Thursday, January 14, 2010

Resumes

Now that you are looking for a job, you of course have to prepare a resume. People hate writing resumes, and put it off whenever possible. If that rings true with you, take the plunge and start writing about yourself.

Just like with many of my blog posts, marketing pieces, social networking posts, etc., I tend to start writing and see what happens. I don't publish it yet though. I noodle around and put down things that might be interesting, very important information, potential layouts and see where it goes. Only after I get a lot of stuff down in writing do I tighten things up. Do I really need to have my hobbies listed? Do I have my important contact info on there? Am I writing to my audience, or am I writing from my own bubble? After recently helping spiff up a friend's resume, I'm offering some suggestions to make your resume more presentable.

Layout: You don't need to start off without any formatting of your resume. Microsoft Word and other word processing programs have a myriad of templates you can use. In Word, open a new document and choose templates. When I last went in there, there were resumes for different professions, levels of experience and so forth. There are also a lot of online resources, including http://www.resumetemplates.org/, and http://www.instantresumetemplates.com/. I personally hate resumes that have a lot of unnecessary graphics--pink bars along the top, goofy swooshes along the margins, etc. But I'm old and jaded when it comes to resume review, so do what you want with your resume. Here are some things you should do: Make your contact information prominent. Have sections for Experience, Education and other relevant information. Some ideas for those sections are, Technical Skills, Computer Knowledge, Certifications, and truly relevant Community Activities

Length: I do like a one page resume. If you are an entry-level candidate don't stretch your non-industry job experience for two pages and add a lot of personal interests. A hiring manager can quickly figure out if you are experienced or not, and aren't fooled by a longer resume. On the flip side, if you have a lot of experience, don't cram everything onto one page. Two carefully edited pages is perfectly acceptable, so don't sweat it. My resume is two pages, and I'm proud of it.

Work Experience: I advise to list your current and past employers in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job being on top. Put in there a short description of the company or the department you worked for. If you worked outside of the wine industry for a time, this descriptor will help potential employers understand what you did there and how applicable it is to their need. Make sure you put your job title and dates of employment. Then put down what you did there, your responsibilities and achievements. If you worked in many different positions with the same employer, list the company and length of time there, then break it down into subsections with your job title and dates in that position. Getting into the minutia, if you have worked at the same employer in different roles, try to make it as clear as possible--possibly having the employer and dates in regular formatting and then the individual roles indented to make them "housed" under the umbrella of that employer.

Education: List your education in reverse chronological order as well. If you have a Ph.D. and a M.S. and a B.S., I don't need to know where you went to high school. Rarely do I need to know where you went to high school. But if your high school degree is your highest degree achieved, list it. I encourage you to list research work that you did while at college, especially if it is very pertinent for your job hunting targets.

Grammar: Think back to your days in English class. Are you using the right verb tense? Do your sentences need helping verbs? Are you writing in the same first person or third person narrative. I recommend third person. I think resume grammar is tricky. You are trying to write action oriented sentences about yourself, while putting it in third person. Resumes are full of incomplete sentences--and it is okay. Grammar checking software will make you go crazy trying to fix everything. So read it to yourself, read it out loud, have a friend read it. Make sure it makes sense. And please check for typos. Not paying careful attention to your resume and letting typos slip sends a bad message to a potential hirer. How is that supposed attention to detail?

Be boastful but truthful. You have to paint a positive picture of yourself so that next employer realizes they have to hire you. You also have to be truthful on your resume. Your resume is a marketing tool to get you in front of someone. But when you are putting your info down, make sure you are telling the truth about yourself. Don't add education you don't have, make up jobs for gaps in your work experience or portray your role as bigger than it was. You may be saying, "Of course Amy", but believe me, many people lie on their resumes. Don't be one of them and be able to stand behind anything you put on there.

Okay, so go play around with your resume a bit. You can write it better than anyone else. You lived it and understand it. Put on your hiring manager eyes and read it as if you don't know your background. Now fix any problems and get that thing in front of people that need to hire you.

3 comments:

Resume said...

Nice Post! One step I would suggest before creating your resume is to understand that you must differentiate your self from the crowd. This can be done in countless ways but be sure to use the most effective methods.


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Anonymous said...

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rajumadhur said...

Knowing a given job description beforehand helps you come up with a catchy CV that will almost guarantee you inclusion into the interview list. Resume Templates