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Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

Target skills/background for each position

This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

Re-visit keywords for each position

Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

Include a summary section

A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

Use standard software

Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Aim for one page

Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

Do not lie

Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

Use action verbs

They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

Visual appeal is a must

You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

Be clear about job titles

So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

Be really brief

Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

Perfect grammar and spelling

Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

Avoid gimmicks

Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

Graphics should fit the company culture

It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

Never state salary

Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

Don’t address negatives

If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

Add links

Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

Update consistently

It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

No tag lines

Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

Do not abbreviate

The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

Posted April 09, 2016 by

5 resume writing tips for recent graduates

Resume writing tips written on notebook courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Irrespective of the profession, when it comes to finding a suitable job, candidates need well written resumes to present themselves as the most suitable candidates in front of prospective employers. The document provides brief information about education, skills, and prior work experience candidates may possess. It is equally important for job seekers without making any discrimination on the basis of education, skills, experiences, and the nature of the job. It is necessary for individuals searching for senior positions or entry-level vacancies.

People have several misconceptions about resume writing, about including and excluding things, and formatting. Such misconceptions can be easily rectified after observing templates available on the web. But the real battle starts when new college graduates or individuals lacking the relevant job experience are writing resumes to brand themselves to employers. Nearly all new graduates start complaining that their resumes fail to create the right impression and are unable to help them to get a job interview call. 90% of the applicants think they are not being selected due to possessing zero or limited experience.

Although education and level of expertise matters to get good jobs with high status and to some extent, it is also a requirement for entry-level jobs. Obviously, no one will hire job seekers with inadequate and irrelevant education. Recent graduates might be experiencing the same situation. Despite possessing the relevant education and internship experiences, if grads are experiencing the same situation, they will actually need to recheck their resumes to know what they are missing.

Here are a few simple resume writing tips recent graduates have to keep in mind while creating their resumes to get internships or entry-level jobs in their relevant career fields.

1. Start with your personal information

Carefully, start by adding personal information like your full name, contact number, address, and an email address you check on a regular basis. Avoid misspelling these credentials, as they can be mistyped more frequently.

2. Write an effective objective statement

The career objective section is crucially important, and it should be added just after the contact credentials. In addition to placing it correctly, the objective must be very concise, covering the key components like the position you are applying for, the profession, and the most relevant skills. It enables your resume to stand out among the hundreds and thousands of resumes an employer might be sifting through.

3. Sensibly add educational information

Being recent graduates, the education section on their resumes is extremely important. Some candidates might not possess internship experience, and all they have are their degrees and certifications. Recruiters usually short-list candidates for entry-level and internship positions on the basis of their educational qualifications. Therefore, candidates must be very careful while adding and organizing educational information on their resumes. Start by adding the most recent degree and also mention the net GPA if it is three or more; don’t add the GPA if it is less than three. It’s better to mention the GPA of particular major if it is high enough. Don’t add unnecessary information about high school; instead, concentrate on current activities, work experiences, and accomplishments during college.

4. Consider adding the link of your professional profile

Although recent graduates are not classifying themselves into professional groups, they shouldn’t hesitate to create professional profiles on any of the suitable websites like LinkedIn. Grads are in the process of starting careers as professionals and should not underestimate themselves. Adding their professional profile links or portfolio links, in case they have made them during or after college, will portray a positive image of graduates’ personalities. It reveals they are eager to become professionals, and possess an innate love for specific career fields.

5. Use action verbs over pronouns

Don’t use first person or second person to describe yourself in a resume. Refrain using “I” or “me”. Also avoid using your name to talk about yourself in third person like “Anna is a fresh graduate” or “she is willing to join.” The best way to illustrate skills and accomplishments is using a few action verbs like created, developed, or managed under the heading of the department where someone might have worked. They give a natural tone to job seekers’ documents. Recruiters are well aware that candidates applying for entry-level jobs either don’t have work experience or that they lack the experience required to a vital job.

After considering these simple tips and tricks, recent graduates will be able to write effective resumes to obtain desirable entry-level jobs according to their educational qualifications.

For more resume writing tips to benefit your job search, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of Jenessa Baxter

Jenessa Baxter, guest writer

Author Bio: Jenessa Baxter is a Digital Marketer for Ultimate Recruitment Agency in Dubai. She writes about HR recruitment tips, leadership, HR management, and career consulting. Follow her on twitter @iamjenessabax

Posted November 18, 2015 by

Resume and cover letter secrets to help you land job interviews and offers

Finding a new job requires job seekers to present themselves in the best manner. Two key documents in job searches include resumes and cover letters. These documents work together to secure the job interview and, hopefully, desired job offers. The following webinar, Resume and cover letter secrets to help you land more job interviews and offers, discusses differences between resumes and cover letters, shares resume and cover letter tips, and offers additional advice to job seekers. (more…)

Posted July 15, 2015 by

Caring for Your Cover Letter – 6 Tips for Success

Have you given much thought to writing a cover letter when applying for a job?  If not, you may want to think again.  Your cover letter supports your resume, but it also allows you to go into more detail about why you are the best candidate for a job.   Even if you are not required to have one, creating a quality cover letter can help you stand out from the competition.  Show how much you care about your cover letter by following these tips. (more…)

Posted June 26, 2015 by

How to Submit the Perfect Job or Internship Application

3 Her Campus co-founders

From left to right: Windsor Hanger Western, Annie Wang, and Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, 3 Her Campus co-founders

Applying for jobs and internships can be an incredibly stressful experience. So much is riding on the applications that we either begin to overanalyze every step of the process, or we freak out and submit as many applications as we can, as quickly as possible, without reviewing our materials properly.

Instead of going crazy over the application process, just follow the simple steps outlined below to ensure that you’re presenting your best self in all of the materials that you submit. Trust us, this process can actually be stress-free! (more…)

Posted August 07, 2014 by

Want to Write a Winning Resume to Impress Recruiters? Try this New Formula

Most job seekers understand that an impressive resume can get the attention of recruiters.   To achieve this goal, the following post suggests a new formula that just might help.

I’ve read hundreds of articles on job searching… possibly even topping a thousand. By far, the one topic talked about most in these articles: resumes. And many of these articles recommend the use of action verbs, quantification and the direct impact of your contributions. The goal: to show you did something that contributed directly to the

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Posted August 06, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, Need Help Writing Resumes for Jobs? 10 Tips that Will Get Them Noticed

In order for recent college graduates to write resumes for jobs that recruiters and employers will notice, they should consider applying these 10 tips to their documents in the following post.

Your resume provides employers with the relevant information they need to decide whether to invite you for an interview, or not. But first, a recruiter has to be impressed enough to actually read your resume. And for that to happen, your document must be focused and concise; in just a few seconds, it must project you as a candidate

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Posted August 01, 2014 by

“Activate” Your Cover Letter

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

Many job seekers drown their cover letters in dense paragraphs, long-winded sentences, and roundabout explanations. They write two words when one would do, a paragraph when a sentence would be perfect, a description when a phrase would make the point.

Imagine the expression on the employer’s face when he receives a cover letter such as this:

I have spent the last seven years developing and executing a plan of action that included holding communication classes for new employees, making sure they are onboard with the company’s policy, based on my ability to bring more clarity to management’s relationship with foreign partners, and also helping middle and upper management get along better when they are having a difference of opinion regarding a matter of some importance to the welfare of the company. (more…)

Posted June 23, 2014 by

Résumé Writing for New Grads

Laura Brown, PhD

Laura Brown, PhD

You’re graduating — congratulations on your achievement! If you’re like most new grads these days, though, you’re probably not spending a lot of time resting on your laurels — you’re on to the next big challenge in life: finding your first full-time permanent job. Your résumé is the centerpiece of your job application. Although many new grads worry their résumés are too brief to tell a good story about them, don’t worry — no one expects you to show 20 years of work experience on your résumé. Even if you have little or no relevant work experience, you can still create an impressive résumé that will catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. (more…)

Posted June 20, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, Are You Keeping Track of Accomplishments on Your Jobs? Why It is a Good Idea

On their jobs, recent college graduates might want to consider keeping up with their career accomplishments.  Learn some reasons why in the following post.

Every professional should keep an up-to-date list of his or her accomplishments, responsibilities and results. Academic advisors sometimes call this a “brag sheet,” and they draw from it when writing recommendations for students. Keeping a list of your professional accomplishments serves a similar purpose. This list acts as a repository that you can

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