Vignetta Talia Resume December 22, 2019 15:00:00
Writing a Resume can be a labour of love, but all too often in today’s uncertain economic climate that love can go unrequited when it comes to job applications. If I had a dollar for each time a client said they had not received a response to a job application, I would be considerably wealthier. Like a first date, it is critical to make a first good impression when it comes to writing a resume. Employers and recruiters tend to work on a strict ’love (or at least attraction!) at first site’ policy, and if your resume is not up to scratch, you can expect immediate rejection. Writing a good resume is a challenge. In a few short pages the author is required to distil a lifetime of work experience, achievements and aspirations, whilst at the same time convincing a third-party of their value as a potential employee. It is not unusual for applicants to spend a considerable amount of time drafting and redrafting their resume. And given the potential benefit a good resume can deliver – namely obtaining that desired job – the effort agonising over the right words, phrases and content is time well spent.
Text resumes (also referred to as ASCII resumes) are just what the name implies, an ASCII-formatted version of either your traditional or scannable resume. Text resumes are universally readable on all computer systems and platforms and are the preferred format when you are emailing your resume. An ASCII resume received in email can be entered directly into an applicant tracking system without the added step of needing to scan it. Entry into the system is fast, easy, and accurate and so many employers and recruiters prefer this format. The phrase ”keyword resume,” as it was first used, referred most often to either a scannable or text resume that incorporated a focus on nouns and phrases that employers were likely to use when searching for an applicant. Sometimes the keyword resume had a section at the beginning or end that listed the keywords separated by commas or periods. Today, there is no need to maintain both a keyword and a non-keyword resume. Keywords have become such an essential element in resumes that you should ensure that every version of your resume, whether meant for the human or the computer reader, incorporates the keywords most important in your field or industry.
It is important to remember that a resume is your written introduction. Although this short list of ”don’ts” does not completely encompass what to write and what not to write on a resume, prospective candidates who avoid these seven deadly sins of resume writing will avoid common pitfalls and have a better chance of not only catching the interest of the recruiter, but also scoring the interview. Use the right bait and you have a better chance of catching your next big job opportunity!
Clear and Concise. I’m not particularly good at taking care of my glasses. I’m careless with where I leave them so they often develop scratches quickly. Gradually I find myself squinting more and more as I try to make out details. When the squinting becomes too severe, I become aware of the problem and replace the glasses. With each new pair of glasses I’m initially surprised by how clean and crisp everything looks. The comparison between before and after is dramatic. If your resume isn’t clean and crisp – if it doesn’t accurately portray the real you – then you have the ”scratchy glasses” version with prospective employers ”squinting” at your resume. In this article I’ll illustrate resume clarity and showing the ”whole person” by telling you Stephen’s story. Stephen is both a talented IT professional and a friend. His story does a good job of illustrating the importance of sincerity and clarity in resume writing. Stephen’s resume is included here for illustration and reference. The resume is not full of superlatives. It uses clear and concise language and describes Stephen’s accomplishments and abilities without embellishment.
Writers should be certified. Certification is one way of assuring oneself about the writer’s experience and the quality of the work. Examine samples. When selecting, applicants should not hesitate to ask for samples of resumes previously written by the writer. If the resume samples are not impressive and look a repetition instead of being customized, applicants should reconsider and try other options. Communicate with the writer. This is important. If applicants are able to have a direct dialogue with the writers they will be able to asses how much the writer understands his job. A good writer will be able to discuss in depth the applicant’s career goals, education, work experience and history etc. before beginning the process of writing the resume.
Issue #2 –Technology. Stephen is a gentle soul who is modest about his achievements. When I first read his resume I told him that something was missing. He asked ”what? And I replied ”technology.” This simple exchange highlights the fact that we often find it difficult to accurately self-describe. I know that Stephen has exceptional technical expertise, having worked with him in the past. But he had not thought to include most of it on his resume. His reasoning: he only included technology where he had an extreme level of experience and had not considered others. His measure of acceptance was so high that most technology was excluded. I assigned Stephen the task to list every technology he had used during the past eight years. It is difficult to remember specifics over an extended period of time, so it made sense to start with an all inclusive approach then refine the list based on how and how extensively he used each technology. Together we found the right list of technologies to accurately represent Stephen on his resume.