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Category Archives: Resumes and Value-Rich Cover Letters

Fascinating secrets to quality resume writing from a pro

Fascinating secrets to quality resume writing from a pro

Discover the secret, make your moveThe secrets to quality resume writing are clear to professional resume writers but pretty foggy to most job seekers. It is a confusing array of advice just across the Internet and even more confusing if you throw in advice from job centers, career centers, and instructors that include resume writing as an assignment. Add to that your mother, father, and brother-in=law who all seem to be job search and resume experts.

The experts don’t even always agree that you should have a resume. Periodically, we hear the cry, “the resume is dead” but in the past 30 years, no matter how many times that cry goes out, the resume still is a critical part of your job search. As professional as the career industry is from the standpoint of available education, certifications, and resources, it seems that there are continual attacks on the industry itself from headline grabbers who insist that the career industry is filled with con artists and scammers.

The reality is that with this hodge-podge of misinformation, death knolls, and attackers, job seekers often get more confused and isolated. What’s a person to do who is looking for a way to change his job or find a new one?

Redefine the value of the resume

The confusion about the resume comes about because people fail to see the real value of the resume. The resume is a marketing document that defines the value you, the job seeker, brings to the employer. Most novice resume writers are focused on duties and not results. As a professional resume writer, however, I am coaching my clients to take the job description for the role or roles they seek and use that to help define the resume.

How do you fill the bill? If a job description is written correctly, it will delineate the attributes that the company or organization is seeking for the position. You then take that job description and answer it in both the resume and the cover letter. You respond to specific items in the job description with clearly defined points that show that you can do the job.

For example:

From the job description: “They are responsible for fostering and encouraging local support for the organization by facilitating the generation of resources through fundraisers such as growing projects and other events and activities, developing relationships with individual donors, churches, businesses and others, and by increasing the awareness and understanding of global hunger issues in their region.”

From the resume:

  • Volunteer, ABC Organization, Participated in month-long Food Study Tour to India and help raise $500,000 through a local growing project. | 10 years
  • Initiator, XYZ Ministries – Cast vision and fundraised for 10 community centers built throughout Asia. | 3 years
  • Chair, ABC Food Bank – Organized volunteers and initiated community and church food drives through the year. Oversaw day-to-day operations. | 2 years

From the cover letter:

I am drawn to this position because of the great experiences I have had with HIJ projects in the past. In 2007, I was part of a 15-person team that participated in a month-long Food Study Tour to India. I witnessed first-hand the issues of global hunger issues and the impact the HIJ has on lives and communities. My involvement with growing projects for HIJ helps me understand how the work we do here directly changes lives around the world.

Secrets to resume success

  • Enjoy the process — Look at the resume writing process as an opportunity to deeply delve into yourself. Build an understanding of the value you have to the market place. All the naysayers that want to call the resume dead fail to recognize that when the resume process is used correctly, it is an opportunity to build the story for the rest of the job search. Even if you never used the resume, the in-depth research that you inject in the process will give you a better understanding of yourself, your value, and how to better market yourself. You will be able to translate that information created in the resume writing process to your LinkedIn profile, to responses during interviews, and to correctly stating your value when it comes time to negotiate the final offer.
  • Be specific — respond to the job description in your resume and cover letter with specifics that show that you understand and have experience doing the job.
  • Quantify and Qualify — Numbers and details are the differentiators between a generic and a value-filled resume.
  • Enhance Formatting — While black and white was the standard for years, employers today are drawn to resumes that incorporate tasteful color and proper formatting that makes the resume attractive and welcoming.
  • Don’t be afraid of more than one page — I can’t tell you how many clients and classes of students have asked the “one-page question” but the successes my clients continue to have with 2 and 3 page resumes tells me that employers are less worried about the page length and more concerned that the resume actually says something.

I help job seekers transform their resumes and job search strategies in interactive, solution-driven strategic planning sessions. To see how I can help you, call me (Julie Walraven) at 715-564-5263.


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