Monday, July 26, 2010

Resume Social

An old writers trick to improve your writing skills is to join a writers group where you can share your writing and receive immediate feedback on your writing. Well I have found a site that offers something comparable to a writers group for resumes: Resume Social 

On Resume Social you can upload your resume and receive feedback from other users and hopefully you will receive constructive criticism so that you can improve your resume. The key word is constructive criticisms , just like any website with a comment section, comments can degenerate into immature name calling and an evaluation of mothers. But   usually there are nuggets of gold, for those willing to put themselves out there. 

You can also browse the resumes of people in your industry to help you get inspiration on how to improve your own resumes. Lets face it, not all of us are blessed with the creative gene. Even for the blessed, taking a browse won't hurt. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Leveraging Your Education In Your Resume

As a new graduate, you have spent a long time and a kingly sum on your education, so you owe it to yourself to highlight your education effectively. Listing your degree and the institution  you received your degree from maybe adequate, but not necessarily the most effective way to highlight your education.

List specific courses that you have taken that apply to the industry you are trying to enter. For example if you are trying to enter the finance industry as a trader and you have a commerce degree with a concentration in finance , then list related finance courses you have taken. They could be classes in investments, options, derivatives and risk management.

Make sure to include information that will highlight your educational assets, such as a double major, honors and/or scholarships. You may want to include your grades along with your course work if you have received exceptional grades in your studies. If you do decide to include your grades, write them out as a percentage. Percentages are easily understood and are universally understandable.

Don’t list all the courses you have taken, that would take up to much real estate on your resume. Continuing the finance example, you may want to leave out the human resource, marketing and other unrelated elective classes. One possible exception is if you are marketing yourself as a person who is an expert in more than one field. For example a finance student with a keen sense of marketing. But even then, be selective about which courses to included in your resume.  

If your main selling point is your education, then position your educational information in a prime location, such as the very top or the center of your resume. Don’t simply follow a template and place your educational information willy nilly, consider where your education information would be the most impactful. 

You want to highlight your strengths and deemphasize your weaknesses. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hidden Job Positions

Uploading your resume on a few online job boards and constantly scanning Craigslist cannot be considered a comprehensive job search. There are many different avenues for looking for job openings and if you want to increase the chance of being hired, then utilize as many avenues as you can.

Create a list of companies that you are interested in and visit their websites, usually they will have a section on their front page called Careers or something similar. The Careers webpage usually gives detail instructions on applying for a position at the company. They will usually also provide information on current job openings. By visiting the Careers page of companies your interested in, you may be able to access job openings that many others have overlooked. The Career page may be located in the Corporate Info section of the webpage.

Trade organizations and Professional directories can also provide leads to hidden job postings. Trade organizations and Professional directories can provide you with a wealth of contact information. These contacts can be to people who are directly responsible for the hiring of its firm. This allows you to bypass the usually gate keeps of the firm, such as a secretaries. You may want to contact these people directly, remember to be polite and to be direct about your intentions.

Usually Trade Organizations will hold a few gatherings over the year, find out when the next one will be and attend the gathering. These gatherings can be charity functions or professional workshops, but whatever they may be, attend them because they will provide you with networking opportunities with people in the industry. Building a list of contacts is key and will give you an edge in your job search.

When you’re looking for a job, be creative and try to look for hidden job openings. The more well hidden a job opening is, the fewer the people will apply to them and that means less competition for the job. If you just look at popular online job boards and Craigslist for job openings, you will face tremendous competition for job openings. Expand the scope of your job search for better quality job leads.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creating a Cultural Specific Resume

Globalization has created a smaller world and many job seekers are seeking job opportunities outside of their country, but if you don’t adapt your resume to your target foreign country, it can spell disaster for your overseas career. When you are spell checking your resume, consider the fact that different countries have different ways of spelling the same English word. For example, Canadians spells it colour, while Americans spell it color. Both are correct, but if you are applying for a job in Canada, colour is the correct spelling.

Also consider if the words that you are using in your resume have the same meaning in the foreign country you are targeting. Say Football to an American and they will be thinking about the Super Bowl, say Football to the rest of the world and they will be thinking about where the next World Cup will be hosted. You don’t want your resume lost in translation. If you have a contact in the foreign country you are targeting, have them read your resume over to make sure your resume is easily understandable and culturally relevant. 

Football ? or Football ?

Each country will have their own colloquialisms and slangs, so make an effort to have somebody in the foreign country targeting read over your resume. Just think of all the sexual slang and colloquialisms that exist in North American culture, but that would be oblivious to a foreigner. Don’t ruin your first impression with potential employers, double check your resume with a local.

Make sure that your previous work experience is easily understood by your foreign employers. Different countries may have different job titles for the job positions that you previously had. You may want to list the responsibilities and the importance of your previous job to give foreign employers a better idea of your work experience.

Team based working environment is common in modern companies, so foreign companies will be examining if you can fit in and adapt to their foreign employees. By creating a cultural sensitive resume, you will show foreign employers that you have done your homework and are willing to adapt to the new working enviroment, this will give you a leg up when you’re looking for international opportunities .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Logos in Resumes

Humans are visual creatures, so adding a small, tasteful logo will draw the interest of your employer and encourage them to read on. When considering what type of logo or small graphics to incorporate into your resume, think what type of images are synonymous with your industry. For teachers it maybe an image of a book, for scientist it maybe an image of a beaker. Try to choose classy images and stay away from images that are too bold or big, it will distract readers from the content of your resume.

If you are part of a trade organization or have a certain professional designation, consider using their logos to add professionalism to your resume. Using a trade organization logo will show employers that you are in the loop for your industry. Professional designation logos will reinforce your competencies in employer’s minds. Make sure you have permission and that you are actually part of the trade organization or have the professional designation which your logo comes from. Lies will always come back to haunt you.

If you are not part of a trade organization or do not possess a professional designation, then you may want to choose a small graphical image to increase the visual appeal of your resume. A small graphical image can add flair to your resume if done correctly. Choose a tasteful image that does not invite controversy. Remember, graphics in a resume are meant to enhance your resume, they are not meant to be the main focal point of your resume. Choose an image that is understated and relevant to your industry.

Logos and small graphical images can help your resume stand out from most resumes, since most resumes are text only. Choose carefully and you will be rewarded with a visually striking resume.   

Monday, July 12, 2010

Resume Letterheads

You don’t want your perspective employer to scour your entire resume in order to find information on how to contact you for a job interview. Make it easy for your employers to find your contact information, create a letter head. A letter head contains all your contact information in an easy to read and locate block. It would contain your name, phone number, email and your mailing address. Creating a letterhead for your resume will allow employers to easily locate all your contact information that he/she needs to contact you.

While email is quickly becoming the standard way that employers contact perspective job applicants, the telephone is probably the most common point of contact. Include your cell phone number, home phone number and voice mail. Voice mail is common in many telephone packages and if you don’t have voice mail, seriously consider getting it, because there are many scenarios when picking up a phone call may be inappropriate. Don’t bank on the fact employers will give you a second chance and call back .Create a classy voice mail message, avoid novelty voice mail messages as it may project the wrong image to your employer.  

Having an email address in the modern economy is a must, because it’s the preferred mode of communication for many firms. Most email addresses are free so there is no excuse for not having one. You may want to create a new email address just for you professional life. The benefit of doing so is that you can have a professional email address, instead of your default address that you circulate in your social life. Simply using your first and last name will be more than sufficient. Avoid the use of your current employers email address.

By including all commonly use contact points in an easy to read block, you are making it easy for employers to contact you. Easy is the key word, if an employer prefers to use email and you don’t include your email address, most employers will simply pass on you instead of going out of their way to contact you.  Letterheads may seem trivial, but tackling the fundamentals will serve us better then deploying many fancy tricks in creating a successful resume. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paper Your Resume is Printed On

Your resume is something that you put a lot of time on (hopefully), it’s something that you carefully plan, edited, and tortured over. Most people put most of their time on the content and the visual appeal of their resume, and rightful so, those areas are critical for a successful resume. But, what most people neglect is the paper their precious resume is printed on. Use a cheap paper stock and it can give your resume an unimportant feeling, something that can be abused or neglected.

On the other hand, if you use high quality paper it can give your resume a feeling of importance, something to be read with care. By printing your resume on high quality paper stock, it signals to the hiring firm that you are serious about this job position and that you are a detailed oriented person .High quality paper stock will make your resume stand out from the crowd, since most people just use average/low grade paper stock to print their resume. Don’t scrimp on the few extra pennies per page, you put a lot of effort in your resume, give your resume the best chance to wow your employer.

When it comes to the color and style of the paper, it’s best to stick with a no frills approach. White or egg shell white is recommended for most resumes and try to avoid themed paper, like paper designed to look like wood. Also, try to use a decent printer to ensure a clean and readable resume.

Talking about paper may seem like a trivial matter, but remember anything that helps your resume stand out from the masses is worth at least some attention. You can spend many years developing the experience and education necessary to compete in the modern economy and many hours crafting the perfect resume, why not spend a few minutes to consider the paper your resume is printed on?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fonts and their role in Resumes

Little attention is usually paid to what type of font is used in a resume, but there are literally thousands of fonts out there and each will give your resume a different tone and feeling. Most people don’t use any dedicated software to create their resume, usually they just fire up Microsoft Word and go at it. But, take the time to check out all the different fonts that are included in Word. Apply a few to your resume and see what kind of an affect it has on your resume. Does the new font make your resume look more professional, modern, cute or classical? Experiment with different fonts, you can always go back and change the font if you do not like the new results.

Take a look at the word resume and see what type of feeling a different font gives you:






When using fonts, try not to use more than two different styles, remember the principle of consistency. Adding more than two fonts will make your resume look like a visually mess. Choose a primary font that you will use for most text, and then maybe decide picking a complementary font that will highlight a certain aspect of your resume. But, always keep in mind the principle of consistency.

If you do decided to go with two different fonts, make sure that you choose two different fonts that complement each other well. You do not want to mix and match a traditional looking font with a bubbly cartoon font. If you are visually challenged and can’t tell what font goes well with what, either find a friend that isn’t visually challenged, or just stick with one font style. For people who are extremely visually challenged and can’t even figure out which one font to use, stick with the classics like Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana. These fonts are familiar with most people, and using them won’t give your resume any extra points, but at least they won’t detract from your resume.

Use boldface sparingly and when you do you boldface, make sure whatever you are boldfacing is truly worth emphasizing. A person who liberally uses boldface not alone creates a resume that is hard to read, but it will cause readers to care less about what is boldfaced. You lose creditability with your readers. Instead, boldface things that you think are truly important and that you want to stick in your readers heads. Things that you want to linger in your readers head. An exception to this is headings; you may want to boldface your headings to create visual divisions in your resume. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Consistent Resume Design part 2

Let us examine the principle of consistency in resume design with a before and after.


 Notice in this resume the inconsistent bullet styles, usage of white space and italicizing. The inconsistencies in this resume create a sense of disjointedness and overall lacks any visual appeal. Notice that this resume tries to convey a lot of information, so the usage of white space becomes especially important. I'm sure we have been to forums where somebody posts a lengthy message with out using adequate spacing; these messages are usually met with a wince and the comment "wall of text". Proper and uniform spacing is much more inviting to the eyes and encourages easy reading. 


Now notice in this resume the uniform usage of bullets and the elimination of italicized words creates a cleaner and much more visually appealing resume. Adequate and uniform spacing is use throughout this resume, so it is much easier to read. When your resume has a lot of information , remember to address the issue of readability with proper and uniform spacing.

Note: The resume examples above is from Resume Magic by Susan Whitcomb, a book that I personally use for learning tips and tricks for improving my own resume. The book is chalk full of useful information and is highly recommended. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Consistent Resume Design

Imagine it is Halloween season and there is only a few more days before the frightful night, you go to visit a vast field of pumpkins in hopes of selecting the perfect pumpkin to turn into the perfect jack-o-latern. Out of the corner of your eyes you spot the most unusual sight, a pink pumpkin ! Without even examining the pink pumpkin or feeling its texture, your attention is grabbed and all the other pumpkins fade into the background. That is the kind of feeling you want to create with a visually stunning resume. A visually stunning resume will leap out of the stack of homogenous resumes and grab your employers attention, and will force them to read your resume with extra care and attention.

What is a visually stunning resume ? How does it look and more importantly how do you create one ? These are not easily answered questions, but I suspect that most people have a good idea at what a visually stunning resume looks like. It is like beauty, hard to describe , but we recongize it when we see it. Take an honest look at your resume, does your resume say, “I’m beautiful, I derserve your attention” ?
In the next several posts, I want to talk about and examine various factors I think will create a visually stunning resume.

The first step to creating a visually stunning resume, is to ensure that your resume has a consistent look, so that your resume won’t look like a jumbled mess.Your resume can’t be beautiful, if it’s ugly. Here is a check list of items that you want to make sure are consistent throughout your resume and that won’t stick out like a sore thumb:
·         Font
·         Line Spacing
·         Usage of Tabs
·         Font Size of Headers and Text
·         Bullet Styles
·         White Space

A common mistake people seem to make, is that they change the format of a certain section of their resume to highlight the section. Sure, changing a sections format will make it standout , but it will make your overall resume look disjointed. That highlighted section will feel out of place and it will lower your resumes overall visual appeal. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Just a Number

Employers may sift through potential resume and applications in a mechanical fashion, but remember that employers are human beings, they want to hire someone they can work with on a day to day basis. Managers hiring for their department will have to see their new employees on a daily basis, so managers look for insight on who you are on a deeper level, beyond just your technical skills. In your resume reveal a little bit about your personality, so that employers can get a better picture of who you are, as a human being.

Do not reveal too much about your personal life or frivolous information, remember, you’re not going on a date. But rather, tell employers about what drives you in your professional life. Do you get a rush of energy when you can finally help a student understand how to do a math problem ? Do you jump with joy as a credit counselor when you can see the stress melt away from a debt stricken client ? These types of extra information provides a more complete picture of who you are as a person. How much information and what kind of information you reveal will depend on the industry you are trying to enter and other factors. Use your personal judgement about how much and what to reveal to employers. 

 Remember, employers hire humans, not machines. Think about the hiring process from your employers perspective, they have to deal with you on a daily basis, eight hours a day, five days a week. Employers will be looking for someone that they can connect and work with, on a personnel level. A great place to put personal information, is in the cover letter. 

Cover letters are designed to be less rigid and restricting then a resume, so use this opportunity to paint a more complete image of who you are. If an employer can appreciate you on a human level, half the battle will be won. They will “like” you, and maybe even be willing to over look the fact that your technical background may not be as strong as other applicants.

Humans are ruled by emotions more often than not, so work this to your advantage. Paint an image of a person people want to work with on a personal level. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Objective Statements

Including an objective statement is common among resumes, but how often have you taken a close look at what your objective statement actually means and what it says about you ? Normally, objectives are almost thought as a given and that some form of an objective statement must be included in a professional resume. But, most objective statements are self-centered and extremely generic. Not only are most objective statements generic, but they also take up prime real estate on resumes, either located at the top or the center of the resume. The real estate on your resume is a precious resource, don’t waste it with generic tripe that will be glanced over by employers with rolling eyes.

Most objective statements begin something like this, “ Hope to obtain a position that will challenge me to reach my full potential and will  lead to advancement opportunities”. Now there are a few things wrong with these types of objective statements. First, they are self centered. Remember, applying for a job is basically trying to sell yourself to the employers, so do not try to focus your objective statement on yourself. Focus on what you offer to the firm and how you can make their lives easier and more profitable. Second, these types of objective statements invite employers to quickly scan or just skip your objective statement entirely, because they are boring and your employer has probably seen hundreds of objective statements that say the same thing.

Every inch of your resume is a precious resource, because it can potentially lead you to the jobs of your dream , or another day scouring the online job boards, so do not even waste an inch of it. Design an objective statement that focuses on your employers needs, sell yourself, sell your benefits. Ask yourself, what and how does this position help the firm ? Then position your objective statement to match the firms needs.
If the position is IT support, explain how your goal or objective is to effectively use your experience to maintain a smooth network and to aggressively protect the integrity of the firms data. This type of objective statement explains exactly how your goals match the needs of the firm, which will make them excited about you, “Finally after thousands of resumes, we finally found somebody that has the goals that we seek !”, they will say.

Hopefully this post will encourage you to examine the often neglected objective statement and to better position your resume to sell yourself to employers.  

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Skimmable Material

“Location, Location, Location” is the mantra of the real estate world, but it is equally true for your resume. Employers will concentrate their attention at the top of your resume and quickly scan and work their way down, so it makes sense to put the most attention grabbing statements at the beginning of your resume. Employers, like the rest of modern society, have short attention spans that can be measured in milliseconds, so don’t put information at the top of your resume that does not serve to immediately grab employer’s attention.

Instead place skimmable material at the bottom of your resume and in list form, allowing skimmable material to be easily scaned by employers. What are skimmable material ? Well what is important to your employer may vary by industry, so take a close look at your resume and decide what are the crucial attention grabbing statements and what can be considered skimmable . Some suggestions are : Travel, Language, Voluntary work, Hobbies.

Do not put your skimmable material in long lengthy paragraphs with full sentences, this would discourage employers from reading the last few inches of your resume. Rather, point form, list driven  format, will encourage employer to take a quick scan at your peripheral information. Listing Peripheral information at the bottom not only frees up valuable real estate for more important information, but it will also provide a flushed out image of who you are, outside your skill set. By providing information on your travel and hobbies at the end , it will give employers a feeling for who you are and if you will make a good fit in the organization.

Start closely examining your resume and rearrange information according to the real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location”, and you will have a much more effective resume.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

5 Words to Motivate Employers to Hire You

Here are 5 words that will make an impact in your potential employer’s minds and are almost universal to all industries.  These words give employers reasons to hire you over the next guy and answer the question of “what do you exactly bring to the firm?” 

1.    Revenue Generator: All firms love to hear that you have generated revenue for your past employers, so highlight any revenue you have made for you past firms. You can state the amount generated as a %, if the amount is numerically small, but high relative to the firms overall revenue. This is most applicable if you have worked for small businesses in the past. The reverse if often true, if you have worked in a large corporation , the amount of revenue you have generated for your large employer may be small in % terms , but large in numerical terms, so list it in numerical terms.

2.    Saved Money: Saving money is one half of the profit equation, so this is an attractive point to mention in your resume. Once again, list the amount saved for your previous firm in the most impactful way, either numerical or in % terms. Make sure to be explicit on how you have actually saved money for your previous firms. Mention the fact that you have found a more cost effective overseas vendor or how you implemented a more efficient inventory management system for your previous firms.

3.    Expanded into New Markets: Expanding into new markets is different from generating revenue, you can generate additional revenue from sucking dry the existing market that your firm is in, but how sustainable it future growth ? By listing how you have helped your previous firms expand into new markets, shows that you have experience in offering sustainable growth to the firms you work for. Sustainable growth is even more important to private firms who are not pressured by shareholders for quarterly growth and can cast a long term view when making business decisions.

4.    Built Strategic Relationships: Strategic Relationships have become crucial in the modern interconnected global economy. Strategic relationships can translate into important competitive advantages and by listing explicitly what relationships you have built and how you have built them, is extremely attractive to employers. Employers love to know you can be an ambassador for the firm and can conduct yourself properly in a social setting. Not everyone has the personality that can allow them to network easily and this maybe just the edge you need over the next guy.

5.    Improved Public Image: Information travels at a blistering pace in the current business environment and employers are concerned about how the public perceives their firm. Just ask BP. So an employee that can handle the public and improves the firm’s public image, adds value to the firm. The skill set that is required to field public inquires or to launch public image improvement initiatives is not common, so even if you only got your previous firms to sponsor a local marathon run, list it as an attempted to add value to the firm through improved public image.   

Friday, July 2, 2010

Functional Resumes

Most of us are only familiar with one type of resume, the chronological resume, which lists your work experience and other important work related information in chronological order, starting with your most recent work experience. The chronological resume is the most common, but it does not mean it’s necessarily the best.

Functional resumes are a popular alternative to chronological resumes, and rather than list your work experience in chronological order, functional resumes groups categorically your work experience and skills.
So why would somebody want to group their work experience categorically instead of chronologically ? Well there are a number of reasons, but the main reason is that people will take many tangents in their career paths. Many people know , or maybe you are, an individual that has worked in a variety of countries and preformed a variety of jobs.

Imagine a young graduate who has backed packed across Asia or Europe for a few years and have picked up a variety of jobs on the way , such as an English teacher, ski instructor, farm labor...etc. You start to understand why a chronological resume would not make sense for these types of individuals. Their resume will lack focus and make it hard for employers to zero in on the work experience and skills that are relevant for the job.

The Functional resume would group together and present work experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a teaching job, it would make sense to group together your teaching experience and omit the year you spent in Greece making olive oil.  The Functional resume does a good job at hiding gaps within your resume and/or that you have job hopped in the past few years.

Many workers are currently unable to find work in the field of their choice, and are forced to work at a job that is unrelated to the industry they want to work in, in order to pay the bills. It would not make sense to mention this tangent on your resume and have to explain why you are in your current situation. Don’t give a reason for employers to think negative thoughts about you, such as “ was he forced to work at his current job because he was not good enough to find work in the industry ?”.    

Thursday, July 1, 2010

5 Ways to Improve your Resume

1. Emphasize Results : Employers want to hire you so that you can make an impact on their bottom line and one of the easiest ways you can convince them that you can, is by emphasizing your results. Write about how you helped your previous firms generate revenues, cut cost or improved in some way that benefited their bottom line . Make sure to write these results down in a high impact manner, such as a 26 percent increase in revenue or $160,000 increase in annual profit. Listing your results will make you seem like a result driven individual and what firm doesn’tlove that ?

2. Build a Brand : Don’t be a “Jack of all Trades”, rather, build a brand around your core competency. Many firms look for specialize skills, so emphasize those skills; it will make you look like a focused individual with expert knowledge. For an example, don’t be just an economist, be a recession economist, don’t be a graphics designer be an Adobe Illustrator graphics designer. Sure it may seem like you are boxing yourself in, but you will leap out from the piles of resume that require specific expertise.

3. Use Keywords: As a result of getting thousands of resumes, medium to large sized employers are using databases and resume screening software to filter junk and miss matched resumes. They accomplished this by scanning for keywords within your resumes, so make sure you know and weave these keywords into your resumes. Take the time to carefully scan several key job postings in your industry and see what the important keywords are, then logically incorporate them into your resume.

4. Proofreading : I’ve mention in my previous posting that a simple spelling mistake or an obvious grammatical error can discredit you quickly as sloppy and/or incompetent prospect, so take the time to weed out these silly mistakes. Proofreading can also mean carefully examining your resume to see if there are any unnecessary information that does not support your application. Traditionally, resumes have been no more than two pages.

5. Graphic Design: Let’s face it, most people do judge the book by its cover, so take the time to design an eye catching resume. This does not mean choosing radical colors or using incomprehensible fonts (well maybe for a job that involves great artistic and creative energy). Rather, think about how Apple designs their products: clean, elegant and attractive. That’s what you want. Remember sometimes less is more and when in doubt, choose a more conservative design. Design your resumes to suit the field you are trying to enter.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Resumes as Liabilities

The sad fact that medium/big sized organizations usually receive thousands of resumes competing for a single position, usually means that your resume will not be reviewed by the hiring manger, rather a junior staff member from the HR department, or even worse, a computer program will be examining your carefully planned resume. The task of reviewing a mountain of resumes will not be met with great joy, rather the junior staff member who is stuck with this job will find any reason to quickly reject your resume so that he can quickly dwindle down the great stack. This means the slightest error (spelling, grammar , etc ) will result in your resume being abandoned into the forgotten abyss of the waste basket.

Don’t be na├»ve to think that resume reviewers will give you the benefit of the doubt. When you scan your resume and come across any sections that has you thinking “well he should know what I mean” / “it’s obvious what I mean here”, quickly rewrite that section so that even a three year old can understand what you mean. Think about it, if your resume is the 349th resume that day that somebody had to read, they won’t take the extra second to pause and think “hmmm what does this person mean here ?” , rather they will be thinking “next !”.

So don’t give reviewers this opportunity ! Dot your I’s and cross those T, take the extra time to carefully scan your resume and recruit a few trust worthy people to cross examine your resume to make sure that no silly mistakes exist. Reading your resume out loud will also help you spot some common grammatical errors. Creating a successfully resume can take hours of hard work and careful thought, so don’t let these tiny mistakes undo you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creating Excitement through a Detailed Resume

Creating excitement and interest from your resume readers is one of the sure fire ways to stand out from the heaps of generic resumes that employers go through on the daily basis. One the best ways to create excitement is to be specific about your accomplishments and to supply ample details about those accomplishments. Take for example:

I’ve played tennis in the past


I’ve played tennis in the past, with Roger Federer, in front of the Queen of England, at Wimbledon.

That’s much more interesting and exciting ! Now to be fair, that is an extreme example and I am sure if anybody had those qualifications, they would make sure to list it in detail. But, the point is that specifics and details breathes life into an often dreary list of accomplishments and it creates a much more vivid picture of who you are and what you can do for their organization. Let’s examine a more realistic example:

Experienced Network administrator responsible for maintaining computer hardware and software.


Experienced Network Administrator responsible for implementing Microsoft’s SharePoint software platform, allowing companywide collaborative web publishing under a single server.

The second description provides a much better idea to employers what this person actually did at their previous job and makes the perspective job applicant seem like a real person rather than just words on a paper. So, take a closer look at your accomplishments and figure out how you can add some specifics and details to your accomplishments to get employers genuine interested and excited about you. Hopefully that interest and excitement can translate to a successful job interview.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Post and Pray

Post and pray has become the new mantra for the thousands of new graduates hoping to get that ever elusive job interview. Post and pray refers to the phenomenon of job seekers posting generic resume en mass to every job posting that they think they have shot at, even if they are qualified or not. Thanks to the growth of internet job boards, there is virtually no cost or effort associated with sending a resume in response to a job posting. In prehistoric times, a job seeker at least had to print out a stack of resume and physically had to drive to companies to hand them off. This expenditure of both ink and effort made job seekers think twice about applying for a job that they are under qualified and/or have no passion for. Fast forward to the internet age and the advent of emails and job boards has lead even freshly minted business students to apply for senior executive positions.

Post and pray had lead to a glut of generic resumes that have turned employers wary of wading through literally tens of thousands of resumes, you can’t blame them for not giving your template resume the time and the day. Even worst, many desperate job seekers are employing commercial resume blasting services that are even more indiscriminate about which job posting they reply to. No wonder most job seekers never hear anything back from employers, not even a rejection notice.

To stand out from the piles of generic resume, I believe it’s crucial to create a targeted resume that may be uniquely designed for a specific company that you are interested in. Yes, this would require much more effort than just filling in a few boxes and having some software spit out a generic template resume, but that is exactly the point. You want to show employers that you have put considerable consideration and effort in responding to their job posting. If you don’t show them that consideration, why should they do the same for your resume?

The willingness to go that extra mile will make allow you to stand out from the masses and for the internet age, standing out has become more important than ever. Don’t try to simply play the numbers game.

Grim future for new graduates

New graduates in the coming year, like myself, are faced with an ugly job market unseen in decades. True, the dot com bust of the 2000’s created large scale job lost, but that was mainly concentrated in the tech sector. Currently, new graduates are facing a tidal wave of unemployed workers from the recent recession , many which have more experience and qualifications then us new graduates, and as each semesters passes another new crop of graduates will enter the job market to compete with the already dry job market. Let’s not forget that the current recession has created an ever more competitive environment for businesses and as a result they are tightening up their purses and looking for the cheapest skilled labor they can find. Usual that means outsourcing as much as they can to citizens of developing countries who are willing to work pennies on the dollar. Not too long ago, a new graduate with a shiny new degree from a reputable institution, graduated with a sense of excitement and the feeling that they can conquer the business world. Those days seem to be in the past, the distant past.

So what is a new graduate suppose to do given such a competitive job market ? Having good contacts and networking has always been the safest bet to landing that cushy job, but that is not always an option. Usually the first contact employers have with a potential applicant is through their resume, so it has become more crucial than ever to develop a AAA resume that catches people’s attention and holds it. Trying to land the dream job with a generic and obvious template created resume will not work when employers are swamped with hundreds of similar looking resume ( come to think about it, I’m not sure it has ever worked). I created this blog, in hopes to share with my fellow new graduates any techniques I learn and come by in the area of resume creation, so that we can all land that dream job we have been imaging during late night cram sessions. If not a dream job, hopefully something half decent so that we can begin to pay down that student loan !