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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

Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

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

Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

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 September 08, 2014 by

14 Phrases Employees Might Appreciate Hearing from their Employers

Business team celebrating success with arms raised

Business team celebrating success with arms raised. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you are an employer looking to increase the morale of your workers, the following post shares 14 phrases your employees might like to hear.

Todd Patkin shares 14 phrases that will help you connect with your employees.

“I need your help.” The age of rule-with-an-iron-fist, top-down leadership is fading fast. More and more, organizations in all industries are realizing that there’s an almost-magical power in the synergy of teams. Here’s how that applies to you: Your employees all have unique skill sets, experiences, and ideas—so tap into them!

“Yes, your employees will be looking to you to steer your company in the right direction, but I promise, they know you’re human, and they don’t expect you to have all the answers,” Patkin comments. “So the next time you’re facing a difficult decision or brainstorming options, ask your team for help. (more…)

Posted September 03, 2014 by

Identify the three secrets of success of an employee

Businesspeople holding white papers in the office that spell Success

Business team holding white papers in the office that spell Success. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Doing things right is not enough to be a model worker, the boss should give more to the company.

Many might think that simply by performing the tasks assigned by his superior, be punctual with work schedules and meet the standards set by the company to be a good employee. Indeed, this concept is not bad. However, if you just want to stand out from their peers and become a future leader in your organization, there are other factors to be taken into account to get your chairman.

As reported in the specialized digital -Issues Management expert Duane Dike, COO Disneyland in California and responsible for managing the hundreds of talented artists in this show, there is a triangle of factors for a leader to develop its functions effectively, and be an example among the rest of their counterparts. (more…)

Posted August 28, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, Would You Like Jobs with Flexible Work Schedules? Here are Some Benefits

Flexible work schedules could be one factor recent college graduates consider when searching for jobs.  The following post shares some benefits of this style of working.

In the business world today, it is no longer necessary to punch the clock in the office or follow the 9-5 principle to be successful and productive. Flexible scheduling is one of the most important employee benefits. Not only employees want it there are quite a few who are negotiating flexible working before accepting the job

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Posted December 03, 2013 by

Survey: Lack of Communication is Biggest Problem Concerning Employee Morale

Better communication in the workplace could provide a boost to how workers feel on the job.

Poor communication may do the greatest harm to workplace morale, suggests a new Accountemps survey. One-third (33 percent) of human resources (HR) managers interviewed said a breakdown in communication is at the heart of most morale problems; almost one in five (18 percent) survey respondents pointed to micromanagement as the biggest factor. Communication also was cited by 38 percent of HR managers as the most effective way to counter low employee morale. (more…)

Posted August 28, 2013 by

Mentors Give Valuable Career Guidance and Help You Meet Your Goals

Smiling businessman with his mentor in the background

Smiling businessman with his mentor in the background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The beginning of your career can be exciting — and terrifying. While you’re getting used to a new job and learning valuable skills, you may still have tons of questions about what you should do in the future and the best way of achieving those goals. Although you most likely won’t find a road map or fortune teller to help you answer these questions, you can find the next best thing: a mentor. Mentors can help guide you as you make important career decisions because they’ve been in your shoes, and have gained knowledge and experience by walking the path you’re on now. (more…)

Posted August 14, 2013 by

Small Businesses Say Biggest Challenge is Finding Skilled Employees

Among the various challenges they face, a majority of small businesses say their biggest challenge is finding skilled workers.  Learn more in the following post.

When it comes to running a successful business, finding a highly skilled team of employees is crucial. But it isn’t always easy. In a recent survey by Robert Half, six in 10 (60 percent) small business owners said the biggest challenge in hiring or managing staff is finding skilled professionals for the job. About one in five (19 percent) cited maintaining employee morale and productivity as the chief concern. (more…)

Posted May 10, 2013 by

Cost to Employer of Bad Hire Exceeds $50,000

Matt Ferguson, CEO of Careerbuilder

Matt Ferguson, CEO of Careerbuilder

A new study shows that hiring the wrong person can have serious implications for companies. More than half of employers in each of the ten largest world economies said that a bad hire (someone who turned out not to be a good fit for the job or did not perform it well) has negatively impacted their business, pointing to a significant loss in revenue or productivity or challenges with employee morale and client relations.

For example, among those reporting having had a bad hire, 27 percent of U.S. employers reported a single bad hire cost more than $50,000. In the Eurozone, bad hires were most expensive in Germany, with 29 percent reporting costs of 50,000 euros ($65,231) or more. In the U.K., 27 percent of companies say bad hire costs more than 50,000 British pounds. Three in ten Indian employers (29 percent) reported the average bad hire cost more than 2 million Indian rupees ($37,150), and nearly half of surveyed employers in China (48 percent) reported costs exceeding 300,000 CNY ($48,734). (more…)

Posted March 19, 2013 by

Does March Madness Boost Morale in the Workplace?

It is that time of year again when college basketball fans brace themselves for March Madness.  However, can all of this excitement affect morale in the office?  Learn more in the following post. (more…)

Posted November 29, 2012 by

Employees on a Morale High

Employers believe their workers are feeling good on the job.

The mood around the office water cooler is generally positive, new research suggests. In an Accountemps survey, nearly four in 10 (39 percent) workers described the morale at their companies as very good. Forty-two percent of people interviewed said workplace morale is somewhat good. (more…)