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resume writing

  • 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.

  • laptop and notebookEvery now and then, the subject comes up at to whether or not hiring a resume writer is considered perpetrating a fraud upon the reader. Usually, those who are asking the question do not truly understand the hiring process is supposed to achieve. Or just not thinking about it. Let’s use an example to illustrate the point.

    A company finds itself in need of a top-notch business development professional. There are several critical qualifications of each applicant they will want to consider. However, this critical juncture in the sourcing and hiring process also involves limited reader time and concentration. After all, you are looking at anywhere from dozens to hundreds of resumes that need to be reviews prior to selecting the lucky interviewees. Now, if our esteemed HR professional has to review 175 resumes in order to find 15 qualified and this needs to be done by end of business tomorrow, what type of document do you believe this professional would want to see? Do you believe this individual would want to wade through poorly organized resumes to determine our business development professional’s network building skills, presentation development acumen, or sales closing skills?

    Think of it this way: is someone misrepresenting themselves in a court of law when they hire an attorney to speak on their behalf? Of course not. A smart person knows that in order to get the desired legal judgment, they need someone who knows the process and has the resources to quickly get and interpret the information necessary for their defense. What a professional resume writer does for their clients is similar in nature to what an attorney does for theirs. We help our clients to navigate the process by avoiding the pitfalls that can hurt your cause. You can bet that our HR professional does not care who wrote the resume. As long as it clearly and honestly communicates our professional’s relevant skill set in a way that can be easily digested, they will be happy.

    After all, do you believe our hiring authority really cares about the resume writing skill of a rainmaker who can bring home a $38 million account? Nah, me either.

  • 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.

  • certified resume writerAs a certified resume writer, our primary objective is to get our clients into the interview door. Yes, everyone wants a Picasso masterpiece fit for framing and displaying in a museum. But that isn’t the goal, is it? Our clients are in need of a job (or a promotion) and in order to achieve that, they must first be called in to interview with someone. Now, when most people think of this process, they envision someone sitting in a quiet office who has nothing but time to review their resume as though it is the one and only one they will be reviewing that day. The truth is often a bit less “sanitary” than that.

    When one considers that their resume can be one of dozens (or even hundreds) of resumes that someone has to review, you’ll see that the game changes with how a resume project needs to be approached. Why? Well, if your reader has been given the edict to get that stack of resumes down from 278 to 15 by the end of the day, do you really think they have time to read every word? They are looking for every reason in the world to throw your resume away. After all, how else will they be able to manage this process, along with the other projects on their plate?

    The way a good certified resume writer deals with the numbers game is to first figure out where all of the “resume landmines” reside. The certified professional understands how a reader will process that information in under 10 seconds. Everything from paragraph length to alignment, font choice and phrasing plays a role. In fact, even HR professionals and recruiters are often surprised when we reveal to them certain factors that can subconsciously affect their processing of the information in front of them.

    Countless resume are tossed before the reader even gets to the first job description. A certified resume writer knows where the mines are buried to help you navigate your way to that interview door.

    “If you don’t know, hire a pro.”

  • resume strategyResume Strategy Challenge

    A client reached out with the issue trying to figure out how to deal with a nine-year gap in employment. As a mother of three, she was recently divorced and getting back into the workforce. Most of her experience prior to the start of her family was in administration and she was looking to return to something in that capacity. She completed an Associates degree in Business, but it was quite some time ago. Her goal was to find an office position she can utilize her prior experience in office administration.

    The old resume needed plenty of work. Along with a rather pedestrian looking header, the layout strategy just screamed for the reader to look at the dates, where of course, the nine-year gap was waiting to greet them. In addition, the spacing was inconsistent and phrasing left a little to be desired (by the way, many of these issues are pretty common in do-it-yourself resume attempts).

    Resume Strategy Resolution

    First things first. Our reader needs to be sold on the positives before the negatives even appear. Thus, we look to develop a resume strategy for keeping the eyes from settling on the dates. The old resume was missing any sort of an introduction, so we want to set a tone here. We built a profile and core competencies section with a focus on high-relevance skills (but the hard skills, not that soft skills fluff). I decided to space the lines a bit to make it easy for the eyes to rest here, but did so evenly so as to be unnoticeable to the reader.

    Next, instead of leading off with the Professional Experience section, I went either a small Functional Skills section. Now, note that I did not create an all-encompassing functional resume strategy, which raises red flags. This was a resume strategy with the purpose of being a reinforcement tool in support of the skill set before the weakness is eventually discovered.

    Traditionally, whenever a client has any significant experience in a field, Professional Experience section comes next. But we decided to roll Education above it to further push down those pesky dates. However, we removed the graduation date. We also added a few core courses for added relevance.

    When we finally got to Professional Experience, the idea was to make the dates blend into the background. Instead of using two lines for each employment entry, we used one. While the employment dates are traditionally aligned to the right of the page, we flip them next to the employer information. This prevented an easy scan of the dates. To further pull the eyes away from the dates, we bolded the job titles that led off the job header lines and made them slightly larger than the rest of the text.

    The client had five positions within her work history, but we only included three of them. With her date issue, we wanted to keep the document to one page. Additionally, her work history contained no notable highlights (at least none that she could recall). My normal resume strategy in such a case would be to use of bullet points to create white space. But with our goal to keep the eyes off of the weakness, I decided to place this information in paragraph form to keep the top of the resume the focal point.

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