Category Archives: Resume etc

Resume Development

Employers care about two things: experience and education. So, keep all focus there. Employers spend 5-15 seconds reviewing a resume for transferable skills and relevant experience that meet their specific job criteria. Steps:

  1. Analyze Job Description: Highlight main qualifications and responsibilities and use same or similar words in your resume.
  2. Make Accomplishment List: Focus on measurable outcomes of your efforts…quantify if possible. Include outcomes from jobs, volunteering, education, projects, and other activities.
  3. Showcase Relevant Skills: Package relevant accomplishments to correspond with highlighted job description items.
  4. Write Accomplishment Phrases: Write concise phrases demonstrating your relevant skills to employer’s needs. Most relevant information should come first.
  5. Choose Format: Reverse chronological (most recent to least recent), functional (skill headings), or hybrid.

Resources

Resume Writing Guide
Resume Checklist
Skills Checklist
Action Verbs
Resume Samples
VisualCV – Create online resume with video, pictures and portfolio samples

Video Clips


Resume Checklist

Evaluate your resume according to these ten factors:

1. Appearance. Stick to one or two conventional fonts such as Times Roman or Arial. Use font sizes 10 pt or higher. Keep colors to a minimum. Be consistent in the use of color, font, size, and style (bolding, italicizing, underlining). Use ~1” margin widths. Information should be listed in order of importance to the reader. In other words, use the following order: job/degree title, organization, city, state, date range. Eliminate clutter: unnecessary dates, parentheses, “references available upon request,” articles (“a,” “an,” “the”), superfluous adjectives and adverbs.

2. Completeness. Resume should give a complete picture of why you should be called for an interview for a particular job. However, you shouldn’t include all jobs worked. 1-2 pages is normal.

3. Layout. Use standard headings: Contact Information (name, address, email, phone), Objective (optional), Education, Experience. Never include names of supervisors, salary information or references.

4. Focus. Arguably the most critical element is a resume’s focus. Your resume must be tailored pointedly to the target position and employer you are seeking. Leave off all extraneous information. Your resume must be written in such a way that your job objective, as well as what you’re good at, is obvious to anyone reading your resume.

5. Format. Chronological, functional, or chrono-functional. Job-seekers with a steady employment history in one field looking to advance within that field should use a chronological resume that focuses on employment history (starting with most recent). Recent college grads with a variety of work experiences and job-seekers changing careers sometimes use a functional or chrono-functional resume.

6. Perspective. Review your resume from the perspective of a specific hiring manager with just a few seconds to review your resume. Your resume must be attention-getting and sharply focused. Provide employer enough reasons to invite you to an interview.

7. Professionalism. There is no excuse for typos. Employers often discard resumes with even one error. Honesty is also critical. Do not fudge dates of employment, job titles, certifications, or educational achievements. It’s not only wrong, but many employers conduct background checks.

8. Accomplishments. Nothing is more important than documenting your relevant accomplishments. Quantifying those accomplishments is even better. Writing about “accomplishments” is much better than writing about “duties” or “responsibilities.”

9. Keywords and action verbs. Action verbs make your experience jump off the page. Keywords tied to a job description are vital because many resumes are run through databases that filter out candidates lacking certain requirements.

Resume Guide

Resume Purpose

To land interviews! Tailor each resume to fit a specific job.

Steps

1. Highlight duties and requirements in a desirable job description. Reference job boards such as www.indeed.com or any organization’s website. Print job descriptions of interest. Use highlighter to identify key duties and requirements of target jobs.

2. Make list of your achievements that meet >80% of a job’s requirements. Employers want to know how your past performance made measurable impact. Ask yourself, did you…

  • Do something faster, better, or cheaper? How much?
  • Increase membership, participation, or sales? How much?
  • Save money for the department or eliminate waste? How much?
  • Make money (sales) for an organization? Describe performance.
  • Help solve problems? What kind(s)? How many? How much?
  • Add new processes, services, or products? Describe impact.
  • Improve existing processes, services, or products? How? Quantify.
  • Coordinate events or projects? What kind? What was result?
  • Train anyone? What was the measurable change?
  • Manage people or projects? How many? How so?
  • Create spreadsheets or databases? How did they help organization?
  • Design websites or marketing material? Describe…and reference your portfolio.
  • Communicate in a second language? Describe verbal/written proficiency.

3. Choose resume format:

  • Reverse chronological: Most recent position listed first, followed by older positions.
  • Functional: Organized in sections according to skill area.

4. Tailor resume to fit job description.

  • Objective (optional): Include only if you can state a specific job in a specific organization.
  • Experience: This is the most important section to employers. Showcase job titles in bold; include date range, employer name, city and state. Use past tense action verbs to describe measurable impact. Be selective to include only work experiences relevant to the job you are applying for. Remove work that is unrelated to target job. Be succinct and clear with minimal adjectives. Paid and unpaid work can be combined in one section.
  • Education: This is the second most important section to employers. However this may be the most marketable achievement for many recent graduates; therefore recent graduates might list education before experience. Showcase degree titles in bold; include institution name, date of graduation, city, and state. Do not include high school.

Print Version

More resume tips? See Resume Checklist.

References

Video Clips


Requesting People for your Reference List

Write emails to at least 3 contacts, preferably former employers, requesting if you can list them as references. Your email request might look something like this:

John: With your permission I would appreciate being able to list you as a reference that can speak to my qualifications, skills, and abilities. My resume is attached along with a job description for position I’m being considered for. Please let me know if you prefer not to be listed. Thanks for your help! – Carol Smith

Requesting a Letter of Reference

Sometimes bundling reference letters with your resume can be helpful. Your email request might look something like this:

Lisa: Would you be willing to provide a reference letter for me? I am in the process of seeking employment and a positive reference from you would enhance my prospects of securing interviews. My resume is attached along with a job description of the type of work I’m targeting and a reference letter template. Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide to assist you. I can be reached at jsmith@abcd.com or (555) 545-5445. Thank you! – John Smith

Reference Letter Template

Dear _____________ (or To Whom It May Concern),

Paragraph 1
Explain your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and why you are qualified to write a reference letter to recommend employment or graduate school.

Paragraph 2
Write specific information on the person you are writing about, including why they are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are providing a reference letter. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details.

Paragraph 3
When writing a letter for a particular job opening, include information on how the person’s skills match the position they are applying for. Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person’s resume so you can target your reference letter accordingly.

Summary
Write a brief summary of why are you are recommending the person; state that you “highly recommend” the person or you “recommend without reservation” or something similar.

Conclusion
Offer to provide more information, and include your phone number and email address.

Sincerely,

Reference’s Name
Job Title
Organization
City, State

Cover Letters

Video Clips


Cover Letter Template

Dear Ms _____________,

Why you’re interested in THEM (this job at this organization)
Thank you for considering me for ___________________ (position) at __________________ (organization). I became aware of your opening through __________________ (person’s name or other source). Two primary reasons that I’m interested in this position are ___________________________________ and ____________________________________ (refer to two key aspects of the position in which you have work experience). (Explain briefly why these two aspects interest you.)

Why they should be interested in YOU
(State succinctly why you’re qualified for the position. Highlight two or three measurable accomplishments from past work experience demonstrating how they impacted the two key aspects mentioned in paragraph 1. Draw an explicit connection between specific needs of the current job opening (see job description) and your skills. Research the organization and industry beforehand in order to write the most compelling reasons why you are a perfect fit for this position.)

Next steps
I look forward to learning about your specific needs. I may contact you in a couple of weeks to inquire about a meeting if I don’t hear from you first. Thanks again for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Your name

Enclosure: Resume