Whose advice is valuable re: your resume?

I found this wonderful article on LinkedIn.

Whose advice should you follow when you’re writing your résumés? Do you heed the advice of professional résumé writers, recruiters, HR, or hiring managers? They all offer good advice, but their advice will be different. In fact, you can ask 20 résumé experts their opinions on how you should write your résumés, and you’ll get 20 different answers. So who is correct?

While one person may like accomplishments listed upfront, another may prefer them listed in your employment section. While one person prefers two-page résumés, another might favor one-pagers. While one person may not be concerned with flowery prose in your professional profile, another may hate it, as I do.

The point being, you’re the one who needs to decide if your résumé is ready to go.
Now, there are certain rules on writing effective résumés that you should heed in no particular order. These are ten sure things that need to be in place to offer you the best chance of success.

1.Quantified results are more persuasive*. Employers are not interested in a grocery list of duties; they’re drawn to significant accomplishments that are quantified with numbers, dollars, and percentages. Did you simply increase productivity? Or did you increase productivity by 55% percent?
2.Please no clichés or unsubstantiated adaptive skills. The new rule is to show rather than tell. Yes, you may be innovative; but what makes you innovative? Did you develop a program for inner-city youth that promoted a cooperative environment, reducing violent crime by 50%? If so, state it in your profile as such.
3.Tailor your résumé to each job, when possible. Employers don’t want a one-fits-all résumé that doesn’t address their needs or follow the job description. It’s insulting. By the way, for all you job board junkies, a résumé using the Target Job Deconstruction method is an adequate alternative to tailoring hundreds of résumés.
4.Your résumé needs to show relevance. Employers are interested in the past 10 or 15 years of your work history; in some cases less. Anything you did beyond 20 years isn’t relevant; the technology is obsolete. Age discrimination may also be a concern, so don’t show all 25-30 years of your work life.**
5.Keywords are essential for certain occupations that are technical in nature. They’re the difference between being found by the applicant tracking system (ATS) at the top of the list or not at all. (ATS are said to eliminate 75% of applicants.) Again, job board faithfuls must have their keywords peppered throughout their résumé.
6.Size matters. Some employers are reading hundreds of résumés for one job, so do them a favor and don’t submit a résumé that doesn’t warrant its length. The general rule is two pages are appropriate providing you have the experience and accomplishments to back it up. More than two pages requires many relevant accomplishments. In some cases a one-page résumé will do the job.
7.No employer cares what you need. That’s right; employers care about what they need. If you happen to care what they need and can solve their problems and make them look good, they’ll love you. So drop the meaningless objective statement that speaks only about you and not how you can meet the employer’s needs.
8.Start your résumé with a punch. Below your name and contact information lies your branding headline. Within approximately 90 characters you can capture the employer’s attention with stating what you do and in what capacity. Project Manager doesn’t do it like:Project Manager | Lean Six Sigma | Team Building | Enhanced Product Line.
9.Make it easy to read. Your résumé should not only be visually appealing, it should be visually readable. Employers who read hundreds of résumé s will glance at them for as few as 10 seconds before deciding to read them at length. Make your résumé scannable by writing shorter paragraphs, three to four lines at most.
10.WOW them. Use accomplishments in your Performance Profile. That’s right, grab their attention with quantified accomplishments early on. “Volunteered to assume the duties of website development and design, while also excelling at public relations, resulting in $50,000 savings for the company” will entice the reviewer to continue reading.

At some point you need to go with what works—a résumé that will land you interviews. If it’s getting you interviews, go with it. If it isn’t getting you interviews, there’s something lacking on your résumé, but carefully chose one or two people who can offer you sound advice. And remember the 10 must have’s on your résumé.

INTELLIGENCE IS VALUABLE

I disagree with this advice:
When you first graduated from school, your stellar GPA was a great selling point; “However, now that you’ve been in the ‘real world’ for a number of years, employers couldn’t care less about your college grades,” Augustine says. “They’re much more interested in your performance on the job.”

Being studious, intelligent, and scholastically competent have value, too.

FEDERAL RESUMES

FEDERAL RESUME APPLICATION TIPS
There are plenty of opportunities within the federal government, but job applicants need to know the method for landing a position within the federal government is completely different than what they are used to in the private sector. Here are some tips job seekers will need to utilize when applying for a federal position.

BEING HIGHLY QUALIFIED FOR A FEDERAL POSITION:

First time Federal job applicants receive disappointing ratings on their application, despite being highly qualified for the position. The low rating is usually not a result of their qualifications, but of a poor application package.

Many job seekers descend into the same trap that countless first time Federal job applicant’s encounter. The applicants resume package must showcase details of their applicable experience and relate it to the position they are seeking. Once they perform this, a high rating will result.

Your strategy should be to make qualified list most of the time! When the Federal examiners review your resume application, they see your resume and a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for the position you are seeking. It’s the examiners job to check off each item listed under the Basic Qualification and Ranking Factors listed on each job announcement. They will begin by taking a glance at your resume to see if your have placed those qualifications on your career documents. So it’s imperative for you to list these Knowledge, Skills and Abilities on your resume.

QUALIFICATION SOUGHT FOR THE POSITION:
So even though your resume may sound great, it won’t do the job until it clearly states that you have the qualifications sought for the position. For example, let’s say the job announcement states a candidate needs to have excellent writing and editing skills. Your resume needs to reflect that you have an expert knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Another example may be the announcement states you need to have experience in scheduling. However your resume doesn’t state you have made travel arrangements. It’s important to list each qualification and KSA sought so as you will receive the highest rating possible.

THE SCREENING QUESTIONS:
To ensure fairness across the board, the federal government’s hiring process is highly regulated. When applying for a position you will encounter questions in your federal application. Your replies to the questions have a major impact on your candidacy.

The Federal job announcements comprise of screening questions and affect how you will be evaluated. Always ensure your responses are supportive and tailored to each announcement. The reason being is that the agencies will evaluate a job seekers relevant experience based on the keywords in the job announcement to the keywords in the candidate’s application.

TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE POSITION:
So to sum it up, ensure you obtain a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for each position you seek. Ensure you meet the qualifications to the full extent and that you are able to perform the position. In addition, identify each and every KSA and qualification being sought. Then revise your resume and apply with confidence. Instead of being aggravated you’ll have excellent ratings, be landing on the referred list and quite possibly an excellent government job offer.

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. http://www.first-classresumes.com/. She is a Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe.

COVER LETTERS

Here is some simple advice:

1. Include job- and company-specific content that shows you did your research.

Think of writing your cover letter as a sales pitch. You’re essentially selling yourself, your skills, and your knowledge to the company. Therefore, hiring managers are looking for details that show you’re familiar with the company and that you would make a good fit.

You don’t have to go all out with these details. But by customizing your cover letter for each job description and making note of any industry-related news, new products, or recent announcements, it shows you’re paying attention.

2. Share actions and results from your work experience that relate to that position, not your personal life.

Hiring managers truly want to know the details of your past work experience that pertain to the job at hand. This means you don’t need to highlight all of your great skills and experiences. Again, this is where your strategic thinking should come into play.

If you’re not sure where to begin, consider examples of times when your top skills came in handy and consider how that sets you apart for this particular job. Don’t forget: Hiring managers don’t want to hear about your personal life, goals, or needs—only about how you can contribute to the company.

3. Write short paragraphs with succinct details.

While all the details above are great for a cover letter, hiring managers want to receive this information in short and succinct paragraphs. You should focus on making it easy for them to read your cover letter. Don’t get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of a past project—simply share the most important details that get your point across. Situation, action, results.

4. Ensure it’s professional-quality and error-free content.

This last detail is so simple, yet you’d be surprised how often it’s ignored. When writing a cover letter, never forget to proofread your work. If you’re customizing each cover letter to every job description, it’s easy to miss some details here and there. But if a hiring manager sees an error, your cover letter will go straight into the “no” pile. The same goes for cover letters that aren’t written professionally. While creativity is great, keep your writing professional and politically correct.

Never forget your cover letter is about what you can do for the company and why you make a good fit for both the position and the organization—and nothing else. Hiring managers are reading your cover letter quickly, so make it short, professional, and give them the details they want to see.

shared by Heather R. Huhman

What value do you bring to the new job/career?

What value do you bring the organization? What unique knowledge base do you have that makes you valuable to them?
•What tools, equipment, or software do you use and HOW do you use it?
•What have you succeeded at that makes you different?
•Did you learn new procedures that allowed the organization to attract different clients through offering a new service?
•Did you lower costs? Create a new policy or procedure?
•Reorganize the filing system or a whole department?
•Did you cut labor costs? Did you improve labor retention?
•Create a time-saving process that increased production?
•Did you:
break sales records?
intervene and save a customer from leaving the organization?
create a new design that opened a whole new line of business for the company
build relationships with vendors; are you the first one called when they find a product to add to your line?

WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PROFESSIONAL?

Use a Top Resume Writer from Appelbaum’s Resume Professionals to Speed Your Job Search

The economy is improving and with that improvement, more jobs are becoming available. That being said, however, there is still a lot of competition for those jobs as folks who have been stagnant in their careers try to move up, unemployed continue to find new roles, and those who gave up looking for work come back into the workforce. With more and more people applying for each open position (often in the hundreds), you need to make your resume stand out and get noticed. This does not mean to print it on bright pink paper or to use designer graphics, those get attention for the wrong reasons and are quickly discarded.

A first scan of resumes usually lasts only seconds. That’s right, I said seconds. Is your resume structured so both a human and computer can quickly identify key words and experience directly relevant to the position for which you are applying? If not, you may be out of luck and not advance to the next round of consideration. The best professional resume writers will help you establish your expertise and qualifications quickly on your resume so you pass the quick scan test.

Advice for Military from MilitaryHire

What Can Older Workers Do To Get Hired

Though age discrimination is illegal, many older job seekers have trouble landing a job. Studies and anecdotal evidence indicate job seekers over 40 start having trouble getting hired and this difficulty increases into their 50s and 60s. This affects many of our transitioning military who have made the military their first career and are now getting out and seeking a new career.

Why is this? Do HR managers and recruiters hate older people? Do they not want to hire Veterans? Definitely not. HR managers and recruiters are eager to hire qualified Veteran job seekers and are often held responsible for failing to fill open positions. HR professionals are responsible for complying with the many laws related to hiring and employment. One of these, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids discrimination against anyone 40 or older. If you find you cannot seem to land a job, and you think your age is playing a role, here are strategies to address that.

Three factors stand in the way of older Veteran workers getting hired: money, skills, and seniority.

Money can be a factor because older workers have often spent many years or even decades working for the same company. Cost of Living increases and promotions over the many years can result in retiring Veterans expecting a salary well above the market average. This works against the job seeker. When prospective employers learn that the job seeker expects or formerly earned much more than the position offers, the employer assumes the job seeker will not be satisfied in the new job and will not stay long, and thus does not hire them.

What can you do? First, research current salary averages for the position you are seeking. Adjust your expectations to fit within what you can realistically expect given your skills and experience. Don’t assume this is the same amount you earned in the military. Second, avoid revealing what you used to make if it is significantly different from the amount being offered for the job you are seeking. Telling the new employer you used to make 25% more than they are offering is a quick way to end the hiring process. Third, emphasize that your interest in the company and job takes priority over the amount the job pays.

Skills can be a factor because hiring has become more keyword driven and recruiters may fail to recognize how your skills map to the newest keywords. And, if you are honest with yourself, you may have to admit your skills have become a bit out of date. If your skills were in high demand, would you be having this much trouble finding a job?

What can you do? First, identify the gap between your skill set and the skills in demand for the jobs you want. Second, develop a plan of bridging this gap. This may involve self directed learning, on-line courses, or courses at a local college or university. Third, communicate in your resume, cover letter and in interviews how your experience in your old skills enhances your recently developed new skills. Check out “Why should I Hire You?” for more resume writing tips. Finally, figure out how to gain hands on experience in your new skills. This may involve volunteering to apply your skills for a local charity.

Seniority can also stand in the way of your job search as a Veteran if you refuse to consider jobs unless they have the same level of seniority and responsibility as your previous job. In this case, it is your choice to eliminate yourself from many jobs you might otherwise land.

What can you do? Consider jobs one step down the ladder from what you most recently held. You might not be hired in as a vice president or chief officer. Remember you were successful climbing the career ladder in the military, you will likely be successful again. Landing the job is the first step, then you can start creating value and solving problems. You should find your contributions earn you recognition and, eventually, the promotion you want.

In conclusion, recalibrating your monetary expectations, updating your skills, and broadening your job search in terms of seniority are three techniques that may help a retiring Veteran overcome a job search that has stalled due to age.

More Networking Advice

Effective Business Networking By Sophie-Charlotte Moatti

Businesses have a love-hate relationship with networking: It takes time and effort, but it can also beget some great rewards. Here are three ways to keep your company on top of its networking game. Business networking is essentially marketing ourselves to our professional community.

In my 10+ years in Silicon Valley, I’ve given dozens of talks on networking and leadership to Stanford University graduate students and to business executives at the Watermark Leadership Conference and Lee Hecht Harrison Executive Workshops, just to name a few. Most of the questions I typically get fall in two categories: “I need to network more, but I hate doing it. How do I make it work for me?” and “I love networking but it takes too much time, how do I prioritize?”

Networking is an art, not a science, and it’s hard to measure—or even define—its effectiveness. So we often have a love-hate relationship with it. Thankfully, there are ways to network effectively. Here are best practices for three common situations: at an event, online, and with mentors.

Best practice #1: never leave an event without a second date.

Sharing our point of view about current trends in our industry at an event could get us this new client, or that next job, or nothing but glory. But when given the opportunity, most of us will welcome the exposure and give it our best shot. The effectiveness of offline networking is hard to measure, so how do we know when we’ve succeeded? Never leave without a second date.

When going to an event, it can be intimidating to enter a room full of professionals we don’t know. The most effective way to get a second date is to sample the crowd quickly until we find someone datable. To get started, we use simple ice breakers such as asking someone why they chose to come to the event or what they hope to get out of it. If the person isn’t a fit, we proceed to move on politely and repeat until we find someone we’re interested in. We may or may not have the chance to spend as much time with that person as we’d like, and that’s whom we ask on a second date.

Best practice #2: commit a few hours a week to social networking.

One hour a week: This is the smallest amount of time any of us needs to spend consuming social networks: scanning business news almost every morning, attending an industry conference about once a year, and responding to an invitation to connect about once a month. Remember to look people up on social networks before meeting them (LinkedIn + Twitter + their company website at a minimum) and to send a brief follow up note afterward.

Four hours a week: In this amount of time, we can contribute actively to our business community with social networking activities like sharing relevant business articles every day, organizing a monthly networking event or arranging for a speaker to come to our workplace, and initiating a weekly 1:1 networking lunch.

One day a week: By making this commitment to social networking, we set out to significantly raise our profile in our business community to that of a thought leader by: writing one opinion piece a month and getting it published on prominent industry blogs, giving talks monthly at industry events, and making connections within our network that have the potential to turn into win-win business partnerships.

Best practice #3: nurture 5 to 10 strategic relationships.

Integrating online and offline networking can be an effective way to build tight relationships with a select group of professionals, who could become our mentors. This approach is most effective when limited to the 5 to 10 strategic relationships we care to cultivate. Focus on these and be guilt-free about the other 500+ we could also nurture.

What matters most in building relationship is the frequency and quality of the interaction, not the length of time spent. To maximize frequency, make sure to keep in touch regularly by forwarding a relevant article or a quick update on some new career development. If concerned about spamming them, ask if they found the article/note useful. As for quality, the professionals we pick as our champions are likely busy, so will be grateful to us if we save them time. Before reaching out to them, be clear about what to ask them. Then decide whether face time is needed, or if an email, or a phone call will do the job.

Whether we spend one, four, or eight hours a week networking, we can make this time productive and feel good about our networking. So, please keep in touch!

—Sophie-Charlotte Moatti