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Beware Of Using An Online Resume Template

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Resume TemplatesThe easiest thing to do when you begin job seeking is to search online for a resume template and replicate that templates with your own professional history. Easy, right? Wrong. Using a resume template will not increase your chances of getting hired because it does exactly the opposite; your resume is supposed to present a unique professional first impression in order to stand out from the competition.

When it comes to finding a new job, increasing your salary and promoting your skills and achievements, the way your resume is presented, structured and written can be the difference between success and failure. With the huge increase of online submissions via employment, career and recruitment sites, it is now easier than ever to apply for jobs. In competitive industries, hiring managers can receive over 1,000 resumes for a particular role. In fact, due to the high volume of applications, many companies now use automated software programs (Automated Resume Screeners) to help with the hiring and elimination process. Many basic resume templates found online can actually interfere with these software programs as the programs are unable to read pictures, tables or images… making your resume unreadable.

Start with a blank piece of paper – what is the best way to make my resume stand out?

Before you even begin the task of writing your resume I would advise you to prepare a list of all the great quantitative achievements and value added skills that you can bring to your next job. Remember that hiring managers are interested in how you are going to be a great asset for the company, and the best way to present this information is through your past achievements. In addition to listing your achievements, include examples and evidence that back up your achievements, and lead with this information.

Before Example:

“Project managed a team that completed the project on time and on budget leading to increased revenues and a reduction in overall costs”

This statement comes across very generic with no evidence to back up the statements. In fact, this statement actually asks more questions than it gives answers. How many people did you project manage? What was the increase in revenues? How did you reduce costs?

After Example (lead with the achievements):

Managed a team of 15 contractors that increased operating revenues (22%, YTD) and reduced costs (18%, YTD) through the effective implementation of continuous process improvements and KPI management.

Three more resume writing tips:

1) Only include information on your resume that adds values

Statistically you only have between 10-20 seconds to attract the reader’s attention. If you fail to make an impression in this time period your resume will most probably be deleted. Remove all unnecessary information. “Interests”, “Hobbies” etc. do not belong on your resume.

2) Bullet points / sub bullet points work to attract the reader’s attention and improve readability

Long sentences are boring to read and make it harder for the reader to recognize the achievement. Using headings, bullet points and sub bullet points will not only professionalize the look of your resume, but it will make the reading process a lot easier.

3) Include a “Qualifications Profile”

A qualifications profile is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the reader and make a great first impression. As opposed to an objective statement (where you tell the reader what you want), a qualifications profile promotes to the reader the skills (qualifications) you have that will make you the perfect person for their particular role. A strong qualifications profile can immediately develop a great first impression (a weak profile can do the exact opposite).

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

5 Typical Resume Writing Mistakes

guest-blogging-1Resume trends and hiring manager’s preferences change quickly these days, so it’s important to keep up with current styles. These are some of the top 5 common resume writing mistakes job seekers make. If you find your resume is following into any of these categories try to change it up!

Resume isn’t reader friendly:

Hiring managers and recruitment agents are going through hundreds of applications for every one position. They don’t have the time or patience to try to decipher a resume that is cluttered, unorganized or difficult to read because of all the different styles and fonts going on. Make sure your resume is reader friendly—meaning it’s structured simply, includes clear headers and not too busy. Believe it or not, a simply typo or grammatical error can get your resume tossed in the trash so look over your resume several times and ask a friend to proofread it for any common mistakes you might have missed.

Not specific to the position you’re applying for:

Nowadays, one size does not fit all when it comes to your resume. Your resume should be modified slightly for each position you apply for, highlighting your most relevant experience related to the position you’re applying to.

Using online resume templates:

If you want a sure way to look like every other job seeker out there, use an online resume template. Online resume templates can be outdated, include complex or difficult to read organizational layout and cause you to lose authenticity.

Doesn’t focus on achievements:

It used to be okay for you to simply list the duties and responsibilities of your previous positions and that was enough to get you an interview. Unfortunately it’s not the case anymore. The competition for jobs is fierce. If you want to stand a chance at getting called in for an interview you need to focus on achievements you accomplished in your previous experience rather than simple responsibilities and activities. In addition, you should include key words from the job description to ensure that the terminology you use matches up with that of employers.

Limiting resume to one page:

I remember when I wrote my first resume, I was told that it should all fit onto one page. Well that trend has changed and it’s now okay to have a resume that’s a few pages long. Don’t go on for too long but it’s better to properly highlight all of your experiences than to condense everything into one page and miss out on including all of your achievements for each relevant position.

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

Amanda Ryan is a Program Development Associate & Senior Resume Writer at RedStarResume. Amanda is a highly skilled resume writing expert and career expert who also specialises in creating, writing and developing career content, working alongside student and graduate job seekers and developing career content for newsletters, partners and career websites.

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Evil Resume Templates

templates-icon11-500x288I hate resume templates … and here’s why!

Do a simple search in Google for “Resume Templates” and you will soon find that there are literally thousands of templates that you can copy and use. There are even many companies that sell these exact resume templates online.  As a resume writing specialist, and someone who has worked alongside multinational companies in relation to hiring and candidate selection, I can tell you that not only can I spot a resume template from a mile away, but more importantly it is the first impression I make about the job candidate based on their template.

In the current competitive job environment I can tell you that it takes a lot more than using a generic resume template found on Google. If you have found and downloaded the template imagine, how many people before you have used the exact same one?  Anyone who tells you that a “one size fits all” resume will work for you is wrong and is doing you a massive disfavour.

How should I approach my resume writing?

As a job seeker, you need to promote the skills and achievements that make you unique. As each job seeker is different, there is no formula to follow that will be the same for every person. For example, an entry level candidate or recent graduate will structure their resume completely differently to a senior professional or executive. A graduate with limited work experience needs to highlight their education, university associations, memberships and internships. This type of information needs to appear on page 1 of the resume to capture the reader’s attention as soon as they open your resume.  Although you may have worked in retail or hospitality throughout your degree this information while important, is secondary to your educational information.

An executive resume is completely the opposite. Your education is not as important as your work experience. Executive resume writing is highlighting not just your tangible skills but must include your non tangible skills, such as being a good leader and mentor. As past behaviour is the best indicator of how you will perform in the future, the front page of an executive resume needs to emphasise key achievements. When a hiring manager opens up an executive resume you want them to think “look at all the great accomplishments this person has achieved.”

Final thought:

Most people don’t realise that before a hiring manager has opened your resume it has already passed the first stage of the selection process by passing the “Recruiting Software” test.  Due to the volume of resumes hiring managers and recruiters can receive; many organisations now use recruiting software to help eliminate and select first round candidates. The problem with software programs is that they often don’t read fancy resume templates. Graphics, tables, boxes, fancy font and colours can actually end up looking like one big mess to a computer program.

My advice is simple. Stay clear of resume templates. Most templates have been around for years and years and have been seen hundreds of times by hiring managers. If you want to stand out from the pack, you need to be unique and this all starts with your resume.

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

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Resume Writing Tips to Succeed in a Tight Job Market

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s an undisputed fact – today’s job market is tighter than ever before. During this period of economic strife and instability, competition for the best jobs is extremely stiff. Job stability seems practically non-existent. Turnover rates are at an all-time high, given the number of layoffs and agency closings. Millions of individuals are unemployed and clamoring for employment regardless of skill level. Whether you are a doctor, a chef, an engineer, a secretary, housekeeper or even a resume writer, individuals from all walks of life struggle to retain their current positions since the economic future is not promised.

But what route should you take if you yearn for a better opportunity or are even without a job right now? How can you ensure that your name is at least known to companies looking to fill positions? One way is to hire a resume writing expert to help ensure that your resume / CV goes to the top of the pile.

Let’s look at it in a simple way. If you want to build a new house, you can go online, research how to build a new house and go out and buy the materials to begin building your dream house. However, as building anything is probably not your expertise and you want the house built properly the first time, it makes sense to call in a professional builder who has all the expertise and experience in building homes. The same is true of the resume writer. You can easily pick up a pen and paper and write a resume, however a resume writer can do it a lot more effectively and professionally because they have the experience, knowledge and skills in the art of resume writing.

The first stage of building your professional resume includes starting off with supplying the information that you wish to have printed on your document. This includes the obvious, such as your basic information (name, address, phone number, city, state and zip code). You should also be prepared to have a chronological listing of your past and current employment (if applicable).

It is important to have an idea beforehand of how you’d like to word your list so that your job duties don’t sound mundane or discredit your actual tasks. Never simply state that you were just a “cook” if in reality, you were a culinary arts service person!

Make sure your resume includes targeted keywords that leave no doubt that your past employment was productive. Stay clear of the ordinary, eliminating redundant phrases such as “typed letters”, “filed documents” or “bussed tables”. Yawn!

Most importantly, you need to use achievements throughout your resume to highlight your skills. You need to turn your basic duties into “accomplishment statements” and, if possible, use quantifiable results to the duties you have performed. A successful resume will highlight achievements rather than focus on responsibilities.

Job seeking is a cut throat business and in order to succeed your resume needs to be 100% right, and it needs to be presented and formatted professionally and correctly. When you apply for a particular job you only have one chance to succeed. Make sure that you give yourself every opportunity to get that new job!

© RedStarResume Publications – www.redstarresume.com

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Front Office Bankers Resume Writing

April 22, 2011 1 comment

When it comes to resume/CV writing there is no magic formula to follow that will ensure your resume will be read. There are however clear dos and don’ts that will either add value to your resume or work in the negative by having your resume deleted. No matter if you’re a front office banker or part of the mailroom team, listing and identifying achievements and backing these achievements up with numerical examples is the number one way to make your resume standout.

red man Front Office Bankers Resume Writing

Too many times a job candidate will focus much of their resume on standard day to day duties. For example every person on the trading desk knows how to “analyze data”, “liaise with clients” and “maximize opportunities”. These are soft skills which are expected. It does not enhance your resume as it does not tell the reader anything. For example when writing a resume for an equity trader it is no longer good enough just to list these soft skills. In order to effectively write a good resume you need to clearly identify your areas of expertise but most importantly present quantitative examples

Writing your resume is not about reinventing the wheel, it is about ensuring that you adequately highlight everything that is required to make sure that your resume is selected and you are given the chance to present yourself in the interview. Divide your resume into sections and concentrate on using bullet points to make the resume clear and possible for the reader to scan.

As a banker, your professional experience is the most important aspect on your resume and needs to be placed on page one. However in order to make your resume stand out above the competition I like to include a short career summary, an introduction (2-3 sentences) which adequately summarizes your career. For example:

“Masters of Business Administration with seven years experience as an equity trader. With a strong background in analysis, risk management and strategic planning, I have planned, coordinated, and performed diverse trading functions in various sectors.”

Following your short career summary is the most important aspect of your resume which is listing your top key achievements in bullet point (5-6 key achievements) with an emphasize of using “keyword” rich words (These are words which are mentioned in the job description or words which headhunters or recruiters are likely to search for in their database)

Remember, the most important aspect of listing these achievements is backing everything up with quantifiable results of your work. Using the equity trader as an example, part of your success is measured in numbers so ensure your main achievements by including quantifiable examples

‘Increased cash flow by $15 million by consolidating …..”

‘Revenue and income growth of 55% over a 12-month period, through ….”

“Key member of an elite trading team that generated more than $65 million by ….”

The final part of your resume presentation is your work experience, education and professional memberships. Again the most important aspect is providing examples to everything you write and incorporating achievements as opposed to just listing day to day duties. Always ensure that you provide dates on your resume and that the resume flows chronologically. The document needs to be as easy as possible for someone to read. The more difficult you make your resume to follow the more likely it will end up being deleted.

As a front office banker, focus your resume on your leadership abilities and achievements to guarantee that your resume stands out from the crowd!

© RedStarResume Publications – Professional Resume Writing

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