Come On Everyone Get Happy…About Your Resume

Happy-about-my-Resume1-99x150I will be conducting a free one hour resume writing webinar on January 26, 2010 at 2pm EST that will be broadcasted in select libraries across the country. If you are interested in attending, just ask your local library if they are a partner with and if they will be participating. Hope to “see” you there!

Resume Writing for People Who Don’t Like to Brag

toot your hornI recently listened to a presentation at the NRWA conference by Wendy Gelberg, author of The Successful Introvert. Wendy talked about creating a resume when you don’t like to “toot your own horn” or position yourself as “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” All job seekers need to prove their value to hiring authorities. We all want to make a good first impression, but some are not comfortable with the concept of “selling” their candidacy. If you have struggled with articulating your value when trying to craft a resume, Wendy suggests asking yourself these questions.

1. How have things changed from the time you started your job until now?
2. When did you receive praise for something you did?
3. If no one  was there to do your job for a week what would happen in the organization?
4. What would your co-workers say about you?
5. Can you think of any days at work when you were especially proud of something?

By reframing how we look at our accomplishments, we can gain a greater comfort level with the concept of creating compelling stories of success for our resumes and in turn create more valuable content for the resume.

Happy About My Resume Free Webinar on September 30

happy about my resumeI will be presenting a free webinar on resume writing that will be broadcast across 183 libraries in the U.S on September 30 from 1pm to 2pm EST. If interested, contact your local library to see if they are participating. If you can’t attend, check out my resume tips here.

Free Resume Writing Webinar on September 14, 2009

Update your resumeIn honor of September’s Update Your Resume month, I am offering a complimentary webinar, Resumes That Pass the Hiring Manager’s 30 Second Test, on Monday, September 14, at 12pm EST, to anyone who purchases the Happy About My Resume book before September 14, 2009. Here is an overview of the webinar.

Did you know that the average hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds reviewing a candidate’s resume? They don’t really read the document; they scan it for keywords, competencies, and achievement-based content that quickly showcases how a candidate can add value to an organization. Does your current resume pass the 30-second test? Join us to find out. During this webinar participants will discover:

* Methods for incorporating on-message keywords into the resume.
* Exciting and compelling strategies for highlighting your core brand.
* How to write accomplishment-driven, powerful content that gets noticed by hiring managers.

Just forward your receipt for the book to Barbara Safani at and I will sign you up for the webinar. You can also check out my other job search workshops and webinars here.

Jenny Jenny is Not a Good Email Address

jennyI recently reviewed resumes at the National Career Fair in New York City and I was amazed at  the number of people that use very complex and hard to remember email addresses on their resumes. The addresses reminded me of the Tommy Tutone 80s hit Jenny about a boy who falls for a girl named Jenny and keeps repeating her phone number (probably in an effort to remember it).

Employers may not be as keen to remember your email and an email address that is difficult to key such as one with many characters, random letters that don’t form a recognizable word, or a series of numbers is bound to cause trouble when an employer is trying to contact you. Keep it simple. Create an email that has either your first and last name or first initial and last name. If you have a common name, add your middle name as well rather than numbers. Try to limit the number of extra characters whenever possible. Less is more when it comes to email addresses.

Google is Great for Many Things…But Not for Writing a Resume

I just set up a new stand out private email account through gmail and I’m exploring all my Google account has to offer. They have some great templates for time management, scheduling, and budgeting…for all the things I need to organize and no one else needs to see.

They also have dozens of resume templates and I’ve seen just about every one of them come through my Career Solvers site where I offer free resume critiques. And they always look horrible.

Templates are great for creating processes and minimizing the effort of creating a format from scratch every time you need to track something. They are not great for developing one of the most important marketing tools you will ever write. I looked up the definition of template and here is the explanations I found. “Templates are pre-existing forms that include standard text and spaces to fill-in-the-blanks with standard information.”  Hmm. Doesn’t sound like a great strategy for a job seeker who is trying to differentiate himself during a search.

If you are writing a resume, skip the template approach. Chose a design that emphasizes your strengths and doesn’t force you to put your qualifications into a prefabricated form. Dare to be different and break away from the pack. And if you need some ideas to get the creative juices flowing, check out Happy About My Resume to jump start the process.

Functional Resumes Should Be Renamed Dysfunctional Resumes

wrongToday at the National Career Job Fair in New York City, someone showed me a resume and asked for a critique. The resume had absolutely no chronology; no company names, position titles, or dates of employment. When I asked her why this information was omitted, she replied by saying, “I don’t need to include that information; it’s a functional resume.”

Many years ago, someone came up with the idea of the functional resume; a resume that merely focused on functional skills and eliminated all references to employment experience. The logic was that this would better display a candidate’s transferable functional skills and eliminate the need to explain away problems in the person’s chronology such as employment gaps or experience that wasn’t related to the job target.

But at its core, the functional resume is truly dysfunctional. Recruiters and hiring managers are immediately suspect of resumes without a chronology and few will even bother to review them. Most will draw their own conclusions about why certain information was omitted and you will never get a chance to explain your strategy. So by eliminating the information you were trying to hide, you have actually called more attention to the fact that it is missing.

So what do you do if you are transitioning careers or have an employment gap that would be glaring on a chronological resume? Go for what’s called a combination format. Use functional categories to show your relevant skills and accomplishments but supplement that with an abbreviated chronology that shows company names, job titles, and employment dates.  Whenever possible, explain employment gaps right on the resume with brief explanations such as “company downsized” or “left position to care for a sick parent.” It is always better to be transparent because it reduces the liklihood that the reader will draw their own conclusions from your omissions.

Also, keep in mind, that if you are focusing on your functional skills because you are making a career transition, a resume alone may not be enough to validate that transition. Everyone in a job search needs supporters, but career changers and people with questionable chronologies need them even more.  A piece of paper can’t always explain away all the questions a hiring authority may have about your qualifications for a job where you have limited experience. Career changers build that type of trust by asking people close to the decision makers to make introductions and advocate for their candidacy. Once that is achieved, the resume can be used to help support their value proposition.

So if you’ve been leaning towards creating a functional resume to position yourself in front of a potential employer, you are probably headed in the wrong direction. Create a combination format and build a network of “cheerleaders” that can help you gain the right introductions to move towards your new career path.

15 Resume Tips in a New York Minute

clockJoin me at the National Career Fair at the Radisson Hotel at 49 West 32nd Street in New York City on July 22 from 11am to 3pm where I will be leading free small group presentations on methods for improving your resume. Can’t make it? Check out my free download on resume writing tips on my homepage at Career Solvers.

Let Go of Your Resume Baggage

closetOne of the reasons why it is so difficult for people to write their own resume is that there is often so much emotional baggage attached to our careers and it is hard to let go of the things we experienced in each of our jobs. Writing a good resume forces you to make choices about what should and should not be listed in the document and the exercise is similar to cleaning out a closet of cherished items that no longer have a place in your life. If you were going through the clothes and accessories in your closet you would probably ask yourself these questions:

1. Does this still fit?
2. Does this date me?
3. Is this item consistent with current trends?
4. Will I make the right impression with this outfit?
5. Can I pull this look off at my age?
6. Does this outfit make me look like everyone else?
7. Does this look match my industry/professional level?

When was the last time you “cleaned out” your resume? Try asking yourself these same questions to determine what to keep and what to cut. If the information is not relevant to your current job target, let if go.

Resumes Are a Lot Like Swimsuits

swimsuitAs we head into summertime, it’s time to start thinking about finding the right swimsuit. Everyone wants to have a suit that accentuates their best parts and plays down the parts they wish were different. Different colors, styles, and cuts help present the best you.

The same is true of resumes. Certain content should be emphasized while other information should be less noticeable. Design elements such as bold, shading, and color can be used to capture the reader’s attention and point them towards the information you want them to focus on.

Does your resume make you look the best you can be? Get a free resume assessment here.