Resume Formatting Mistakes You DON’T Want to Make

Because I typically work with clients who haven’t written or needed a new resume in 15-20 years, their previous documents tend to be formatted in a way that they learned in high school or college. When they send me their documents, I often discover that, in addition to containing older information, the document also has formatting that may be from 1995 or (gasp!) even 1985. If you are someone who is updating a resume for TODAY’S job market, read on to ensure you don’t make these resume mistakes.

#1 – Don’t use an out-of-date font. Do you remember when Times New Roman or Courier were popular fonts? Well, they aren’t anymore. In fact, studies have shown that sans serif fonts (those without the tiny feet) are much easier for people to read. Personally, I prefer Calibri – it’s the default font in Word and simple. In addition, if you Google it, you will find that Times New Roman is sometimes viewed as an “old” font—don’t use it for your resume.

#2 – Do NOT use text boxes and a LOT of graphics. It is perfectly fine to bring a graphic-related resume to the job interview and it does look nice. However, if you are sending resumes via websites, then you need to ensure your document is Applicant Tracking System-friendly. Simplicity is the key. Sometimes those charts, text boxes, and graphics just don’t translate well through those systems.

#3 – Don’t go over two pages. If you ask one person, he or she may say that you HAVE to have a one-page resume. Someone else may say two-pages is fine. My general rule-of-thumb is that if you have more than 10 years of experience, then two-pages is acceptable. If you are a recent college graduate, then one-page should summarize your experience. Anything over two pages isn’t even being read and means that you are including TOO MUCH information that isn’t relevant to your job search.

#4 – Have variations of files. Most online systems will ask for a Word document or a PDF. Follow those directions. Don’t make your resume in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva and then expect that the system will allow you to upload that type of file. Again, the simpler programs tend to work best. It’s also a good idea to have a text-based file, too.

#5 – Only include the necessary sections. Those sections are a career summary, skills area, professional experience, education, and community engagement (if any). Today’s resumes do NOT need an objective, hobbies, or other personal data. Again, keep it relative to work and how you can help the company.

If you are still unsure of formatting, content, or which information to include on your new resume, contact me today for a free resume review – I’d love to help you get one step closer to your next job opportunity!

Get Your Resume Done NOW – Here are the Reasons Why

You are very comfortable working in your current position and have worked at the same company for over 10 years. While you do enjoy your job, occasionally you may wonder what else is out there for opportunities of if you are being paid what you are worth. But, with your busy work schedule, your family life, and volunteer activities, re-writing your resume isn’t exactly at the top of your to-do list. I’m here to tell you to move that task up to the top of your list NOW. Check out my reasons below.

Reason #1 – Companies (typically) do what is best for the company. Given the evolving economy, changing resources, differences in profitability, and other marketplace changes, companies have to do what is best for them. That can mean restructuring, reorganizing, laying off a portion of the workforce, closing a facility, or ending a particular service or offering. All of that means that you (or others working there) could lose your job at any given time. It’s best to be ready if that happens. And, a large part of being ready means having an up-to-date resume.

Reason #2 – The PERFECT opportunity may come your way. Even if you are okay with your perfect position, what if you happen to see your old connection, Jon, at an event and he mentions that his company has an opening for your DREAM job. Then he mentions that the job opening actually closes tomorrow at noon and he needs your resume immediately. Do you really want to be the person that doesn’t have anything to send to him? I don’t think so. Making sure your resume is always up-to-date means that if the perfect job comes around, YOU are ready.

Reason #3 – Life happens. Although many of us would like to live in a world of constant sunshine and rainbows, we all KNOW that doesn’t happen. People get divorced, we have to move to a new location, or a close family member has a life-threatening situation. These instances require us to take a step back and review our lives. And, for working individuals, an evaluation requires us to review our job and career. Maybe we decide that we want to make a complete career switch or look at a new role. In these times, wouldn’t it be nice to have a resume that is already ready? When you are under stress, the LAST thing you want to think about is updating your resume.

As someone who has written thousands of resume since 2008, I can tell you that working with someone that is just getting ready for a job search is completely different than someone who is in panic-mode after losing a job or going through a life crisis. For your own sanity and for the sake of your future career, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a resume (check out my free download) that is updated and ready at all times.

Contact me today if you would like to get started on updating YOUR document – I would love to help YOU get ready for the perfect job opportunity.

Free Advice Can Be Costly For Your Resume

Have you ever asked a friend for advice or their thoughts as you tried on clothing at the store? Or, have you often asked a family member for their opinion on a new paint color for your living room? Usually, it’s a good idea to get an outside perspective for these types of things; however, even in these situations, the ultimate decision is yours. So, it may seem like a good idea to ask for advice on your resume. I’m ready to tell you that—in this instance—that ‘free’ advice may be costly. Read on for three reasons why it’s important to find a professional resume writer.

#1 – Uncle Bob or Sister-in-Law Amy may not want to hurt your feelings. If you are REALLY looking for someone to give you honest feedback, it’s vital that you ask someone who won’t be afraid of actually giving you the true picture. Therefore, asking a relative or a close friend may not be the best course of action. Instead, think of a current or past colleague (maybe not a close friend) who you know tells it ‘like it is’ and won’t sugar-coat feedback.

#2 – Carolyn hasn’t updated her resume for 20 years. You decide to ask Cindy, a professional colleague who you trust and believe can review your resume. The thing is, Cindy has been in the same job for over 20 years and she hasn’t even reworked her own resume during that time. That’s not to say she won’t have valuable feedback; however, is she aware of the correct format for today’s resumes? Does she know anything about Applicant Tracking Systems? Doe she still believe it’s a good idea to include an Objective? Choose someone who is knowledgeable about today’s job market and can position your resume for how today’s systems operate.

#3 – Do you hire a licensed plumber or do you call your friendly neighbor, Jeff?  If you have a water leak or bathroom issues at your house, do you call someone who is an expert and has a license or are you ‘okay’ with having your neighbor come over and hope for the best? For me, it’s a no-brainer. I want it done right the first time. As much as I may trust my neighbor, I want someone with education and experience so I have confidence in their abilities. A Certified Professional Resume Writer is someone that has continuing education and KNOWS how to write documents for today’s marketplace.

Finally, if you ask five people to give you advice on your resume, you will probably get five different opinions and will be more confused than when you started the process. This is YOUR document. Choose someone who can give you excellent advice because this is their area of expertise. You need someone who can be objective and honest with feedback while indicating what you could change for better results.

Now, if you want a free resume review from an expert in the industry, contact me today!

The Best Way to Organize Your Resume

If you haven’t written a resume in 15+ years or are starting over in a new industry, you may wonder what has changed in the world of job-searching. Even though the resume still describes your job history and education, the method and rationale behind the organization of the document has changed greatly over the years. Read the tips below to understand the different sections included on today’s resumes and what to include in each section.

#1 – Contact Information. This is at the top of the resume and includes your name, address (if you choose to include this), phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile URL (if applicable).

#2 – Title(s) and Career Summary. Immediately after the name and contact information should be several job titles or areas of expertise. For example, if someone is in sales, it may read: Sales Leader | Account Manager | Marketing Expert. Then, after those titles, include a three to five-line career summary that gives a high overview or past employment experiences and qualifications.

#3 – Skills. This section could be called Skills, Qualifications, Areas of Expertise, or Competencies. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what you call it. The primary reason for this section is to highlight those skills that are required for the job opening. This allows you to hit upon key words used in the advertisement and gets you one step closer to getting through the Applicant Tracking System used on many company websites. In addition, remember that this section is always evolving and you should change the verbiage per job opportunity.

#4 – Professional Experience. In reverse-chronological order (starting with newest job first), this section details your work history and includes approximately the last 10-15 years of your job experiences. List the name of the company, your job title, dates employed (month and year), and achievements from your time there. One important note—do NOT just include a job description. Focus on quantifiable achievements that led to results.

#5 – Education. Include the name of your degree and the school. If you don’t have any official college education, then focus on continuous learning credits, workplace trainings, and seminars attended.

#6 – Community Involvement or Volunteerism. This section is optional and can include volunteer work that makes an impact on the community. If the volunteerism is related to your church (religion-based) or your children’s school, carefully consider whether or not to add that information. While we hope it doesn’t occur, we know that discrimination can occur on topics that include age, if you have children, and the type of church you attend.

If you have questions about the types of information that should be included or excluded from your resume, please contact me today – I’d love to ensure that you feel confident when sending your resume to potential employers.

Feather Communications Named one of the Top 10 Resume Services in Minneapolis

Feather Communications has been named one of the Top 10 Resume Services in Minneapolis.

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, founder of Feather Communications, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and provides resume-writing services to clients throughout the United States. Find My Profession, a website geared towards helping clients land job opportunities, cultivated the listing of Minneapolis-area resume writers. According to the site, a solid history of glowing reviews helped Feather Communications secure a spot on the list.

“I’m excited to be included as a top resume writer,” Rothbauer-Wanish said. “My passion for resume-writing has allowed me to assist thousands of clients in helping them to identify their strengths and achievements,” she continued. As part of her website, she features a regular blog offering implementable tips that range from formatting resumes to how to write a cover letter.

Tips from Feather Communications have been featured on CareerSidekick, MSN, Monster, Recruiter, MFG Jobs, and the Management Resource Association websites. “I absolutely love what I do and I am passionate about helping people market themselves to land their dream jobs,” she concluded.

For more information on resume writing services, please contact Feather Communications at 715-559-6378 or email heather@feather-communications.com.

Holiday Job-Searching Tips

It’s the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year—there are a lot of holiday parties, company get-togethers, and other networking events. It’s a stressful, busy, and complicated time of the year. Because of that, many job seekers take time “off” from actively seeking new opportunities. You may believe that everyone–including hiring managers–are also not working as diligently during the holidays—that is not the case. In fact, job seekers who search during the holidays will be more likely to secure a new position. Check out the tips below for more ideas!

Tip #1 – Networking Events are More Casual. During the holidays, events tend to be less formal and it may be easier to mention that you are seeking a new job opportunity. If you can, attend chamber of commerce events, fundraising opportunities, and volunteer at a local charitable organization. This is a great way to let people know that you are seeking new job opportunities while in a casual environment.

Tip #2 – Send Happy Thanksgiving or Happy New Year Cards. Instead of sending the traditional Christmas card, send a Thanksgiving Card or a Happy New Year Card. Do NOT ignore providing a thank you or note just because you think a thank you card or message will be ignored at this time of the year—that is not true.

Tip #3 – Relax and Enjoy Time with Family and Friends. Even though you may be actively searching for a new job opportunity through the holidays, it is also important to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. It’s vital that you take time to rejuvenate and relax while also focusing on the new year.

Remember—don’t take the holidays off when thinking about future career opportunities. A lot of job seekers decide to take a step back from searching during the holidays—DON’T DO IT. There is less competition, people are more relaxed, and the job market is as busy-as-ever during this time.

Need to know if your resume is ready-to-go? Email me for a free resume review!