Monday, May 14, 2012

the dreaded resume - an introduction

**I will be speaking about my blog in Edmonton at Canada Place on Wednesday the 16th at 1pm & in Calgary at Harry Hays on Thursday the 17th at 10am and 1pm.   Come join me**

Oh, the dreaded resume.

Even I do not like my own resume because I never seem to get it just perfect. I think "oh, I could add something here" or "this is getting too long" or "what does that sentence even mean".

The trick to a resume is to get it from good to great and stop worrying about perfect. After all, a resume rarely gets you the job - what it should do is get you the interview.

Here are some introductory resume tips for you on a sunny, spring evening:
  • the first page needs to capture the most important concepts. Many firms see hundreds of resumes so if you don't seem to be a match on page 1, the manager stops reading. They think, "Why would page 2 be anything different?"

  • and on the first page, the key concepts need to be in the top half. Most resumes are read on the computer screen so the top half of the document is usually all you can see before you need to scroll down.

  • so keep your name and address simple, not too big.  You don't want it to be the main focus of the first page.

  • start with a bang. I typically have a summary of me right under my name. Here is mine:
A senior staffing specialist with over 10 years experience in the recruitment, assessment, selection, and management of technical and non-technical staff. Involved from conceptual human resource planning to career development of employees. Experienced in Public Sector, Private Sector and International HR practices.

  • edit your resume just slightly for every job. Make sure your summary makes you a good fit for that job, not any job, not your current job, nor the job you last applied on.

  • add some numbers and acronyms since it breaks up long sections of text and helps refocus the reader’s eyes. Plus, it makes you look like you know what you are talking about when you are able to communicate specifics

  • be active.  Use verbs with meaning by avoiding the dreaded phrase “responsible for”.  I am responsible for fixing the refrigerator in my house but since it has never broken down, I have never fixed it yet!  There are lots of lists kicking around the internet – click here for a decent one.

  • keep them all in a folder, with dates.  You can reuse phrases, play with your different versions and see your progress.

You should also make sure your experience is in a behavioural format (sets the situation, explains your actions and the positive results), that your qualifications matches the job advertisement, that is covers the main professional competencies, is not too dated, that is makes your volunteer activity meaningful…… and so much more, but that will be for another day.

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