Resume Writing Tips

February 20, 2009

Preparing a great looking resume

Filed under: Resume Tips — trooperblog @ 5:49 am
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There is no doubt how stiff the competition is when it comes to getting hired especially these days when even the most qualified person is getting laid off.

What can get you hired?

The only way by which you can get noticed, which is your first goal when applying for a job, is to have a great looking resume. A great looking resume is not a resume that is printed on colored paper. A great looking resume is one that speaks how qualified you are to the position that you are vying for. It will be able to tell the recruiters that you are what they are looking for. It is not only about listing down the experiences that you had in the past years. It takes more than that.

That is why there is a growing number of people getting Resume Writing Services. You would be surprised that even the most experienced person when it comes to work experience gets these services. Let us face it, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and it is so hard to put our strengths on paper. If we do not know what we are doing, we might actually be putting the wrong information on our resume. Getting services for resume writing prevents you from doing that. After all, your resume is technically the company’s first impression of you.

All it takes is a few seconds for a Human Resource personnel involved in the hiring process to scan your resume and put it in the reject pile or the “possible hires” pile. Thus, have a great looking resume ready, at all all times, even if you have to get resume writing services to have that.

September 23, 2008

Cover-Letter Writing Tips

When applying for a job, a cover letter should be sent with your resume. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experience to those noted in the job posting. An effective cover letter should tell the employer why you are writing, why you are the best person for the job, and when you will contact him or her.

Cover letters do more than just introduce you and your resume to potential employers. They let you go in-depth about important experiences/skills and relate them to job requirements. They show the employer that you are individualizing this job application. They also provide a sample of your written communication skills. This article gives some valuable tips to guide you throughout the writing of your cover letter.

Cover letter: structure

There are four basic parts to a cover letter: heading, introduction, body, and a closing. Here are some tips on what to include in each section.

Heading

Provide your contact information here. Include the date. Also include the address of the company.

Introduction

Greet the specific person you address the letter to. If you don’t know his/her name, write Dear Sir/Madam. State the position you are applying for and where you heard about it. State why you believe you are the right candidate. Mention 2-3 key qualifications that you will address in the rest of the letter. You can name drop if you have a good connection, but don’t forget that some employers detest this practice.

Body

In the body of your cover letter you have to mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Focus each paragraph on one qualification. Give specific examples to prove where you got these skills and how you have used them before. Refer to your resume, don’t repeat it. Tell a story; do not just list your skills. Do not use contractions.

Closing

Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good candidate. Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up.

Layout

Choose a selling design. Make sure that your cover letter is easy on the eye. Keep in mind, the reviewer of your cover letter has hundreds (if not thousands) of cover letters to look at, so make it easy for him/her to find the information you want to highlight. Keep your cover letter short (no longer than 1 page).

Use a tailor-made cover letter

Avoid the generic cover letter that you get from books. If you are not sure how to write a targeted non-generic cover letter, you should consider using a professional writing service.

What to write and what not to write in a cover letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to show that you meet or exceed the requirements listed in the job description. It should demonstrate that you’re interested in the position and that you’re available to accept the position if offered. Additional information beyond this isn’t necessary.

Don’t mention negative facts about you. A cover letter is not the place to explain why you left or are leaving an employer, why there are gaps in your employment dates, etc. These “negatives” are best explained in person during the interview so that your personality can counter them. Try to avoid a salary history in the cover letter. If the position specifically asks for your salary history, give a historical salary range, and state that your salary requirements are flexible based on the opportunity the position will provide.

September 6, 2008

Resume Tips For Landing a Job Overseas

Your CV is the first document that you’ll use to reach your prospected employer. It is your CV that will secure important interviews and will be the gateway to your new job.

Remember – your CV will speak for and about you, so you will need to ensure that it covers the following topics:

Personal Information

Both personal characteristics and background alike are important to any potential employer, no matter what kind of market you want to enter. Your name should head the document and immediately following that your exact date of birth should be given.

Affix a passport-sized photograph of yourself on the top right corner. If you are seeking opportunities within the Asian market, list your educational accomplishments beginning with the lowest; from elementary to collegiate. Also, mention any foreign languages you are fluent in, relevant classes you are attending, and your travel experiences.

Allow them to stand out in detail in your CV under a separate heading, showing that you are culturally-oriented and part of a global community.

Job History

Some organizations require only job-history specifics. They may want work record certificates and recommendations to be attached directly to the CV. This requirement will differ from country to country.

It is a good idea to inquire exactly what the organization would prefer for you to include in your CV before sending it to them.

Professional History

In most countries outside the United States, you will be required to list in chronological order the professional experience you have obtained or gathered over the year. That means that you begin with the first job you ever had, then the next, and so on and so forth. Your professional experience should be listed in order from the most recent to last in reverse chronological order.

In Britain, for example, employers wish to see your professional experience in reverse order. That means you start with the latest job and work backwards to your first job.

This is similar to the American resume, which is prepared in much the same fashion. It would perhaps be a good idea to find out the preferred chronological order prior to sending it out.

Language Style

Take care not to present your efforts and achievements as individual or singular achievements, but as team efforts. Your accomplishments will have more impact if they were achieved as being part of a team.

This will hold true no matter what the level of your contribution. You can also mention the achievements in phrase form excluding pronouns and verbs, for example: “maintained supplies” should be used instead of saying “maintenance of supplies”.

Simple Presentation

Fancy fonts should be avoided altogether. Section titles should be placed in bold fonts. Language and style should be simple and short. Make your CV relevant in style to your level of experience and the job applied for.

August 15, 2008

12 Tech Writing Resume Tips

12 Tech Writing Resume Tips

As you develop your resume, keep in mind that its purpose is not to get you hired. Its purpose is to get you face-to-face with the person who’s doing the hiring. The most important thing your resume can do is make the prospective employer want to meet you.

Keep in mind the following 12 steps when creating your technical writing resume:

1. Determine Your Objective

– Prior to writing the resume: clearly state what sort of a job you want know what kinds of skills and experiences are needed structure the content of your resume around that objective
Example of a good objective: Contribute my technical writing skills to create user focused instruction manuals detailing software processes.

2. Be Clear and Concise

– The sole purpose of a resume is to have a potential employer contact you for an interview. – It’s a marketing tool to get you in front of your potential boss where you can do the sales pitch and close the deal. – Put yourself in the shoes of the resume reader when considering the job qualifications needed for the position.

3. Use Bullet Points

– In the body, use bullet points with short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. – Key phrases that stand alone and bulleted will help the reader see the important information at a glance. – You can go into the details during the interview.
Example:

Weak: Developed a communications process guide which consisted of 255 pages, eight case studies, 25 best practices, 36 charts and diagrams, 14 interviews, 20 communication mistakes to avoid and this manual was used by the hospital doctors and nurses to communicate with their patients.

Strong: Developed a communications process guide which was used by the hospital doctors and nurses to communicate with their patients. This 255 page guide included:

– 8 case studies – 25 best practices – 36 charts and diagrams – 14 interviews – 20 communication mistakes to avoid

4. Use the Right Words

– Computers are often used to pick the resumes to be looked at by looking for keywords that have been picked by the hiring manager. – These are key words that relate to the position. – If your resume is scanned, the computer will pick up on these words. – Use action verbs to describe what you’ve done. – Words like prepared, managed, developed, monitored, and presented make your statements stronger.

5. Include Specific Figures

– Percentages, dollar totals, and numbers stand out in the body of a resume. – Example: Weak: Created a technical manual for the VH5 Valve. Strong: Created an 87 page technical manual for the VH5 Valve.

6. Highlight Your Strengths

– What is most relevant to the potential employer? – Determine which bullets most strongly support your job search objective. – Put the strong and most relevant points first where they are more apt to be read. – Focus on your achievements and contributions to the business development and success of your past employer.

7. Match the Needs of the Hiring Company

– Review job postings for positions that interest you. – Listings almost always have a brief blurb about the company and the position available. – Read the job description closely, use the key words listed in the ads, and match them to the bullet points in your resume.

8. Be Positive

– Don’t include negative and irrelevant information. – Leave out anything that might cause an unfavorable reaction. – Leave off your graduation date if it could subject you to age discrimination. – Leave off duties in your current job that don’t support your job search objective. – Leave off irrelevant personal information like your race, weight, height, religion, hobbies, music and food preferences, and political leanings unless they are vital to securing the position.

9. Make It Look Good

– Print the resume on good quality, white paper using black ink. – Leave wide margins. The font size should be no smaller than 10 points. – Don’t pack the page with print. – If necessary, use a second page. – If you have a hard time filling the page with text, increase your line spacing to compensate and increase the white space.

10. Limit the Length

– The length of your resume should be no more than 2 pages. – Two plus pages is usually more appropriate if you’re after an upper management position. – Generally, employers prefer a one page job resume, but they will read two if the resume is organized and focused and conveys a unique and interesting message of capability. – Anything after the second page should be an addendum that supports the content of the first two pages.

11. Get Outside Opinions

– Always have two or more people review your resume. Get feedback that relates to: how others view your marketing materials are they impressed by the resume: content and format content that isn’t clear content that isn’t necessary missing content

12. Pay a Professional to Proofread

– No one can read her own writing and find all the spelling, grammar, or typing errors. – It isn’t worth any amount of money to lose the chance at a job due to a misspelled word. – If you can’t afford to get your resume proofread, have at least two (preferably three) other people whom you trust read it. It only takes one typo to turn a reader off.

Being a tech writer is a great job. Go interesting places, meet really smart people, learn new things and make really good money. Which is why it’s such a rapidly growing profession. The down side, though, is that there are people who get into the business without knowing as much about it as they should.

July 23, 2008

Resume Tips for Career Fairs and Online Job Banks

If you’re all set to attend a career fair – or are looking to post your resume on an online job bank – and are concerned about how to create a resume for companies you have yet to meet, you are not alone.

Fortunately, there are ways to create great resumes capable of catching the eyes of potential recruiters no matter what venue you’re working with. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Conduct Research to Gauge Recruiters Whether you’re looking to leave your resumes with recruiters at a career fair, or post them on online job banks, it helps to research the companies you’re interested in working with so that you can better tailor your accomplishments.

Many career fairs spend a good amount of time advertising their arrival weeks in advance. This means that you have time to research all of the companies attending so that you can create one or more resumes for each one you’re interested in working for.

As for online job banks, while you won’t know who is out there recruiting, you can still gain a slight edge on your competition by researching job specifications at the companies in which you’re interested. This way, you can proactively tailor your resume to focus on skills and achievements that will appeal to those recruiters.

Make Your Career Fair Resume Brief and Scannable At a career fair, it is likely that you will be the fifth, sixth, or even sixtieth person that recruiters have seen that day. Since they might be overwhelmed by the number of resumes they’ve received, it is a good idea to keep yours brief – one or two pages is fine. Also, it is becoming a common practice for many companies to scan resumes into a computer after they leave the fair. So to be safe, try making yours scannable by using fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Tahoma and Courier in font sizes anywhere from 9 to 12 points.

Use Plenty of Keywords When Posting Online As you have probably guessed, recruiters are busy people with tons of resumes to look through everyday – especially when searching through job banks where there may be thousands of resumes posted. So as a benefit to these recruiters, most job banks offer an on-site, customizable search engine.

While this feature makes searching easier for the recruiter, if you don’t include specific keywords in your resume before posting it, it is likely that yours will never be found. A good way to combat this issue is by saturating your resume with keywords related to your desired job. If you don’t know which words to use, try conducting your own keyword search on the Internet until you begin finding field-related information.

It may seem like an unconventional way to create a resume, but it is actually a good strategy for ranking near the top of most keyword searches. Anticipating the unknown when writing resumes can seem like a difficult task. But if you take the right steps, and have a good attitude along the way, you will encounter your career success sooner than you think.

May 20, 2008

10 Resume writing tips making you fetch your dream job

There are certain things that a good and perfect curriculum vita has within its set margins.

1. First of all, decide the format of your resume. Decide whether you want it to be in a functional or chronological format.
2. Write your resume in active verbs.
3. Highlight your skills and objectives. Make it your resume headline.
4. Be specific about your professional background. If you are an experienced person, mention your tenure with previous employers; and in case you are a fresher, define your professional qualifications.
5. Define your current pay scale. And don’t forget to put down your expected salary.
6. If your CV is targeted towards a specific career path or employer, then you must know all their requirements and mention them in your resume very clearly. Research and know the qualities that will prove to be beneficial to the employer and think about how your capabilities match those qualities.
7. Next, be particular to provide every minute personal detail. Highlight your contact details.
8. Be professional, concise, brief and clean. Avoid from being too flashy with your resume design.
9. Stick to writing one page cover letter as far as possible.
10. Last but not the least, be sure to edit and re-edit your resume once you are done with writing it.

5 RESUME MISTAKES U MUST AVOID

Mistake 1: Writing too much

“Length is the biggest problem, with most CVs often being a minimum of three pages. I once received a CV that was 11 pages long,” says Purvi Seth, vice president of Shilputsi Consultants, a human resources development firm.

More often than not, literary aspirations come tend to the fore when one is writing a CV; people end up filling pages and pages of details. Those who can’t find enough details to fill the pages write the same thing over and over again, in different styles, words and jargon.

A prospective employer faces two choices when he or she takes the first look at such a CV — hit the delete button or hire a professional copyeditor to cut the chaff and find relevant matter.

(i).Keep it short; ideally, a CV should not go beyond two pages at most.

However, if your achievements are really great, one extra page is negotiable.

(ii.) Keep it sweet, i.e relevant.

Anything more than that and your CV will make a beeline for the paper shredder.

Mistake 2: Writing too little

If it isn’t one, it’s the other. Consider this CV:

‘Worked as product manager for HLL between July 2000 and September 2003.’

Does it indicate anything besides the fact that the person worked for HLL?
Fancy designations do little to explain the kind of work you might have done. So, in your enthusiasm to adhere to the guidelines in Mistake 1, don’t forego your job responsibilities and details about the company or the department you worked for.

The above should read:
‘Worked as product manager, between July 2000 and September 2003, for the colour cosmetics division of HLL, a premier FMCG company in India, with a turnover of Rs 2614.07 crore.

‘Job responsibilities included overseeing the operations of the department comprising 10 sales managers, setting targets for the team, keeping track of market trends and coordinating between the production, logistics and sales functions.

‘Under my supervision, the department posted an annual growth of 40 percent.’

This gives an indication about the kind of work the applicant has done and his/ her achievement. However, beware of going overboard with the details of your job responsibilities.

Mistake 3: Irrelevant details

Does it matter to your prospective employer if your eyes are blue and if you belong to the vaishnav gotra of the Brahmin caste?

Chances are it doesn’t, unless you are applying for a job that depends on your physical attributes or you are penning down a CV for matrimonial purposes.

Similarly, your star sign, details of family members, list of affiliations to hobby clubs (unless they complement your profession in some way), height, weight, colour of your hair and eyes, complexion and other details are of no consequence to the prospective employer.

Ditch these and use the space to highlight your achievements, your strengths and your qualifications. The latter needs to be to the point. For example, your latest education and degrees are the ones that matter, not your kindergarten marks.So, be stingy here — include what matters, trash what doesn’t.

“I have seen CVs that included details of grandfathers and their professions too. One person had also included his blood group in the CV. These facts make no difference to the employer at all,” says Seth.

“Some of them also add their body statistics. This can be entirely done away with unless you are in the showbiz or airline industry.

“Another mistake I have noticed in many CVs is that people mention their religion. This is unnecessary unless the job is for candidates of a specific religion only,” says Tushar Guha, managing director of Nrityanjali, an institute for personality development and management services.

Mistake 4: The information flow

Most people start with their birth date and list everything in chronological order. So, if they started with ABC company at the age of 18 and are now, say, 38 years old and work for XYZ, chances are they will start their career history with ABC and list XYZ last.

This is a strict no-no because, to the prospective employer, your last job profile matters more than your first one. Few employers like to spend an hour on a CV searching for the last position held by the applicant.
This applies to educational qualifications too. A CV favours reverse chronological order. Stick to it.
“Most of the time, professionals writing their CV list their qualifications and their work experience in chronological order. The order should be reversed in order to bring the crux of the CV upfront,” says Guha.

Hobbies should come towards the end, but shouldn’t be done away with. “They provide an insight into the applicant’s personality. These days, the emphasis is not only on your skills but also on your personality,” says Guha

Mistake 5: A CV-ful of jargon

Is your writing style is lucidly expressionistic, highlighting the hidden angst of an existential life?

Wow! But what the heck does that mean? Even if your to-be-employer is Salman Rushdie, he wouldn’t want to spend time trying to understand what all those big words and jargon add up to.

If you think your use of jargon indicates your knowledge of the industry, think again. Most of the times, the CV goes first to the HR department. They are the ones who choose if you are fit to be called for an interview.

Out of comprehension, out of mind. It’s that basic.

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