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Resume Writing Tactics

  • good-resumeHaving a good battle for your resume plan is important. Yes, a good resume definitely requires some thought as to its overall strategy. What are the requirements of the position? Who is the audience? How many competitors are you likely looking at? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how do you best highlight them (or blur them) in a good resume? These are all valuable considerations in determining the approach you need to take to build a resume that will bring consistent success. But as is the case with any project, there is only so much planning that you can do before it gets down to whether or not you take action.

    Once you have given the strategy some thought, push it to the side for a second. Why? Because as you progress through the project, some aspects of that writing strategy may need to be amended based upon factors such as spacing, or simply how the content is blending. What you want to do is just start. That’s right, JUST START! Instead of beginning with the summary and core competencies (slightly more abstract in nature from a development standpoint), go with the more concrete information – your professional experience. After all, when it comes to your experience, there really isn’t much that is abstract about it. What you did and achieved is, well, what you did and achieved. Now, you will want to give consideration to the most important aspects to your future reader. But this is usually the bulk of the grunt work and going through this process will help when it is time to tackle the profile section, where you will “frame the argument” for calling you in.

    The truth is that you can easily end up in a vicious cycle of doubt and changing strategies – constantly reassessing the approach because there is no anchor in place to keep you with one train of thought. But when you commit to at least laying out the basics of a good resume, you begin to get into a flow that helps pull you right through the rest of the project.

  • linkedin profileMake no mistake, the value of building a LinkedIn profile of quality is only going to get more important as we get deeper into the 21st century. If you haven’t at least opened a basic LinkedIn account, then you should do so as soon as possible. In our first installment of “Building a LinkedIn Profile that Gets Attention”, we touched on the value of first knowing which audience you were seeking. We also stressed the development of high-impact and creative use of our introductory aspects of the profile. Let’s look at deeper at the various aspects of the LinkedIn profile to see where we can make set ourselves apart.

    Professional Photo

    Facebook and Instagram may be great places to use “creative” pics for your profile, but remember that LinkedIn is where you are solidifying your professional brand in the digital world (although it can be argued that the other social media accounts play a role in establishing your brand that many downplay). If you have not already, locate a corporate headshot photographer in your area and have headshots taken. This is the first exposure many will have to you professionally, and first impressions matter. Does your profile picture say “I am a career-minded professional looking to make strong, mutually beneficial relationships”? Or, does it say “I am a bit of a flake who doesn’t take my role as a professional very seriously”?

    Job Descriptions: Balancing Brevity with Search

    Your job description entries in the LinkedIn profile allow up to 2000 characters. Well, in the digital world, we are not bound by the two-page limit we have to recognize for the resume’s development. However, we do not want to use all 2000 just because we can. You still want to respect show respect for the time and attention of your reader. So efficiency in phrasing and word choice is still the order of the day. However, the 2000 characters allow us to enter information that would otherwise may have had to be removed from the resume itself. This can add some breadth in terms of keyword reach, which helps increase the search strength of your profile. Many underuse the job description section by not entering any content at all, relying only on the header information. Big mistake when it comes to developing a LinkedIn profile that is searchable and easily locatable by recruiters and other professionals looking to connect. Remember, we also want to communicate using a more conversational style since this is a social medium. So craft your verbiage accordingly.

    Making Use of the Project Feature

    The more you can populate your LinkedIn profile with relevant (yet non-intrusive) content, the better. The ability to link extra project information under each position is a great way to give your reader addendums that demonstrate your awesomeness! The beauty is the flexibility to use the feature for whatever works best for your situation. As a resume writer, I use my project fields to show samples of work. But once can just as easily use it to show critical work project, post letters of recommendation from clients, give access to PowerPoint presentations, display company marketing materials, etc. Did you know that you can even add other team members to a project? If you are connect to project collaborators on LinkedIn, their name will appear as a hyperlink. But you can also add the names of other who are not connected on LinkedIn. Their names will simply appear as regular text. Neat, huh?

    Select Skills and Endorsements Entries that Differentiate

    The Skills & Endorsements section of your profile is one of its most important elements. How important? Well, according to LinkedIn, members who take the time to list skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive 13 times more profile views . How’s THAT for important? When selecting which skills to include, remember to think of what you want your profile to accomplish. So if you are looking to advance I your career as a pharmaceutical sales professional, the skill “Dewey Decimal System” from your time volunteering in the school library while in college doesn’t help. When selecting your skills, always think “relevance and search”. If someone were looking for someone of your skill set, which skills would they search, and how would they be phrased? Also, don’t forget to endorse the skills of others you know and ask them to do the same. The more endorsements of your skills that you receive, the better your LinkedIn profile rates!

    Part 3 coming soon!

  • building a linked-in profile that gets attention part 1When LinkedIn first launched in 2003, many (including myself) wondered if the platform would be one of a long list of here-today-gone-tomorrow websites. Would it burn hot for a while and then faded away? Well, more than a decade later, building a LinkedIn profile that captures attention is an important part of career management. LinkedIn is going strong, and growing! It boasts more than 467 million users (2 people join every second) in 200 countries and territories around the world. Some say LinkedIn will eventually replace the resume (but slow ya’ roll, people). For now, a powerful LinkedIn profile can serve as an effective partner to the resume when constructed properly.

    In part 1 of this 2-part series, we touch on changes you can make to some of the more basic aspects of the profile to help give it purpose and identity. So, what changes can you make to the profile that can help you today?

    Determine the Purpose for Your Profile

    When it comes to your career, every move that you make should be strategic in nature. Nothing should be done by chance. Your approach to the development of your LinkedIn profile should no different. Before you make one single change, give some thought to whether the profile is for near-term employment or long-term branding. How you build it out depends upon this. For example, a professional seeking employment as a Data Analyst may consider going heavy in that direction. But they may decide to brand themselves as an all-around IT professional for consulting purposes. This will affect your approach to every section of the profile, so slow down and give this some thought.

    The Killer Headline: Who are you? (To your audience, that is)

    Sadly, many people ignore the headline field. After all, it automatically populate with your most recent job title and employer name, correct? Besides, most professionals on LinkedIn choose to go with this auto-population. But you’re not most people. This is prime personal ad space and you should be strategic in how you use it. A well-crafted headline can benefit you in a couple of ways.

    First, with this being what people see before they even get into your profile, the headline can go a long way in kicking off your brand to your visitors. This is especially valuable if you possess a diverse background where you can be “perceived” in several different ways. Second, the headline is an excellent place for the inclusion of quality, searchable concepts. If you are in the middle of a job search, or simply open to recruitment, you want opportunity to find you.

    Construct a Profile that Sells!

    In case you were not aware, you get to use up to 2000 characters in the development of your profile section. But don’t get into all of the flowery self-congratulatory descriptors that end up lumping you into the same category as most of your competition. Just as with your resume, keep it tight, keep it relevant, and keep it searchable. Additionally, the profile section is also an excellent place to integrate concepts and information that doesn’t really have a home in any other section of the LinkedIn profile.

    But in the development of the profile, remember that while a professional platform, it is also a social medium. Your verbiage and tone should be less rigid than it would be in its resume counterpart. And yes, this can be done without an overabundance of reliance on soft skills that normally don’t move the meter for recruiters and hiring managers.

    Click here for part 2 of our LinkedIn makeover tutorial.

  • entry level resumeIt is no mystery to anyone who has ever sought guidance on how to write a resume. Brevity is key to keeping your reader’s attention. Of course, one does not want to bite off one’s nose to spite one’s face. There are times when the approach to a resume is too choppy and the punch is not delivered with the power needed to convey the qualifications. There is erroneous advice often given (and sometimes by career professionals) that no resume should exceed one page. But for a professional with 15 years of experience to communicate, one page won’t do. But what about our entry level resume people out there? Well, for you, the one-page entry level resume approach is a MUST.

    If you are an entry level candidate, be it a new college grad or someone transitioning into a different field, there is only so much you can say that will be of interest to the hiring authority. If you received your degree in engineering this past May and have four jobs in the fast food industry, the hiring authority will not be interested in several lines of detail on your back-of-house job description. There is no reason this information should take up 70% of the page space in your entry level resume. Instead, take your reader on a journey into your education, training, certifications, and technical skills. Trimming detail from your professional experience entries will ensure that your reader’s time and attention stays focused on where it should be. Let’s not forget that the valuable white space added to the document gives your reader’s eyes a rest. After all, what if your resume is the 145th of 175 entry level resume submissions they will be reading that day? Remember, the average resume has only 6 to 10 seconds to impress.

    When it comes to entry level positions, the hiring authority will not expect you to have experience. So there is no need to pepper into the entry level resume work experience of another kind just to have it. The position’s skeleton itself is important (job title, employer name, date range) because it gives them a needed information for background checks and communicates your ability to hold gainful employment. Also, if you have any highlights in those positions that can communicate your ability to rise above your peers and contribute, this can have some value. But be sure to stop there. If you want your entry level resume to bear fruit.

  • resume strategy tipsWhen one decides to become an entrepreneur, it comes with inherent risks. Not every business is going to make it. Sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards. When you’re forced to shut the doors (or at least do so temporarily), it then becomes time to dust off the ol’ resume that you have been using to scout out investors, business loans, and clients. But wait a minute. Your audience is now different. What you will be looking to communicate will be different. How they read the document will be different. As such, your resume must follow suit. Here are some resume writing tips on bringing that entrepreneur resume closer in line with what your new reader needs to see.

    Resume Strategy Tips 1: Leave the “Jack of All Trades” Angle Back with the Business License

    Many job seekers believe that employers and hiring managers want to see a resume that demonstrates the breadth of your experience and demonstrates your versatility. And erroneously so. Recruiters and HR personnel are crunched for time. When attempting to fill a position, they are worried about solving a specific set of problems. When retooling your resume, take into account what problems the reader will be looking to solve and make this the focus of the resume strategy. Remember when Liam Neesen told those kidnappers that he “had a particular set of skills”? Follow his lead, folks.

    Resume Strategy Tips 2: Minimize the Business Ownership Emphasis

    In most cases, hiring managers are afraid of entrepreneurs. The fear comes from the potential to lose the new hire to yet another business opportunity that our free spirited friend might come across. Or perhaps the candidate is using the job to supplement income until the ship rights itself, and then planning to leave. Training new employees has a real cost. Some believe it costs up to 9 months’ salary every time an employee has to be replaced. Here is another article on the subject of training costs. Forget the “Owner” or “Proprietor” titles. (Check your ego at the unemployment office, my friend). The good news is that as the owner of the business, you have likely worn many hats. Hats that can be used to populate your new resume. So if you are seeking a Business Development Manager position, you likely did a good deal of business development for your business. Why not use that as your job title?

    Resume Strategy Tips 3: Structure the Resume for Brevity

    The resume you developed for that investor or business banking loan officer was prepared for a captured audience. These individuals are usually prepared to comb over that resume and the rest of your documentation before making a decision. But in the job search arena, your resume usually has less than 10 seconds to deliver its message. Then the reader moves on to the next resume. Be sure you layout and design are conducive to visual navigation ease. Check for superfluous language in your sentence structure. Look for low-relevance concepts.

    Transitioning back to the salaried world is a big adjustment in mindset and approach, especially when it comes to the buildout of your new resume. But one thing has never changed: you always take into account your audience and environment when developing any form of communications. Picking up valuable tips can always help. But trust me when I tell you: the touch of a certified professional resume writer is likely improve your results even more. But if for some reason time is not on your side, these tips will at least give you a better shot at getting the interview.

  • how to write a resumeWhen it comes to any resume writing project, the most difficult part always seems to be getting started. This is because there is usually so many factors to consider. How much do I flush out my job description? What portion of my education is relevant? If I include an executive summary, what exactly am I saying there? Well, trust me when I tell you that this is a rabbit hole we could go down for days. But in this latest how to write a resume segment, let’s address the order in which you approach the document’s construction.

    Remember that an effective resume is a targeted resume. So since you are not just looking to document a bunch of facts, there is going to be some information that is a higher priority than others when it comes to inclusion in the resume. In most situations, the information that is least flexible lies in the job descriptions themselves. After all, you did what you did there, right? You will still need to consider what information will go in and what may have to come out. We consider this the skeleton upon which the rest of the resume will be built. For now, lay the information out as best you can in relation to the target. You can always go back and edit accordingly based upon the amount of room in the document and your perception of how information blends.

    Lay out the other aspects of your background, including your education, and other skills. It is okay if you are not sure exactly what will be included. If this is the case, and it is better to include everything and then trim the document later. Remember, unless this is a special circumstance, we are looking to keep our resume at two pages or less. But the idea is to get the nuts and bolts down before you begin molding at based upon the target.

    At this point, all of the raw material should be in the resume. It is at this point that you work on your executive summary profile section. This is the section that will tell you are either exactly how they should perceive your information. Think of it as a jacket cover introduction to a book. It’s frames the conversation for the reader. While you want a well-developed profile section, you do not want to overdo it. After all, this is supposed to be more of a synopsis. The Reader really wants to get into the meat of the resume, but they will stop here first based upon the profile’s location on the page. If structured correctly, it will be easily digestible visually and set the tone for how they absorb the rest of your resume.

    You may end up with a resume exceeding two pages because you did not know what to remove. Now that you have properly researched the target and develop your profile section accordingly, it will be a little more obvious to you the information within the body that should either be truncated or removed. Of course, it goes without saying that proper resume phrasing will help you optimize the space used (we call it the “telegraphic” writing style). But if you have done the job with your phrasing and still exceeding the second page, then look for relatively low priority content to trim. It’s there … trust me.

    For more tips on writing  resume, be sure to click here.

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