5 Extras That Can Make an Impact on Your Resume

Most people who are creating a new resume know that they need to include a summary at the top of the document, a skills section, professional history, and educational background. However, beyond these ‘typical’ sections, there are also extra things can pack a ‘punch’ with your new resume.

#1 – Freelance or Contract Projects. Many individuals work as a freelancer, consultant, or temporary worker between full-time job opportunities. Don’t discount these experiences as un-important. Instead, they may be able to highlight a particular skill, shows your ability to remain flexible, and provides you with the opportunity to learn new things quickly. Use this to your advantage and show your diverse background and how this can impact future employers.

#2 – Side Hustles. More and more people are building a business ‘on-the-side’ and this may be able to be highlighted as you discuss your entrepreneurial spirit. Whether you are involved with a network marketing organization or serve as a business consultant, this may be pertinent information. One caveat – if your side business may be seen as competition with the intended job opportunity, you may have to be creative with how you word this information or portray it on the document.

#3 – Continuing Education. If you have worked at any length during your career, you have most likely attended workshops, seminars, or other events that further your education. This is important because it allows you to showcase that you are not stagnant in your career and are always trying to learn more and better yourself.

#4 – Volunteerism or Community Engagement. If you are a consistent and ongoing volunteer with an organization such as United Way, Junior Achievement, or Kiwanis, it’s important to show that you are giving back to the community and are striving to make a difference. Many organizations look for employees who are aligned with community-oriented initiatives.

#5 – Testimonials or Endorsements. If you have letters of recommendation or LinkedIn testimonials and you have a little extra space on your resume, you can also include what others have said about you. Not only does this solidify the information you have told the employer with your job history, it gives you third-party validation as you apply for future positions.

Remember that it is important to highlight your work history in your resume; however, it is also vital to show other ways that you stand apart as a potential employee. That can mean showcasing your volunteerism, leadership positions, unpaid work experience, and testimonials from former co-workers and supervisors.

If you are still unsure how to make your resume stand-out, contact me today for a free resume review!

How to Not Appear OLD on Your Resume

Now that you have decided to rework your resume and start applying for new positions, it’s important to set-up your resume correctly so that you don’t appear old and out-of-date in today’s job market. And, yes, I agree that age shouldn’t be a factor and experience counts for a lot. However, we all know that age discrimination can and does happen in today’s world. Whether you are 40-years-old or 65-years old, there are some ways to list dates on your document so that you don’t hinder your job search with your age.

Tip #1 – Only go back 10-15 years with your job history. Frankly, anything prior to that is most likely not relevant and if you start detailing your work history all the way back to 1982, people will start to calculate your age. The most recent work history tends to be the most relevant to your future roles.

Tip #2 – List only the month and the year or the years only in your work experiences. You don’t have to list exact dates. And, more importantly, if you have changed jobs extremely frequently in the past few years, you can also choose to just list the years only. It’s a way to be concise and also allows you to eliminate the look of a ‘job-hopper.’

Tip #3 – Don’t put dates on education. Whether you graduated last year or three years ago, it doesn’t matter. And, if you start to list that you graduated in 1990, you begin to date yourself and your experiences. The ONLY time that I put the dates with education is when someone hasn’t graduated yet and has an anticipated graduation date.

Tip #4 – Don’t list old technical skills. If you decide to include a technical section on your document, choose only those programs that are aligned with today’s workplace. Don’t mention that you are proficient in AOL (yes, that does happen) or Lotus Notes. Instead, focus on the programs that are used at the target company and software that is utilized NOW.

Tip #5 – Include volunteerism and community engagement from TODAY. That’s great that you were the football team captain and participated in 4-H during the 1990s. If you don’t have any community engagement since that time, then eliminate that section. And, again, things from 20 years ago are most likely no longer relevant to your job search.

Do you still have questions about your resume and what to do with dates? Or, are you concerned about looking OLD on your resume? Contact me today for a free resume review!

5 Must-Haves for Your Resume

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, I get a lot of questions from clients regarding what to include and what not include on their new resume. Here is the thing—if you haven’t written a resume for 15 or 20 years, then things have changed and what you need to have on your document today may be different than what you learned in college. Check out the list below for things you MUST include.

Item #1 – Contact information that includes one phone number and one email address. Choose the phone number that you utilize the most (usually a cell phone) and a personal email address (not work) that you check on a daily basis.

Item #2 – A skills section that is easily changeable. In the top one-third of your document, you need to have a competencies (skills, qualifications, areas of expertise) section that allows you to hit upon key words used in the job posting. If you don’t have this section, you are already going to have issues getting through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used on company websites.

Item #3 – Job history for the past 10-15 years. You do NOT need to include every job that you have had in your professional life. In fact, when you include jobs all the way back to high school, you are typically listing things that are no longer relevant and maybe showcase your age, too.

Item #4 – Achievements and accomplishments. As you are listing your jobs and duties, it’s vital that you include accomplishments and not just a long list of responsibilities. If you can quantify your information—think number of employees supervised, sales dollars achieved, new accounts managed—it will set you apart from other candidates.

Item #5 – Current community engagement or professional affiliations. If you are currently serving in organizations or are holding an officer position, then this would be important to your resume. If you volunteered at your child’s school in 1996, then it’s not worth listing. Keep this section current and informative and always think relevance rather than a plethora of information.

Finally, if you still aren’t sure what should and shouldn’t be included on your new resume, please contact me today and I would be happy to offer you a free resume review!

5 Common Resume Mistakes

As someone who has written resumes for clients since 2008, I like to think that I have seen it all. From someone putting their marriage status and number of kids on a resume to listing your graduation date of 1975, there are some things that USED to be acceptable on a resume that no longer are. Check-out my list of the most common resume mistakes that I see and how to fix them.

Mistake #1 – Using an Objective. Don’t do it. To be honest, no one cares that you want to “…further your career through a full-time position.”  Instead, tell the company your attributes through a carefully crafted career summary and eliminate what is in it for you. It’s all about the company and how you can assist the organization.

Mistake #2 – Focusing on Your Job Description. While you can definitely use your job description as a basis for your resume and professional history, it’s important that you discuss your accomplishments and not just your responsibilities. And, frankly, there are most likely a lot of other people out there who also have similar job descriptions. What did you achieve for the organization and how did you help them grow, prosper, and make an impact within the market? Focus on THAT.

Mistake #3 – Too Much Information. It’s awesome that you earned a varsity letter in high school for forensics; however, if that was 10 years ago, then it is no longer relevant. Don’t put too much information in your resume—especially if that information clouds what is most relevant. Instead, focus on the last 10-15 years of your job history and how that is relative to the position you are seeking.

Mistake #4 – Not Enough Information. While it is bad to include too much information, it’s also important to highlight your skills and not short-change yourself. I’ve worked with many clients who think they “only” do this or that. Or, they use the word “just” to describe their work history. Be sure that you are really highlighting what you did and what you achieved—don’t minimize yourself.

Mistake #5 – Using General and Non-Specific Words. When you are writing your resume, it is vital that you are specific and concrete with information. Consider the difference of mentioning that you “…increased sales” versus “…enhanced profitability by $100K within 90 days.”

Most importantly, be sure that you have someone else review your resume and provide feedback. Too often, we cannot see our own mistakes and may miss errors. If you want me to be that second set-of-eyes for you, email me today and I’ll provide you with a free resume review!

Following-Up After a Job Interview

So, you have had a terrific job interview and you REALLY want the job. But, you want to make sure that you don’t appear desperate or annoying as you follow-up on the job opportunity. However, it is VERY important that you continue to maintain contact with the organization and let the company know that you are still interested. Read below for tips and ideas about how to approach the technique of follow-up in a proper and professional manner.

Idea #1 – Send an email. Yes, email is important because it is quick and effective. You can even send it the same day as the interview and ensure that all interviewers are copied with the same information. This is especially effective when there are numerous interviewers and you want all of them to receive the same appreciation.

Idea #2 – Send a handwritten thank-you card. This may seem old-fashioned, but there is something about a card received in the mail that makes an impact. In fact, because most people don’t do this, it provides a great opportunity for you to stand-out from the crowd.

Idea #3 – Call the employer. If it’s been a week or longer since your interview and you have followed-up in written form, it’s perfectly fine to call the employer and/or lead interviewer to discover where the company is within the hiring process.

Idea #4 – Maintain connections. Even if you end up not getting the new job opportunity, maintain contact with the company and be sure that you don’t ruin or sabotage relationships. If the company hires someone else and it doesn’t work out, they may turn to you as the next employee. If you have ever heard the saying, “Don’t burn bridges,” – that would apply here.

As you continue your job search, just be aware that follow-up is key to the job search. Don’t go to the interview and just “wait” to hear from the company. While you don’t want to be annoying (hint: don’t call every day after your interview), you can demonstrate your interest in the job and let the company know that you are ready, willing, and able to work for them.

Ready to learn more about job searching, resumes, and interviewing? Contact me TODAY for a free resume review and discussion about how we can work together!