1/30/08

How to Write a Resume

Hello Everyone, Here's a little background on me; I used to be a recruiter that worked with large Fortune 500 companies. While working there I learned the ins and outs of HOW TO GET A JOB! One of my duties was to log in to various job posting sites and review resumes. Here's how it works...I type keywords in a search engine along with any requirements (degree, location, etc) and the engine pops up with tons of listings for me. The listings on top are the ones that MATCH my specific keywords the most! (KEYWORDS, KEYWORDS, KEYWORDS find out what keywords your target job is using including software or techincal keywords!) These keywords are show up highlighted all over the users resume like candy!

I then spent hours upon hours SCANNING different resumes. Saving the info of my favorite candidates to contact later. Here's what I've learned from my experiences.

Rules for getting your resume noticed:

1. SPELLING!! If you have grammatical/spelling errors or typos in your resume I may pass on contacting you! Now one or two errors and I may let it slide but 3 or more FORGET IT! I can't afford to recommend someone for an interview if they're not good at communicating. Everything job involves writing so if you can't write yourself a proper resume...that tells me you might not be able to create documents in the workplace. You have spell check...USE IT!

2. TOO MUCH INFO!! I can't tell you how many resumes I've come across that were CLUTTERED and had everything the person had ever done on there. I mean they put that they worked at Pizza Hut as a teenager! Cut back on the content just put your 4 most recent positions and for the rest put the title and company name (only if it is relevant to the position you're applying to).

3. NOT ENOUGH INFO!! If you have ONE sentence to describe 1 year's worth of work... you're not trying hard enough! Lots of people don't know what to put on their resumes so they make it short and simple. However there is such a thing as TOO short and TOO simple! Find a good balance.

4. WORTHLESS INFO!! I have an example of a resume...the candidate was looking for a Program Manager position. This person had down as one of their accomplishments "set up pizza night". Now to make it worse, she was the CO-FOUNDER of the group. I think she could have found something more prestigious then pizza night! This is your BROCHURE if you make a crappy brochure no one will buy you!

5. STRUCTURE!! A good structure WILL help your resume get noticed. Remember you are competing with possibly hundreds of candidates per job you apply to. Your resume MUST be easy to scan! It needs to have a flow to it. Those of you that write paragraphs instead of bullets for your work experience make it harder to be scanned. That's the last thing you want is to be passed up because someone didn't feel like reading!

6. ITS ALL IN THE TITLE!! Titles these days are a joke LITERALLY!! A lot of the managers that I worked with couldn't figure out what to call the position. They would "just pick something" sometimes they'd ask me what to call it. On the flip side when we've called peoples last employer to verify most of the time title was never mentioned or DIDN'T MATTER. The only place a title matters is ONE YOUR RESUME! Therefore research the positions on your resume and see if there's a similar title that is "fancier". For instance in most cases Administrative Assistant and Project Coordinator are the SAME position. Which title do you like better? Now if you change your title from Admin to VP well then that's lying. There are alternate titles for your position find the best one for your resume.

7. DROP THE WORTHLESS SKILLS!! About 70% of the resumes I come across list in their skill set MS WORD!! I'm sorry even if I'm looking for an administrative assistant I don't want to see that. If you list software’s or software suites please list them accurately. Microsoft Office includes Outlook, Word, Access, Excel, and etc therefore you only need to list MS Office. If the software is basic or common don't list it! You don't have to have a skills area.

8. OBJECTIVE!! You don't need to put what your objective is especially if you don't know what it is! Try typing an introduction instead!

9. EDUCATION: If you don't have a prestigious degree...put your degree last. Only highlight a degree if you've graduated with honors or from a prestigious school.

10. FORGET WHAT THEY TELL YOU!! I've heard all of these different resume rules such as: Make your resume 1 page, write your resume in present tense blah, blah, blah! Sometimes you need your resume to be longer than one page! These days not many people care what TENSE you write in. The purpose of a resume is to HIGHLIGHT your accomplishments!!

11. CHANGE THAT EMAIL ADDRESS!! I've seen several funny email addresses on resumes. I won't take you seriously if your email is sunflwr@ fill in the blank! Invest in an email address with your name in it! I suggest you create an email address SPECIFICALLY for job searching. This way you won't miss an opportunity and your future employer can't look up your myspace!

12. DELETE PERSONAL INFORMATION!! I don't need to know that you like knitting on long winter nights. Delete all personal information from your resume. If someone thinks knitting is stupid or a waste of time they'll judge you. That's the last thing you need! Keep your hobbies to your self at least until after they hire you.

I found that people worry more about is my resume ACURATE then they do about DOES IT SELL ME!! This is not the government....I don't care if you're off by a month on your start and end dates. I don't care where you did what. I don't care what you did in any of your positions. All I care about is CAN YOU DO THIS JOB?

Also here's a little bit about employment verification. When we call your previous employer (using the number you gave us) all we can verify is date of employment and title along with salary nothing else!! I usually only called the last employer that you worked for, maybe if ever the last 2 employers. I can’t look up your social, I don’t have magical powers. When we do take your social and do background we’re looking for criminal NOT VERIFYING YOUR RESUME! Half the time we didn’t even verify degrees and if everything else checks out but we were unable to verify your degree we let it slide. So stop worrying about facts and write your BROCHURE! Like I said unless you’re applying for a government position nobody cares if your resume is accurate.

I will look for sample resumes to use as examples. Just remember, what I'm looking for in your resume is can you do the job I have open? If it’s not on your resume then I don't think you can do it! This is a brochure about YOU! How do you want it to look?

4 comments:

Cogitator said...

Thank you for creating this blog. By far your suggestions have been really useful. I'm in the job search process and looking forward to your future suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you say, but can't agree with the employment verification! These days, if you are applying on-line, you have to fill out an application that asks for dates. It would be stupid to ruin your chances of a job because you lied on dates.

Paypy.com said...

Anonymous....thank you for your comment. Let me clear things up. As I stated above an Employer CAN VERIFY your DATES of employment! Also I never encourage lying of any form.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Advice

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Advice gave me some very valuable resume advice -- some of it common sense -- but something most people don't think of! You need to make the resume "juicy" as Mrs. Advice suggests -- no boring detailed job descriptions. Tell your story -- WHO are you? What are you great at? Thanks, Mrs. Advice! I'll let you know when get a job which should be sooner than later with my revamped marketing tool!!!