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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 April 01, 2016 by

Using LinkedIn and Twitter for college recruiting

Social media icons Linkedin, Twitter, etc. on smartphone screen close up courtesy of Shutterstock.com

quka/Shutterstock.com

Social media can be a valuable tool in college recruiting. With many college students and recent graduates on social media, college recruiters could find the best job candidates and learn more about them. LinkedIn and Twitter are two social networking websites that benefit recruiters. Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry, discusses both sites from a recruiter’s perspective and offers advice to college students and recent grads.

“LinkedIn continues to be the top social media platform to recruit college graduates. We are surprised how many recent graduates aren’t jumping on this platform until graduation time, and that’s usually after they learn how hard it is to find good employers to work for. We recommend graduates set up their LinkedIn profiles about two years before graduation. On their profiles, graduates should note they’re seeking internships and also when they are graduating. Many recruiting firms and people working in talent acquisition in corporations will connect with recent grads and bookmark for them later.

Another common way good recruiters pickup candidate leads is on Twitter. This is usually done through content marketing, where a piece of content is put in front of the target market. Sometimes, we add a job posting on Twitter or an article such as “millennial resume mistakes,” and we pick up many leads from recent graduates seeking employment. New graduates need to keep their heads on a swivel; on social media they are going to find opportunities flashing by their faces even when they’re not looking. Ultimately, this is really how social media works when attracting college graduates for this generation. Grads may be following the Yelp \ Talia Jane trend on Twitter and then see a job posting roll through their feeds, so pay attention.”

Want more advice on using social media for college recruiting? Follow our blog to learn more about the best practices in college recruiting and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry

Amera Fattah, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry

Amera Fattah is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Eventistry – a Metro Detroit event and creative services company. A graduate of Oakland University, she achieved her Bachelors of Arts in Communication and Public Relations with a concentration in biology. She began her career in marketing and media relations and has worked across multiple industries ranging from non-profit organizations, medical technology, real estate, and career services. She is also a board member of the The Art Experience, a non-profit organization dedicated to art therapy of underprivileged and special needs people. Amera is an avid social media specialist and has a passion for marketing, media relations, and creative services with a history of diverse work experiences and focus on millennial entrepreneurship.

Posted April 24, 2015 by

5 most common mistakes of visual resumes

Curriculum vitae with special modern design

Curriculum vitae with special modern design. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Just because visual resumes are all the rage now, it doesn’t mean that the method is flawless. In fact, there are many things that can go wrong once you opt for showcasing your professional profile in this way. Here are five most common visual resume mistakes to watch out for when creating and sending out your crafted CV. (more…)

Posted July 09, 2014 by

How Your Resume Can Sell You in Your Entry Level Job Search

Have you thought about how to write a resume that sells you as the best candidate for an entry level job?  In the following post, learn how your resume can show potential employers that you’re more than just someone with a degree.

It’s July and you’re all set to graduate this summer and enter the working world. But, although your resume may show you’ve been a star performer academically, when it comes to work experience, it’s looking decidedly thin on the ground. Before you start your job search, here are five ways to make an “experience-lite” resume feel more

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Posted May 08, 2014 by

Does Your Resume for an Entry Level Job Include These 10 Common Mistakes?

Young entry level job seekers can hurt their chances to find employment if they make any of these 10 common mistakes in the following post.

In the past year or so, I have seen 200 to 300 resumes written by college students. Based on that experience and my interactions with recruiters and other career advisers, one thing is clear: just about everyone makes the same mistakes. This is not a scientific survey by any means. However, ranked by frequency I submit to you the top

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Posted March 28, 2014 by

4 Written Tips To Make A Portfolio Work On You

Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos

When I was a graduate and tried to find a job, my main mistake was to send the same resume everywhere I could. Why was it a mistake? Because hundreds of thousands of people did the same, and this ugly truth did not give me any chance to differ from all of them anyhow. When I realized this fact, I started to think how could I make my resume different from others, and make HR managers notice it and invite me to a job interview. I searched the Web, and found the tricks some people used to do this: (more…)

Posted February 21, 2014 by

Don’t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing Resumes for Entry Level Jobs

College graduates, if you want to make a good impression with your resumes, be sure to avoid five common mistakes when writing them for entry level jobs that are found in the following post.

Writing a resume is easy. Right? You just type your responsibilities, a few metrics and just the right amount of buzzwords onto a Word doc. And voila, send that resume to every job posting you find. Wrong! Resumes are strategic marketing communications that must be created thoughtfully… and with some oomph…

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Posted January 31, 2013 by

5 Elements of a Mediocre Resume – Hello Again, Trash Can …

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

Has a lackluster resume response rate left you wondering if your resume or the job market is to blame for your shortage of interviews? Take a quick look at my list of five basics of a mediocre resume to help determine if your resume is to blame for your interview famine. (more…)

Posted December 27, 2012 by

10 Kisses Of Death for a Resume

CollegeRecruiter.comBefore sending out your resume(s) to prospective employers, you need to make sure that it is flawless.  Any little mistake can cost you the chance for a job interview.  The following post has ten resume mistakes that may keep you from consideration for a job opportunity.

Resume writing mistakes that ruin your chances

Listen. Is that your phone not ringing? And after sending out 100 resumes, each of them four pages long, powder puffed, enveloped in coral green and sealed with a wax stamp? Maybe it’s time to take stock of that all-important document, and make sure it’s not stumbling around out there with its figurative foot in its mouth. Here’s 10 kisses of death, classic mistakes made in writing a job resume that have been known to keep phones from ringing.

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10 Kisses Of Death for a Resume

Posted December 19, 2012 by

Top 5 Common Resume Mistakes

CollegeRecruiter.comDo you wonder why your resume has not created more interview opportunities?  Perhaps, there are some mistakes you are overlooking like the ones mentioned in the following post.

The following is a guest post by Matthew Ellis. Job seekers often complain that, no matter how many resumes they submit or jobs they apply to, they cannot even elicit a phone call or email response, let alone an interview. If you are one of these people, the problem might be as simple as one of the mistakes

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Top 5 Common Resume Mistakes