistently

 give a percentage like this:

increased sales in 2011 by 30% from the previous year

You may also consider adding a graphic to increase the strength of this statement, like a bar graph or a chart.  This is especially useful when demonstrating your success in sales or revenue accomplishments.

Also remember to tailor your key accomplishments to fit the particular job posting. For instance, if your background has been in sales and you want to transition more into management, demonstrate some accomplishments that make you a good candidate for management. Have you managed budgets, motivated others, developed new strategies? All of these fit well into a management role. This is extremely important if you are transitioning career fields, but if you look carefully at each part of your past jobs, you’ll be able to identify points that demonstrate your strengths. And that’s what it is really about – your strengths and why you are the best candidate for the position.

Remember it’s about what you can offer the company.  So get busy and compile those key accomplishments and make sure they are part of your resume today.

Watch for more tips soon. And if I can help you with building or revising your resume, visit http://www.wordsetc.info or leave me a comment here!

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Expertise, Key Accomplishments and Keywords

My last post about keeping your resume updated drew a lot of attention so I thought it makes sense to continue this line of conversation.  Let’s talk about a few important elements of your resume.

photo credit: Words Etc

Expertise

Last time I mentioned adding an “Expertise” area to your resume.  To expand on that, the reason I like to use this when I develop resumes for my clients is that it adapts well to tailoring a resume to a specific job posting while leaving the historical portion of the resume intact (experience, education, etc).  Think about your strongest skills and focus on them in a list or in a shadow box that really draws the eye.  Now this design feature  won’t matter in an electronically submitted resume, but it’s important to have it at the top because that’s where our eyes usually start when reading anything, whether paper or electronic.  We’ll talk more about reformatting for the web in another post.

Key Accomplishments

The same goes for utilizing a “Key Accomplishments” section.  I usually put both of these areas at top beneath the name and contact information.   This key accomplishments area is also easy to edit without interfering with the main body of the resume.

So just what are key accomplishments?  These may consist of some exceptional or unique roles you filled or goals that you met.  Think about things for which your boss or manager complimented you.  Did you receive awards or commendations?   These are great places to start. I like to identify one major key accomplishment for each job as this shows a consistent level of growth and expertise in your given area or areas.

And remember to tailor these to fit the particular job posting.  For instance, if your background has been in sales and you want to transition more into management, demonstrate some accomplishments that make you a  good candidate for management.  Have you managed budgets, motivated others, developed new strategies?  All of these fit well into a management role.  This is extremely important if you are transitioning career fields, but if you look carefully at  each part of your past jobs, you’ll be able to identify points that demonstrate your strengths.  And that’s what it is really about – your strengths and why you are the best candidate for the position.

Keywords

Remember the importance of keywords.  Just like SEO on a website, you have to use keywords in your resume that match the keywords of the job description.  In our high-tech world, resumes are often scanned before the selection process begins.  If those keywords of the job description aren’t in your resume, guess what?  Your resume ends up in the round file, whether physical or electronic.  Click here for a great list of power words to use.

Okay, so get busy.  I’ve given you some ideas to start working on if your resume needs revamping.  What challenges do you think you’ll have in building or rebuilding your resume?  Share with me.  I’d love to hear from you.  And tune in again for more ideas to help your resume be the best that it can be.

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