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The Planning Stage: Creative Resume Writing

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 4, 2010

Your resume is a document with a single goal: to win you an interview with a prospective employer. In order to accomplish this goal, it is critical to do some prewriting, some creative anticipation.

Before you actually start building a resume, you must have clarity on what attracts you to the work you’re applying for, what your prospective employer is looking for and what you have in your personal and professional repertoire that makes you the best candidate for the job.

We like to call this process “creative resume writing,” since you’re about to envision the end result of your resume writing process. By the end of this three-step process, you’ll have in your head (and on the screen in front of you), a clear sense of what your winning resume will contain.

Step 1: How you fit the position

Imagine yourself located in the kind of work environment you’re applying to join. What is it about this place that makes you want to work here? What are the people like? Open your word processor and write it out. Add details such as what the place looks like, whether it’s got an attractive smell, what sounds (or lack thereof) can be heard, etc. Your becoming aware of these details will give you confidence and energy as you communicate to your prospective employer that you would fit in well on the job.

Step 2: What your employer wants

Employers are seeking a person who represents a “match” for the position they are hiring for. So instead of thinking about getting the job, think about how you are the best match for this particular job.

To start doing so, put yourself into the prospective employer’s shoes, and anticipate the qualities this employer would seek for this particular position. They are certainly looking for someone who is dedicated, reliable and competent. What specific qualities do you think this employer needs in an employee? What specific skills and abilities would this job require? Write it out.

Step 3: What you have to offer

Ultimately, your resume should convey clearly and cheerfully that you are the best match for this position. Chances are that a human-resources professional will be looking at your resume among hundreds of others, spilling coffee over them as they fight to stay awake. Sell yourself well. Here’s how.

Let the prospective employer know, first of all, that you have outstanding personal and professional qualities to contribute to the company and work environment. Let them know you’ve got the skills it takes to do the job well. List all of these qualities, credentials, skills, and abilities in your word processor.

Step 4: What you’ve done

Once you’ve wowed the employer with these qualities, prove you’ve got them by writing a professional experience piece. List what you’ve done in your professional career that would be of interest to this employer. For each job, write down first the title of the position and the name of the company you worked for. Then, write what you did at each position: what your responsibilities were/are, what you contributed. Keep the language active (more on that on our resume writing format development page), demonstrating the power you had/have in that position. Write your list in your word processor.

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By now you should have clarity on what will go into your actual resume document. Soon you’ll be arranging the information you’ve written in your word processor into a coherent, positive-sounding, winning resume. Your creative anticipation here has paid off as you’ve explored the power of creative resume writing. Now, it’s time to develop the resume’s actual format on our resume writing format development page.

If you’d like some prodding to help you gain clarity or get help on any part of the creation of your resume, you may wish to take advantage of our resume consulting services, offered by Israel’s best resume writers. Please peruse their profiles to find someone with whom you would like to work.

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Related Articles:

Resume Writing Tips

Resume Writing Example – The Functional Resume

Cover Letter Resume Writing

Resume Writing Examples – The Chronological Resume

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Using Power Words

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 22, 2010

I worked with a really talented guy who I thought would never leave the company we worked for … not because he didn’t want to leave … he did. I thought he would never leave because he sold himself so short in his resume, no one would hire him.

He didn’t want to overstate his qualifications, so instead he painted a picture to prospective employers that he wasn’t as good as he really was.

I encouraged him to use power words in his resume and to take ownership of his many successes.

Instead of writing in his resume, “I helped edit magazine articles.” I encouraged him to write something like, “Managed the award-winning editorial content of Blank magazine, the flagship publication of XYZ Company, the largest widget company in the world.” Both statements were true, but the revised version captured the essence of his important contributions.

It’s also important to include quantifiable statements about the contributions you have made at various companies. Such statements could involve how your efforts:
• increased sales or donations by XX dollars or percent.
• brought about significant cost savings due to improved processes.
• trained XX number of employees in a new program, which resulted in a XX% increase in customer satisfaction, etc.

How can power words and quantifiable statements about your contributions at former companies improve your job-application messaging?

Career Overview provides an excellent list of resume power words on its site.
http://www.professional-resume-example.com features examples for how to write strong quantifiable statements in your resume.

Sell yourself well … after all … it can help you Get a Job!

The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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Resume tips

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 10, 2010

I spoke with three job seekers this past week who were all well qualified, but all three had the same lament: Nobody was calling them for job interviews. I looked at their resumes and was impressed with their educational background and experience. I also figured out why they weren’t getting calls.

Here is what I learned and how you can use the knowledge to make sure your resume stands out above the rest.

I realized they weren’t getting calls because their resumes didn’t portray them as the most qualified candidates. Could your resume be letting you down? Carefully study and improve your resume with these thoughts in mind:

1. Does your resume reflect how uniquely qualified you are for each job opening? Don’t be lazy or complacent! Diligently modify your cover letter and resume to convince each hiring company you are the best person for the job.

2. Does it include power words and quantifiable results? Don’t just state what you did, show why it mattered.

3. Does it use keywords that were mentioned in the job description? Remember, many recruiters run resumes through a keyword search program, so if you don’t have the right words on your resume, you will automatically be rejected.

4. Is it clearly written and easy to read? If it is filled with jargon or acronyms only people in your past company or industry use, revise the information to be meaningful and impressive for a more general audience.

5. Is it interesting and succinct? Recruiters wade through hundreds of resumes. If you bore or confuse them, they will simply move on to the next one.

6. Does it show that you are qualified for the open position? If your job history has not adequately prepared you for the job, prove you have the abilities through other means, such as by emphasizing your educational background, showing relevant volunteer or freelance experience, or by including examples to prove your expertise.

7. Does it list your qualifications in order of importance and relevance to the job you seek? This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you are an administrative assistant wanting to be a communicator, put your communications experience on top and minimize your admin experience.

8. Is it attractive? A well designed resume makes ample use of white space particularly around the margins and in between sections. Feature no more than two, easy-to-read, typefaces. Make sure type is not too large or too small. Use bullet points to cleanly organize information. Use boldface and italics to draw attention to important elements, but don’t use either excessively.

9. Is it error free? Is your past job history information up to date and correct? Use spell check to check your spelling and grammar, but also review it carefully to make sure spell check didn’t incorrectly “fix” a word. The funniest spell check “miss-fix” I’ve seen was when Microsoft Word fixed the word “position” on a resume to be “prostitution!” Don’t let such a mistake happen to you. Check your job application messages before you hit “send.”

In the coming weeks, I will talk about other ways that you can stand out above other applicants … in your cover letter, in your networking efforts, and in your online presence. In the meantime, radically improve your resume … after all, it can help you Get a Job!


The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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What To Do After a Layoff? Quick Tips

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 6, 2010

You’ve just been laid off. What should you do next? What first steps should you take towards finding new employment? Here is some professional advice:

Put your profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a valuable job search tool because thousands of recruiters regularly search this social networking site for candidates who meet their criteria. Put yourself in a position to be found by a recruiter by placing your profile on this site. An added benefit of LinkedIn is that you can search for jobs on that site and immediately see who you are connected to who works for the company that has the vacancy. This allows you to network your way into a company instead of simply applying for a job online and hoping to hear from them.

Distribute your resume to people in your network and tell them what you are looking for. Particularly for people who you may have a worked with a few years ago, you need to give them a resume so that they can see what you have done most recently. This is also critical for references so that they can speak knowledgeably on your behalf.

Join/become involved in a professional association. A professional association is the best place to find people who are already in your field who have connections to organizations that hire people in your field of expertise. You can raise your visibility in an association by taking on a leadership role. Virtually all associations are looking for people to volunteer to serve on committees. Taking on such a task gives you deeper connections with others in the association that go beyond merely passing out a business card at a monthly meeting. People have an opportunity to see your work ethic and will be more inclined to recommend you for openings that they know of.

Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed. is a career coach and a certified professional resume writer. She is the founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm that assists people in finding their niche or calling in life.

Cheryl has been quoted regularly on CNN Money. She has also been quoted in other media outlets such as The Ladders, MarketWatch, Yahoo HotJobs, and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cheryl_Palmer

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Connections to Employment

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on August 23, 2010

The unemployment rate in St. Charles County is currently at ten (10%) percent. Recently Charlie Gitto opened a new restaurant and over 4,000 applicants applied. Since the pool of potential job seekers is so high, they will need to be well prepared. Connections to Success Employment Specialist Jason Cleveland, assist job seekers in learning how to eliminate barriers to employment in a four (4) week employment workshop series. The series covers everything from job search strategy to the actual interview. Participants learn that they can use these strategies to search for employment positions regardless of experience level or industry. The class provides information for online employment search as well.

The next session, “Resume Refinement” will explain the two types of resumes and assist the job seeker in deciding which resume would best suit their needs. The last sessions will discuss interview techniques. This session covers professional dress, researching the company, verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They also participate in mock interviews in order to receive feed back regarding their strengths and weakness in an interview setting. The employment workshop series is open to the community. Contact Connections to Success to register for classes at (636)940-8027.

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Top Tips to Step Beyond a Layoff – An Emergency Survival Kit by Dawn Ramussen

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on July 2, 2010

It’s probably a fair thing to say that many of us have arrived at our current or most recent career destination through connections, chance postings, and sometimes, sheer, dumb luck with the perfect alignment of the stars, moon, and the sun… basically happening through a series of circumstances. It’s a rare thing to find someone these days that can draw a straight line from their education right into their vocation.

But what happens when circumstances turn against you, and the unexpected occurs? Companies struggle financially, then suddenly shut their doors, leaving bewildered workers with nowhere to turn.

Or perhaps, an employer stealthily plans layoffs behind closed doors then suddenly swoops down upon unsuspecting workers, handing out pink slips. And before the person even knows what is happening, they are escorted out the door. The world, it seems, has just collapsed.

Regardless as to whether this sounds familiar to you or not, you should always have your ‘insurance policy’ ready to go at a moment’s notice. The worst thing that can happen is that you are caught unaware and unprepared.

Mind you, this policy isn’t one you can purchase. Instead, it’s called career management and involves strategically planning your “A” game while having your “B” game back-up plan constantly running in the background in case the nightmare scenario becomes a reality.

The “A” game involves making yourself as indispensable as possible where you are working now with this in mind: the job may be eliminated, but you won’t be.

The “B” game is your ultimate insurance policy: making preparations either for future job transitions we can’t control or being ready to respond nimbly to new opportunities.

Here are the top tips that you should follow to survive a layoff or be the first in line for a new opportunity:

1) Keep your résumé updated. Don’t be caught unawares with a career document that hasn’t been touched in five years. You should update your résumé every six months. If it isn’t relevant to you, how can you expect an employer to take it seriously either?

2) Showcase your accomplishments in your resume. Employers care about what you accomplished at each company where you worked so they can make a decision of what you might be able to do for them. Dumping in your job duties with a quick cut and paste is actually doing yourself a disservice. Why wouldn’t you want to showcase your value by showing what you did, how you did it, and what the end result positively impacted the employer?

3) Build your network. The power of your Rolodex (or these days, your LinkedIn contact base) could be the source of your next job. Or, they can be an important support group if you get laid off. The point is that you need to actively cultivate your friends, professional colleagues, and people that you meet and treat them as valued connections. DON’T be a ‘user’ – only contacting a person once, using them, and then throwing them away. No one ever wants to be used by someone else.

4) Identify your next career targets, and move towards them. Where do you want to go? Is it an easy next step, or are there some obstacles between where you are now and where you want to go? Someone once said, “Success means knowing where the hockey puck is going to be.” If you can see your next career destination on the horizon, then chart your professional course in that direction. Figure out who you need to know, what skills you need, and what other things you might need to make a landing on your new career beachhead.

5) Build your knowledge base. Do everything you can to increase your knowledge and understanding of a specific field. Becoming a subject matter expert can help catapult you into the arena as a top industry talent, and become a highly sought-after commodity. Any employer hiring right now is looking for the best value for the position that they are going to fill. If you offer cutting edge expertise, you’ve just upped your hiring quotient significantly.

6) Demonstrate your leadership. By volunteering and being a member of the right industry organizations will establish your professionalism. Additionally, leaders give back, and that hits a home run with employers, as they like to leverage the leadership within the communities that their employees offer as an indirect benefit to the employer.

Managing all of these aspects of your career will ensure that you are moving your “A” plan forward while managing your backup “B” plan. You should never be caught unaware, and should always be ready to go at a moment’s notice. In addition to positioning yourself effectively, this can also give you peace of mind.

Dawn Rasmussen – CTP, CMP
President
Pathfinder Writing and Career Services
PO Box 20536

http://pathfindercareers.com/

Advance your career with a professionally-written resume!

Proud member of the National Resume Writers Association

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dawn_Rasmussen

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