Note from Mr. Defined Sight- Today Mrs. Defined Sight unleashes some of her resume knowledge on us. We hope you enjoy and find these tips useful!
Once you make the basic qualification cut in a job application, an awesomely organized, meaty resume is what may determine if you get a call from the hiring official. Many friends and family members have asked me for resume help, and they have either received a phone call for an interview or the job after my suggestions. Since it’s been such a success, and worked for me landing my new career that I love, I decided to put all my tips and tricks together in one place:
Write Your Resume in Essay Form
Vacancy questions are often used in job applications. To promote the fairness and ease of hiring, narrative questions (that require the applicant to write an answer) are usually taken out of the questionnaire. However, here’s the catch: most of the time in your resume, you need to explain how you perform the activity based upon how you answered the question; do not use bullets! (Pause for reflection to re-read the catch, it’s freaking important). Example question, “Rate your experience in working with x activity.” And then the multiple choice answers you can select will be “I have experience and education in this activity, I am considered an expert and can train others.” Or “I have no education in this activity, but have experience and am considered and expert and can train others.” Or “I have education in this activity but no experience.” And so on.
If you select the first choice stating you are an educated expert and can train others, you better be darn sure your resume backs up that statement. I have seen Human Resources personnel toss out applicants who I know are perfectly qualified, but, don’t clearly explain how they performed the activity they stated they were an expert in, or listed their degrees or relevant classes that supported the education and experience in the activity.
Don’t Copy/Paste the Job Announcement in Your Resume
It happens, and for hiring officials, it’s annoying. I can clearly tell an applicant is lazy when they have a generic resume, then, in one giant blob is the verbiage from the job announcement. I can hear the applicant already, “Tada! I’m qualified! I listed everything in the vacancy announcement in my resume!” I would get seriously ticked HR didn’t filter out the worthless resume, and leave it to the hiring official interviewing the applicant to get them to call their bluff. Usually, by following the format of the tip above: getting the applicant to explain, in great detail, a work related experience to back up the activity they stated they were an expert in, would be enough to trip up the lazy, unqualified applicant. However, when copy/paste is in your best interest: using key words. Take the time to realize what the key words are in the announcement and sprinkle them generously throughout your resume like a two year old tossing flower petals down a wedding aisle.
Toot Your Horn
If you have ever done two jobs at once, worked full time while going to school, created a new template or form that created efficiency, volunteered at a pet shelter, served a term as a treasurer at a church, are a school board member or anything else of significant interest, please list that. It demonstrates you can be connected within your community, manage a full workload, and have other priorities outside of work (employers appreciate employees that can separate work and have a personal life). One of the most creative resumes I saw was when a person sprinkled a little personal touch within their professional activities. Such as the person described how they were organized, not only in their work life but also as a mom, meal-planning and food prepping on the weekends, etc. Heck yeah I want to hire someone that has their personal life organized…it’s not going to get in the way of their work life!
List Performance Review Ratings and Awards
This section and on in the resume is when I start condoning bullets. Everything in your resume above, should be in complete sentences. If you’ve been with the place of employment for a long time, you can list this section in order by year, then include rating, monetary award (you don’t need to state value), time-off award, employee of the month, etc.
List Training and Certifications
Really think back over the years if there has been any training at all that you have participated in; from monthly webinars to formal off-site training, certifications, etc.
Be sure to list your degree, place of institution you received it, GPA (if you are proud of it), and year degree earned. If you don’t have a degree, you can create a college coursework section and list all the courses completed here (it’s important if you are stating you have education and experience in activities to list these formal courses, places taken and year). If required in the application, also include your transcripts.
This is such an important section. For references, I recommend a solid list: Current Supervisor (or contact me first line); former Supervisors (from each place of work in the resume); mentor (if you don’t have one or two – you should! or if you were a mentor, list the mentee); professional (is there a current or former coworker that would stand up for you); and personal (the friend that can speak intelligently about you, and not tell your embarrassing moments).
The top of the resume should contain your name, address, phone and email. The following pages can contain your email address and phone number as suggested headers (it’s a psychological reminder for the hiring official to contact the applicant). Then your resume should be built by current job information, experience, former jobs, ratings and awards, training and certifications, degrees and references. In each job, be sure to list title, employer & contact information (address), length of time in position and pay (if required in the announcement). Some applications may require a Supervisor name and phone number to be listed in the job information as well (not just in the references section). If you write a good, beefy resume and have a few years of experience under your belt, your resume should be about 5-7 pages long; I had 10 years of experience and my resume was 7 pages.
Overall, if you are planning to Ditch Your Job Like a Bad Relationship, please take the time to tailor your resume to each job you apply for. I spent about 1-3 hours updating my resume to change out the key words, rearrange the formatting of my experience to first highlight what they are looking for in an applicant, etc. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it; I landed many interviews and was able to be selective in where I wanted to work, who I wanted to work for and what I wanted to do. Please share your resume successes and failures if you have them!