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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted May 08, 2008 by

Creating the Right Resume for the Right Job

So you’ve recently started searching for jobs in your field and have discovered an opening that matches your qualifications and career goals to a tee. The only problem is that you’re not sure how to create a specific resume for this job.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel this way. In all honesty, you are probably already one step ahead of those who believe that updating a resume is accomplished by adding the most recent employment/school/skill information where appropriate, saving the changes, and sending it on its way. Of course, you’ll need to dig deeper to create a great job-specific resume. So let’s look at a few ways you can get this done.
Study the Job Posting for Keywords
One great way to make the prospective employer feel that you are truly qualified for the position is by studying their job posting. By doing this you can find company-specific skills, job titles, jargon, certifications, and other keywords to be included in your resume.
For example, if you are applying for a position in healthcare, you might notice words like “imaging” and “pharma” show up in the job posting. It is a good idea to add these and other relevant words to your resume because they apply widely to the field. Likewise, if you’re in marketing, you might find words like “branding,” “campaigns,” and “trade shows” within the posting. These are also relevant and can be included to populate your resume with great keywords.
Visit the Company’s Website
Once you’ve studied the job posting for relevant keywords to use in your resume, it is a good idea to visit the company’s website. There you can learn even more about how the company’s goals can fit in with your specific career goals.
Some important information to look for on the website includes the company’s values, mission statement, and even their organizational culture. This information can help you better describe who you are, what you’re looking for, and how you think you can enhance their business with your skills and personality.
Strategically Combine Action Words and Keywords
Using action words in your job-specific resume is just as important as incorporating the keywords you’ve found through the job posting and website. In fact, the action words and keywords work together in your resume to create a picture of the type of employee you are likely to be.
For example, if you were responsible for the success of a major ad campaign at your previous employer then try to describe it by saying that you “developed and executed an intense 9-month ad campaign with the marketing team that resulted in a $1.2 million year-end profit increase.” The action words in this example were “developed” and “executed” and the keywords were “ad campaign” and “marketing team.” Using these action words along with others like created, planned, organized, recommended, advised, and trained – and of course your relevant keywords – will help you write a great job-specific resume.
Creating the right resume for the right job can result in you securing the position of your dreams. So take your time, do your research, and most importantly, have a good time writing a great job-specific resume.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Posted October 05, 2007 by

Cover Letter Mistake #3: Call Me Because I Won’t Call You

The last paragraph of your cover letter can be very powerful. How you end it could leave a lasting impression with the employer – good or bad. So before you sign off using your typical, “Please call me at your earliest convenience to set up an interview” kind of mumbo-jumbo, take care to let the employer off the hook and put the responsibility to follow-up squarely on your shoulders.
Mark this date
By stating that you’re going to follow up with the employer on a particular day makes you appear confident and willing to go the extra mile for an interview. It makes them feel important and that you honestly want to know about the job if you are willing to follow up with them.
It also eases the pressure off of them since they expect you to call. If they’re interested in speaking with you, they might set your resume aside and mark it down in their planner that you are going to call. That way they can be prepared to schedule an interview.
Do what you say
Whatever you do, if you write in your cover letter that you’re going to call them on a specific day, by all means – do it! By not following through, you have jeopardized ever getting called by the employer.
This is actually worse than including a passive ending in your cover letter. By not following up like you claimed you would, you’re showing yourself to be irresponsible – not a highly sought out trait for a new employee.

Go the extra mile

If you follow up the date that you stated and never could get in touch with the contact, you can leave a voice mail stating that you were following up on the specific job posting. You can choose to follow-up with an email and/or try to call them back another day. The point is to let them know that you followed up when you said you would.
Now don’t get me wrong, you do want to try to actually speak to them. However, you don’t want to harass them either. Give it a couple of shots and if you can’t get them on the phone, leave a message and follow-up via email, if you so choose.
Follow-up is very important. That’s why stating you’re going to do so in your cover letter is impressive and important to the hiring manager. Keep it simple, keep your word and you might just come out with an interview.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

Posted August 02, 2007 by

The ABCs of Effective Resume Writing: Part 5 – Second Opinions Count or A Once Over Will Never Do

How many times have you written a document or email, sent it out, and then discovered some major typos or even words missing? What if it doesn’t get your point across – or worse yet – give off the exact opposite impression? If you’re like most, it’s happened to you at least once.
How do you keep yourself from making the same mistake when it comes to your resume? Here are a couple of necessities when it comes to having your resume stand up to the scrutiny of Hiring Managers.
1. Give your eyes a break. Do you notice that when you’re finding a task particularly difficult that if you take a break for a few hours – or even overnight – you can tackle it with a freshness and vigor that you had lost? You need to recharge before you require yourself to inspect a document that you’ve been working on for hours. The words all start to run together and nothing even makes sense to you. The passion for which you originally wrote with is lost on you due to mental fatigue. You need to take a step back, refresh your eyes and mind, then go back and take another look.
2. Have a friend (or family member) take a look. Having another person read your resume can be extremely helpful when it comes to having a fresh perspective. You are so close to your resume that you tend to not be very objective when it’s all said and done. It’s beneficial to have someone completely new look over it. Why? What important information can you gleam from this exercise?
• What’s their first impression? Professional? Amateur? Sloppy?
• Do they know what kind of job you are applying for and how you are qualified?
• Are they impressed with your achievements?
• Is there too little information? Too much?
Be sure that the person or people you choose can give you an honest opinion. You don’t want to depend on someone who is afraid to hurt your feelings or thinks that everything you do is great. It is best to choose someone with business acumen as well. It’s not necessary that they be efficient in human resources and the like, but the more they’re involved with the business world, the better.
3. Have a professional review it. There are many resume writing services who offer a free review of your resume. They can provide some great tips that you might never have thought of to improve your overall success at getting interviews. However, you want to choose one that is personalized and not just a checklist. Not that you won’t get anything out of a checklist but you’ll get a lot more out of a more thorough review.
Resume writing is an exhausting task so you need to be sure not to jump the gun and send out your resume package immediately after you complete it. It’ll pay to take one – if not all – the tips above to heart before you apply if you decide to write your own resume.
Now that you’re all set to send out your resume, we need to review some tips on how to do that effectively. But…that’s for next time.

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Posted July 26, 2007 by

The ABCs of Effective Resume Writing: Part 4 – Make Your Achievements ‘Pop’

Now that you know the right format for your resume and you have written out all your achievements and responsibilities, it’s time to really showcase those accomplishments. But what is the best way to do that?
Bullets are your friend
I’m a big advocate of using bullets effectively in a resume. This does not mean that the entire document should use bullets to stress the important facts that you want to highlight. If you use bullets everywhere, then nothing will stand out to the reader. That’s why it’s important to only highlight the information that will be most likely to get you an interview.
A popular way to mix bullets and paragraphs is by writing a brief paragraph about your responsibilities before adding your achievements as bullets below. In most cases, you want to have more bullets for your recent positions. The further back you go, the less important those achievements are to the employer. Sometimes that is unfortunate since those accomplishments might relate more to what you are currently seeking in a position. If that’s the case, highlight the most important ones so that they don’t get lost in a see of bullets.
Numbers can be your best friend
Using qualifying factors in your achievements can truly make the difference of getting the interview or being passed over. Why are they so important? There are a couple of different reasons.
1. Illustrates how big the achievement was in the overall picture and the significant impact it had on the company.
If you simply state that you increased inventory turn and reduced backorders, that doesn’t really say a whole lot. A lot of people could say that and have it be true.
However, see what happens if you state it this way: “Saved $7 million with a 50% increase in inventory turn and a 75% backorder reduction.” That is something that will impress an employer.

2. Shows how well you meet and exceed company and personal goals.

Every company wants an employee who at least meets the objectives set by the company. Whether it be for the company as a whole, your department or your personal objectives, they all are important to an employer.
So as you’re sifting through your accomplishments, don’t forget to include this important aspect. If you are an accountant and had a goal of saving the company $1 million by discovering more tax exemptions, but you actually saved $1.5 million, be sure to say that. By stating the fact that you exceeded your goal by 50% is huge in the eyes of an employer.
Your achievements and how you showcase them are vital in getting interviews. Don’t shortchange yourself or you’ll be pretty shortchanged in the interview area.
Many job seekers skip the next step which can be detrimental to their job search. Next time you’ll discover how important it is to have a second, third (or more!) pair of eyes look over your resume.

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Posted August 31, 2006 by

Get the Results You Want By Using an Executive Summary on Your Resume

In the not-so-distant past, the resume objective section was widely used. The resume objective, simply put, is a 2-3 line statement summarizing the goals you have set for yourself and the position you seek.
Many experts in the field feel that a section on resume objectives may be omitted. They suggest the use other useful information instead. A resume objective focuses on your personal goals, which often reads like a wish statement – in most cases, in complete disregard of what the employers want to know and expect to get from you. For this reason, more and more job seekers are using the executive summary instead of a resume objective section.
Resume Objective vs. Executive Summary
Resume objectives can be construed as being self-centric. For example, “Seeking a position in the sales department with an opportunity for faster career advancement” focuses completely on you. It does not tell the employer anything about your past career, your strengths or what you can do for them.
• A resume objective could lead hiring managers into thinking about the specifics of your objectives (i.e., what you want) instead of your skills and strengths.
• Resume objectives tend to be career-limiting and one-dimensional.
• A resume objective narrows down your opportunities when you are multi-skilled and qualified for more than one position.
An executive summary, on the other hand, talks about the results that you have achieved and the potential you possess which makes recruiters take notice – it also helps establish your professional identity. An executive summary presents you, in terms of your career skills, accomplishments and abilities, to the hiring manager or organization before they start reading your resume. That is why the executive summary is so important today.
Think of the executive summary as the introduction to a novel. You can read the introduction, find out the main characters and the plot before you actually start reading the novel itself. The introduction gives you the push you need to actually begin reading the book. If you like what you read in the introduction, you usually go on. It’s the same thing with the executive summary and your resume.
Why the Executive Summary Is Used Now Instead
Obviously, resumes that win interviews are simple and focused. An executive summary achieves this by saying who you are (professionally), what you have achieved and how and what you can contribute. A recent survey revealed that more than 72% of resumes that win interviews are well summarized and focused. Also, many job seekers who have changed their resume format to include the executive summary instead of an objective section have acknowledged this. Here’s why the executive summary is more often used now:
• It highlights your career skills and presents them as desired by hiring managers.
• It exhibits how you can benefit the organization by presenting your abilities and strengths as they relate to the current position that you are targeting.
• Executive summaries grab attention, permits use of descriptive verbs (such as accelerated, delivered, re-engineered and generated).
Executive summaries help recruiters decide whether to call you for an interview – and we all know that the real test of a resume is whether or not it produces interviews. So replace that objective section on your resume with a rewritten executive summary. It just might get you the results that you are looking for.

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Posted August 17, 2006 by

The Write Way To Get The Job You Want

All job seekers ultimately ask one basic question – “Why do I need a good resume?” The answer is simple. You need a good resume to market yourself, have a written record of your skills and accomplishments and to sow the seeds of interest in the minds of recruiters and potential employers. In short, if you want a rewarding, fulfilling career, you need a good resume.
A Good Resume Evolves From Your Credentials and Not From Writing Skills
How very true! But of late, this fact seems to have moved to the background. Yes, with good resume writing skills you can really project your skills. However, realize that you have to have good, marketable skills and credentials – and no one, not even a resume writer, knows them better than you do. So, if you are writing your own resume, how do really make yours stand out from the crowd?

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Posted August 17, 2006 by

A New Twist On An Old Friend – The Chronological Resume

What is a chronological resume? A chronological resume is a resume in which you list your past jobs and educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, beginning from the latest or the present one first. This is the traditional and most well known resume format.
Why Use A Chronological Resume?
A chronological resume is especially effective for mid-career professionals and new grads that have limited work experience. It allows the employer to see all of your qualifications including education upfront. Your resume shouldn’t read like a Ph.D. Dissertation – it should get straight to the point, and the chronological resume does this and more:

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Posted August 17, 2006 by

You Aren’t Single Dimensional – So Why Is Your Resume?

Choosing a resume style is as difficult or easy as choosing the most suitable dress or suit for that all-important interview. It is all too simplistic to say that a one ‘jacket fits all’ strategy will work for everyone when deciding what resume style to use – still, most job seekers take this approach and use a functional resume, even when it may not be well suited to their specific situation. One appropriate alternative to the functional resume is the combination resume. You may wonder how this type of resume will work for you. What you need to understand is the fact that each person’s situation is different, and resume readers (your potential bosses) are different people with variable moods and different points of view.

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