Saturday, April 29, 2006

Resume Writing II

Create a Winning Resume

In the first part of Resume Writing, I have tried to bring about the points to be kept in mind while writing a resume. Here in this Part II of Resume Writing you will find step-by-step process to create a good resume and ensure that you do not miss out on the important points that sell your resume.

Many of us want to create a good resume, but find it difficult to start writing one. The following questions would arise, and its simple, just answer them honestly and you end up writing a winning resume as they call it.

How to start?
What should be included?
What format to choose?
What are the contents?
What points need to be assessed?
1. How to Start?
The first and foremost step to write a resume is to gather information. To write an effective resume, you need to understand why you are writing one. Start writing an Initial Data File without any specific job in mind, including all your credentials and experience. Once you are through with this initial resume, you can later tailor the resume for specific job description in future.

List down all items that could be important to your resume in the initial data file. Gather information or write notes about previous work experiences, educational background, job descriptions, performance reviews, previous resumes, certifications, awards, presentations your have delivered, volunteer programs, honors… whatever you feel is relevant to your work. If you are just out of college, you might want to think about extracurricular experiences, volunteer work, internships, etc.

This initial resume is an important step in managing your career. Continue to update this resume, as you take on new jobs; attend seminars, honors, etc. This will make it much easier in the future to keep your updated resume.
2. What should be included?
This will vary from job to job, so keep the Initial Data File accessible. With relevance to a particular job, start answering these questions thoughtfully. This will make the task of creating a resume much easier. Then organize the materials available in the data file to answer the below questions. There could be some overlap but then that’s fine.

· What do I do the best?
· What Skills do I possess and have developed?
· What are my satisfying work experiences?
· What is important about my education?
· Any unique talent or experiences I want to share?
3. What format to choose?
There are two types of format that you can choose from: skills based resume, reverse chronological resume. Both these types have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some characteristics of each are combined to form a combined resume. This is what works out most of the time, as it brings best of both the formats. It is better to create one of both types and check out which one is powerful depending on the type of job applied for.
4. What are the contents?
All resumes typically contain sections that highlight education and work experience. Often a profile or summary of qualifications section is used to provide the reader with an overview of your competencies. Also, many people find it helpful to begin a resume with an objective so that the reader has a reference point by which to understand your strengths and experience. Additionally, some people include a section to highlight community or professional involvement, and presentations or publications. Tailor your resume to bring out your strengths!

Resume contents
· Contact information
· Objective
· Profile of summary of qualifications
· Education
· Work experience
· Skills
· References
Contact Information
At the top of the resume you need to include Name, Address, Contact Numbers, E-mail address.
Make sure that all the contact information is provided properly. Use professional email address in your resume. Avoid using this will not work.
There is some debate over the inclusion of an objective. Some believe it is unnecessary while others see it as a framework for the reader to assess your resume.
The objective of any resume contains four parts:
· The "level" of the position
· The skills you hope to use in the position
· The title of the position or the function
· The field or industry in which you hope to work
Profile of summary of qualifications
The profile section allows you to state your skills, values and interests to gain the attention of the reader. For some positions, such as scientific or information technology, it is a good place to highlight specific skills such as computer programs, systems or laboratory equipment and procedures.
It is an excellent place to include keywords and requirements that have been stated in a job description. They are words or phrases specific to a particular industry or profession. They imply additional skills and experiences that are vital to someone's success in a position. They can also relate to the particular level of responsibility one has had in an organization. For example, executives may include the following keywords in their summaries:
. Strategic Planning
. Multi-Site Operations
. New Business Development
. Mergers and Acquisitions
. P & L Responsibilities
Keep in mind it is sometimes easier to create this section AFTER you have written your resume. This section is usually no longer than 3 or 4 sentences. It may be written in paragraph or bullet form.

Regardless of the format you use, you will likely have an Education section on your resume. In the Education section, you will want to highlight formal programs and continuing education or on-the-job training.

In writing this section, you will want to be consistent in the layout (listing the college first, then the degree, or vice versa). Start with the highest degree you have earned and work backwards. Include relevant information such as: degree, college or university, location, date of degree, major field of study, minors, topic of thesis, relevant courses, language skills or study abroad programs, GPA, honors.

If you have completed certification programs, follow your formal education section with a short description of these programs and include the dates if it is important.
Work experience
Reverse chronological

This section will include specific information about your accomplishments in each work place. You don't want to just list duties and responsibilities; this doesn't convey your competency or success. Start with your most recent (or current) position. Again, be consistent in how you format each experience.

Look at job descriptions, performance reviews, and awards or achievements that are related to this position. What can you say about your performance? For example, how many people did you supervise? What size of budget did you manage? How many seminars did you lead? What skills did you develop? What was your biggest accomplishment?

You want to paint a clear picture for the reader of the resume in terms of your success and the skills you have developed. They want to hire people who have been successful.
Skill based
You use a Skills-Based Resume; your employment history will take a different format. You will list each job briefly, including the place of employment, location, job title and dates. This becomes a short section, providing the reader with relevant information about where you worked. However, what you accomplished in each position will show up under the Skills section.
This will be applicable if a skills-based format is used. If you have skills that you have utilized and developed in a number of settings, it may be better to show your competence by highlighting the skill rather than where you worked.

The skills you choose to highlight may vary from job to job, as well as the information you include under each skill. This provides great flexibility for you to demonstrate your competencies.

Highlight achievements in community and professional organizations. Be selective and mention the activities that are related to the position for which you are applying. Leadership positions, projects or events, and professional presentations are some of the items to include.
Reference provided on request. Using this phrase at the end of the resume is outdated. The better approach is to generate a prepared Professional Reference sheet, which you can bring with you on interviews and leave with the interviewer when references are requested. Always ask permission from those you wish to reference, this will also prepare them to talk great things about you.
5. What points need to be assessed?

Goal focused: Does the text support the objective?
Length: Could it tell the same story if it was shortened? Is it too short? Is it limited to no more than 2 pages?
Relevance: Is the material sequenced in order of importance and relevance? Has irrelevant material been eliminated?
Format: Is the resume written in the best format (reverse chronological, skills-based or combination) that presents you in the most positive light?
Action Orientation: Do sentences and paragraphs begin with action verbs?
Specificity: Does the resume avoid generalities and focus on specific information about experiences, projects, products, etc.?
Completeness: Is all-important information included?
Bottom Line / Targeted Focus: How well does the resume accomplish its ultimate purpose of getting the employer to interview you? Is it focused enough so that the employer is clear about what type of position you are seeking?
Qualified Results: Are results of your past work experiences quantified when possible?
Sections: Are the headings used for specific sections appropriate?
Spelling and Grammar: Is anything misspelled? Are words used correctly and is the sentence structure correct? Are the verbs and descriptions appropriate to the level of the position you are seeking?

Hope in this part II of Resume Writing I was able to convey most of the points connected to writing a resume.
I will soon come up with lot of other interesting details about recruitment.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Resume Writing Part I

Resume Writing Part I

Resume writing plays an important role in deciding the success of your career; be it job search, freelancing or to start a small business. It’s difficult to know where to start or what to include. It can seem like an insurmountable task. Your resume is what will get the ball rolling. You’ll stand a good chance of landing the position or the deal you want by creating a strong and substance resume.

Here are some points to be kept in mind while creating a resume.

Focus the resume on what the potential employer wants to hear. Should address the needs of the employer rather than being your autobiography. The employer should be thinking, "wow, this person has exactly what I am looking for" as they read your resume.

Keep it positive. Employers are seeking people who can contribute, have a positive attitude, are enthusiastic, and have successfully performed similar job skills in the past. Concentrate on communicating these issues and avoid any detracting information.

Make your resume easy to read. An employer will spend approximately 20 –30 seconds scanning each of the hundreds of resumes in front of them. An easy-to-read format enables them to read your whole resume rather than a small portion in those 20-30 seconds.

Select the best organizational format. Choose the format that is best for you. Use Chronological format for crisp and short resume. If you are looking forward for a career change or have extremely broad, related skill sets, a combination format may be best. The combination should be evenly balanced between skill set description, achievements and employment history.

Write a resume with substance & depth. Don't summarize, water-down, and oversimplify your job responsibilities and accomplishments. The result is that a potential employer thinks, "This person is lazy and doesn't do very much". Keep information relevant to the goal of attaining an interview. Eliminate information that is not related and will not have direct impact on winning an interview.

Mention 'Actions' rather than 'job duties'. What makes you stand apart from the rest? What solutions provided made things better, more efficient, or cost effective? What won honors for you. This sort of information will grab the attention of the employer and put your resume on top of the stack.

Do not use personal pronouns. Never include 'I', 'me', 'mine',' our'. Resumes are written in first person (silent), past tense. Fragment sentences are perfectly acceptable on resume as long as the meaning is conveyed.

Be bold but honest throughout your resume. An employer will interview only the 3-5 strongest candidates. Modesty will cause you to lose the interview.

Prioritize the information that the employer seeks. Simplify or omit information of minimal interest to the employer. The most significant accomplishments and jobs need to be at the beginning of the resume, not buried further down the page.

The content in the resume depends on the experience of the candidate.
Senior level: Not necessary to include a objective, as it may look silly. Include all the experiences in detail and so the number of pages can go unto 4.
Middle level: Job objective can be useful in this case, wherein you mention your need to grow to the next level. Keep it to 3 pages, unless you are Technical person, including all the projects that you handled.
Entry level: Stress your immediate career goal, addressing the benefit to the company when they hire you. Keep the pages to not more than 2.

Proofread your resume to eliminate spelling errors, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies. Get the resume checked by a friend to make it error free. Because after you have worked with a document for several hours, you simply no longer see your mistakes.

Be Prepared to face the interview. Remember, resumes do not get jobs, people get jobs. Resumes get interviews. Make sure that you are prepared for the telephone call when it arrives, as nowadays the first round of interview is conducted via telephone rather in person. Make sure that you have a resume that will keep the phone ringing.

The above 12 points will help you to create a resume that help you land up in a interview. These days job search is much more complex. Competition for employment has never been greater. The entire process is often drawn-out and very hard. Resumes are a prerequisite for a job search.

Recruiters, company hiring managers and human resources professionals are all components in your job search, and it is the resume's job to land interviews.

No one knows your background and experience better than you. Most people can get the basics of what they did and when they did it down on paper in a sensible fashion. What most people who write their own resumes, have difficulty with is, making that sell to the reader. The above tips help you make your resume sell.

Will be back soon with more easier steps and samples of resumes for various industries and levels.

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