Tag: resume tips (page 1 of 2)
The most precious piece of real estate in your entire resume is the top of the first page. At the cursory glance, this is the area that is going to get the most attention. And there are some things you can do to make the most of that – or get your resume tossed in the “not interested” pile.
Here is a quick checklist of things NOT to do when crafting the opening statement of your resume:
Don’t generalize. Focus, not generalization is critical. For example, say the VP of Sales for a Fortune 500 company gets ahold of your resume. He or she reads your opening statement which begins with, “Sales executive with 15 years of experience building teams and consensus, expanding territories, etc., etc… Ultimately, this tells the reader very little.
Ask yourself what questions the reader might have. I guarantee they are trying to come up with a framework of perspective about you that includes things like:
- Do you have experience with regional, national or global sales?
- How big are the teams you have managed?
- What kind of companies have you called on and what is the dollar figure of the products or services you have represented?
- Do you have any particular selling skills, such as conceptual selling, or academic credentials, like an MBA?
Using a combination of keywords and a brief opening statement, you can paint a picture (quickly) that satisfies (not frustrates) your reader.
Don’t write an opening statement over 6 lines deep. If you have Googled “executive resume writers” and viewed their samples, you might notice professional resumes are becoming more and more visually impactful and much less dense in text. This is because big blocks of text in your resume will seldom get read.
You must say what you wish to say directly, simply and briefly. Focus on the value you bring to the table. In other words, describe what happens when you do what you do as opposed to just providing an outline of your tasks and skills. After all, what does someone who reads your resume want to know? It sounds harsh, but the questions that are really being asked are, “What good are you to me?” and “Why should I be reading this?” Your focus on value demonstrates that you “get” that.
Don’t speak in first person or past tense. New graduate resumes, mid-level resumes and executive resumes all have one thing in common: they are written in implied first person. Don’t say, “I offer 5 years of social media marketing experience,” but, “Offering 5 years of social media marketing experience.”
BONUS TIP: Enhance your opening statement with keywords either above or below it. This is an easy way to help your reader understand your value. For example, a construction executive resume might say:
Commercial Construction | Healthcare & Academia | Teams to 400 | P&L to 500 Million
Perhaps the largest group of job seekers I help are those who wish to change industries or positions within their industry. The good news is that, although most job seekers believe they have to take a big pay cut to do it, this has been the exception and not the rule with my clients.
How did they do it? Once they determined their industry or position of choice and upgraded their resume and other marketing materials to support them, they learned how to tap into the hidden job market and go direct in order to make their move. Learning how to tap the hidden job market is by far the most valuable skill you can learn in your job search. Please see my book in this same series on this critical topic: The Career Artisan Series: The Hidden Job Market – Guide for the Perplexed.
Resume Tips for Changing Industries
- Create a functional resume. Format your resume in a “functional” style that highlights functional strengths and transferable skills that match your new position/industry.
- Outline quantifiable achievements in the strengths you want to highlight. Example: customer service—“increased customer satisfaction by 79%.”
- Group keywords under a list called core competencies or key strengths. You can include areas of study that match your new industry and secondary things that might be important in your new industry like speaking more than one language or cross-cultural communications.
- Volunteer activities: if you have been involved in volunteer or community activities that enhance or match your industry of choice, you can put that together with your academic achievements on the first page of your resume.
- Use the indeed.com mirroring technique outlined in Chapter 1 of my book, The Career Artisan Series: The Hidden Job Market – Guide for the Perplexed, to make certain you have all the right keywords in your resume:
- Go to indeed.com.
- Find an example of your ideal job.
- Highlight all the keywords and phrases you see where you match.
- Weave those keywords throughout your resume.
Here is an example:
VP Marketing—XYZ Corporation
Summary of Position
The Vice President Marketing is responsible for the planning, development and implementation of marketing plans and activities including the identification of markets, estimations of sales volumes and profits, the pricing and margin strategies of product lines, drive strategic growth strategies and assures a consistent marketing and communication approach across business units.
The position requires an understanding of global markets, latest electronics industries technology trends, and competitive market strategies. To be successful in this role, the candidate must have a solid understanding of our (or similar) Electronic, Electrical and Transportation product and the global routes to market.
The success of the position is measured by increased sales penetration into existing accounts, by sales growth with new customers and markets as well as leading our marketing strategy and strategic growth initiatives across all business units.
- Lead strategic development of marketing strategies that develops and implements plans and activities including identification of market, estimates of sales volume and profits; and pricing and margin strategies for specific products to establish, enhance or distinguish product placement within our markets.
- Lead growth and emerging market initiatives leveraging direct and dotted line resources. Own and report on pro-forma P&Ls on key initiatives.
- Utilizes market research, monitors competitive activity, trends and selling strategies and identifies customer needs. Works with engineering, manufacturing, sales and outbound marketing to develop new products or enhance existing product(s) based on internal and external needs and capabilities, including market size, user needs and available technology.
- Recruit, develop and motivate a skilled Marketing and Product Management team capable of growing the business significantly in the years ahead.
- Lead or direct implementation of tactics and resources necessary to achieve Product Management and Marketing Communication objectives, including advertising, media, public relations, trade shows, web presence, e-marketing.
- Develops portfolio business plans, strategies and product positioning for strategic growth initiatives. Responsible for coordination of product/program development, including financial, market and technical justification for product selection and definitions.
- Perform financial justification of new products; help establish and manage pricing policy for the full product line, working with Finance to meet the organization’s financial goals.
- Lead the Company’s efforts to acquire & analyze customer and market data to understand our customers’ requirements and our competitors’ activities, and steer our organization and marketing efforts accordingly.
Many of my clients have been previously fired or laid off. Over 50,000 people are let go from their jobs each day in the U.S, so there is a very good chance most professionals will experience this unfortunate event at least once in their careers.
This does not have to be a point of contention with potential employers during your job search though, and it does not have to detract from the accomplishments of your career or your strengths. Here are a few points to consider:
- Don’t mention being fired or laid off in your resume. There is absolutely no benefit that I can think of that would justify mentioning a lay off or firing on a resume. Period.
- Identify exactly why you were laid off or fired prior to your interview. Develop a SHORT, clear script of what happened and why. Be sure not to go on and on – that can open a can of worms and create more questions than answers.
Many clients I work with, including c-level executives, have not received their college degree for one reason or another. Most job postings will state this as a requirement, which is daunting for individuals who have accomplished much in their career but do not have a college education or an advanced degree.
Fortunately in most of these cases, these individuals went on to continue to be amazing producers of results in their careers and were recruited into exceptional positions with fantastic companies despite their lack of degree.
How did they do it? My friend and mentor, the late Mark Hovind, President of JobBait, used to put it this way:
“I turn lead into gold but only have a fifth grade education…
want to hire me?”
If you produce results or, more aptly, if you “turn lead into gold” and make or save a company money, you are worth hiring – Ivy League college degree or not! Your resume and cover letter must speak to the results you bring to the company in quantifiable %% and $$ whenever possible.
Here are some tips: Continue reading
It is important when we are discussing overcoming liabilities in your resume that we also take a big step back and look at what I have identified as the three main components of a successful job search. Interestingly, liabilities tend to naturally go away when you have these three steps in place:
- A clear focus of direction.
- Powerful, professional marketing collateral (resume, value proposition letter).
- The right job search strategies.
Again, if you have these three components in your job search, you will do better than the majority of job seekers today.
I would like to give you some tips to handle any gaps in your employment. The purpose for using these tactics and tips as your write your resume is never to lie of course; it is to market yourself so your reader garners enough interest in you to call you for an interview. To do this, you want to minimize any red flags (real or mistakenly perceived). Continue reading
If you type “resume writers” into your search browser, you’ll notice that the first big sites to come up are fondly referred to by reputable writers as “resume mills.”
These are companies with a lot of writers who generally have pretty slick websites and offer cheap resumes. I have often seen resumes offered on these sites for $199 and even “executive level” resumes offered for $299. If you are tempted to go with one of these mills to save a few bucks, here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge:
- Generally in life, you get what you pay for. I not only like that my resume prices are a great value, but that they include a lot of extras and bonuses, because I want my clients doing back flips about my services, and I want to help them in a holistically with their entire job search. I also offer a full money-back guarantee if someone isn’t fully satisfied with the quality of my work (which to date, I am happy to say, I have never had to use). But I can’t and don’t give my services away for next to nothing. And I generally don’t invest in services that do, because there is always a catch. I might not know where or what it is, but I know it’s there – either in lack of quality, lack of experience, lack of service or dependability, etc…
- Before you do anything CALL and talk to a live person. Some companies are involved in fraudulent business practices. Talk to a live person – ask some questions and trust your gut.
- LOOK at their resume samples. Once you do that, go to Career Directors International and search for certified and/or award winning resume writers. Now look at their samples. I have so very rarely seen these samples compare, because when you are a reputable, award-winning and certified resume writer, your charges are in line with the market. A good – a really good resume – is a critical piece of your job search pie. It’s not the place to skimp. It’s your career. Get the best writer you can afford. You are worth it.
- Be realistic. Here is what I have seen as averages for good/great/excellent resume writers: $299 to $450 for a new grad resume; $550 to $800 for an entry-level to mid-level management resume; and $800 to $3000 for a VP to C-level “executive” resume package. If you are making determinations in this range, generally you are in a good spot.
If the rates for a resume service or writer you’re researching seems drastically lower than the figures in #4, my suggestion is to check with the major Career Services Associations, look up some members websites, and conduct your own comparative analysis. In my opinion, Career Directors International is the best place to start, because their certifications are not cheap, the testing is very difficult, and they set their quality bar very high. To keep certifications current and in good standing with CDI, writers must provide a certain number of annual continuing education credits and hours of volunteer work. THAT is the writer you want to hire, because that writer is serious about their craft and getting you the biggest return on your investment possible.
Are you wondering if your resume best positions you to land the job of your dreams in a parallel market, new industry or higher level position? One area you want to be sure to check is your keywords.
Resume keywords are simply the words used to describe your hard and soft skills. Many companies today use keyword scanning software to organize and qualify applicant matches with available positions. Even if a company doesn’t use keyword scanning software, it’s still extremely important to mirror the keywords listed for that position as much as possible.
You can quickly and easily make certain that your resume attracts the right attention using the following simple steps.
Step One: Identify Your Favorite Jobs
First, through you favorite job aggregator or niche job board, identify at least two positions that would qualify as your dream job.
Next, print them out and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that best describe both what you love to do most, and any other strengths and attributes that match your skills. Even if the position is in another industry, highlight those strengths that match functionally.
Now, make sure these keywords are woven throughout your resume, especially the upper portion of your first page.
Step Two: Use Your 2-3 Best Keywords
You don’t necessarily have to redesign your resume for every job you want to submit your resume to. In fact, if you are finding this to be necessary, you might want to check your focus.
Many professionally designed resumes will have approximately three keywords in a bigger, bold font, right up at the top of their resume. I call these headline keywords. This is a powerful way to immediately target your resume to each specific job you submit your resume for.
Let’s say you are submitting for a job that stresses operations, global expansions and team building. If these are all matching skills for you, then you want to mirror these in your headline keywords. With this method you can simply shift a few main keywords and get maximum attention from your target audience!
Step Three: Consider a Keyword-Only Section
In my resumes I always like to include a keyword-only section. I call it “core competencies” or “skills and abilities.” A good list should include three rows of 4 to 5 bullet points per row. In the first row, include your strongest competencies; in the second, soft skills like leadership and management abilities; and your third row can include technical aptitudes, language skills and/or secondary skills, such as leading training programs or creating marketing collateral.
Using these valuable tips gives you a simple and easy way to make sure your resume is targeted for the positions you really want!
I was reading an interesting blog post by Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice in Austin, Texas.
Three things about the article I found noteworthy: first, they are hiring. Second, these are ten tips to improving your resume (written honestly for more of the entry to mid level job seeker) from a presidents point of view which I though was well worth sharing.
Finally – the last point about staying on the job for longer than two years – I think this might raise a few eyebrows . Perhaps he is speaking primarily to Gen Y. Most job seekers I know would be delighted to “stay on for longer than two years” providing the company was a fit.
Read the entire blog post here.
Oh, and if you want to check out some resume samples just click here.
This is a very common question I receive from new clients. There is no one right answer, but there are some quick and easy steps you can take to make sure you are assessing your situation correctly.
Usually when a professional isn’t getting responses or quality interviews from their resume, the reason falls within one of these categories:
• The resume is poorly written
• The resume hasn’t been distributed widely enough to generate interest
• The methods with which the resume is being distributed are generally poor methods
Let’s take a look at each category:
The resume is poorly written
The problems I see with resumes are too extensive to go into too much depth here, however basic reoccurring problems include resumes that are too wordy, resumes that are not laser focused on the preferred industry and resumes that aren’t loaded with quantifiable achievements.
Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for me to see resumes that were “written professionally” by a resume writer or outplacement agency that just don’t cut it.
In short, if you can’t afford a resume writer, look for up-to-date resume samples via print or online media and do your best to use them as a template. Read several how-to articles on resume writing basics so you know what to emphasize.
Finally, if you hire someone to write your resume for you, make certain they are certified through a reputable association (CMI or CDI for example) and that they have ample experience. Prices can range from as little as $300 to $3,000. Hire the best you can afford. You are worth it.
The resume hasn’t been distributed widely enough to generate interest
It’s a common error to feel that a submission of 10 to 20 resumes via a job board is a good call to action. Unfortunately most people will find that this produces little, if any results. Yielding slight higher results (optimistically 5 %+) include niche job boards, paid job boards, association job boards and direct-to-company websites.
The methods with which the resume is being distributed are generally poor methods
Do you want to see better than a 5% response rate? Then you are going to want to learn basic techniques to tap into the unadvertised job market.
Many people mistakenly believe this means “networking”. It does not, though learning basic networking techniques (that don’t involve calling everyone you know to ask them if they know who is hiring) will both boost your confidence, lower any contact-anxiety you may have and increase your overall results.
A final word about professional help
A certified resume writer and/or job search coach isn’t just for the 6-or-7 figure professional with money to burn.
In fact, a good resume writer and job search coach can save you a substantial amount of money, and that’s not hype. A few of the results a professional can help you achieve include:
• More interviews
• Bigger offers
• Shorter job search
If you are in between jobs, then the sooner you land your next position, the sooner you can regain your monthly income. Just saving one month of wasted effort in a job search can easily translate to savings of thousands of dollars.
A good job search coach knows how to help you identify and reach your goals. They have a goody bag of resources you probably would be hard pressed to find on your own and don’t forget that this help is often tax deductible (check with your CPA for details).
You can take what you learn and apply to your long term career strategy and future career transitions. Bottom line, an effective and meaningful investment in yourself and your career.
Before you decide what your next best step is in your career search, take a few minutes to apply the points in this article to your current situation. This will help you determine the solutions right for you so you can move forward with confidence.
When I ask my clients to give me success stories of their various career achievements I often hear the following comments:
I can’t really quantify my successes
It’s just my job
I don’t think of myself in that way
I can’t recall accomplishments “like that”
It’s really hard for me to give you that information
Can you relate? Its Okay first of all – you see, you are not alone! But I will let you in on a secret: there is a simple trick to recalling and creating your accomplishments and once you master this little technique you too can create “jaw-dropping” accomplishments that will have potential employers really excited to talk with you!
So here are several tips to get you started:
Tip #1: Key Word Your Strengths
Start with a blank sheet of paper. Now begin to brainstorm on all the things you love to do the best. Just have fun with it. If you are feeling stuck take a break for a day (which gives your subconscious mind a chance to bring these thoughts to the surface). These are the things you love to do and they are usually connected to those skills and functions you are doing when you are really doing your best work.
Tip #2 How to Turn Your Strengths into Stories
Now look at your list and for each keyword ask yourself “why do I feel this way?” For example maybe you wrote “Motivating” as one of your strengths. Asking yourself “why do I feel I am motivating?” will trigger your memory of an event you are connecting that determined strength to. Maybe it was the time you motivated your boss to let you take on a project that generated a certain amount of revenue for your company or perhaps you motivated a national sales team with incentives that increased the companies client base.
Tip #3: Write a Simple Template for Each Story
Your template is really easy and it goes like this:
What I Did:
A key here is not to make this complicated at all! Keep your answers short (think of how products are marketed…less definitely increases your impact!)
Bonus Tip: Don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of thinking your successes aren’t important enough to write down or share! This is a common trap you definitely want to avoid. If it shows off your strengths is generally worthy of sharing.
It’s hard to be objective about our successes because of our internal rationale that “oh, that’s just what I do” or “anybody could do it really”. If you catch yourself thinking this way then know you are devaluing the unique, amazing and honorable skills and strengths you bring to the table. Give your skills and aptitudes their due and you will find as you grow confident in communicating them – it can and will result in more interest and bigger offers from potential employers!