QUICK CAREER TIPS
Starting A New Career
Caught Without a Resume When Opportunity Knocks
How Should I Send A Thank You Note After The Interview?
What Categories Should I Use on My Resume?
What Words Do I Use?
Do I Need An Objective On My Resume?
Objective, Headliner, Profile and Key Words
How Do I Create a Plain Text Resume?
Should I Put My Photo, Clipart or Infographics on My Resume?
Returning to The Workforce
Career Change / Career Transition
Lack of Paid Experience
Too Many Unrelated Jobs
Should I Bring My Cover Letter to The Interview?
STARTING A NEW CAREER
If you are starting a new career, you are probably nervous about being rejected or unqualified, right? Relax, take a deep breath, and take stock in your qualifications. Make a list of your transferable skills and attributes that would be useful in a new position. Study job ads to see what they are looking for. Consider volunteering for a position of interest. This is a great way to explore your options to decide if you really want to work in a certain capacity. In the meantime, you’ll gain experience that you can list on your resume!
CAUGHT WITHOUT A RESUME WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Sometimes opportunity knocks when we least expect it. So, what if you are faced with an opportunity to interview, or to apply for a position, but you don’t have a resume? Or your resume needs to be updated. You are better off doing something rather than nothing. Here are a few quick suggestions that might help Email the appropriate person to explain the scope of your background. Express a strong interest in the position, and promise to provide a resume within a week for their files. If you have a good resume that is less than two years old, email it before the interview with a letter explaining your most recent experience and accomplishments.
HOW SHOULD I SEND A THANK YOU NOTE AFTER THE INTERVIEW?
It is important that you send a thank you letter to the each person that interviewed you. This should be done within a day or two. Remember, you will most likely be one of several candidates. Unless they have decided to hire you, you might not be on their mind. If the company does not contact you in more than a week, send a follow up letter to remind them of your interest in the position. These efforts can be especially effective if the hiring decision has not been made yet. It will set you apart from the other candidates who do not follow up.
You can purchase blank cards at the stationery store that simply reads, “Thank You” on the front. Neatly hand write a brief note thanking them for the opportunity to interview for particular position. Mention something discussed about your experience and qualifications in relation to the position to remind them of your value. Be sure to express your strong interest in the position (hopefully you expressed it after the interview ended). You can also email them a note. A recent trend is to use videos to thank the interviewers. Regardless of what method you use, make sure your handwritten or typed notes are typo free and that your audio or visual thank you message is presented in an articulate manner.
WHAT CATEGORIES SHOULD I USE ON MY RESUME?
If you do not have professional experience, use “Work History, Relevant Experience, or Related Experience.” Don’t be afraid to use sub-headings to expand the categories. You do not need to use the heading “Objective” to include an objective. You can use a title, otherwise known as a Title Heading. You can add a statement immediately following, without using the headings “Summary” or “Profile”. Instead of using “Additional Experience” try using “Value-Added Background.”
WHAT WORDS DO I USE?
Always use industry specific jargon and terminology if you are targeting a specific industry. If not, use more general terms understood by all. Action verbs can significantly add punch to your resume. For example, Managed, Planned, Developed, Implemented, Evaluated, Supervised, and Expedited. Omit pronouns such as “I, he, she, his, her, their, and they”.
DO I NEED AN OBJECTIVE ON MY RESUME?
If you send a resume without a cover letter, you must let the reader know your intentions. Even with a cover letter, it is always best to indicate the type of position you are applying for. There are many opinions on the subject. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Either use the same resume with different objectives on each to show career focus; indicate that you are seeking a position in a certain area, followed by “titles of interest include project manager, field service technician, and crew supervisor”; or use a statement that reads, “Career Focus: followed by a particular job title.
SHOULD I USE AN OBJECTIVE, HEADLINER OR PROFILE? WHAT ABOUT KEY WORDS?
A headline statement is more effective. Create a job title of interest or a job title that define you at the top sitting centered below your name and address. It should be formatted in all caps and boldfaced.
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader to decide if you should use an Objective or a Headliner:
Imagine that you submitted your resume to a large distributor of high-end medical systems. They are screening resumes to pre-qualify a candidate for the territory sales manager position. Assuming that you know better than to write a generic objective such as “Currently seeking a position offering career growth with a large organization,” below illustrates an Objective vs. Headliner.
The hiring manager picks up the first resume, which reads as follows:
Exploring a sales territory manager position that will leverage 15-years of experience selling $MM medical equipment for the nation’s #3 distributor of MRI systems.
Then they pick up the next one:
TECHNICAL SALES MANAGER
Solutions-focused technical sales manager with 15-years of experience selling capital medical equipment throughout a highly competitive west coast region. Specialized in selling MRI technology, coordinating in-service training and providing post-sales support. Expertly targets, wins and builds strong relationships with top decision makers, including CIOs. Offers a track record for consistently driving business growth and year-over-year profitability.
Which resume would you put aside for further reading?
The first candidate has just as much experience, but he thought “sales is sales” and that the experience section would explain what he does. He is correct; but, the resume should do a better job at grabbing the reader’s attention — and holding it! Using an objective as shown in first example is acceptable. The problem is that it is not compelling enough. It does not generate a “call to action” response.
A resume objective should provide a background on who you are. Some elements include years of experience, type of industries you’ve worked, relevant types of positions held, important credentials, and types of products or services you’ve been responsible for selling or managing.
Sample branding statement with a clarifier (ex: pharmaceutical):
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER – Pharmaceutical
Short: Known for delivering strong and sustainable revenue and profit gains in competitive markets with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. Brings 15 years of experience and select strengths across territory management, account development, team training/leadership, presentations, and closings.
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER – Pharmaceutical
Long: Regional Sales Manager known for delivering strong and sustainable revenue and profit gains in highly competitive markets with pharmaceutical giants and both start-up and high-growth bio-medical companies. Offers 15 years of experience managing complex sales cycles from client consultation to closing, along with a talent for building and maintaining profitable business-to-business relationships. Team leader with an innate ability to train and motivate a sales force to deliver over-quota results.
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER (With A Key Words Section)
Regional Sales Manager known for delivering strong and sustainable revenue and profit gains in highly competitive markets with pharmaceutical giants and both start-up and high-growth bio-medical companies. Offers 15 years of experience managing complex sales cycles from client consultation to closing, along with a talent for building and maintaining profitable business-to-business relationships. Team leader with an innate ability to train and motivate a sales force to deliver over-quota results.
- Business Growth & Development
- Team Building & Leadership
- Key Account Development
- Client and Vendor Relations
- Performance Evaluation
- Best Practices
- Process Improvements
- Program Management
- Proposal Development
- How do I put my resume on the Internet?
Many companies and job banks require that you fill out an on-line form or paste an ASCII version of your resume. Few will accept an email attachment. Copy and paste your resume into the “Paste Here” box on most job search sites, or fill in the forms. In either case, you will need to set up an account providing a user name and password. Visit the Riley Guide for more on this subject.
HOW DO I CREATE A PLAIN TEXT RESUME?
Many companies and job banks require a plain text or ASCII resume. This format is void of all formatting. But, there are lots of tricks to jazz it up. Perform the Save As function to save your “.doc” or “.docx” (formatted) resume to a “.txt” (plain text) file. Alternatively, copy and paste your resume into NotePad to strip it of it formatting. Then copy and paste the text into the body of your email if the company does not accept attachments. Clean it up and organize it if it becomes messy looking by eliminating white space, changing weird characters to attractive characters such as = / \ | > <
SHOULD I PUT MY PHOTO, CLIPART OR INFOGRAPHICS ON MY RESUME?
Sometimes we want to add something extra to our resume to make it standout in a pile. Consider using a border or shading when clip art is inappropriate. If not done right, it could look cheap. If you have lots of metrics, a pie chart is ideal. If you must use graphics, use them sparingly. Infographic resumes are currently a trend that is heavily promoted but probably not used in the real world as much. It requires a lot of thought, creativity, and time to do it right. For that reason, the job seeker would need to have strong resume creation skills and strong skills working with graphics – even if using a template – or would need to pay a premium price to a resume writer specialized in infographic resumes.
RETURNING TO THE WORK FORCE
It’s important to remember how valuable you were before you left. Brush up on your skills and go on interviews to practice for the big one. But most of all, don’t apologize to anyone. Don’t assume that someone has a problem with the fact that you’ve been away. Maybe you don’t have certain skills, but you do have a lot of knowledge, great attributes, and ability to learn, right?
Use a combination resume format to emphasize your experience and accomplishments and personal strengths. This strategy will immediately communicate what you have done and are able to do, while de-emphasizing the break in employment. If it has been about ten years, research current terminology and key words for that industry. Resume Tip: do not elaborate too much about your personal situation or focus too much on hobbies unless it is relevant.
CAREER CHANGE / CAREER TRANSITION
If you are starting a new career, you are probably nervous about being rejected or unqualified. Relax, take a deep breath, and take stock in your qualifications. Make a list of your TRANSFERABLE skills and attributes that would be useful in a new position. Consider volunteering in your chosen field. This is a great way to explore your options to decide if you really want to work in a certain capacity. In the meantime, you’ll gain experience that you can list on your resume!
LACK OF PAID EXPERIENCE
Unpaid experience is still experience. Employers honor internships, volunteer work, independent research, and academic projects. Convey it as solid experience without apologizing, and it will be received as such. List it on your resume under “Related Experience”. Use phrases such as “Gained valuable experience in…” or “Completed six months of research on the effects of…” Note: Ask key people for letters of recommendation to display in a portfolio (binder or folder).
TOO MANY UNRELATED JOBS
If you have too many unrelated jobs, you risk coming across as unfocused job-hopper and flight risk. This is a real concern because it costs a company a lot of money and resources to hire a new employee.
It depends on the position you are targeting. Some employers seek candidates that can wear many hats. Still, you will want to show a career focus and highlight your core strength in certain areas.
Have multiple skills can save a company money. They might even create a new position that would eliminate the need to hire two other employees. For example, if you installed and repaired satellite dishes, worked as a waiter, and volunteered at a crisis center, you might be well suited for a new career as a computer technician or a help desk support professional. Maybe all you would need is some training, a diploma, or a certification.
Use a combination format to show that you are technically inclined and that you have excellent customer service skills by providing examples on problem assessment and troubleshooting. This layout categorizes WHAT you are able to do, while de-emphasizing the frequent changes in career choices. Use headings such as Customer Service and Project Highlights.
SHOULD I BRING MY COVER LETTER TO THE INTERVIEW?
Do not bring your cover letter a job interview. Its purpose is to introduce you in your absence, communicate your interest in a position or company, summarize/highlight your experience, explain your situation, and request an interview. However, do bring prints of your resume to the interview. Before the interview begins, announce, “Here are prints of my resume. I thought you might want to have them.” That way the manager will have a good print to review, and to pass onto other managers, just in case he/she only has a faxed copy.