August 25, 2005

The Impact of Resume Power Words

When writing use plenty of resume power words to convey that you're a pro-active applicant who can get things done. These are particularly effective when used in your cover letter, summary, and accomplishments/job description.

Think of yourself as a best-selling author. You want to pack your story with powerful descriptive words that will keep your reader intrigued. You're doing the same thing with your cover letter and resume but you're telling your own story instead of a fictional one.

If you haven't added in power words to your resume yet, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results. The resume even reads better when you read it out loud.

A quick google for 'resume "power words"' will give you longer lists, but here is a quick one to get you started.

Drew up

August 16, 2005

Resume: Summary

So now you have your page formatted, your name and contact info added in with proper puncuation, and you've sketched out your job history including major accomplishments at each position. What comes next? Well, geographically on the page, the next thing is the Summary. However, you'll probably want to leave the 'Summary' section unfinished until you're done with the resume. It may near the top of your resume, but no one said you have to write it in order.

You place the ‘Summary’ section at the top of your resume above the Experience section and after your name and contact info. Some might think the Summary is what used to be called ‘Objective’ or 'Work Objective'. It goes in the same location, but the purpose of the Summary is different. Instead of stating a personal objective that might differ from the company's objective, and thus eliminating you from consideration, you broadly summarize your background and state how you're right for the position.

The Summary is very important. First, if the resume becomes separated from the coverletter the Summary serves as a mini-cover letter and frames the rest of the document based on the position you’re applying for. Second, the Summary is your chance to sell yourself once again, to make the reader want to continue. Yes, it's all about the sell. After all ther person reading your resume has never met you and most likely won't unless you can sell them on why you're right for the job.

To that end, you will want to customize the Summary with the skills/experience required for the position you’re applying for. For example, if applying to a large organization your summary would be something like this:

Summary: A public relations and communications expert. Able to research and write clear and persuasive copy for speeches, press releases, and marketing materials. Confident spokesperson for a large organization with many facets.

If you were applying to a small firm, you would change your summary:

Summary: A public relations and communications expert. Able to handle all preparation and delivery of speeches, press releases, appearances, and marketing materials. Confident spokesperson for any size organization.

It won't hurt to echo back some of the job description in your summary. Just might make you seem like the perfect fit.

[ttags: , , , , ]

August 11, 2005

Your Resume: Skills, smoke'm if you got'em

Skills is the section where you load your resume up with keyword triggers. If your resume ends up in a database, these keywords will be useful in making your resume show up in search results.

Some positions require that you possess certain skills before they even consider your resume. Unfortunately, very few companies want to train new hires these days. It's a fact of life. This means, the best thing you can do to make sure you get a better job than the one you're leaving, is to enroll in training classes on a regular basis. Career Enhancement -- but that's a topic for another book.

Udner Skills you will be listing all the skills you've acquired since you started earning a paycheck that you could possibly use in a professional capacity. Were you responsible for copier maintenance in a job you had 10 years ago? Put that down. The company you're applying to may want you to handle their copier maintenance contract.

Don't be afraid to get minute here. If you know three kinds of word processing software, list all three titles. Don't abbreviate either. Abbreviations won't show up in keyword searches.

Some new skills you may not think of adding but probably have if you found this blog; Internet Navigation, Search, and Retreival; Joined Internet in 1994, HTML, Blogging, Discussion Board Moderation, Email, Text Messaging, etc..

Group your skills by subheading if you are listing more than ten to twenty skills. You might try; Computers, Internet, Office Skills, and Languages for a place to start.

August 10, 2005

Indeed: a New Kind of Job Search

I've added a new website to the sidebar today.
Indeed is a search engine for jobs - with a radically different approach to job search. In one simple search, Indeed gives job seekers free access to millions of employment opportunities from hundreds of websites. includes all the job listings from major job boards, newspapers, associations and company career pages - and we continue to add new sites every day.
If you're in the job market, you owe it to yourself to check out the A VC Blog's post about his recent funding of It helps to be as educated about the job market, and the job listing market, as possible in your job search.

Even if you don't plan on using Indeed in your job hunt, you need to see their Trend watching page. This provides a very real look at where the jobs are right now. Definately a data point you need to know if you're planning to move, graduating from college, or contrarian-like you want to get away from the hustle and bustle.

August 09, 2005

References: What to do about Uncle Bob?

Finally, we get to the last section of the resume: your references. Many guides advise you to add a line at the bottom of your resume that states, "References Available Upon Request." But today that line is usually left off the resume. It is assumed that you will have references. It is likely they'll be calling the HR Departments of your former employers and you'll want to provide personal contacts to round out that vision of your work history. If the recruiter wants to see them they will ask for them in the job listing or for your first interview.

A professional reference is anyone you have worked with or for, in a professional relationship. That could be client/vendor, boss/underling, associate from your department, or similar experience. The exception to this rule is if that person is also a relative, even through marraige. Sometimes you won't be able to avoid listing a relative as a professional reference, but if at all possible find another worker from company. If you have a professional reference that works at the company you're applying to this is the place to list them.

A personal reference is someone who will vouch that you're not some wacked out looney and that the timeline and story you tell in your cover letter and resume is true. This someone might be a teacher, close friend, business partner, family friend (oh I knew Johnny when he was still in diapers), relative you have worked for or with in the past, etc. In this case I would avoid spiritual advisors or psychiatrists.

This next step is important: contact each person before listing them and politely ask them if you may use them as a reference. While you're talking with them verify address and contact information. Try to take a few minutes and discuss your career goals with them so they are on the same page as you if they are called for follow up. You don't want them saying you want to be a doctor if you've changed your mind since you last talked with them and now want to be a human resources director.

So what do you do if there is overlap between your professional and personal references? If your professional life and your friends overlap, you may want to use the same name on both your reference lists. There are some situations where you are probably fine doing this. However, if it is possible to chose someone else from that company or office who isn't also a personal reference, then do so. It's much better to list a family friend on your reference list than a family member.

Now you're ready to format your reference list:

Prepare a separate sheet of the same paper your resume is printed on with your same name and contact info formated exactly as on the resume. A few lines below that put the word 'References.' Then list three or four professional references with names, addresses, phone numbers and emails. You may format these aligned left or centered. I prefer centered, but aligned left may scan better. You may tab it in a few times if you like.

Now do the same thing for three personal references, except you'll title the sheet 'Personal References', that are different names from your professional references.

If you have more than four references, consider listing the four you think will give you the best recommendation for the particular job you're applying for. This may change from job to job.

When you’re all done make sure you have someone proofread it for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A fresh pair of eyes is important. If you can't find a proofreader, set it down for at least three hours, go watch some mindnumbing movie or PBS show, then come back and look at it.

August 05, 2005

The 3 P's of a Resume: Page Setup, Paper, and Printing

Page Setup and Formatting

When formatting your resume you must keep in mind three things: Professional Appearance, Readability, and Scanability. A resume that looks messy and unprofessional will be rejected out of hand. One that takes effort to read on the part of the recruiter must have some pretty valuable content to overcome that barrier. And many many companies still scan every resume then perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on it before entering it into a searchable computer database with other resumes. Of the three Scanability has changed the most how a resume must look today.

You are now constrained in your margins. Any text closer than 0.75 inches to the edge of a page risks being lost in scanning. Any text aligned vertically on the page will not be scanned accurately. The use of graphic elements such as lines or icons will not translate at all in scanning. Vertical text and graphic elements are the two biggest foes to a pain free scan for the recruiter.

Your actual margins on the page should be fairly standard. The left margin should be wider than the right and between 1.0" to 1.25". The Top and Bottom margins can be adjusted so as to fit your content onto one page or move more to page two, as needed. Just keep text no more than 1.0" from the top to start.

Paper Choice

Paper choice for your resume is more important than ever. Is the paper clean, smudge free, and bright? Printing on Yellow, Pink, or Tan paper doesn't make you more qualified for the position and can negatively affect the readability and scanability of your resume. Instead, chose your paper based on its weight (24lb minimum / 30lb maximum (so as not to jam the scanner)) and brightness (bright white: 90 minimum). If those numbers don't make sense to you, ask the helpful folks at OfficeMax or OfficeDepot and they'll help you out.


Is laserprinting your resume, which usually means a trip to Kinko's, required? Not anymore. These days there are high DPI (600DPI and up) inkjet printers, you probably have one at home or at the library, that will do the job just fine. Just take precautions against smearing by letting the pages dry for a few minutes in the printer tray before picking them up.

[ttags: , , , , , ]

August 03, 2005

Your Resume: Address and Contact Info

Your resume should start with your name and contact information. Don't get too fancy with the layout here. Centered or Aligned left or right is fine. Try to keep it to 5 lines maximum (4 is best) with your name in bold on the first line. The second and third line would be your address information. The 4th line is your email address (you must have one these days) and two phone numbers (Home and Cell/Mobile or Home and Message). Don't provide a 'work' number here.

Font size can be one or two points above the size you use for the body of your resume. The whole point is to make it easy to read by a scanner for companies (like Disney) that OCR each resume. Choice of font ‘Arial’ is fine. You can go down to size 10 or 11 with Arial and still be readable. The sans serif look stands out from the serif fonts that recruiters receive all day every day.
John Smith
123 Main Street U.S.A.
Disneyland, CA 92803
Ph: 310.555.1212 Cell: 213.555.1212


John Smith
123 Main Street U.S.A., Disneyland, CA 92803
E: -- Ph: 310.555.1212 - Cell: 213.555.1212