Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to Basics - the Resume!

Many people are struggling to find employment these days. So many qualified applicants, so few job positions. I went to a Resource Day called "Transition Toward the Future". There was no charge, and it was held at a local church, staffed entirely by volunteers, from speakers, to guides, to greeters, to servers - yes, free refreshments in the kitchen!

Several workshops were held throughout the day. These included Shopping on a Shoestring, Health Care Options, Entrepreneurship, Stretch Your Dollars, Staying UP in a DOWN Time, Ramp Up Your Resume, and more. After visiting different resource booths, I chose to attend the Resume Workshop. It was enlightening, and I will share a few things I learned that day with you now.

Your Resume - Sales Tool or Obituary?
I have always struggled with my resume - I could never find enough to fill ONE page! I've worked for various companies or factories that no longer exist - as a matter of fact, the buildings they were housed in no longer exist! Even the streets no longer exist - flattened down, with expressways built on them! Boy, does that make a person feel ancient!

The first thing we were instructed on was to remove any High School information - unless, of course, you are are a recent high school grad with no verifiable work experience. High School and Grade School info DATES a person. Remove the statement "References available upon request." That is a GIVEN.

Name and contact information at the top, with name and page number on each successive page.
Objective - Don't bother with complete sentences here - The word "I" is over-used. Get to the point...Seeking full time work in Corporate Staffing... Or - use a Career Summary instead - A procurement management professional with extensive experience in an automotive tier....Knowledge of raw materials and numberous automotive components and systems. Self starter with a very high energy level.... THAT is what they are looking for!
Personal Strengths - Can be included in the Objectives or Career Summary.

Career History - Company Names, City and State, with the dates you were employed. Underneath each job description, use bullets - with ACTION VERBS.
  • Math Aptitude
  • Results Oriented
  • Detail Oriented
  • Problem Solver
The thing that surprised me, and why many resumes are pushed to the back, is neglect of using KEY WORDS. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Arc Welding, mig, arc welding! Use industry specific words! This is especially important when emailing in a resume or application. Software being used today helps the employer weed out unqualified individuals - it 'searches' for key words!!! If it can't find any, your resume is booted right out of the electronic filing system!!! I was told that even if you have learned a computer application that is specific to the Engineering Field, like 'Actify', it should be listed. Even though it might be an outdated application, such as Lotus 1-2-3, list it - it shows that you can learn and master different computer programs.

Education - GPA if it was very good - Dean's List, etc. Bachelor of Science, Masters, etc. and the college/university attended. Continuing Education/Certificates - Workshops, Seminars, Licenses, Certificates - AND - Community Service! Honors/Awards - Machine Maintenance Certificate, Perfect Attendance Award, etc. Activities/Volunteer Work - Mentor, Coach, Committee/Board Member, etc.

Do's and Don'ts - Put most important info about you at the top - education, experience. Make sure there are no gaps in your dates. Don't overuse bold, italics and underlining. Don't use I, me, my or we - they already know! They are reading about YOU! Don't include your desired salary unless specifically asked. Don't bore your reader with too much information - give them a reason to call you in for an interview! Do use bullets, short paragraphs, and even white spaces - they can be your FRIENDS! Use 11 or 12 Times or Ariel font.

Get back to Basics - Revamp your Resume! Have fun and Happy Interviewing!


Angela said...

My resume needs a serious dusting off! lol It has been almost 14 yrs since I've worked. It seems like yesterday though. I'm not sure if I could even get a job now??? I do like the arial font better than times. I would use 12 and I would use 14 on some things.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

Thanks so much for sharing this wealth of information dear lady! I took a several week course in getting back into the workforce this past winter, and they didn't mention any of this stuff~~~I'll be using all these tips in the next couple of days...rewriting, and updating my ol' resume'.
Thanks again!

Brenda said...

My youngest daughter has a Masters in Finance and is a professional recruiter for people in finance and accounting. She's sitting there in Tulsa with not much to do. The jobs just aren't there for that in her community. In so many communities. I feel for all those folks needing jobs and help. So glad I have my home and a working husband.

Chatty Crone said...

Funny thing and timely too - I just 'thought' I finished my resume, but now I have a couple new ideas. Thanks for blogging about this.

Barb said...

glad i don't have to do that. but you never know what tomorrow holds.

found my camera!!
back in business.
see you Friday.

Hmmm. Which project to show??

Barbara Jean

LV said...

What a very informative post. This should really help a lot of younger people. It was so nice of you to share this as I am sure there are many that could use the help. Glad you left me a nice comment.