Category Archives: Resume Help

Do Not Write A Bad Resume

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Do Not Write A Bad Resume

Sometimes it is worth stating the obvious: a good resume alone can’t get you a job, but a bad resume can stop you from getting the first interview – and without that interview there’s no chance Thumbs-Downof getting the job.

Some of the new rules for better resumes start with the fact that there are fewer rules. A good resume today is one written in a more conservative style and with an emphasis on keywords. Keywords automatically shift the focus onto the skills, tools and achievements that are of particular interest to the employer and the candidate ability to meet those needs. More than ever, for most candidates in most industries, it is important to resist the temptation to make the resume a simple list of jobs worked or tasks completed.

Getting a career job is more competitive than it used to be. The best jobs require more specialized and diverse skills than ever before. Remember what interests an employer for one job may not fit for an employer offering a different job. This is why it is essential that people who qualify for several different types of jobs have different resumes for each one. Each resume should be accurate and truthful, but highlight different strengths related to open job.

 

Once completing a resume draft, the candidate should ask someone to read it and provide feedback before submitting to employer. The value of a “fresh set of eyes” proves worthwhile over and over.

 

5 Common Lies to Avoid on Your Resume

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September 8, 2014 — Posted By Business.com Editorial Staff

5 Common Lies to Avoid on  Your Resume

Any lie, big or small, brings trouble when it’s found out. When you’re putting a resume together, it may be tempting to say you made a little more than you did, or that your title was a little more important than it was. These may seem like small lies, but they can be easily found out by a potential employer.

Your resume is the way you market yourself and showcase your capabilities and credentials in the most crisp and relevant way possible. If your resume contains false information, your reputation will be tarnished.

Read: Resume Templates for Beginners

Employers usually run background checks on prospective employees that include fact-checking basic resume information. The most common areas in which employers catch prospects in a lie are academic credentials, employment dates, compensation, job titles, and references.

Much of this information is very easy to find online. In other words, your truth is easy to verify, and your lies are easy to expose. Experts say long-term unemployment can be a tempting factor in doctoring a resume. Motivated by jealousy or desperation, applicants convince themselves to stretch the truth to make themselves look more appealing.

Don’t give in to this temptation. You’ll only sabotage your chances at a good job and a solid reputation with an employer who respects your real skills and achievements.

Fig. Fraudulent Resume Practices. According to the Accu-Screen, Inc., ADP and The Society of Human Resource Manager, the 5 prominent aspects which persistently feature in falsified resumes are depicted.

Lie #1 Exaggerating job titles

Because job titles are not standardized these days, elevating a job title may seem like an easy way to make previous positions sound more important. However, job titles can be checked with just a call to your previous employer. Don’t risk your reputation for this seemingly small, but easily checked, exaggeration of the truth.

Read: A Checklist for Background Checks

Lie #2 Doctoring employment dates

Being out of work for some time makes it tempting to fabricate employment dates to avoid showing gaps in employment history. This is a lie that is easily found out, and also one that has serious consequences for hiring. Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics and a renowned economics professor, cites this particular lie as a “little cheat” and a common one: “My hunch is that the reputed 50 percent of resume cheaters are mostly making little cheats here and there, for instance, to cover up times when they were out of the labor force for six months.” Don’t be a cheater, even on a small scale.

Lie #3 Fabricating your academic credentials

The academic credentials in your resume are often the first ones to be scrutinized by your potential employer. Listing a degree you almost have, or prerequisites you intend to get, will only lead to actual, factual trouble. Any employer who attempts to verify your academic standing will easily find the truth, and if you are a few credits down from the general requirements of that degree you’re supposed to have, or a few prerequisites short for the job, your potential employer will become a lost prospect as soon as the fact check of your resume is complete.

Lie #4 Forging references

Obviously, forged references are among the easiest lies to expose. Best practices for gathering references include: mention only the names of people who are directly connected to you, validate provided contact information, and get an acknowledgement from the person in the reference so they know to expect contact from your prospective employer. Try to provide information that can easily be validated to aid your candidature.

Read: 3 Tips for Hiring Managers – What to Really Look for in a Resume

Lie #5 Inflating compensation

Seeking a higher salary can make it tempting to lie about the compensation you received from your last employer. However, if this information is fact checked, inflating your last salary could take you out of the running for a prospective job. It certainly will hurt your credibility and ability to negotiate for higher pay. A more proper approach is to mention an average or a range of pay that is commensurate with the work expected.

The bottom line: Applying for jobs can be a nerve-wracking business. You may be tempted to stretch the truth of your skills and accomplishments, but at least in these 5 key areas, what you say is easily verified or debunked with a few calls or clicks of a mouse.

Don’t let the stress get to you, and don’t let the truth get away from you in your resume. The facts will come out one way or another; let them be on your side.

Read more: http://www.business.com/background-checks/5-common-lies-to-avoid-on-your-resume/

Resume Pro’s and Con’s

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Resume graphicSome resumes these days are incredibly good and do many things necessary for success in a challenging job market, while others are less so. Following are observations on what makes the difference between a good resume and those not as effective.

“Resume +”

The resume is:

  • Well-organized and very readable
  • No more than 1-2 two pages in length (Curriculum Vitae’s are an exception where “more the better” often applies)
  • Built around keywords (behaviors, skills and attributes most likely searched for by résumé screening software)
  • Spelling out acronyms placed in parentheses
  • Crisp, detailed and to the point
  • Tailor-made for a specific job
  • Making use of the appropriate number of metrics to quantify and tell a story

“Resume -“

The resume:

  • Lacks necessary detail; more facts regarding past experience needed for reader to get sense of career progression
  • Presents information that is too high-level and vague; large gaps between jobs not explained
  • Fails to list all technical skills, certifications, software, etc. (Determine those items best supporting the desired job and list them; not doing this may prompt reader to assume you’re lacking in this area – most relevant for non-managerial positions)
  • Lacks metrics making it difficult for reader to determine scope
  • Has grammatical, spelling and other errors (all such no-no’s often prove fatal to a job candidacy)

Three Things To Make Your Resume Unique

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Resume graphicA resume is a one- to two-page document summarizing your career objectives, professional experiences and achievements, and educational background. To stand apart from other candidates, you should consider the information in your resume carefully and make sure that it is personal to you. Here are three tips on making your resume unique to you:

1. Customize your career objective. Think of your whole resume as a sales tool; your career objective is your opening statement. You want your employer to know what you want, not just restate what other people want. State your commitment to your career goal. If you are unsure of what you want, how is your employer to believe that you really want the job at their organization and you are not just applying because you want to get out of your current work environment? Don’t be afraid to state what you want from a job and from an organization. While you want to state your commitment, you also want to show that you are willing to take action to achieve your goal. Indicate what direction or action you are willing to take in order to accomplish your career objective. Lastly, be specific about what you are looking for in a work situation. While you can say that you are looking for a “challenging” environment, this doesn’t mean anything to your employer, as people define challenges in various ways. Avoid using generic and broad terms. Simply state what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it.

2. Highlight the best elements of your experience. This is the most commonly missed aspect of writing a resume. The entire professional experience section on your resume is unique to you. Take advantage of that. Use power words to list your responsibilities, and make sure that you have a winning attitude in each of statement. Focus on those responsibilities that best describe the skills you acquired while in each job that make you the most qualified candidate for the position you are seeking. Quantify your responsibilities when possible to showcase to your potential employer that you are drive by results and are capable of exceeding goals. Don’t be shy about promoting your qualifications – you earned them with your hard work and dedication.

3. Personalize your cover letter. The biggest mistake professionals make is not spending any time on their cover letter. Your cover letter should receive the same attention as your resume as they go hand-in-hand. Address your cover letter to the appropriate person at the company (contact info is typically listed in the job description). Make sure to mention what position you are applying for, and demonstrate how the information in your resume aligns well with the job requirements. Your cover letter also allows you to address any information in your resume that may raise questions – take the time to do so, as you don’t want your resume discarded because you chose not to create a personalized cover letter. Overall make sure that your cover letter supports your resume and presents you as the most qualified candidate for the job.

Five Common Cover Letter Mistakes

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With every resume submission, you should have a cover letter that accompanies it and presents you as a positive and qualified candidate for the job. A cover letter should highlight areas of your resume which promote your professional experience, and should address any questions an employer may have about hiring you for the job. There are five common cover letter mistakes outlined below that you must avoid in order to get through the first round of resume review and move one step closer to getting the job that you want.

1. Addressing the cover letter using a generic greeting, or misspelling the name of the personal contact or the company. The address line is the most prominent part of the cover letter; it should be included even if the cover letter is sent via email. Generic greetings are not favored; they make it seem like you have a template for your cover letter and you simply send it to all employers you are interested in working for. Do the research and find out who the appropriate contact is for the cover letter. However, make sure that they name and the company name is spelled correctly. If your address line contains errors, your cover letter is likely to never make it to the hiring manager.

2. Telling the company what they can do for your career. Simply stated, employers care about your qualifications and what you can do for the company. Do not spend your time telling the company how working for them can be great for your career. While that could be true, it certainly is not what the employers want to hear. Your potential employers want to hear how you can benefit their team; they want to know what you can bring to the table that is innovative, and focused on results. Make sure that your resume lets your employer know just why you are the best candidate for the job.

3. You re-state your resume. Do not go over the information that is in your resume in your cover letter. Your cover letter is meant to entice, and provoke the employer to review your resume in great detail. Re-stating the information in your resume doesn’t address what the employers want to know, which concerns reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. Highlight certain areas of your resume but do so in the context of your career goals and how such qualifications benefit the company.

4. Starting every sentence with “I”. While your cover letter is about you, starting each sentence this way will make your employer believe that your communication skills are not up to the level of your professional background. Discuss your qualifications, your goals and what you bring to the table in terms of the company, and your professional attributes.

5. Asking the employer to call you at their convenience. The most generic closing statements in cover letters ask the employer to contact you at their convenience. If you are truly excited about the opportunity with the employer, you won’t want to wait for them to call you back whenever they feel like it. What you should do instead is let them know when you want to follow up – and then do follow up. Close your cover letter by letting your potential employer know that you will contact them, as well as the manner in which you will do so. This shows your interest, and your take-charge attitude.

Quantifying Your Resume

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The most difficult and time consuming section of any resume is the listing of your work experience, no matter the level you have reached in your professional career. The key is to consider your career objective and prioritize your work in accordance to your goals.

Your professional experience should not only showcase the activities you have done in your previous jobs, but should demonstrate your qualifications in the way that motivates employers to want to know more. Of course, we are referring to results, any tangible, measurable items that are impacting to the bottom line. Let your employers know that your project came within budget, that you exceeded the timeline, that you acquired X number of new customers, or that you increased sales by a double-digit percentage. Employers can wrap their minds around numbers, because they are focused on them daily. You want to let your potential employer know that you can think in the same way they do and that you take results into serious consideration as your perform your job on day-to-day basis.

To get started with your work history, begin each description with a power word, such as managed, developed, communicated, etc. Do some research and use only the power words and phrases that are appropriate for your industry. Make sure that the statements you list first under your job responsibilities quantify your achievements – don’t be afraid to list sales figured, customer acquisition rates, budget and timeline successes, or any other figures which help put your responsibilities in a context of the business/field you are working in. Be specific. The only way your statements are truly quantified is if you include numbers. Saying that you acquired new customers is significantly different from saying that you increased the customer database by 10%. As mentioned above, this is the most critical aspect of listing your job descriptions on your resume. Your employer wants to know not only what you did, but how well you did it. Also, these statements should be aligned with your career objective you included at the top of the resume. If you want to get a job in project management, letting your employer know that you managed a team of 20 people and the overall results you achieved will effectively highlight your qualifications. It is important to quantify your job description statements on your resume; however, as a word of caution, do not quantify all statements, just one or two that are most critical to your job and are goal driven. This shows your employer that you think in terms of exceeding your goals. All subsequent descriptions of your responsibilities should support the first one or two items on your list.

As a final test, put yourself in the shoes of your employer. Cross-check the job description and make sure that you address the qualifications required for the job with the information on your resume. Let your potential employer know you have what they are looking for, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.