A tight economy forces a competitive job market. People are now finding that they are competing for administrative jobs with over-educated and over-qualified job applicants.
Now is the time to turn up the heat on your resume.
If you haven’t written a resume for a while, or find yourself in the midst of a layoff, or need to beef up what you already have, then these tips will help give you that opportunity.
My former company received over 200 resumes a day, and it was my job to separate the ‘good’ from the ‘bad.’ It is an acquired skill to be able to read a resume by dragging your finger down the middle of the resume page and deciding if it goes into the in-basket or the circular file.
Just as important as they are now, they were also at least that important back then. Key Words. I am talking about keywords, except back then they were known as “Power Words.” Most professional resume readers can decide to keep a resume in less than two minutes. Your resume had better be good for that only reason. Right now, for every one job opening, 100 PLUS resumes and applications are being turned in – And those statistics only count if the job is not advertised.
If you have not considered starting your own business by now, then you might give it a toss to see if it would be worth your while. The reason is that this economy is the best to start a business in. You are allowed many more opportunities to see if you can succeed or not. You get more chances to fail in this type of economy, and the failure ‘penalties’ aren’t as rigid as they are in a thriving economy.
The best way to succeed is to gain as many failures under your belt as you can. A sure path to success is one failure at a time. Just like my golf instructor told us, “The best game you have is because you are moving forward – Always be moving forward!”
But, for those who are more interested in getting their resume put together (you will need it for your business plan anyway – when you start your own company), here are some killer tips.
Write great content. No, not story-telling content – Great content! Use words you would use that are descriptive, not dull (boring). If you need help, use some free internet keyword tools like Google Free Keyword Tool.
Write down a list of the things you did for each of your jobs – You’ll want at least four main points per job. Think about what you really did in a way that helped your company. This is your time to shine, so you better make your words count. Words are often the only armor you have to get your foot in the door. Example: BEFORE
WORK WITHOUT SUPERVISION
WROTE EMPLOYEE MANUALS
Effective Team Director For Multi-Cultural Environment
Established Validity in Successful Team Projects
Awarded Direct Supervision Of Work Projects To Prosperous Completion
Implemented Superior Supervision Techniques Resulting in Completing Projects On Time And Under-Budget, Saving Company Revenues an average of eight percent per project.
Streamlined Employee Manuals to Increase Company Efficiency, resulting in 22.3 percent savings in payroll costs.
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Market yourself as if you were your own product. If you were in charge of something or someone – Payroll, for instance, then do not say you were a payroll manager. Write your title down in more descriptive terms – Payroll Specialist For 50-employee Technician Unit.
Resume Design Format must be sharp and consistent. Read your resume repeatedly to check for typos and off-alignments in spacing, tabs, holding, dates, and consistency. If you say you pay attention to detail and miss even one of these items – your resume goes in the circular file.
You want to avoid the visual clutter that forces the eyes to skip jaggedly along with your resume – the reader should be clean and easy with no skips to snag the eyes away.
Let another person read your resume before you send it to anyone. The second set of eyes will always catch those things you miss.
Good Example: Good spacing, plus this resume reads well and is easy on the eye to follow down the page without interruption or changing spacing sequences, or other visual cues.
Catering Business Owner 2005-2010 Newport, California
1. Job Responsibility
2. Job Responsibility
3. Job Responsibility
4. Job Responsibility
Dog Walking Business Owner 2004-2005 Ensenada, California
1. Job Responsibility
2. Job Responsibility
3. Job Responsibility
4. Job Responsibility
Spacing, tabs are jagged (notice spacing too – see dashes between years – 1 have to space and 1 does not), indents – All are uneven and inconsistent formatting leaves the reader hopping around the page like a bunny. The impression you leave an employer is that you are lazy, unreliable, and high maintenance. Business owners and Human Resource personnel do not have time to decipher sloppy resumes.
EXPERIENCE: (poorly spaced, typos, grammar, punctuation, etc.)
Dog Walking Business Gurl 2004 – 2005 Ensenada, California
1 Job Responsibility
3 Job Responsibility
– Job Responsibility
If you struggle to find the right words, then take the job description you have and take the words from that description, and duplicate those same words in your resume. Trained eyes are looking for that kind of information.
TIP – State and Federal job applications are especially notorious for using this technique in choosing job applicants to interview.
If you really do not have the experience but have relevant experience that prepared you for that job duty – Put it down.
It is called transferable skills, and those skills can keep you in the applicant pool or get you tossed out. If the skills you put down are NOT truly transferable, then you will look ignorant and lack a good sense for listing them. It says that you did not read the job description before you applied, and if you are sending out a lot of resumes, it can be the kiss of death if the same person gets your resume twice for two different jobs.
Example: from the website – 50 state jobs (dot)com:
“Work closely with law enforcement, District Attorneys, Patient Attorneys, public advocacy organizations and other DHS agencies throughout the state, and the Oregon State Police, Drug Enforcement Division, whose role it is to enforce the program’s statutes and rules. Monitor, track, and/or respond to:”
Buzz words to use from this job description paragraph – “Work closely with,” “role it is” “to enforce the program’s statutes and rules,” “Monitor, track and/or respond to”
Make sure you match the job description and your bullet points in the same order so that you are using what the employer considers to be important with what you consider to be important – If the job description lists a hierarchy of duties, have your resume bullets in the same hierarchy of importance.
Sell yourself. Do you truly want a beginning position in a company, or would you be over-qualified, get bored and quit if you had to start at the beginning with those parameters?
Imagine what would happen if you put on your resume that you were, “Seeking management of a company division operating with $50,000 __________ you fill in the blank (in receivable accounts, net sales profit,… ), instead of, “Seeking a starting position with a growing company. Being humble only has openings for mail clerks and messengers.
Do your homework. Go online and find out what the company you are applying for really does and create more than one resume. Use your research for a better resume. Write a cover letter directly targeting specific niches, specific keywords, specific duties, specific companies, and divisions within companies – Know who owns the company and someone thing about that person. Ask for an interview in your cover letter.
Example: “I am available for an interview Monday through Wednesday, _______ (date) from 8:00 am-12:00 noon. Please contact me at ____________ (phone, email) to arrange a date and time to discuss my qualifications and your needs.” “I look forward to hearing from you.”
One woman I know was thrilled to see an opening for a company she just loved and could not wait to apply for the job. With about half an hour of research, she found out that they were horrid to work for and found a better position with one of their competitors in a position she still has and still loves ten years later.
Call your references AHEAD OF TIME. Make sure you have a current phone number, address, and email information on your Professional and Personal reference sheet. You would be so completely surprised how quickly out-of-date these things become and how FEW people bother to check their information for accuracy. This step should be a no-brainer, but sadly it is not.
TIP – Send a copy of your resume to your references, so they know what to say on your behalf (coach them).