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resume writing ARTICLES

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  • 04 May 2021 4:37 PM | Anonymous


    By Marie Zimenoff
    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy


    As professional resume writers, we often fall into ruts describing clients in certain ways and using common phrases. These phrases can be important in addressing hiring manager needs, and they might diminish the power of the client’s brand. In some cases, clients are unhappy with their resume because it contains descriptors that do not fit their brand. 

    The good news is, we can adjust our habits to be more effective. We can use more powerful language and have our client say, “Hey, this is really me,” while connecting with the hiring manager’s needs. Too many adjectives make the client seem to be trying too hard, and the client often notices this and is uncomfortable with their new resume.

    What can we do to make the client and their target audience engage quickly and want to read more? Incorporate personal branding into the resume process and product.


    Unique Promise of Value

    What is branding? This is a hard topic for some people who may feel like branding is all about being pushy or selling themselves. No one likes to be pushy. The good news? Personal branding isn’t a push, it is focused on creating a pull.

    When we talk about branding we mean a unique promise of value

    -       Unique — We are different from other people.

    -       Promise — We do what we say we will.

    -       Value — We offer value to our target audience.

    People also often think branding means becoming something that they are not. This does not work for a candidate or a company. It does not work because it is exhausting and people see through it. 


    Authenticity

    This comes from the internal perspective of the client. What is true to them? What do they have that is a part of who they are? What are their strengths? These include the stories of their accomplishments. 

    An external perspective is also useful. What do other people say about the client? What are other people's perceptions of them? How can we align these without forcing it or by being inauthentic? 

    We need to communicate our clients' differentiation and how it connects to their audience’s needs. This is the big picture for creating branded documents. If we don't know the audience or the client doesn't have a focus for where they're going it's going to be hard to create branded documents. Without this vision, we can't connect all of those dots, and those dots are really what a brand is.


    Generic Statements Weaken Differentiation

    A great way to make a client stand out is to remove generic and overused phrases. This will make the resume much more compelling. Most resume writers overuse words or phrases because they are used to them. They are not, however, specific to the client to differentiate one client to the next. Some of these overused words are: successfully, dynamic, significant, able to/expert in, and track record of. 

    When employers and recruiters see the same terms repeated in every resume, the words lose impact. Of course, they might apply to some people, but when overused they stop working. If you say you are an innovator, then we have to show it somewhere and really have to back that up. The same is true with many soft skills – they are best demonstrated through a story, not in a skills list. 

    Keywords are still included so employers know the client has the qualifications and skills. However, if the whole client description is a combination of keywords, they are not going to appear different from everyone else. Also, many descriptors commonly used are not important keywords for employer search. 

    When we use a few descriptors – those that really fit for our clients – it connects for the client and for employers. Keep your resume language clean, crisp, and strong to communicate brand in a different way. When we use adjectives sparingly, they can pop. When we use them too frequently, they can get us in trouble.


    The Power of Active Verbs

    When you use verbs instead of descriptors, you have power, you have action, and it is specific. The verbs that you choose and the stories that you choose to tell communicate the personal brand. For a writer, this can make the process easier! What words does the client use to describe themselves? No thesaurus required. 

    The example in the video below shows the use of “rallied” for a client because it was her word choice and it helps us see part of her personality. We do not have to say that she is a cheerleader using that descriptor. We can use the verb rallied and we get the same feel.

    Get to the point. Instead of saying, "History of producing" just say "Produce." The verb “driven” often gets writers into trouble because what does it really mean to “drive sales”? “Proven success” is one of the phrases we often overuse. Take that out and start with the verb. It is more powerful, clean, and crisp. 


    Stories in Summaries Create Specificity

    Branding in a resume is in the stories we choose to tell and the language we use to tell them. Most summaries today are starting to use a short story format through quick bullets to get away from descriptors and get right to the stories of how the candidate wins. How they lead. Whatever is most important we can include it right there in the summary, which tends to be where we overuse these adjectives. 


    Carefully Selected Graphics Define a Brand

    We know that a picture is worth a thousand words – the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words. In resumes, graphics thoughtfully tell stories relevant to the client’s brands. 

    See examples in the video below.


    Social Proof Validates Brand

    A third party is a powerful recommendation of a brand. How can we incorporate what other people said about a candidate in their materials? First, help the candidate get clear on their personal brand. Then, you can select feedback that strengthens that brand and is differentiating. 

    Use testimonials, get references, and put testimonials into your documents. Endorsements can be placed in the summary, replacing more generic descriptor words. Put testimonials or pull quotes from LinkedIn recommendations and put them right into your document. Pull a quote from a letter of recommendation and use it in a cover letter.

    Although letters of recommendation may not be part of your candidate’s application process, they can still share social proof to strengthen their brand.


    As a professional writer, you spend a good deal of time carefully crafting your client documents. Challenge yourself to differentiate each document, eliminate those adjectives and descriptors, and communicate with the full picture of who your client is by building their brand one story at a time.


    Looking to have your story told to differentiate your resume or LinkedIn profile?
    Consult a professional resume writer!
    Visit our resume writer directory.

    If you want to be even better at writing client stories that build their brand, earn your Academy Certified Resume Writer credential.



    Watch the Full Webinar


  • 27 Apr 2021 12:56 PM | Anonymous


    By Marie Zimenoff

    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy

    and Nancy Segal


    The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States. Anyone who is thinking about their career and is not including a look-see in the federal sector is missing a huge opportunity at home and abroad.

    One misconception people have is that the federal government is in D.C. In fact, more than 80% of federal employees are located outside the D.C. area, and there are opportunities abroad. There are overseas offices for the Secret Service, Customs and Border Patrol, various defense department agencies, and even the Department of Agriculture. The possibilities really are endless.

    The application process for federal jobs is different from those in the private sector, so it is helpful to have some guidance when writing federal resumes, interviewing for federal jobs, and transitioning into the federal workforce.

    Federal Resume Writing

    A federal resume is typically 4 to 6 pages. The 1- or 2-page resume that is standard in the private industry does not apply in the federal sector.

    From a federal perspective, if it is not on your resume, you did not do it. People coming out of the private sector might be directors, vice presidents, or something else along those more senior lines. It may seem obvious they have supervised people – having been in a top managerial position – but from a human resource perspective on the federal side, no one makes that assumption. They are not allowed to draw conclusions or make assumptions, so the level of clarity and excruciating detail is essential.

    Required Information for Federal Applications

    Another thing people find odd about federal resumes is the required information includes details you would never put on a private sector resume.

    For example, federal applications require how many hours a week the applicant works, their supervisor name, and their compensation. If you do not include a small piece of the required information, a federal HR person can eliminate you from consideration. You want it all connected so that they can count the years, the ballots, and all of your skills in.

    You still want a federal resume to be easy to skim. USAJOBS.gov is not a resume parsing system - it doesn’t score your resume! A human has to look at every resume, and you can make their job easier by using short paragraphs, clear sections, and white space.

    Federal Application Questionnaire

    The average federal job gets anywhere from 400 to 1,000 applications, sometimes more. People still want federal jobs because they like the idea of the benefits, the level of job security, and the fact there is a defined retirement plan.

    When you apply through USAjobs.gov, you are required to answer an occupational questionnaire. This job-specific questionnaire determines how qualified you are. It is the only part of the federal job application that is automated.

    A questionnaire is critical. Those who are thinking about applying for a particular job should review the questionnaire before they decide whether or not to apply. If you cannot respond positively and strongly to all of the questions on the questionnaire, you are not going to be a competitive candidate, and it is not worth your time.

    There are yes/no questions and Likert scales. You will identify the skills you need and already have and rate your expertise on the scale. Applicants should look at these questionnaires ahead of time. Most of the time, people are hesitant to call themselves an expert, especially women.

    If you cannot call yourself an expert or struggle to decide if you are a 4 or 5 on the Likert scale, you should go with 5. However, you need to have a reason for rating your skills that way. You should not just go through and rate all the skills as a 5 but, as this is the only thing that is scored by automation, you need to score nearly 100.

    If you do not score near 100, the HR people will not print out and review your resume. Remember, there is no applicant tracking software like the private sector, but real people. They review every resume that passes the initial automated scoring of the questionnaire. Not only do you have to answer the questions correctly, but your resume also has to back up your answers.

    If you have claimed you are an expert on the Likert scale, you must prove expertise in your resume clearly and without assumptions.

    The Role of Networking in Federal Applications

    Your resume and questionnaire have to score highly to have your resume seen by a hiring manager. In the private sector, the system can be subverted or worked around many times. On the federal side, who you know does not matter if you cannot get past the HR gatekeepers.

    Networking can still be important, but it is not going to come into play until later stages. People still want to hire someone that they know, like, and trust. While networking may not help you get through the screening process, it may help you get an interview.

    Federal Employment, Ageism, & Diversity

    One of the often-repeated myths in the federal system is you cannot get in if you are young because you do not have enough career history. Likewise, people think older candidates cannot get in because the federal government does not hire those who will not be there for a long time.

    Government employees are significantly older than employees in the private sector. Many people come into the federal government as a second or third career. There are several government programs for people coming right out of school for recent graduates and those with masters or law degrees.

    The government is more diverse in age, race, and gender than most private sector organizations.

    How to Find Federal Jobs

    If you are interested in federal employment, your first stop should be USAJOBS.gov as roughly 90% of jobs are posted on the government jobs website.

    Once there, you should set up a user profile with your information. You can then set up an automatic search agent to send you jobs that meet your criteria, such as occupation, pay, and location, among others.

    Do not ever pay anyone to show you the “hidden federal job market.” There is no such thing. These government job postings are open to everyone. You do not have to pay to get access to openings.

    Federal Hiring Timeframe

    Realistically, the hiring process takes 6 to 8 months. You may undoubtedly get a job sooner than that, but the truth is, it is not all that likely. The government does not move very quickly. The goal is to fill a job in 80 days, and that is if everything works the way it is supposed to – not including security clearances or other such things.

    Some sound advice for those who are interested in federal employment is to keep their private-sector job or look for private-sector jobs at the same time. It is likely to happen more quickly. Then when the federal job comes through, you can quit your private-sector job. As you will know, even when people are job seeking in the private sector, it can take a long time.

    Ready to have a more effective resume? Find A Certified Federal Resume Writer!
    Are you a professional resume writer? Add Federal Resume Writing as a Revenue Stream


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode


  • 10 Feb 2021 1:32 PM | Anonymous


    The traditional curriculum vitae (CV) used for medical and academia careers has evolved over the last few years to go beyond a list and communicate the value a candidate brings to an organization. This month’s resume expert, Kris McGuigan, demonstrates how adding a few modern elements can make a big difference on the impact of your CV.

    Highlight Your Relevant Successes and Qualifications

    Modern CVs include a summary that highlights the most important qualifications or accomplishments. Target specific organizations or roles by speaking quickly to what decision makers will deem important – clinical skills, teaching experience, or leadership successes. Like any other modern summary, keep it short and specific.


    Specify Your Value Through Stories

    Perhaps the most substantial change in CVs is the transition from a list of details to stories with context and demonstrated value. Speak to value that is relevant for the target position, add in scope when appropriate, and quantify results whenever possible.


    Keep your stories succinct, use white space to help a reader skim through them quickly, and use formatting – here headings and sub-bullets – to break up long lists.


    Modernize and Right-size Your Lists of Qualifications

    CVs will still include the lists of educational credentials, clinical skills or equipment, certifications, publications, presentations, and more. Use formatting to make these lists easy to skim and modern in appearance. As you determine what details to include, know what is appropriate for the level of position and audience. Consider the relevance and potential negative impacts of including older presentations, publications, and other information.


    View the complete sample here. By clicking below, you agree to never copy content or design of a resume … that goes against everything that makes a resume successful!

    Want more information and samples for writing education resumes and CVs? We've got you covered with a two-hour training and 150+ pages of samples in our Education Resumes & CVs E-Summit.

  • 10 Feb 2021 1:26 PM | Anonymous
    Academic research has shown recruiters read resumes in a systematic pattern, taking 6.25 seconds to make a yes/no decision. Add implicit recruiter bias to the vetting process, and it’s shocking any resume advances to candidate status.

    Listen in as Dr. Cheryl Minnick reviews data around implicit name, gender, age and motherhood bias and how bias manifests in resume review. You will also learn ways candidates are beating bias, and what WE can do to diminish implicit bias in resume review. View the recording of the webinar below.

    Please note that although we talk about strategies for avoiding bias, we recommend taking a coaching approach with these conversations. Consider asking clients about potential biases in resume review and if they have thought about addressing them.

    For instance, we can share the data around the "whitening of resumes" and then ask if they've heard about this and what their thoughts are around that type of strategy. Honor their heritage, approaching the discussion as a discovery around the data and their choices in handling it rather than outright suggestions of strategy.

    We're currently in the process of gathering the strategies that professional resume writers and career coaches have used with clients and would welcome your input! Please email it to Marie at marie@resumewritingacademy.com and we'll share it in a summary here.



  • 09 Feb 2021 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    1. Write to the future. Resume writing is not about rehashing your past history and listing what you’ve done and where. Rather, resume writing is about writing to the future, to the job that you want or the career path that you wish to pursue. This is a critical consideration throughout every phase of writing your resume and conducting your job search. Clearly define your objectives, identify the skills and qualifications you’ve gained through your past experience that support your current goals, and then focus your entire search on these elements. Don’t position yourself as someone who wants to be a sales professional; rather, position yourself as someone who is a well-qualified sales professional with excellent skills in presentations, negotiations, closings, incentive planning and more. (If you’ve worked as a military recruiter, you’ve certainly done all of these things and more!)

    2. “Re-weight” your skills and qualifications. When writing your resume, you want to bring your skills and qualifications that are most relevant to your current career objectives to the forefront and put the most emphasis on them. Consider the following example: During your 4-year tour of duty, your primary function has been as a Maintenance Mechanic with collateral responsibility for technical training. Now, at this point in your career, as you re-enter the civilian workforce, you want to work as a technical instructor. To best position yourself for such opportunities, you’ll want to “re-weight” the information you include on your resume and put greater emphasis on teaching and training than on the actual mechanic functions you performed on a daily basis.

    3. Be inclusive; not exclusive. Every time you include a military acronym or use other military jargon in your resume, you’ve given a prospective employer a reason to exclude you from consideration. Employers want to know what you can do for them in language that they will understand and appreciate. This is what the concept of transferability of skills is all about. Change the language in your resume from military to civilian so that “corporate America” can understand what you did and how it applies to them. NOTE: The only time this is not true is if you’re applying to a company or government agency that works directly with the military and is interested in a candidate with your specific qualifications. If this is the case, you want to follow the exact opposite strategy and incorporate all appropriate military language into your resume. Consider who your audience is and then determine how best to write your resume and present your skills.

    4. Sell it; don’t tell it. Resume writing is sales – pure and simple. You have a product to sell – yourself – and you must create a resume that highlights both the features (responsibilities) and benefits (achievements) of that product. To accomplish that, change your resume-writing mindset. Instead of simply telling your readers what you have done, sell them on how well you’ve done it. Consider the difference in the following two sentences. Tell: “Managed fleet of military vehicles.” Sell: “Managed fleet of military vehicles valued in excess of $225 million and achieved 100% operational readiness scores for two consecutive years.” See the difference in impact?

    5. Highlight your keywords. Keywords are a vital component to every job seeker’s successful search campaign. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of companies and recruiters use keywords as the primary vehicle to search their database of resumes. For example, a recruiter might be interested in a candidate with a strong background in supply chain management. If your background has been in logistics, you’d be an ideal candidate. However, if you haven’t included those specific words – supply chain management – in your resume, you’ll be passed over. Take the time that is necessary to learn the civilian keywords that are important to your current career goals, and then be sure to incorporate them into your resume (as long as you actually do have experience in each particular function).

    6. Create your own personal brand. The latest and greatest strategy for successful resume writing is the concept of personal branding – creating a brand that is unique to you and your specific skill sets. Here’s an example of a branding statement for a veteran with extensive experience in budgeting and financial management: “Finance Executive who has delivered double-digit gains in productivity, quality and cost reduction in operations worldwide.” By incorporating this statement at the beginning of his resume, this individual has immediately communicated who he is and the value that he brings to a prospective employer in the civilian marketplace.

    7. Make your resume inviting to read. You’ve heard it all before. Use plenty of white space on your resume, use bold and italics to highlight important information, write in short paragraphs for a “quick” read and use bullets to showcase your achievements. In addition, consider using a typestyle other than Times Roman, which is the most-widely used of all fonts. Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Garamond or any one of a number of other typestyles are clean and crisp, yet give your resume a unique appeal. These visual factors are important considerations when preparing your resume. Not only must the content of your resume be solid and clearly communicate your value to a prospective employer, the visual presentation must be sharp, professional and easy to read.

    8. Create 3 resume versions. Every savvy job seeker knows that in today’s world of electronic job search, you must have three distinct versions of your resume – Word version, ASCII text version and scannable version. You’ll use the Word version whenever you’re submitting your resume via snail mail or when submitting it as an attachment to an email message. You’ll use the ASCII text version when completing online applications or when you know the company will not open a Word attachment. And, finally, you’ll use the scannable version when instructed to do so, allowing a company or recruiter to scan your resume into their resume database.

    9. Proofread, proofread and then proofread again. When you submit a resume with errors, you’ve almost certainly eliminated yourself from consideration. Before prospective employers ever meet you, they meet a “piece of paper” (or electronic file), and that “piece of paper” demonstrates the quality of work that you produce. If you want someone to extend you the offer for an interview and then a job, you had better be sure that your resume is 100% accurate and indicative of the quality of work you will perform for that company.

    10. Use your resume wisely. Your resume can be a valuable tool throughout your entire job search. We all know that you need to have a resume to generate job interviews. That’s a given. But also consider these other uses for your resume: (1) as a tool for networking and contact development; (2) as a tool to guide your interviews; and (3) as supporting information to help you negotiate a strong compensation package. Then, be sure to update your resume once you’ve landed a new job. You never know when that next, great opportunity might appear, and you always want to be prepared with a current resume on hand.
  • 09 Feb 2021 2:42 PM | Anonymous

    By Kate Duttro

    Every academic needs to invest in a kitchen sink resume/portfolio! There, I’ve said it. It still feels radical – but right. So, what do I mean, and why do I say that?

    First, a definition: a kitchen sink resume includes every job (full- or part-time, even paid or volunteer internships or temp gigs) you’ve ever had, and any other experiences that gave you joy, satisfaction and pride – even including hobbies, vacations and family activities. Forget the page and time limits. The kitchen-sink resume can occupy many pages, and the more detailed the information, the better. It’s almost certainly an electronic file that you can simply add to, as you complete jobs and projects, and as you add education/training and skills/abilities to your list of accomplishments. If you can expand it to include actual examples or representations of your work (evidence of your skills, abilities and knowledge), it’s called a career portfolio.

    Second, the why: you’re keeping it more for your own record (especially if you write your own resumes), than for anyone else to see. But, it’s also vital to anyone you would hire to write a resume for you, because they need that information to be able to write the best resume. If you ever apply for government jobs, especially any that require security clearances, you’ll need the detail of specific job information, such as employer name(s), address, exact dates of employment, managers’ name(s), phone, email, etc. Keep a description of the job responsibilities, the skills required to fulfill them, and list what you did to go beyond the job descriptions, and your accomplishments in each job.

    Even if you never apply for a government job, you can refer to your kitchen-sink resume information to keep your resumes and applications accurate, so you don’t accidentally give false information that could confuse (or lose) a potential employer who suspected the worst. This information also can be the foundation of your analysis (with or without the help of a career professional) of your own preferred skills. You’ll be able to look at your work history and recognize your work preferences. As you engage in that process, you may come to recognize and be able to more fully articulate your strengths and transferable skills, which you can use in future, more specifically targeted resumes.

    As an academic, you already have a greater skill in analysis than most people. This kind of data collection gives you a unique perspective on your own career history, and you may come to see patterns you hadn’t noticed as you were living your work. You can use that information to help structure your work to fit your strengths more closely, and you’ll be able to work more efficiently, and at least equally important, happier.

    Of course, considering this time in the history of academic institutions, when the number of tenure-track jobs is decreasing and the number of higher-degree graduates is increasing, knowing how to articulate your career skill patterns will be a significant advantage if you decide (or are forced)  to look beyond the academic job market. You need to be able to articulate your skills to an audience of employers who don’t know enough about your world to understand it. Do it for yourself – your future self. Your investment of nothing more than time may pay off big for you.

  • 09 Feb 2021 2:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Laurie Smith

    I was once alerted by a colleague to an article that tells readers to ban the ten phrases listed from their resumes. These include phrases and statements such as "I am a team player;" "I have great communication skills;" "I have a proven track record;" "I am a skilled problem solver;" "I assisted with;" "I have a strong work ethic;" "I am bottom-line focused;" "I am responsible for X;" "I am self-motivated;" and "I am accustomed to fast-paced environments."

    Of course, you know that you would never phrase these things in your resume using the personal pronoun "I"--in a resume the personal voice is used; the personal pronoun is implied but omitted (commonly called the telegraphic style). I do agree with a couple of the caveats in the list:

    1. There are much more powerful ways of indicating your contributions than the phrase "assisted with," so avoid this phrasing where something else can accurately indicate what you did in a more forceful manner.

    2. Overuse of the phrase "responsible for" creates a boring, position description style resume. However, limited use of the phrase is certainly OK, as long as you avoid giving the reader an exhaustive listing of every detailed function that was involved in your job. "Responsible for" should NEVER appear in accomplishment statements, but only judiciously in the part of each employment entry that tells the reader what the scope of your position entailed. Wherever possible, use more powerful phrasing. For example, instead of saying "Responsible for $55 million operating budget," you could say, "Managed, optimized, and controlled $55 million operating budget."

    Other than the preceding two items, however, I would have to part company with the author. "Soft skills" are featured prominently in the wish lists of many employers as they develop a job requisition. They appear routinely in job postings, and are going to be keyword searched in resume databases. So if you exclude them arbitrarily from your resume, you will not be doing yourself a service.

    That being said, these words and phrases are empty and meaningless unless accompanied by proof that you do indeed bring these qualities to the table! You must vividly show your reader how you have exhibited them in your work experiences, with specific, concrete examples liberally distributed throughout the resume. What I have heard from recruiters throughout my resume writing career is that, yes, they will pass right over a resume that is full of fluff and no substance, making bold, unsupported claims of particular skills and personal qualities. However, they DO want to be shown that a candidate possesses them and has applied them effectively throughout an accomplished career.

    So, the bottom line is: Yes, you can and should use these phrases in your resume. Indeed, some of them will likely be part of your personal brand. However, if you use them without any supporting documentation, the resume will be viewed as just another puffed up, aggrandized series of statements with nothing to back them up.

  • 09 Feb 2021 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    By Kathleen Sullivan

    If you are a job seeker over 40 and are concerned that your age can get in the way of being considered for a job, be sure that your resume does not give away your age. The language, format, and content you include in your resume can date you. Here are ten tips for writing your resume that will reflect your qualifications for the position you are seeking rather than revealing how close you are to collecting retirement benefits.

    Tip one: Avoid language that signals that you are concerned about your age. Job seekers over 40 often open their resumes with adjectives like “Energetic” or “Youthful” to convey that they can compete with younger applicants.  Instead of using language that highlights that you are older, show how engaged and current you are with state of the art business trends and practices.

    Tip two: Exclude your total number of years of work experience. Just because you have over 25 years of experience in an industry or profession does not mean that you are more successful or competent than a younger applicant. It is what you accomplished in those 25 years and how you can leverage your experience for a new employer that makes you valuable. Your competitive advantage is not total years, but your results in how you led people or projects, attracted or retained clients, made or saved money, or introduced or improved business processes.

    Tip three: Limit your resume to the most recent 12 -15 years of professional experience. If you try to document your entire work history of 25 to 30 years of experience, inevitably you will include industries, roles, business practices, and technologies that have become obsolete. Even if this experience was novel or impressive at the time, it has lost its relevance and value. Your resume should focus your most recent 12 – 15 years’ experience and the most current business practices and technologies you have applied.  If you have experience from over 15 years ago that is critical to selling your qualifications for a position, add a section called “Additional Accomplishments” and do not include dates. This will support your candidacy, but not draw attention to your age.

    Tip four: Omit your dates of graduation. When you list college or graduate/professional degrees, do not include the dates, which will pinpoint your age. Also, if you received a degree or professional credential over 20 years ago, what you learned at that time may be out of date or irrelevant now.

    Tip five: Include recent certifications and training. If you have completed a professional certification or training in your industry or in leadership skills, business processes, or state of the art technology, include a section on your resume entitled “Recent Professional Development.” Demonstrate any knowledge or specialization you have gained in emerging industries or professions that are in demand. Convey that you stay current and are a lifelong learner.

    Tip six:  Downplay titles. Many organizations have become flatter and have eliminated layers of management. If you focus on your past titles or any entitlements they suggest, you may be perceived as someone who is not able to function in a more modern and streamlined organization.

    Tip seven: Showcase your project and team based experience. Companies are currently organizing work around projects that are managed by teams. Highlight your project based experience and demonstrate your skills and accomplishments working on teams. Provide examples of experience leading or participating on global or virtual teams. List any project management certifications or training you have attained.

    Tip eight: Sell, rather than tell, about your experience. Job seekers over 40 will describe themselves as “Veteran” or “Seasoned” to indicate that they have extensive work experience. However, these words suggest that you are older, but do not promote the actual experience you have that is relevant and valuable to the potential employer.  Gain the employer’s interest in your experience by citing the projects, clients, and technologies that you been involved with and the results you achieved. 

    Tip nine: Include metrics to demonstrate your effectiveness. Highlight your worth to a potential employer by quantifying the results you have achieved. Stating in your resume that you are “Proficient in” or “Excel at” at something is vague, unconvincing, and does not communicate what you can contribute to an employer. Use numbers and percentages to show how many people you managed, the dollar value of a sale, revenue from a project or new client, and money saved by your efforts. Again, this is an advantage over younger candidates because they may have not had the opportunities yet to achieve comparable results.

    Tip ten: Communicate that you are versatile and flexible. Change is the only constant in business these days. Industries, companies, and jobs continuously evolve and you must show that you are able to adapt. Include examples where you have dealt successfully with industry and business change:  rapid growth, mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, and re-organizations. Project that you are a change agent and welcome new ideas and situations.

    A resume is one of your key tools to promote yourself for the next step in your career. You are creating and substantiating the image that will be perceived in the job market. If you strategically choose the language, format, and content you use in your resume, you will be seen as a viable and valuable candidate, and age will not be an issue.

  • 09 Feb 2021 2:36 PM | Anonymous

    By Laurie Smith

    We often get so caught up in the nuances of effective resume writing that we as resume writers and career coaches forget to emphasize the obvious to job seekers. Here are some resume mistakes that truly aggravate hiring managers and will likely lead to your resume winding up in the circular file, or at best, lost in sea of resumes:

    • Writing with stilted, archaic "business" language. Write like you would speak in an interview. Show a bit of your personality.

    • Naming your resume file "resume." Picture a recruiter or hiring manager who receives hundreds or even thousands of resumes a day with a file name like this. Include your name in the file name, and to not let a single self-marketing opportunity slip by, add something indicating what you do, such as "Business Development Strategist."

    • Writing with liberal use of the words "I" and "me," which makes you come across as self-centered. First person is appropriate, but leave out the pronouns.

    • Composing your document in third person legalese, as if it were a Federal employment job description. For example, "Manages this....," "... to include this...." Yawn!

    • Bad mouthing a current or former employer. If you have nothing positive to say, please say nothing at all.

    • Allowing typos in your document. I can't tell you how many times I've seen "manger" for "manager" or, even worse yet, "mange." Another common flub is using "personal" for "personnel." The absolute worst is when you see a misspelled word in a heading, such as "PROFESSNAL EXPERIENCE"! Research shows that a SINGLE typo is enough to get your resume passed over. Inundated with resumes, hiring managers' inclination is to eliminate as many resumes as they possibly can from the stack—as quickly as possible, in order to get the screening process to a manageable level. Don't give them a reason to toss yours!

  • 09 Feb 2021 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    By Gerry Corbett

    I recently did a search on resume tips on a popular search engine, and to no surprise found more than 37 million pages dedicated to some form of tips for resumes.   Everyone has an opinion; I am no different.  As I coach though, I have seen literally hundreds of resumes and have come to consensus about their content.  Resumes that paint a picture of a personality and tell a story about accomplishments have a higher probability of attracting interest and actionable attention.  Moreover, if you are in the market for an advertising, communications or public relations role, a stellar resume demands that you take the time to succinctly but creatively portray your abilities in quick but compelling fashion. So grab your keyboard or your favorite resume writer.

    The resume is about your character, personality and ability. Give it life by using action words that paint a picture of who you are and what is your value.

    Excite your audience. Do not make the resume a boring recitation of the tasks that comprise the jobs you have held. No one cares.  And no one will hire you based on the job functions.  They will only hire you if you fit the bill, can move the needle and suit the organization’s culture.

    Be creative and convincing in telling your story. Do not just list your jobs like some accounting table.  Use story telling techniques to weave the facts about you and the most interesting and important accomplishments of your career.

    Take the high road and make the glass half full not half empty. Sure you may have had challenges in your career.  You have had bosses that bossed but surely you have had leaders that have led.  In every phrase and every sentence keep the tone upbeat and reflective of your positive attitude about your success and the great job you have done for your bosses and employers.

    Make the resume fit each opportunity. No two jobs are exactly the same.  So do not use the same resume for every position that looks interesting.  Take the time to digest the job spec and tailor the resume appropriately.  I know, it may feel like work but if you take the time to target your chances of snagging an interview are greater.

    Employ the three E’s. Experience goes first in reverse chronology, Education second and Extra-curricular activities last.  When a hiring manager looks at a resume they want to know where you have been, “experience.”  Next they want to know where and what type of “education” you have under your belt.  And last, help the hiring manager understand what else you have accomplished by way of your professional affiliations, pro bono work you have done and any notable awards you received that can have bearing on your performance and abilities.

    Leave out skills, hobbies and references.  In today’s knowledge world, it is assumed that you know how to use a computer, can enter text through a keyboard and build a presentation.  So do not waste valuable real estate telling folks you have computer skills.   And forget the hobbies.  You are not going to be hired because you can play hoops or effortlessly drive a ball out of a sand trap.  Lastly, if they want a reference, they will ask.

    Grab their attention with your cover letter. It should not be a repeat of the resume.  Say something startling and provocative that opens the door to your resume.  Study the job spec and the company.  Is there something you can add to the firm that no one else can?  Is there some factoid about you that can be the wedge that leverages you into an interview?  What is the one most important value that you bring to the table?  Put it in the cover letter.

    Whether the economy is strong or weak, you need to have the best possible resume because you are competing with dozens or hundreds of other people.  Help yourself by looking distinguished, unique and savvy.  Words count, so make yours!

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