Unemployment is at a sustained all time high and many economists and leading economic indicators concur that unemployment may very well continue to climb. If you are not currently working or are considering a career change in the near future, now more than ever, it is imperative to distinguish yourself from all the other candidates in this fiercely competitive job market. The rules have changed, so to stay competitive, you need to adapt and change yourself.
Your resume is one way to distinguish yourself from another person. Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR managers have job specific criteria that they use to initially eliminate candidates systematically. Your resume will be looked at in less than 15- 30 seconds to see if you fit their virtually precise specifications. So, how do you make your resume truly unique?
1. Create a format that is easy and simple to read. Typical resume formats are functional, chronological and combination/hybrid. Each of these formats have their own pros and cons. Functional resumes are a great way to show your skills without necessarily disclosing specific job duties. This is often perfect for someone who may be labeled a “Job/Career Hopper”. In a nutshell, first detail your skills, and then briefly list your work history towards the bottom section. I must add a word of caution here. Every region of the Country views this type of resume differently. For instance, in the great state of Florida, this resume style is more uncommon. The chronological resume, which also tends to be the most common resume, highlights each job in order by date, followed by descriptions of each. This may be a simple bulleted list of your job and what you have accomplished in each specific role. The final style of resume is known as a combination or hybrid resume. This type of resume takes some of the best attributes from the functional and chronological styles, and allows you to showcase your skills, career highlights, and successes. This format also depicts your job descriptions/titles, companies, and dates of employment more prominently than a combination/hybrid resume would, which many hiring managers admittedly like.
2. Showcase your professional success. Use specific numbers, promotions received, and accomplishments that you have had in your career. I have always been an advocate of having this front and center, not just in the bullets of your resume. The combination resume can give you the best of both worlds and give you an opportunity to put your highlights on top. Bragging is the key and can be a fantastic eye catcher!
3. Spelling and grammar! Spelling and grammar are two of the most important items in a resume that can get you disqualified in the first thirty seconds or quicker. I have spoken with many managers and the moment they spot a single misspelling or grammatical error in a resume, that candidate is automatically no longer in the running for the position. It doesn’t matter how qualified you may be for the job, because a hiring manager is looking for someone who is willing to take the necessary steps to get it right the first time. First impressions are very important. The hiring manager will draw the conclusion that you are either lazy, inconsistent, unreliable, or lackadaisical in your work if you are presenting him with a document with simple spelling and grammar errors. You may want to have a friend or two double check your resume for accuracy and appropriate verbiage.
Resumes are one of the essentials to landing that new position. In fact, a polished and professional resume can be the difference between furthering your career in a position that you are happy with and challenges you, and just landing another job. I believe the majority of jobseekers have taken a job just out of necessity and it is not something that many of us want to have to do again. Your resume can make you or break you, so put some time and effort into your work. Now, let’s move on to what not to do and common resume blunders.
What not to do on your resume?
1. Spelling and grammar is of course imperative again, however, do not forget to read what you have written. I have seen resumes on a daily basis that look thrown together by a small child. This may sound a little harsh, but very true. Brush up with a quick English language skills course or open your old college English book that’s been stored in the garage or attic. In case you’re thinking why worry about spelling when you have spell check, kindly type the following sentence... “There grammar was on par with the principles.” Now, run spell checker. Although, the spelling is correct, the meaning is completely different from what was intended.
2. Does your resume read like a novel? We all love talking about ourselves. There is absolutely no question about that, and a resume is the perfect opportunity to talk about you. However, have you ever met that one person that you begin a conversation with and forty-five minutes later they are still painfully regurgitating how impressed they are with themselves? This may be your resume in a nutshell. Of course, you want to share all your accomplishments and professional history, but keep is short. Resumes should be no longer than two pages. Yes, I said two. One page was standard when your mother and father worked at the same company for thirty years. Also, keep your resume in an easy to read format. I am repeating from above, because there is an inherent importance factor here. Bullets are key to keeping everything not only simplistic and concise, but more reader friendly. By having five or six masterfully created highlights per position, this will give an easy read to all prospective employers.
Remember, this is merely a summary to help you get started and there are always differing opinions. The last piece of advice that I can offer is that if you are writing your resume and realize that it’s just not working out, I strongly urge you to seek professional help! No, I am not talking about a mental institution, but a professional resume service. This is where the self promoting begins, as I happen to own and operate such a service. However, there are many great companies who can help you with your resume. This is your career, and the right resume in front of the right employer can make a significant impact on your life and your family’s future. Like it or not, the majority of satisfying and robust careers started with a finely crafted professional resume.
Jobs: Where to search? 09/30/2011
This is the question we hear often and it can be a daunting task. So, you find yourself disliking your job and waking up on Monday morning makes you feel like you just came down with bad food poisoning. Or perhaps, after years at the same company, you get the bad news of a layoff and have no idea what you should do to find your new job.
The first thing that needs to happen is polishing off the resume. You want to make sure it is up to date and we do offer a free critique service that can help you. Next, It's time to figure out what your next career/ job will be, so ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I/Was I happy with my current/previous position?
2. Did I truly enjoy the work/company?
3. What specific aspects of the work/company did I enjoy the most and would like to have in my new position?
At this point, you have a great starting place to go. Be sure to write down a list of what you are looking for and what your deal breakers are for your new position and company.
Now it's time to get started on your search! The internet has changed the game when it comes to employment. Here are the top ways to find the position your looking for:
1. Networking, Utilization of Social Media IE LinkedIn
2. Company sites directly ( Many companies will post to their site first of openings, so find a list of companies that you would like to work for and head to the career section.)
3. Job Search Sites - Think outside of just Monster and CareerBuilder. Try local sites that have marketed to your area.(We also offer a strategic list of over 80 sites, visit our products page.)