I 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.
I 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.
I 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.
Join 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.
One 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.
As 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.
Yesterday I was interviewed by Krishna De on Blog Talk Radio. Given the current state of the economy, job security is on everyone’s minds and now is certainly the time to dust off and update your resume. During my interview, I discussed
- The 5 biggest resume mistakes
- Strategies for create a compelling profile
- 3 tips for writing accomplishment statements
- The role of web resume portfolios in today’s job market
…and much, much more. You can listen to the show here.
Most resumes read like job descriptions and fail to distinguish the candidate from their competition. They are often chock full of routine tasks with no indication of the value the person brought to the job. Here are some typical statements I see on resumes.
- Generated ad hoc reports for senior management
- Typed correspondence and managed director’s calendar
- Delivered sales presentations to prospects
- Managed budgeting, financial reporting, and all accounting activities
Here’s a simple test to assess the effectiveness of your resume. Read each statement and ask yourself “so what?” In other words, ask yourself why that activity was important, how it added value to the organization, or how it helped the company make money, save money, or save time. If your original statement does not adequately answer one of those questions, it is probably too focused on job tasks and not enough on accomplishments. The best resume statements indicate impact and quantify that impact using numbers, dollars, or percentages. Remember, the job task itself is not what makes you valuable to an employer…it is your unique accomplishment within that task that will get them to sit up and take notice.
December is a time for reflection. One of the topics people often reflect on at the end of the year is what they have achieved professionally over the last 12 months. Yet few take the time to actually write out their stories of success. Keeping track of your achievements and noting the impact you have had on the organization you support is an important component of a comprehensive career management strategy. Take some time this month to jot down your responses to these questions.
- What hurdles and challenges did you face over the past year and how did you react to these challenges? What were the quantifiable results of your efforts?
- What were your top 3 to 5 achievements this year? Did these achievements save money, make money, or save time for the organization?
- Did you introduce any “first-ever” projects or initiatives that became best practices?
- What are you known for? Are you considered the “go-to-guy” for certain things?
The answers to these questions will prove invaluable should you need to update your resume in 2009. Take the time during the less hectic month of December to reflect.
Read my Thanksgiving post on resume mistakes and find out.