Top 3 Resume Rules

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Keep in mind that your resume is a marketing tool. You want your resume to showcase your skills and abilities, plus assure the employer that you are the right fit for the job opening.

The three most basic resume rules from resume experts include:
1) Keep your resume to one page and make it easy to read.
2) Do not use a template that you find on-line – open Microsoft Word and start typing.
3) Use the key words of the industry that you plan to be working in to describe your skills and abilities….your resume should literally reflect the job opening or posting that you are planning to respond to.

If you are like me, you want to know why these resume rules need to be followed.

Those that review resumes tell us that they have little time to devote to reviewing resumes. Most are trained to review each resume within 6-20 seconds, placing each resume in a “Qualified” or “Not Qualified” destination (on line or physically on a pile on their desk). They are basically sorting all those who applied.

You want your resume to land on the “Qualified” pile. In order for that to happen, the reviewer must be able to see at a glance that you meet the qualifications they laid out in the job posting. This is the reason why a “Summary of Qualifications” has become so popular in recent years. This summary of qualifications needs to be just that…..a Summary of Qualifications. That means this section on your resume should include bullet points about your education, your experience AND your strengths. Make your Summary of Qualifications a well rounded one that includes the main points about your skills and abilities as they match the job posting or what the employer is looking for.

If your resume is too wordy it won’t get read. If the reviewer cannot find the information they are looking for quickly, you will end up in the “Not Qualified” or the “Maybe” pile. You can bet they never look at that “Maybe” pile unless they do not have enough “Qualified” persons.

There are two reasons that we discourage the use of templates for your resume:
#1) Most templates do not let you re-arrange the information later if need be. When it is time to update your resume, it won’t let you, and you will end up typing the entire thing all over again. Using Microsoft Office allows you to cut, copy and paste all you want.
#2) Most templates put your headings in color, then when the employer prints them out, the headings come out in grey-scale. Employers generally do not print resumes in color. You want your headings to be BOLD and to stand out.

And our last bit of advice. Use the key words of your industry to describe your skills and abilities so that you “match” their job opening. The best way you can learn the key words of your industry is to work in the field and/or read a lot of job postings and job descriptions. It is a matter of gaining experience, just like anything else that you learn.

And remember, if you need help with any of this, there are experts out there. Career Services staff at the various colleges, and professionals in your local Job Centers. Find help if you need it.

Author: Chris Magnuson, Career Services at Western Technical College

Gaps in your Work History?

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When I am talking with students about their resumes and how to best market themselves, I generally explain the importance of correct employment dates in the work history section of their resume. More than once I have been asked the question, “I have some gaps in my work history, how should I handle that?”

During our last “Get That Job” event this was discussed by our panel of employer experts, plus I have heard this same response in other situations where the topic has come up.

The winning advice that I hear is this: You will accurately list your employment and dates for the last ten years on your resume and you will explain any gaps in your cover letter. What I hear from employers is, “If I see gaps and they are not explained anywhere, that resume lands in the “no” stack when I am sorting through who is qualified.”

You can explain the gaps in your work history like this.

“You will notice a gap in my work history from ___ to ___. During that time I was dealing with some health problems which have now been resolved.”

Now replace the words “health problems” with whatever works; transportation issues, personal issues, etc. No need to explain any further. What the employer wants to know is that the issue or the problem has been resolved.

Seems too simple doesn’t it? The way I look at it, something should be easy in life, so be thankful.

Taking the time to study a job posting can save you time in the long run

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Sharing an excellent article. This one will really make you think! Thanks to Career Sherpa and Hannah Morgan.

Before You Apply, Spend More Time Doing This

6 Ways to take Advantage of Career Services at Your College

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College Career Services Departments are there to help you with finding employment. So many students think they know how to do an effective job search. If you have submitted your resume several times and you are not getting a job interview, what does that tell you?

It tells me that you need to come in to your Career Services Department at your college and ask if your resume is competitive enough. And then listen to their advice and recommendations.

Staff in Career Services can help you:
1) write Cover Letters that catch attention
2) create a Resume that lands you the interview
3) with your Reference page
4) learn ways to network for employment (still the #1 way to find employment)5) learn how to do an effective job search (mananging your time well)
6) with choosing an educational plan that helps you make a living wage. No more entry level, minimum wages for you!

Why is it taking so long to land a job?

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Is your job search taking longer than you expected? Read the article at the link below written by Anish Majumdar. These are indeed 5 areas that can make a huge difference in whether you land employment or not. Take a look.

5 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Job Search

Networking: #1 Method

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When you are conducting a job search, there are certainly many ways to spend your time. You could be putting all of your time into completing on-line applications, or researching what companies you want to work for, or drafting and re-drafting your resume. All of that is important, but time must be spent networking as well. It is people who make things happen after all….so it is people that you must be talking to.

Have you made a list of people in your profession that you know? Have you made a list of people that you know through other venues besides work? Think of neighbors, friends, community members.

When you have an extensive list, then it is time to expand your list by asking those on your list to introduce you to people who can give you information about the companies or people that you need to know, in order to learn more about your profession. Everyone that you talk with can lead you to another person whom you have not met yet.

Your resume is a tool to help these contacts understand your skills and abilities, so share your resume with any and all contacts.

Remember that most of the people you talk with do not have the power to hire you, but they help by providing you with information. You job is to describe your skills and abilities and learn about employer needs and how you could fill those needs. It is all about demonstrating verbally that you can meet the needs of a company out there.

If you need help with this, ask for help. No one does it on their own.

Happy Networking!

Can you Improve Your Job Search Methods?

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Another well written article by Career Sherpa!

6 Questions You Absolutely Must Ask Yourself During Job Search