I get calls and notes from job seekers asking me about all kinds of crazy plans to get certifications, take classes, pay job placement agencies, or otherwise spend a lot of money trying to get a job. What do I say? One, never pay anyone who says they can place you in a job; and two, before you invest a huge amount of time and money into something you may not need, look at the simple fixes first--like your resume.
Look at this note I got from Rebecca:
Just a note to say THANK YOU for your help. Since I sent my newly revised resume, my phone is ringing and I am also receiving offers from e-mails for jobs. You Are GREAT!
She revised her resume and her phone started ringing. Does your resume need a revision, too?
One of the things that a resume is used for is getting a quick idea of what all your assets are and what you can contribute to the position you are applying for. This is good; you want your resume to be an introduction that leads to a longer relationship. But resumes should not show your age, because it is far too easy to assume certain ages have certain characteristics. This is one reason that “age discrimination” is one of the unlawful practices in the job market.
Even though age discrimination is unlawful, it still happens. People naturally do make assumptions about others based on initial information. But the resume that is professional, appealing, and updated gets past attitudes and showcases what you can do. That’s a good argument for making sure your resume does not show your age.
You want your resume to stand out, right? But not when it stands out as a shining example of what not to do on a resume. While there are many ways to make mistakes on a resume, one of the most ubiquitous is the plethora of unnecessary verbiage that accompanies attempts to impress.
That was an example of “Resume Speak“, or in more words, the fine art of “utilizing synergies and leveraging paradigms” seen at a popular Tumblr site of the same name. This site is just a steady stream of things said simply then translated into the kind of business-speak that makes communication bog down. And it is funny. In fact, if you work in the writing field and have anything to do with resumes, it’s hilarious.
For example, instead of saying “Got out prison with parole three years early for good behavior”, the site suggests “Successfully interfaced with governmental disciplinary system by modeling socially sanctioned behavioral metrics, significantly reducing duration of recommended confinement period.” That’ll look good on a resume all right — not.
There are some areas of life where perfection is not what you want. Friendships don’t need perfection to be good, right? In fact, the people who pretend to be perfect rarely have a lot of friends because perfectionists keep others at arm’s length so the world doesn’t find out they aren’t perfect, after all.
Relationships are stable because we give each other room to fail and correct our mistakes. We don’t need to be perfect in order to be loved or liked. We do need to be able to admit when we are wrong and be willing to fix it.
Some Things Must Be Perfect
As endearing as a mistake can be in a friend, there are times you don’t get a do-over.
Resumes are a perfect example of this, because there isn’t a relationship established yet. Spelling errors aren’t going to get you much more than a ribbing from your grammar-Nazi friend, but that same error will get your resume cast aside by the HR person assigned to fill the position. The HR person is going on a quick first impression based on your resume, but your friend is looking at your mistakes in context of your friendship.
This is a great illustration of the power of a resume redo.
Tammy didn't change anything but her resume, and she got 4 interviews in a week--after looking for a job for over a year with no luck.
... I [had] been looking for a job for over a year. I completed your extreme resume makeover and within the first week was called to interview at a company for four different positions. My interviews are next week and I have completed my 30-60-90 day plan and will be watching your In Person Interview video before my interviews. Thank you for putting together such a valuable program...
One of the best ways to fix your resume is to look at it like the recruiter or HR person will be looking at it. Do you think they read every word of every one of the multitude of resumes that cross their desk? I doubt it.
Most of the time a resume submitted online will be filtered through an applicant tracking system (ATS) that will break down the formatting and assign relevancy to the content so it can be searched using keywords that match what they are looking for. Once the resumes are filtered for relevancy and they have the applicants who are most likely to fit their specifications, it’s the human’s turn.
Say you're a recruiter, and you've just received a resume that includes a paragraph like this:
In my spare time, I am physically active. I run, mountain bike, play tennis, and I teach yoga on weekends. Physical activity keeps my body and mind in shape, and promotes balance and clarity in my life. I belong to a community theater and am active in productions, and I play bass in a band. I am an avid reader. I am a mother of two and gave birth to my second daughter between degrees; taking only 3 months off and continuing to work while taking classes, which shows my drive and tenacity to succeed!
What would you do?
This applicant is trying really hard to impress, and does seem to have a pretty impressive energy level and variety of interests. In spite of that, she's not going to go on a recruiter's or hiring manager's short list. (Not to mention that description of hers makes me think: when are you going to have time to do your job?)
There are many mistakes people make when resume writing, and Too Much Information is a definite mistake. Personal information is usually unnecessary and can even raise discrimination issues.
What you do in your spare time is a lot less important than what you can do for the company. What are your skills? What are your work accomplishments? What have you done that will demonstrate you'll be a great hire?
Remember your resume's audience: Who's reading your resume? What will show them that you'll be an asset to the company? Don't annoy employers with irrelevant resume information they have to sift through to find what's important to them. Because chances are, they won't.
To get a recruiter's or a hiring manager's attention for a sales job, you need to pack your resume with keywords relevant to the sales arena you want. Recruiters, hiring managers, and Human Resource departments use computer searches and applicant tracking systems, searching with keywords to find resumes worth looking at further.
If you have experience, this should be relatively easy--but it would be a good idea to go ahead and check out job descriptions and listings to make sure you have the keywords they will use.
If you're new to the area and don't have much experience, you'll have to be a little more creative. (That does NOT mean you should lie on your resume. That's always a bad idea, and you're sure to be found out eventually.) You'll have to look outside of traditional job histories to get the keywords you need for a sales resume.
Here are a few recycling activities I hope you're not participating in:
- Mailing your resume to an un-named person
- Asking your friends to take your resume to the office
- Handing out copies of your resume at job fairs
- Leaving copies of your resume at the front desk of local businesses
Yes, I agree these activities may periodically result in a job, however more often than not, they don’t result in value.
Are you trying to break into a new field or get a new job? One way to give your resume a boost (and have a better chance of getting interviews) is to complete a job shadow of someone in your new field.
Job shadowing allows you to tag along with someone for the day, to learn what a typical day is like in their job. It's also known as a field preceptorship, or a ride-along (especially accurate for going with sales reps on their routes). It gives you a chance to see what it takes to work in and be successful in this new environment and ask questions throughout the day that will give you better insight into the work.
When you put your job shadowing experience on your resume, it gives you keywords that get your resume noticed.
For instance, if you were interested in learning how to get into medical sales, you would write about which doctors you called on, what the products involved were, and what kind of medical sales accounts they are. The words you'll use are the kinds of keywords that will get your resume noticed by computerized tracking systems, and then read by recruiters and hiring managers. The process is the same for whatever area you'd like to go into.
Put relevant information on your resume, and you’ll have a chance at getting hired. Ignore this point, and you’re wasting your time.
Too often job seekers email copies of their resumes to anyone and everyone with no true, honest concern for how their skills, experiences and expertise compare to the job requirements. This is such a waste of energy and, in part, the reason so many people get frustrated applying for jobs.
If your resume does not show recruiters how your skills, experiences, expertise and accomplishments are relevant to their needs, there is no chance in the world you’ll get that job. You need to show RELEVANCE.
In this in-depth resume training webinar, you will go through actual resumes with an expert to learn:
How to Write a Resume That Gets Interviews
The Correct Format, Length, and Style
What To Do With Your Objective Statement
How to Make Your Job History 'Sell' You
What To Do With Too Much (or NO) Experience
What To Do With Your References
You can even send in your own resume as a possible choice for live evaluation during the webinar.
This Interview-Getting Training is Absolutely Free…
AND you get 2 Bonus Gifts, too!
Gift #1... Just for registering
When you register, you’ll receive my Podcast – 10 Deadly Resume Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs. If you find (and correct) these common resume mistakes, it will dramatically improve your chances of getting interviews immediately.
Gift #2... Just for attending
At the webinar, you’ll receive my exclusive Podcast: How to Write an Attention-Getting Cover LetterThis podcast is filled with easy tips for writing a cover letter that compels them to read your resume and think positively about you.
Are you bragging about yourself enough on your resume? I don't mean being fictitious or acting as an expert for something you’ve only done once, but more in a way of, ‘I excel at this and THAT is why you should hire me’.
One of the main things I notice with my clients and their existing resumes is that they don't BRAG enough about their accomplishments. They don't talk enough about what they've done above and beyond their daily responsibilities.
My data-mining system is C.A.R.-oriented. The C.A.R. methodology is this: Challenge, Action, Results. What Challenge did you face? What Action did you take to rectify it? And lastly, what were the Results? It is a very accomplishment-focused method and works very well in pulling you’re your accomplishments in an open-ended way. When I discuss this methodology with clients and ask them to sit down and write out their C.A.R. stories, I am amazed at the achievements that come pouring out. Many of us were raised to be humble about our accomplishments, not to be boastful. Remember, though, if you don’t let the reader know of what you’ve done, then why would they hire you? How do you stand out from the pile of candidates? You have to SELL YOURSELF.
Here are a few tips about bragging in a non-obnoxious way to get yourself noticed: Read more...