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Resume Tips

The articles in this section cover topics ranging from common resume blunders to understanding hiring managers' criteria.


334 Articles. Showing 321 to 330
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Should a Resume be a one-size-fits-all Document?
By Hardeep Arora

Resumes, like the people they represent, come with myriad situations and complexities. Each resume needs to take its own specific form. The resume format you present to a potential employer can make or mar your introduction. Typically your resume should highlight your credentials while downplaying your unrelated experience. An employer must be able to immediately discern your qualifications and the value you can add.

Additional Resume Writing Section

There are many categories that can be added to a resume besides the basic education and experience sections. However, if you're adding categories just for the sake of adding them, you need to reevaluate the layout of your resume. Only add these groupings if they are relevant to the position you are applying for. Some categories that may apply are Community Service or Volunteer Work, Publications, Presentations or Lectures, Licensures or Certifications, Computer Skills, and References. All of these could have different levels of relevance to your desired position and should be evaluated accordingly. Doing this will help increase your chances of landing an interview, which is the purpose of a resume.

Addressing Red Flags and Weaknesses in your Resume

In a resume there are many chances to make common mistakes. These must be avoided as they turn potential employers away from considering you for hire. One of the things that turn off employers is if it appears that you have hopped from job to job with no long term goal in mind. Therefore, you must be weary of providing a long list of experiences that have no relevance to the position they are hiring for. A lack of experience will also weaken your candidacy; however, even if you don't have any experiences that are directly relevant to the position you desire, you may be able to find some transferable skills you've acquired that you can highlight in your resume. There are many ways in which you can make your resume positive.

Demystifying the "Employer"

To an active job-seeker, the term "employer" doesn't simply refer to a human being who needs to hire another human being. Instead, it refers to a mysterious god-like entity who selects the "good" from the "bad." Many job seekers believe that the key to a successful resume or cover letter lies in a magic phrase, word, format, or font that will immediately land them on the "good" pile. They believe that the hiring partner or recruiter is a proverbial Rumpelstiltskin, waiting for some insightful job seeker to say their names.

Don't Become a "Resume and Cover Letter Obsessor"

Equally as dangerous as the resume and cover letter slobs are the resume and cover letter obsessors. Obsessors are those who nitpick and question every single word in their materials. They spend hours debating whether to use "effectively" or "successfully," "simultaneously" or "at the same time." They circulate their resumes at dinner parties and take polls on whether their name should be in 18- or 20-point font in their headings.

Highlight Your Accomplishments!

We can't emphasize enough how important it is to highlight accomplishments. This is the number-one item that makes or breaks a resume, yet it's the one area that people struggle with the most. First, you need to understand what is meant by an "accomplishment." To have accomplished something in your work, you did not have to negotiate a multi-billion-dollar deal or find the answer to world peace (although those would certainly be worth mentioning). You simply need to have done something that produced a favorable result, whether that was for your employer, your coworkers, your clients, or even you. This could be as simple as making your coworkers' jobs easier by devising a new method of filing documents. Simple? Yes. An accomplishment? Absolutely. The main thing you want to get across when describing your jobs is that you did them well. Employers want to hire people who have proven themselves as to be valuable.

The Summary of Qualifications or Profile

The opening of your resume should show power and confidence. Writing a summary of your previous experiences will grab the employer's attention and increase your chances of getting an interview. The top portion is the part that will be focused on the most. This needs to be filled with power to show that you will be an asset to the company. When you summarize prior work history, it allows the employer to get to the point and not be bored with your resume. Summarizing will free up space on the resume and will allow you to put focus on the more important things. This also allows you to focus on important parts of previous jobs. There are a few main areas to focus on. These are Profiles, Summary of Qualifications, Areas of Expertise, and Professional Accomplishments. Each section is very important and should grab the employer's attention. Creating a powerful resume is the first step to obtaining a job.

How to Sell Yourself to an Employer

The key feature in obtaining a job is selling yourself to the employer. Selling yourself is the only way to get even in the playing field. Others may have fewer qualifications, but if they can sell themselves they can secure the job they want. Put yourself in the place of the employer and list what you would want to see on a resume when hiring someone. When you cater to the mind of an employer you have made a critical step in the process. Remember that your resume and cover letter may be their only chance to get to know you, so make it count. Pay attention to networking with those around you every day. Which ones catch your attention and which ones don't? Make sure to know your audience and tailor your resume to them.

Indicating Race/Religion/Political Affiliations/Sexual Orientation or Other Personal Information in Resumes and Cover Letters

Indicating race, religion, political affiliations, and sexual orientation in a resume can often be touchy. The best way to do it is inadvertently. Place the information in the resume in a subtle way. Only mention them if they are directly related to your previous work experience and if doing so will be an asset to your present job search. In a resume, there is no room for unnecessary information. Pay attention to the time factor; if only a few months were spent working on a project that would reveal race, religion, political affiliations, etc., it won't be necessary to include on the resume. Make sure that you don't have too much emphasis on your personal hobbies in your resume. This can easily backfire as the employer may think you can't separate personal and professional life. They may see that you will need frequent or excessive time off. Be cautious in all things that you include on your resume.

Misrepresentation on Resumes

Be completely honest on all parts of your resume. Many people recently have lied to grab an employer's attention. This may work for them at first, but it usually backfires during the interview. Employers may even set this as a trap to see whether or not you will be honest. It can be a very embarrassing moment when the interview is taking place. There are certain things that you can or cannot stretch the truth on. You should never fill in gaps of time to make it look as if you were not unemployed. However, it is okay to leave previous jobs off of your resume. It is your resume and you can put what you want on it. Be sure that what you put on it is honest. One of the worst things to do is Resume Theft. This is when someone takes all of the information from someone else's resume to make theirs look better. This is not only unethical, but can be very damaging for future job opportunities. Remember that the resume and cover letter are only stepping stones to employment and don't guarantee a job. Be honest in sincere in all that you put on your resume.

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