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Resumes for Millennials

February 28, 2015
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RESUMES FOR MILLENNIALS

By Judy Robbins
February 24, 2015

Millennials, roughly 15-29 years or born between 1980 and early 2000, are fast outpacing baby boomers and represent about 26% of the US population, versus 24% for boomers, 1946-1964. Growing up in less stable economic times, millennials hMillennial with technologyave a life resplendent with choices, often delay marriage, home and luxury car purchases, to remain at home longer while focusing on education. They are probably “the most educated generation in American history.”

Establishing a career is logically the next step in their lives following education. Along with the change in demographics, over the past five years the face of the résumé, the gate opener into the corporate job world, has changed to reflect current trends

  • Employers demand and easily get skilled workers who exceed job requirements.
  • Applicants must deal with the proliferation of applicant tracking systems (ATS) companies use to ferret out “perfect” candidates.
  • Expertise in résumé writing includes key word placement with creatively and strategically written content, essential for an applicant to be successful in the jobs arena.

As these younger adults seek a career position, or a shorter-term position to beef up a current bank account, a résumé unable to compete is unlikely to result in crucial job interviews.

  • Only the top few contenders out of hundreds or even thousands of résumés ever make it into the hands of the HR person, and after that the pile on a hiring manager’s desk.
  • Many résumés coming from this age group, sadly, will not have a chance or see the light of day.
  • With work and knowledge, a résumé with obvious shortcomings can turn around dramatically to be a winner.

The fortunate job seekers are those who do realize they may need professional help with their résumé to make themselves marketable to employers.

  • Blunders and red flags generally pepper through résumés and can immediately eliminate viable candidates.
  • Best advice is not to waste months, or years, sending out blanket applications and wonder why you are getting nowhere. You deserve a job commensurate with your qualifications, not being forever in a state of under-employment.
  • If your résumé represents you correctly, you will be the best candidate for the position you want. You have direct control over your résumé and employers are anxious to interview a promising candidate.

Line yourself up to have the advantage; after all, it is about your career and income. Your income depends on getting the right résumé to the right employer and helping them find you among all the other candidates.

  • You seriously need to stand out. How can you do that with an inadequate resume?
  • Being articulate and a “good writer” without expertise in resume writing will not be enough to place you in and keep you in the race, and make you the winner. “The winner,” note there is only one winner for every job posted.

In this site’s blog posts, find hints and information for you to use in constructing your own résumé.

  • Don’t let time go by without researching why the résumé you wrote and are sending out, does not bring you interviews. Your résumé should receive attention. Even HR professionals often cannot write their own resumes, very few people can successfully write their own. Hooray, if you can.

Résumé formats of only a few years ago are already dated and, more than likely, inadequate.

  • Today, an objective statement is not valued (it is about what you want) and the phrase at the bottom about references is considered redundant. That is just the beginning.

My Essential Resume offers a complimentary résumé critique to help you. Take advantage of the offer, other résumé writers will do this for you. It is not a ruse to get you to buy. It is genuine interest and satisfaction in a profession that actually helps people in one of life’s most vital endeavors. A majority of résumé writers fall into this category. Ask around and get referrals to find a good writer in which you have confidence, or ask questions here on the Contact page.

Searcey, Dionne. “Marketers Are Sizing Up the Millennials” NY Times, Business Day, Web. 21 Aug. 2014.  Marketers Are Sizing Up the Millennials – NYTimes.com – NYTimes.com

Choose the Best Format for Your Resume: Chronological, Functional or Hybrid

April 8, 2013

Choose the Best Format for Your Résumé:

Chronological, Functional or Hybrid

By Judy Robbins

Build a winning résumé that clearly and concisely illustrates your key skills, experiences, education and achievements. Your résumé is a marketing tool thaGirl - Business - Success - purchasedt demonstrates your major qualifications and accomplishments. It is so much more than a job history. The top third front page is the prime real estate of your résumé and can make or break your chances for gaining attention that results in a job interview.

Your résumé must be spot on, specifically showing what the employer wants. Be certain to answer the employer’s questions: “Who are you?” “What can you do for me?” “Can you solve my problems?” A résumé that is a brief one-page summary often does not adequately answer these questions. Soft skills should not be the focus of the top section. You do not need to keep your résumé to one page if it runs longer. Upon first glance, hiring managers begin to form an impression of how you will fit into their organization. Make is easy for them and show them.

Following your contact information, place the job target title first at the top; create a strong profile or summary section that supports why you are the best candidate. Include a brief description of your key qualifications and background. Be punchy and use concise words that evoke an attitude of strength. Keep the profile to about five sentences. Below that, add a bulleted list of core competencies or strengths. Note that an objective statement is not part of most resumes today but may be used if the candidate has a special circumstance, (e.g. changing fields).

A hiring manager will thank you for your straightforward approach and saving time that she may spend hunting through your résumé for required qualifications and transferable skills. Indeed, she may toss it due to a shortage of time. If your qualifications simply jump off the page at her, you greatly increase your chances against a multitude of competitors.  If you receive little action from the résumé you write, consult a professional resume writer for a free assessment. The professional writer will give you honest feedback.

The three basic résumé formats are chronological, functional and hybrid (combination).

  • A chronological résumé is the most traditional and lists your work experiences in reverse chronological order with company names and locations, job titles, dates and a description of job responsibilities for each position. This résumé format will work well for you if you have a consistent career progression and your work history relates to your job target.
  •  A functional résumé is skills based and focuses on groups of skills and accomplishments and not the duration of each job. This format is great if you have gaps in your work history or have little experience. The danger with this format is that hiring managers may think you are hiding some aspect of your job history. You can offset this by including adequate details and use a well thought out strategy for handling items that cause concern.
  •  A hybrid or combination résumé combines elements of both chronological and functional résumés. The format allows more flexibility and creativity. You will list skills first and then your job history. The hybrid résumé is a favorite of mine because it allows building an attention-getting profile (summary) section at the top, a core competencies bulleted list, followed by a selection of positions relevant to the present job search. There is no one way to write a résumé. Your first task is to decide what format is best for you.

How do I find keywords for my resume?

February 17, 2013

How do I find keywords for my resume?

By Judy Robbins

Finding correct keywords for a résumé seems to baffle many job seekers. Applicants express confusion about how to find keywords and where to use them in their résumé. A résumé will have three major “hoops” to transverse before serious consideration: getting through a company computer software program that scans for keywords called an ATS (applicant tracking system), passing screening by an HR generalist who scans for predetermined terms and, finally, scrutiny by a hiring manager for matching the job description and company’s wants as closely as possible. At this point, your résumé may land in the “keeper” pile for more consideration as one of the top ten résumés culled from a group of hundreds.

The only way a recruiter or hiring manager will find you is if you have incorporated keywords in multiple locations within your résumé, e.g. titles, summary, strengths, and in your job descriptions. Keywords are sometimes weighted in importance depending on where they appear in a résumé and how often.

Where do you find these keywords? You conduct research and make comparisons of similar documents to ascertain which search terms appear most often.  First, look for the original posting on the company’s website to see if there is a more detailed version of the job posting. Look for similar positions on other job sites and note descriptions and keywords. Finally, Google a few résumés with the same title as the job you are seeking. Do not be tempted to copy any of these résumés. They may not have been particularly effective and you are just looking for keywords and phrases. Create a master keyword list from all of the above documents of commonly occurring terms and decide their importance for inclusion in your résumé.

Open your original target job description in MS Word. Separate and isolate sentences containing specific requirements and highlight actual keywords and phrases. If you really want this job, analyze it carefully. You must know what the employer wants and state it as strongly as possible in your résumé. Nevertheless, it is quite possible they have not included everything they want in one job posting and that is another reason for research. You want to know what the position customarily entails.

Begin creating a skeleton résumé where you will write your own job titles, dates, locations, summaries, education and necessary components. (See blog post “What will I need to get started writing my résumé?”)  Determine where you can incorporate keywords from the target job and your list that best match your own skills, knowledge, and experience. Any claims you make on your résumé need to be supported in content. The result will be a résumé with keywords that mirror the new job description and that are an honest representation of your own unique qualifications.

Remember not to copy word-for-word sentences and phrases by another writer or applicant to place in your résumé as these are, at the least, recognizable and, at most, plagiarism which is not a good way to start a job search. Your goal is to create a strong marketing piece to sell yourself to employers that is uniquely yours.

Watch for an upcoming blog post to answer the often-asked question:

“What type of format should I choose for my résumé?”

What will I need to get started writing my resume?

July 22, 2011

What will I need to get started writing my résumé?

By Judy Robbins

“The secret of success is focus of purpose.”

Thomas Edison

Focus your resume precisely on the type of job you have decided to apply for.

Gather your job information including your old résumé with past job details and dates, published job descriptions of your new job target, education and credentials, volunteer work and community activities, awards and honors, and a list of your unique skills and abilities. Bring everything pertinent you can think of to the table including your past accomplishments on and off your job. You can sort through them later to decide their relevance to your current job search and whether to include them in your résumé. Keep in mind, your goal is to tell the employer how you are different from other applicants and to prove you are the best potential candidate. The result is they will want to talk with you and schedule an interview immediately. Voilà!  Desired result!

Divide your assembled information into 6 major categories:

  1. Work Experience and Accomplishments
  2. Education and Certifications
  3. Skills and Abilities
  4. Honors and Awards
  5. Volunteer and Community Activities
  6. Other Interests

Work Experience and Accomplishments:

  • List your job experiences, paid and unpaid.
  • Describe what you did on each job, your responsibilities, and the skills required.
  • Note your successes, accomplishments, or any recognition you received.
  • Write about your achievements and quantify them in percentages, dollars, and results.

(Employers are looking for proof and numbers are important.)

Education and Certifications:

  • If you are a student, or have returned to school to get an MBA, list education information at the top of your résumé.
  • Professionals, place education at the end of your résumé unless you have a new relevant degree or the degree major is more important than the job experience.
  • Include your graduation year unless there is a concern of age discrimination. Prestigious awards and a GPA over 3.0 can be included in the first years after graduation.
  • Include related certifications, credentials, licenses and other items that qualify you for your job target.

Skills and Abilities:

  • This could be the section where you list computer skills, especially if you are in a field like IT or graphic design.
  • List networks, equipment, software and other applicable skills the employer is looking for.
  • Save valuable résumé space and eliminate listing basic computer skills an employer assumes you, and just about everyone else, has.

Honors and Awards:

  • If your career encompasses awards, distinctions, grants and other professional recognitions you may list those in a separate section of your résumé.

Volunteer, Community Activities:

  • Assemble a list of volunteer work, community activities, clubs, and associations that demonstrate to the employer you are a well-rounded candidate.
  • Consider these items carefully to make sure there is nothing that will come across as too “unusual” to the employer. Do not include anything religious, political, or personal.
  • List only the organization, your role, and the year.

Other Interests:

  • If you have interests that will add to your professional brand you can include them under a section at the end of your résumé as “other interests.”

Assemble the above information about your career life before beginning your résumé project. Don’t wait until you are in a job crisis to create or update your résumé. You should have a résumé that illustrates your personal brand ready to “deliver” at all times. With adequate research, you may want to write your own résumé or, if writing isn’t one of your best skills, leave this to a professional résumé writer. Think of the ramifications of having a poor résumé represent you and the negative impact it will have on your job, earning power, and life over the long term.

The six categories of information you have assembled will form your résumé’s foundation and give you an overview of what to include. In an upcoming post I will note more specifics and post samples of the three major resume types, chronological, functional, and combination of both. Many times I favor the combination type. There is no “one way” to write a résumé and you may be creative in presentation as long as it is concise, formatted correctly, without errors, and based totally on truth. Truth can never be compromised.

Checklist: 21 Points to Remember When Writing a Resume

June 23, 2011

By Judy Robbins

As promised, here are 21 points you should know when you sit down to write your résumé. Of course, there are many others and quick research will bring those to light. Listed here are important reminders to help you write an effective résumé that is a positive reflection of you and your skills, abilities, and accomplishments. If you are writing your first résumé, or updating an old résumé, watch for my next post that describes the materials you need to have at hand to begin writing your targeted résumé. One of the most critical concepts you will learn is “focus.” Without focus your résumé will lose its impact.

Checklist:  21 Points to Remember When Writing a Resume

  1. Decide on the target job for your résumé and demonstrate your use of key skills in position requirements. Use those that describe your experience accurately. Demonstrate how.
  2. Place your name prominently at the top of page one, bolded and in larger print, 18-20 font size. Use a font size of 11 points for the body of your résumé, depending on the specific font’s characteristics. Use only up to two fonts or two sizes.  Put your name and the page number on following pages.
  3.  Decide if you want to include only your email address as contact information or include your phone or physical address.  Consider security and who will view it. Open a free email account expressly for your job search to protect your identity.
  4.  Keep your résumé short, one to two pages, three for some professionals.
  5.  Make it easy to read with ample white space, clear headings, concise descriptions, and bulleted points to emphasize accomplishments. Maintain consistent formatting throughout.
  6.  Craft a résumé free of complicated jargon or industry buzz words. Remember, it may need to pass muster with an HR generalist first. State accomplishments clearly.
  7.  Limit design elements, sticking with no more than two fonts at most and considering fonts such as New Times Roman in a serif font or, Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana in a sans-serif font.  Choose a font that an ATS (employer’s Applicant Tracking System) will readily accept or it will not be selected. Limit bold and underlining. Your paper choice should be 22 or 24 lb., white with black type.
  8.  Always, always know which format each employer requires for a résumé submission. Will it be presentation paper and print, or ASCII (plain text), PDF, MS Word? Is it snail mail, email attachment, download, or cut and paste to their website? Find out!
  9.  Target every résumé you write for a specific position. One “general” résumé will not do. This means, start with a specific job title headline.
  10.  Find out what problem the employer has and make sure you “solve it”! Do your research, what do they need? What will you do for them?
  11.  Strengthen your résumé. Quantify your accomplishments in numbers:  dollars, percentages, scope.
  12.  Salary information does not belong in your résumé or, for that matter, in initial contacts either.
  13.  Exclude personal information of all kinds including family or hobbies.
  14.  Check spelling and formatting carefully so your résumé is completely error-free.
  15.  Eliminate personal pronouns and begin each descriptive sentence with an action verb. Use present tense in your first job description, and past tense in subsequent ones.
  16.  Avoid overused résumé phrases and create a refreshing but compelling résumé that gets attention.
  17.  In your Experience section, after a brief statement to describe the company and scope of your position, write 2-6 bullet statements underneath with projects, achievements and results (numbers).
  18.  Organize your résumé with relevant major headings. These may be bolded. Include experience, education, and skills.
  19.  Make sure your descriptions show major accomplishments and are not a list of duties and tasks.
  20.  Your education should consist of the school, city and state, degree, and graduation date.  You may include a GPA of 3.0 or above or honors. If there is no college, consider courses, seminars or industry education you have acquired. You may include those.
  21.  Use spell check and proof your résumé at least twice.  Ask at least two others to check it.

© 2013

Writing an Effective Resume: Your Questions

May 2, 2011

Your Questions on Writing an Effective Resumé…

What are “red flags” when I should start a job search?

By Judy Robbins

Today, people commonly change jobs several times over the course of their careers. They are simply unable to predict the future of a changing job market or industry.

Be proactive and prepare for the unforeseen by keeping your resumé up to date. If you don’t currently have a resumé, make creating one a priority.

If writing this important career document is beyond your interest or scope, consider hiring a qualified resumé writer. Define your career goal, know your worth in the job market, and refine your resumé to best reflect you. You will then be ready to jump on an unexpected opportunity or counteract an unwanted job loss.

 

Possible reasons for a job search:

  • You want to make more money.
  • You are bored with your job.
  • You want to change careers.
  • You are getting passed over for promotion.
  • The job outlook in your field is bleak.
  • You are experiencing job burnout.
  • The stress level in your job is too great.
  • You lost your job through downsizing or were let go.
  • You were laid off or are afraid you will be.

How do I write a great resumé targeted to the job I want?

Research companies and job descriptions:

  • You will find career information from the U.S. Department of Labor and basic job information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Outlook Occupational Handbook  http://www.bls.gov/oco/.
  • To identify hot industries and occupations search America’s Job Bank and America’s Career InfoNet. You can go directly to company websites that interest you and research your target job descriptions. While there, get names, mailing addresses, emails, and phone numbers of company hiring managers to contact directly (not human resources). You may also call and get this information from a receptionist if it’s not on the web site.
  • Write out your chosen job target in a clear, brief statement describing your job objective. You may not want to use this statement on your resumé but it will be a working statement for you to focus on. You can add the objective statement to your cover letter that you will tailor for each job opening.

Read Inspiring and Helpful Books:

  • What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Bolles, Ten Speed Press, 2010 Edition
  • 48 Days to the Work You Love, Preparing for The New Normal, by Dan Miller, B&H Publishing, 2010 Edition
  • The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1996 Edition
  • Swim With the Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive, by Harvey Mackay, Ballantine Books, 1988

Upcoming post describes details you need for an effective resumé.

Important Functions of a Resume

April 30, 2010

Important Functions of a Resume

By Judy Robbins

Not everyone is aware a resumé has other functions nearly as important as achieving an interview. Not only does it get you the interview, it structures the interview process, reminds the interviewer about you after you are gone, and justifies the hiring decision. There are others but the four that follow are most common.

It Gets You the Interview: First, your resumé must hold up to tough competition. Everything matters, your resume’s format, spelling, organization, and highlighting your strengths and accomplishments. Today’s results-driven resumés are entirely different from those of a year or two ago. Employers are picky and you need to know what they want. Research shows they will screen a resumé in 20 seconds or less. Marketing yourself effectively in a concise way with particular attention to the top ten lines of your resumé is essential to your success. With only one chance to get the hiring manager’s attention and the job you want, you need to capture immediate interest and stand out ahead of other candidates.

It Structures The Interview: Your resumé will give the framework the interviewer follows in forming questions about your employment history. This is an advantage for you since you are already familiar with the information. Your resumé tells enough to create interest and curiosity, yet does not tell the entire story, leaving you room for clarification in your own words. In essence, you will be in control of the interview with the ability to reinforce key accomplishments.

It Reminds the Interviewer of You After You Are Gone: The interviewer will remember a candidate who has a carefully crafted resumé as intelligent and articulate. If the resumé is poor quality, that memory becomes negative and recalls someone ill prepared and inarticulate.

It Justifies the Hiring Decision to Others:  With a long hiring process and many people involved in the hiring decision, your resumé forms the basis for discussion and decision-making. In this, it is an important document. People higher in the chain of command may not meet you personally but will need to be comfortable with your written resumé. Your resumé must hold up to such scrutiny. Submitting a winning resumé is critical or you could lose out at this higher level from someone who has never met you.

Note: Create your resumé from the perspective of the employer/hiring manager and always keep in mind what you want it to accomplish. Be certain to target your resumé for each job you apply for and you will better achieve your career goals.

© 2013