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  • resume writingMost people would like to believe that something as important as one’s resume has a standardized approach. Sorry, but that could not be farther from the truth. If there is one thing an experienced and successful resume writing expert will tell you, it is that we operate more with guidelines that we do standards. The reasoning is quite simple. Different circumstances require differing strategies and approaches. That is also not to say that more than one approach can get the job done.

    Throughout the years, advice has been passed down through various professionals and educators with regard to resume writing. Some of it is good, but a lot of it erroneous. This faulty advice has often locked applicants into imaginary boxes that yields poor results. And we are not  just talking about any professionals. Many job training  agencies and career professionals happen to be the biggest culprits when it comes to passing along  dated and erroneous information. Here are three of the most common myths that you should get past in order to unlock the true power of your job candidacy.

    Resume Writing Myth #1: Your resume should be structured in certain ways for certain professions

    I can’t blame you if you fell for this one. After all, we always want to assume that there is one ideal solution. “All IT resumes should be structured like this … all Engineering resumes should be laid out like that.” A very common question professional resume writers receive is “How should a (enter profession here) look?” Well, the real answer is that it depends upon many factors, not just the profession. For example, if Applicant A has 18 years of experience as a Project Manager with several major solution implementations under their belt, their resume should look drastically different than Applicant B, who may have relevant experience, but none within the past 6 years. How many positions are being included in total? Is the client’s background accomplishment heavy or does their candidacy leaning more on training and certifications? Don’t get wrapped up in looking for the standardized box in which to drop your resume.

    Resume Writing Myth #2: Keep your resume at one page no matter what

    This one is usually learned very early on, but the reason is understandable. Most people receive their first instruction on resume writing in high school or college. It is here they are instructed to keep the document to one page. But let’s remember that most new high school and college graduates have very little job experience to communicate. As such, it is usually beneficial in this circumstance to keep the document to one page. When your resume will be competing against dozens, maybe hundreds of others, you do not want your reader waiting an extra page of meaningless fluff. But the problem is that at some point, your experiences grow and and your resume needs to grow with it. A two-page resume is acceptable in most cases. In fact, since we are in the age of databases and applicant tracking systems, removing too much content from your resume will hurt its search strength. While brevity is always the goal, you do not want to bite off your resume’s nose to spite its face (in a manner of speaking).

    Resume Writing Myth #3: Communicating how well-rounded and diverse I am will be great for my candidacy

    Big mistake here. Unless you are seeking a position as a consultant, your reader generally does not care about your entire breadth of experience. They are looking to solve a set number of problems with the new hire. Your resume should be targeted and communicate (as quickly as possible) how your skills, experiences, training and certification will help to meet those immediate needs for which they are hiring. Now, once you are in the interview, communicating to the employer your other skills can set you apart from the other position finalists. But if you want consistency in securing interviews, be sure that you are resume focuses on specific skills, experiences, education and training needed for the targeted role.

  • read your resumeAfter spending hours and upon hours getting your resume and cover letter to look just right, you will likely want someone else to read your resume to ensure it has the impact you intended. But not so fast. To ensure they are reading the resume just right, you need to set some guidelines. You see, the average hiring professional that will read your resume is doing so in a completely different state of mind, and with a different goal. So technical proofing aside, if your friends and family are going to read your resume to help you, they need to do so under the right conditions.

    Have Your People Forget That They Know You

    One of the Achilles heels of having a friend or colleague read your resume for is that they care about you. However, that hiring manager does not know, not care about you. This means they approach the document with a little less care and technical attention. Your resume is one of many that need to be assessed to solve a certain number of problems. Anyone helping you by agreeing to read your resume needs to get into this state of mind. The idea is to ensure that the resume in fact cuts through this indifference to deliver the impact intended. A “friendly eye” tries more to do you a favor with “attention to detail”, when in fact distraction and indifference is the best thing they can offer you in this situation.

    Tell Them to Feign Visual Exhaustion (and a Tinge of Aggravation)

    One must remember that a resume in action rarely exists in a vacuum. Depending upon the position, your resume can be competing with a couple hundred others for the attention of the reader. What if your resume is #188 out of 205? If your friend, colleague or family member is going to read your resume to assist, they should read a few other documents first to strain their eyes a bit. Perhaps a good exercise would be to look up a few other resumes on the Web pursuing similar positions before reviewing yours. Some will be good, but very likely, most will be bad. This should dull a few brain cells and get them properly aggravated before getting into yours. This way, if message successfully gets across in that tattered state of mind, you’re on to something.

    They Should Give The Resume No More Than 15 Seconds to Impress for the Target

    Now that the stage is set for your friend or colleague to read your resume, let them know they won’t have time to read the whole thing. Recruiters and hiring manager know pretty quickly whether or not you are getting to the next stage. A study conducted by the Ladders revealed that recruiters give resumes an average of only 6 seconds before giving a “yay” or “nay”. That’s right … 6 seconds. So 15 seconds is actually a little generous. But since your colleague is likely not as versed in what to look for, let’s allot a little more time. In those few seconds, your colleague should be able to sense how your resume matches the targeted goal. The document should be easy to navigate so that they can easily flow to the most important information. This should be instinctive and effortless.

    A good resume is designed to deliver punch and effect quickly. So while tempting, you will want to stay away from the overly elaborate development that may look good to captive audiences, but serve little purpose to an overburdened, tired and distracted hiring manger. You are not trying to win a document beauty contest. You are trying to win an interview. “Runway” resumes are just like their fashion counterparts: great on the catwalk, useless outside the showroom. Leave the concept resumes to your competition. Build a streamlined resume and cover letter, and when your friends and colleagues offer to help with a review, ensure they are of that mindset when they read your resume.

  • short term employmentWhen To Include or Not Include Short Term Employment Entries In The Resume

    A resume that is going to achieve maximum effectiveness does not follow a formula. Every applicant has a different mix of skills and qualifications, so their resumes should be adjusted accordingly. But even for any one individual, every situation will be different. How to handle short-term employment periods can cause headaches for novice resume writers. But did you know that in 2013 approximately 40% of employees who left their jobs voluntarily did so within 6 months of their start date?

    Before your resume writer decide to include or exclude your short-term employment stay within the resume, you and they should be sure to consider all of the factors to determine its net effect. First, consider the overall hole that it will leave in your resume if you remove the position. If you had employment immediately before and after a three-month role, then leaving a three or four month gap is not a big deal. But what if removal of the position leaves you with a 17-month gap? Then you may want to reconsider. Another factor would be where within the timeline the position appears. What’s this position within the last year or two, or was it 12 years back? If exclusion of the position from the resume causes a notable employment gap more than a decade ago, it will be less relevant to the hiring manager than if that gap happened within the last year or two.

    Also, consider how the position aligns with your employment goals. Was this a 6-month “pay-the-bills” job that in no way aligns with your career path for the position you are pursuing? Depending upon how the rest of your professional experience on the resume lays out, you may not want this non-relevant roll sticking out like a sore thumb near the beginning of your resume. But perhaps it was a temporary job that perfectly aligns with your career that was followed by a long-term role. This is likely a situation where you would include the position, perhaps with a note regarding the temporary status of the position (so that your reader doesn’t assume you were released for any performance issues or that you abandoned the post.)

    As with anything else, what you do and do not include on your resume, as well as where you include it, is governed by one rule: how it will affect your reader. When your resume writer approaches any strategy element to your document, every final decision should be based upon this strategy assessment. Short-term employment tenures do not have to be resume killers if you take the time to consider the big picture.

  • resume writer emailThe cyber security analyst resume, when done correctly, puts you in high demand. As you can imagine, any profession associated with technology can only be expected to grow in the decades to come. Cyber security professionals are an organization’s front line defense in preventing database and network attacks. They are key in preventing countless dollars in financial information theft. By performing risk assessments and security measures verification, the cyber security analyst keeps businesses and government agencies running smoothly.

    To ensure your cyber security analyst resume attracts the attention that it deserves, there are certain skills, knowledge and qualities you will want to ensure your reader does not miss. Below are five such concepts that you may want to ensure hiring managers and recruiters do not miss in your resume and cover letter.

    Resume Skill 1: Vulnerability Assessment

    And effective cyber security analyst resume will communicate your ability to define, identify and classify holes in security when it comes to computers, network and communications infrastructures. When done correctly do you are resume proves to your reader that you can identify potential threats, develop strategies for dealing with high priority problems, and define ways to minimize consequences in the event of an attack. Are you a member of the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT)? If so be sure your reader can see this. Your ethical hacking skills can also be of use here. The cyber security analyst skills in probing networks and systems to identify vulnerabilities is a valued commodity.

    Resume Skill 2: Firewall Development

    It is one thing for the cyber security analyst to be able to identify intrusions. But to round out the skill set, you should be demonstrating to your reader the ability to prevent them. Your cyber security analyst resume should communicate your ability to erect first line of defense protection of enterprise applications and data. Whether it is network layer firewalls, application layer firewalls, proxies or network address translation functionality, getting these concepts across to the hiring manager can put you in front of the other applicants who did not bother. Are you versed in the next generation firewall (NGFW)? The recruiter should not have to guess this. You can be of great help to organizations dedicated to detecting application-specific vulnerabilities.

    Resume Skill 3: Cyber Incident Response

    On the occasion that an attack dogs get through, hiring managers want to know that you understand how to respond to such creatures. WR Cyber Security Analyst resume tell the reader love your skills in developing Incident Response (IR) plans? What about your skills and documenting response plans and making them available to the entire organization? Are all staff members fully aware of their roles and responsibilities in the event of a cyber attack? If you possess experience in running simulated breaches, this is a valuable skill set to showcase on your resume.

    Of course, these are not the only skills of importance for the cyber security analyst resume. However, these are definitely high priority. You always want to ensure that you are examining the target job descriptions when putting together your cyber security analyst resume. Not every position will be the same, nor have the same skill set priority. Remember, any resume you send is supposed to speak to that specific readers need. Take the time, do it right, and watch your interview frequency increase.

  • resume summaryThe days of the objective are long gone and we’ve moved on to the resume summary. But I am sure you knew that already, right? Times have changed, and resume writing has changed with them. What you want nowadays is a strong summary or profile section that can clearly and succinctly communicate your most relevant qualifications to your reader. But a good summary does not happen by accident. With this section sometimes being the only thing a hiring manager will see, random ramblings are not likely to get you very far. The Summary section occupies a valuable piece of real estate within the resume.  Being located in what is known as the “visual center” of the resume, it is the first place that your reader’s eye will fall when reviewing the document. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to deliver impact here. Below are a few concept to consider when crafting the Summary section of your resume.

    Resume Summary Tip 1: Communicate Value Instead of Skills

    I know that on the surface this may seem like the same thing. But the key to the difference lies in application. It is not enough to simply provide a laundry list of skills on your resume that you offer. The goal here is to convince your reader that your skill set has some tangible application that will help them achieve their objectives for the position. The responsibility for communicating this probably within the resume does not lie with the reader, it lies with you. After all, it is you looking for the job , correct? Use phrasing and language that utilizes those skill sets to convey how their application can help the potential employer meet their goals.

    Resume Summary Tip 2: Avoid Overselling Soft Skills

    Now this is a common mistake that we see with the novice resume summary. Job seekers all too often litter their resumes and cover letters with prose that it’s rather vague and general in nature. This type of content often says nothing specific about the ability to do the job in question, but rather touches on qualities that not only can be applied to any position and industry, but would also be claimed by any and everyone. Let’s face it, if there is a concept being addressed on a resume that everyone would claim, but the reader knows everyone does not possess, then you are simply wasting space. As much as you can, stick to the core of the qualifications required by the position when writing your resume summary. Trust me, the fact that this area of resume is high on the relevant scale will already put you above most of the competition. Additionally, the databases and applicant tracking systems will love you for this. If you are a software engineer, that database is more likely to select you because of a phrase that includes “software development life cycle” one that contains “team player”.

    Resume Summary Tip 3: Include Your Most Powerful Highlights

    This strategy depends somewhat upon how many special projects, highlights, accomplishments and accolades you have to communicate in the resume. I have had clients in the past with so many under one position that including them all under that one entry simply looked a little awkward. Taking some of those extra highlights and moving down underneath the resume summary can allow you get all of them in without degrading the document visually. As we know, the impact items are usually what sets you apart from your competition. After all, if you are resume consisted of nothing but job description, your resume can easily look like anyone else’s with the same background. So we want to hit them with impact in the resume where we can. Distributing some of them within the resume summary is a good way to deliver the full payload in a less intrusive and distracting fashion.

  • resume writingJob seekers are usually at a significant informational disadvantage when it comes to knowing why hiring managers are not calling them. You’ve sent out hundreds of resumes and posted on dozens of job boards, yet the phone isn’t ringing and your email inbox is empty. Very often, job seekers mistakenly look outward first for the reasons. They blame the economy, their industry, and even the competency level of the hiring managers themselves for the lack of interest. But more often than not, the reason is staring up at them: their very own resume and cover letter. Most people assume that as long as their “duties and education is listed on paper, that should suffice”. But when your document is competing with dozens, or sometimes hundreds of other resumes, every strategic advantage should be sought and every misstep avoided. Below are the top 5 resume writing mistakes that can easily find your resume in the trash can.

    Resume Writing Mistake #1: Venturing Past a 2nd Page

    Your career may span 20 years with 6 positions, consisting of a wealth of duties, highlights, accomplishments and special projects. But in most cases, taking three or four pages to tell your reader about this results in your resume being thrown away. Many hiring managers and recruiters have openly admitted that when they receive resumes of 3 pages or more, they don’t even read the name. They simply toss them. Recruiters are overburdened, sometimes receiving hundreds of resumes daily.  And most people asked to be involved in the hiring process have other projects and responsibilities on their plate. In short, their time is limited and you need to respect that. What cannot be said within two pages does not need to be said. The job of a good resume is to get you into the door where you can provide the additional detail if needed. The job of good resume writing is to provide your reader with a condensed, yet high-relevance job history and background. Some information will be more valuable than others on the resume. Determine what this is and stick to it. There are some exceptions to this three-page rule, but they are rare.

    Resume Writing Mistake #2: Vague and Nonspecific Job Descriptions

    In reviewing resumes, we often see job descriptions littered with low priority concepts that actually do not say much about the core of the position. When you have limited room in which to communicate, you want to be sure you are hitting the target with every single character. Be sure that the information under your job description relate not only to the position under which it is listed, but to the future job target. This is not only to keep the interest of your human reader, but we have the databases and applicant tracking systems to consider here. For example, if you are a software quality assurance engineer, it is more important for you to communicate your background in user acceptance testing and code debugging than “adhering to policies and procedures”. When pressed for space, a good rule of thumb is if the concept is common across most types of positions and industries, you don’t need to say it. Effective resume writing focuses on core concepts at all times.

    Resume Writing Mistake #3: Leading With Weakness

    This resume writing error is usually a sure sign of someone who has learned of only one way of resume writing. Since we all bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table, we should all adjust our strategies to compensate for this. When you have a document that is reviewed for an average of only 10 seconds, you must ensure that the strongest information is seen first. When your resume leads with weaker information, that review time is being wasted. This adjustment should be made not only with the order of your resume sections, but with the information underneath each one. Additionally, you should always seek opportunities to disguise weaknesses. We all have them, but we don’t need our resumes and cover letters trumpeting them, now do we? Figure out the most important information to your reader and implement every strategy that brings their eyeballs to that information first.

    Resume Writing Mistake #4: Using Templates

    The template may seem like a great idea to you, but you have to remember that your reader sees dozens of resumes per day and they all tend to look the same. Well, if you are using a template, this all the guarantees your resume does not set you apart. A good and consistently effective resume will never use templated formats or language. First of all, the “one size fits all” approach means you are missing out on opportunities to focus the reader one of the areas that will score you the most points (see Mistake #3 above). Next, producing a resume that looks like that of most of your competition does the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve: to stand out! Besides, how much respect will the hiring manager or recruiter have for your application when you can’t even take the time to produce an original document? These professionals are reviewing resumes and job descriptions all day, every day. Don’t dare to think that they don’t know template it content when they see it. Always seek originality in your resume and cover letter. When you are trying to be the last applicant standing at the end of the process, blending in is the last thing you should do.

    Resume Writing Mistake #5: Not Proofing The Resume

    Before submitting that resume, you need to go over it at least twice to ensure that it is letter perfect. Nothing kills a resume in the job search process more than glaring mistakes in spelling, grammar and alignment. A resume that is littered with errors is quite simply an aggravation for your reader. Not only do they feel the process is not being respected, it slows them down and does not respect their time. Why? Because errors can be quite distracting. So now, instead of focusing on your core strength and your ability to do the job, that focus has been shifted away to the lack of attention you brought to the document’s development. When this happens, you have already lost the battle. When you proof your resume and cover letter, you should go over it twice. In the first review, focus upon sentence structure and fluency of the concepts. In the second review, you should be looking at the document differently by focusing on spelling and grammatical issues.

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