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Resume Writing Tactics

  • resume writer

    So, you begin preparation for writing your resume and look for it to be as strong as possible. You research every aspect of your old job descriptions to ensure you provide detail . Also, you brainstorm highlights and achievements to include on your resume. After all, your reader should know you are someone that leaves an impact, right? After laying it all out, developing a striking summary, include high-level keywords. Finally, you wrap it up in a nice bow by using a very attractive design. There is no way this resume can miss, right? Well, not so fast.

    When it comes to resume writing, it is not always about being the best and most qualified. Yes, in the practice of hiring talent, there is such a thing as overqualified. When it comes to the development of resume strategy, you can in fact overshoot the target. If you think about it, this is not an overly hard concept to understand.

    Hiring Ain’t Cheap!

    Consider the resume from the standpoint of the hiring authority. Onboarding a new employee is a real and significant cost. The cost of advertising vacancies, posting positions on job boards, and the screening and interviewing process can add up. Not to mention the assessment time, and eventual hiring and lengthy training. Employers want to know that their new hire is not only qualified, but likely to stay. The fear of employers is that an overqualified job seeker will eventually experience dissatisfaction and seek to move on. They are trying to avoid spending thousands of dollars in training costs. Who wants to to find themselves back at the beginning 6 months later?

    “Square Peg in Round Hole” Much?

    While qualifications are definitely key, what employers find just as important is achieving the proper fit. If your resume is significantly overshooting of the role, you may find yourself waiting for a call that never comes. Good resume writing involves not only communicating relevant qualifications, but also knowing how not to overshoot the goal.

    Your previous role may have been CFO. But if seeking a position as an accounting manager, don’t mention putting together the entire financial management strategy for a multi-million-dollar company. Wait for the interview to reveal these things. You then have the opportunity to provide context as to why you are seeking a position beneath those you held previously.

    Quality resume writing is about communicating to your reader that YOU are the proper fit. You would not wear a $5,000 suit to apply for a position as a dishwasher at a homeless shelter. You are resume is no different than you are, in that it needs to READ THE ROOM.

  • Two Resumes

    Let’s face it, when it comes to preparing our resumes for the job search, we would definitely like it to be easy. I mean, if we could prepare one, instead of two resumes that answers every question for every reader, we would be golden! Unfortunately, there are instances where a different tool is needed in your toolbox. Now, I am not talking about the task of Simply tailoring one’s resume to a job description. I am talking about the need for a completely different strategic approach. So, how do you know when there is a need to take a different strategic approach to your resume than you previously have? Below are a few examples of situations warranting this.

    Competing Skill Sets

    Some of us are very blessed, and that we can rely on a background that gives us numerous options. Why this is in fact a blessing, if approached the wrong way it actually ends up being a curse. When it comes to your resume, you do not want your reader feeling as though they are fishing through wood could be several potential skill set mixes in order to find where they fit into the equation. First, there is the issue of time. The average resume is reviewed for 10 seconds or less. That means there is no time to distract someone with content that does not relate to them. Second, even if the hiring manager where to see where your skill-set matched their requirements, they will wonder whether or not you are truly committed to the direction that the position requires. Neither of these scenarios work in your favor. If your job search is one that will be attacking different position types for Industries, you want to ensure that each one is speaking a specific language the reader. That hiring manager should not feel as though they are competing with other Industries for your services.

    Same Job, Different Industry

    Let’s say that you have been in pharmaceutical sales for the last 15 years, but you are also seeking a sales position outside of that industry. In a case such as this, the pharmaceutical sales resume will likely have a great deal of industry-specific jargon. There will be in pronounceable drug names, references to various therapeutics, and other things that may make readers from other Industries cringe. So what do you need to do question mark you need to put together a resume that pulls the focus away from the industry and back on your ability to sell. That other resume should strip away all of the industry-specific terminology and jargon so that the reader does not view you as a pigeon-holed pharmaceutical professional.

    Federal vs Private Sector

    This scenario may present the most dramatic difference in resume needs. The federal resume and private-sector resume are in fact two different and distinct animals. When it comes to your federal resume, you will want to flesh out the content and be thorough with regard to the communication of all relevant skills with regard to the position in question. Federal resumes can be quite lengthy, based upon the amount of experience one brings to the table. In contrast, your private sector resume has the goal of brevity. You rarely have situations that warrant more than two pages. As such, someone with an extensive background will have to make some tough decisions on what to exclude. Additionally, the very infrastructure of these documents is a bit different. With the federal resume, you are including much more information in the position headers then you would with the private sector resume. For those exiting the military, it is quite common to include all awards and medals on a federal resume, why only including them in the private sector version if it is very relevant to the type of position being sought. So in this case, if actively applying for positions in the public and private sector, two resumes is the bare minimum.

    No one said it would be easy. Looking for a job is hard work. Ensuring all the proper tools are in your toolbox is paramount to getting this thing done quickly, and two resumes may be just what the doctor ordered to keep your search humming along. Think of each of your readers as speaking a different language. You would not expect to have a conversation with five individuals, each speaking a different language, by using the same language. Your resume is no different. Ensure that you are speaking the language of the hiring manager, and you give yourself and your resume a great shot.

  • 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.

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