I absolutely love the art and science of writing resumes — combining the well written word with data-driven insights into today’s complex employment marketplace to tell a compelling story. Crafting a masterful resume is more than just the right words. It’s the precise balance of content and context, structured for visual appeal. I enjoy the strategic component of collaborating with my clients on their personal brand and determining how to best position them for their next role.In resume writing, less content is almost always better than more. It is important to make your point succinctly and then move on. But brevity poses its own challenge. You must be very intentional with your language and carefully consider every word choice. That is where my professional training and years of writing resumes come in.
Using a design-led approach, I tell my clients’ stories with powerful career narratives written in their own voice. Before I can do that, I need to get to know my clients’ personality traits, values and qualifications. Many people take their strengths and accomplishments for granted and don’t add them to their resume. Over the years, I have developed a highly effective coaching process that draws out the most important resume material. I won’t rush this information gathering phase, because I have learned that what transforms a resume from average to stellar is the “resume gold” that comes out of our conversations. Continue reading
I have covered this topic before, but am frequently asked about functional resumes by jobseekers, so I figured I’d address them again here. I strongly advise against using a functional resume. Ever. Period. No matter what.
Most recruiters and hiring managers dislike functional resumes. They are more difficult to read and immediately raise a red flag. The reader asks him/herself “What is the candidate trying to hide by grouping together their competencies and not showing me what they did where? A gap in employment, excessive job jumping or lack of experience?” Regardless of your reason for using a functional resume, you are doing yourself a disservice. The last thing you want to do is cause any negative feelings — and confusion is a negative feeling. You want the reader of your resume to feel nothing but positive feelings about you and your professional accomplishments.
The goal of your resume is to pique the interest of the reader and entice them to invite you in for an interview, right? So, don’t annoy them. Make it easy for them to see the value you would add to their team. I will help you connect the dots between the results you deliver and their business needs. Packing your resume with specific career achievements provides proof that you are a valuable asset.
Your Functional Resume Is Probably Hurting Your Job Search
If your resume is not winning you frequent interviews, then it is not doing its job. Here are some quick fixes to turn that around.
I recently met a woman at one of my local LinkedIn workshops who was frustrated in her job search. She had applied to many, many jobs, but had not landed any interviews.
I quickly reviewed her resume and could tell in an instant why it was not impressing employers. I suggested a few improvements that she could quickly implement and share these with you here. (Her revised resume worked! She landed an interview the next week and is now working at a job she enjoys.)
1. Address the employer’s needs
Change the focus of your resume to address the employer’s needs not yours. How can you help them achieve their goals? Position yourself as the solution to their problem and highlight your differentiators.
2. Target a specific role
These days, companies are looking for specialists, not generalists. Focus your resume on a specific role, so the reader can quickly see where you’d fit within their organization. They won’t guess – if unsure, they will move on to the next resume and you just missed out on the opportunity.
3. Make sure your resume is age-neutral
Employers are concerned that as a seasoned worker, your skills may not be as sharp as they used to be or you are too set in your ways. Show them that is not true. Don’t include any work history prior to 2000 and play up your tech skills. And please, lose the AOL email address! That screams “Dinosaur!”. Continue reading
Because today’s resume is a forward-facing document that positions you for your next job, it has never been easier to reinvent yourself professionally.
I work with many mid-career professionals looking to reinvent themselves. Their industry may be contracting, job outsourced or they may simply want a change. Many want to pull back from the responsibilities and headaches that can accompany upper management roles and, once again, become individual contributors. The prospect of leaving your job behind at 5 pm and enjoying a personal life can be pretty attractive.
Until recently, I do not think many of us actively managed our careers. Sure, most of us were told by our parents that we could be anything we wanted to be, but how many of us followed our dreams? I doubt many people wanted to be stuck in an 8’ by 8’ beige cubicle, eating lunch at their desk under glaring fluorescent lights. Yet, that is where many of us Baby Boomers find ourselves. The time to restore your work/life balance and live a purpose-driven life is NOW!
As a Career Coach, I guide people through professional transitions to help them build more satisfying lives. Most of my conversations with prospective clients start with a request for a new resume. They call me because they are frustrated, their job search is stalled and they can’t win interviews. We discuss their goals, what they have tried so far and I explain how a few key changes can improve their results. Many times the problem is not simply a weak resume – they may also lack a focused goal or are using outdated job search strategies (for example, not active on LinkedIn).
The resume development process itself is the foundation for a successful job search.
It’s a fact – if your resume does not make it through an employer’s Applicant Tracking System, it’s like you never even applied for the job.
Too often, Applicant Tracking Systems make life difficult for jobseekers. But once you know how they work, you can use them to your advantage and they will no longer be a barrier to your job search. Not sure what this is all about? They can be confusing and continually evolve, which is why I research, take frequent training and test out the systems myself.
Whether you are transitioning to a new career or looking to achieve your next professional milestone, a successful job search is all about selling yourself to prospective employers. Never thought you’d be in sales? When competing for a job, you are marketing yourself as both the product and the salesperson, and your most effective tool is your resume.
In my experience as a Career Coach, I’ve found that many people don’t know how to sell themselves when looking for a job. Writing about yourself is difficult, no doubt about it. That is why so many people hire professional resume help.
Here are a few key points to make it easier:
Jared called me on a Monday morning as he sat in his car in the parking lot, not wanting to go into the office. Over the last few years, his workload had tripled, new ineffective procedures had been instituted and he was getting no support from his boss. He was miserable and the stress was effecting his health.
Although he knew the unemployment rate was pretty high and the job market was tight, he could not take it any longer. He needed to escape and reached out to me for help with his resume. I knew his story well. I had been there and had felt the same spirit-crushing pressure to perform in corporate America. I assured Jared that I could help him, but explained that there was a lot of work we needed to do together before we got to the resume writing stage. I promised him that he was not in this alone. I would be there to guide him through the process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. I was confident that I could help him find a job that was fulfilling, where he was respected and compensated properly. Continue reading
Is your resume winning you interviews? If not, here are some quick resume tips to take advantage of the 2016 hiring boom.
Resumes have evolved tremendously over the last few years, and outdated documents simply don’t win interviews. In today’s competitive job market, your resume must set you apart from the other candidates. A few key points:
I just returned from the Career Directors International annual conference in Orlando, FL, energized and full of new ideas on how to better position my clients for success! CDI is a fantastic organization whose members are among the elite career coaches and resume writers in the world. Attendees came from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Brazil and every corner of the US! It was great to meet so many of my online connections face-to-face and make some great new friends. I learned the latest and greatest resume and LinkedIn profile techniques and strategies to accelerate a job search.
Welcome to Part I of my summer 2015 blog series on what it takes to conduct a successful job search in today’s competitive job market. I know it can be frustrating, so each week I will offer insight on another piece of the job search puzzle. This week, the all-important resume.
There is no denying that a strong resume is key to a successful job search, but it takes more than a professional-looking document to land a job today. Rather than your autobiography, your resume is a forward-facing marketing document that needs to position you for that next job. Employers are not looking for a jack-of-all-trades; they are looking for a Continue reading
Guest post by Amy Klimek, VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter
So you took some time and put together a half-decent resume. You’ve glossed over it time and time again, making sure you are represented well and removing any mistakes or typos. Even if you whittled it down to a single page, it still might have a lot of the bugs that live in most resumes that make potential bosses fall over in boredom. Buzzwords.
Vicky Oliver, author of the book Power Sales Words, had this to say: “Stringing together sentences of meaningless words isn’t fooling anyone, even if they sound good. You need to get rid of them.” Buzzwords are your enemy and if you desire to stand out from the pack, you need to learn how to locate and remove them from your resume. Here is a list of five buzzwords you can remove right now to give yourself the advantage. Continue reading
I recently met with a group of job seekers, many who had been out of work for quite some time. We discussed their current job search strategies and it quickly became apparent to me why they were having trouble landing interviews.
1. Their resumes were not selling them as the ideal candidate or contained elements that are not compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems.
2. They were spending hours upon hours every day in front of their computers searching for open positions on the large paid-for-post job boards, and quickly applying to as many jobs as they could find. One person told me that he had applied to more than 600 postings in the last few months!
3. They were either not a member of LinkedIn, or they were not using its full capabilities to accelerate their job search.
Fortunately, all these things are easily correctable!
Competition for jobs is at an all-time high, with nearly 54% of bachelor’s degree holders under the age of 25 jobless or underemployed in 2013. An internship gives a new college graduate an advantage over those who have not gained real world experience in their field.
College students should not wait until senior year of college to intern. Completing more than one internship and starting earlier in their college career, students can learn about the everyday duties of various jobs, which can help them determine which career they want to pursue. If they do not like their first internship position, they would have time to experiment with other internships.
Interning benefits the future employer as well. Many employers see a student who has completed an internship as a more serious job candidate. Companies are more confident hiring a recent grad who has experience in the field and has already assimilated into the corporate culture. Continue reading
Research by the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of Chicago indicates that applicants who had been out of work for 8 months had 45% fewer callbacks from employers. A study from MIT found that someone unemployed for 1 month would typically win 1 interview for every 10 job applications, while someone out of work for 7 months has to send 35 resumes to get just 1 interview. Not only is this wrong – it can be very demoralizing for those who have been in an extended job search. Continue reading
Your resume says a lot more to a prospective employer than just conveying your work history, skills and qualifications. Because they do not know you, hiring managers and recruiters judge you completely by your resume. If it is not winning you interviews, your resume might be sabotaging your job search efforts. Continue reading