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Category Archives: Resumes and Value-Rich Cover Letters

How to make sure someone will read your resume

How to make sure someone will read your resume

How to make sure someone will read resumeAre you a reader? I read all the time and mostly on my phone. Very soon, I will complete 100 books this year.

I confess, most of the books I read are fiction. If a book takes too long to get started, I pass on it and read a different one.

I want the plot to grab me right away so I get pulled into the story. If the characters develop slowly or the plot isn’t interesting, I get annoyed and find something else to read.

When I really like the way an author writes, I find other books written by the same author. Even better, I search for a series by the same author so I get to follow the characters through more books.

How does this relate to the burning question — The big question job seekers ask me all the time:

Will my resume get read?

Here’s the secret.

Like the books I love, your resume must draw the reader in to make them want to read it.

The plot of your resume is your career story. If you take too long to start telling the story or make it boring, the hiring manager moves on to other resumes.

If you don’t get the reader excited about how you contributed to the company, saved it money, or created a new and innovative process, they read someone else’s resume.

Are you talking about things that interest the reader? If not, they find another candidate who fits the company story better.

What are you showcasing in your resume?

  • When you present your career story with value-driven stories right at the beginning, your resume will be read.
  • Does your resume integrate the key words fitting the industry and the company?
  • Is your resume reading like a job description or did you inject stories resonating with how you played a key role?

Telling the resume story

Whether you are a top executive or a graduate student, you tell career stories and resume stories to help you reach your goal. This morning while working with a student, I found him to be so tuned in to what we need in his first session with me. I know writing his story will be fun.

Furthermore, this student understands the correlation between his job as a server at a country club and his later goal to be in a sales and marketing role. He saw the potential story line focusing on ways he learned to interact professionally with a range of managers and executives. When he describes the features of a meal, his customers become intrigued and desire to select the suggested menu items.

This proves he understands how valuable it is to sell features and benefits. It doesn’t hurt that his father modeled successful sales strategies to him for his entire life.

I’ve worked with top professionals who struggled to grasp the importance of story telling in resumes. When you get this concept, your resume will be read.

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Land your next role! I am the pioneer of unique resume writing services and strategy. I use interactive live writing and coaching sessions to capture your value. This positions you for success in your resume, on LinkedIn, and throughout your job search. I help bring out your passion and stories to dig deep into your experiences with you. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The best way to know whose job search advice to follow

The best way to know whose job search advice to follow

job search advice to followJob search advice is readily available on the internet, but it is the best advice? When I speak with job seekers, this is a common question. How do I know if the advice is right?

My family often clipped resume and job search articles from the newspaper to give to me. (I know old school, but…) The first thing I do is scan the article to see who they are quoting. If I know the experts quoted, then I read to see if I agree. Most of the time, I will.

The real career community is not that large. The career community changes as new people decide to make career marketing, career coaching, and resume writing their profession.

Some people dabble in the field and  leave the entrepreneurial life for a paycheck. Serious career professionals belong to career organizations and hold professional certifications.

Whose job search advice to follow?

Don’t follow the job search advice of your brother-in-law — unless he is a credentialed career professional.

Don’t listen to every blog you read.

Ignore the advice of speakers on job search unless you know they are current on job search strategies.

Follow people who work with job seekers every day.

Follow resume writers with multiple years in the career industry and are credentialed. Certifications in our industry mean that a jury of top resume writers are reviewing your resume samples to determine if you match the standards.

For example, I am a Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW).

When I need advice, I check with experts. A list of my favorite job search experts can be found here.

Top questions from job seekers

Frequently, I hear that my resume samples break the rules for ATS resumes. They do for multiple reasons. ATS is not the only place your resumes should be targeting and humans benefit from presentation resumes.

What is ATS? Applicant Tracking Systems

ATS, the online application systems that frustrate 95% of job seekers.

Last night someone said she was confused about my resume samples because my resumes are in color, have bold, have graphic features, use tables, and these are all things that she heard speakers say were not good practice for ATS resumes.

Here is the problem:

  • You are trying to create a resume only for the ATS system.
  • I create resumes in presentation format using Microsoft Word.
  • Then I save as PDF.
  • And finally…  I offer a plain text or ASCII resume for use in pasting into online applications (ATS) that parse your resume information into the wrong fields.
  • You can use the Text resume to paste into the correct fields.

Most ATS systems will load a Microsoft Word or PDF file but most of them still put information in the wrong fields. My Advice? Upload the Word resume or PDF if the system specifies PDF. Many systems store a real copy of the resume that looks and feels like the presentation version. Then use the text resume as you review the application to paste information into the correct fields.

What is most critical for job seekers to know?

ATS or online systems should be used when it is the only way to apply. Get the resume into their system. But then, implement networking strategies to find the decision makers so that your resume is read by someone who really wants to fill the position. Look for directors of departments or if you are an executive, look for the C-Level in charge of your area.

Job seekers who land fastest are adept at finding network connections who can help them land their next role. Use LinkedIn for research. Use the phone to find the right people and let them know you care about the company and the position.

Tell them your value. Not only in the resume but in every contact you make.

Do you enjoy my career and job search content? Sign up to Read More Posts Like This One!
Land your next role! I am the pioneer of unique resume writing services and strategy. I use interactive live writing and coaching sessions to capture your value. This positions you for success in your resume, on LinkedIn, and throughout your job search. I help bring out your passion and stories to dig deep into your experiences with you. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stop agonizing about how to write an executive resume!

Stop agonizing about how to write an executive resume!

Executive resumeTop decision makers in business often can’t stop agonizing over how to write their executive resume.

They make multi-million dollar decisions easily but the thought of hiring someone else to write their executive resume doesn’t even come up.

There are resume writers who do this for people?

Yes, some people never even realize there are professionals who offer the service.

To be fair, this isn’t just true of executives. Many job seekers struggle with investing in resume writing services. But in the executive market, pricing is usually the easy decision. The hard decision is realizing they no longer can do it alone or that they need professional help in today’s market.

When did the market shift?

Executives struggle with why they even need a resume when most of the time, someone headhunted them for the next job.

They start to think that it is them. Maybe they lost their touch. Maybe they don’t have value anymore.

What changed? Today’s job search has many more players. LinkedIn opened the door to visibility for millions, some of whom would have escaped notice without the online opportunity to showcase your value

Should you choose someone to write your executive resume?

While writing an executive resume isn’t impossible for those in leadership roles, the nuances of how to do it correctly are confusing with again, a myriad of resources some of which give contrary information.

Someone told me this morning she heard she needed a sleeker resume with keywords. It is true you need to inject keywords in your resume but they have to be the right ones. The keywords you need have to correlate with your skill sets as well as your job target.

When I inquired about what she meant by sleeker, she said that she thought all resumes should be one page.

I don’t even write one page resumes for students. The resumes I write are usually two to three pages long but they capture much more in-depth information. Key to every resume I write is capturing the accomplishments and the value a person brings.

Executive resume writers are trained to distinguish executive traits and resume stories from the stories of middle managers or entry-level workers. When I earned my Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), a jury of my peers studied four of my executive resumes and the logic I used to create them to determine if I had the ability to write at the executive level.

The resume isn’t the only job search tool you need today

When I work with clients, I am not only writing resumes. My packages all have my signature LinkedIn tour and coaching along with my LinkedIn profile writing included because I see LinkedIn key to everyone’s job search. LinkedIn is the tool of hiring managers and recruiters. Job seekers need to have a value-filled LinkedIn profile to be noticed.

I teach networking strategies to everyone and some of my packages have enhanced networking coaching.

There are many tools that help clients and especially executive clients win new roles.

Do you enjoy my career and job search content? Sign up to Read More Posts Like This One!
Land your next role! I am the pioneer of unique resume writing services and strategy. I use interactive live writing and coaching sessions to capture your value. This positions you for success in your resume, on LinkedIn, and throughout your job search. I help bring out your passion and stories to dig deep into your experiences with you. Learn more here

Image courtesy of jannoon028 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to avoid burying the lead in your resume

How to avoid burying the lead in your resume

How to avoid burying the lead in your resume?What is burying the lead? Journalists understand that in a news story the lead is the first sentence telling you the topic of the story. In your resume, think about avoiding burying the lead not only in the beginning of your resume but throughout each bullet.

How are you burying the lead in your resume?

Professional resume writers agree that the first half to 2/3 of the first page of your resume will draw in the reader. If you don’t help the hiring manager understand your value and why they should hire you in that space, they rarely read more. Next, off your resume goes to the discard pile.

I coach clients to create an accomplishment section to position their best resume stories at the top of the document. The word accomplishments sometimes confuses people because they think of awards or stellar achievements. An accomplishment is simply stating how you added value to the company.

Accomplishment hunting

In my interactive resume writing process, we dig for those hidden accomplishments during our client meetings. I ask clients:

  • Change a process or create a process that made things better?
  • Work with a budget? How big? Do you keep it on track? What is the variance?
  • Redesign a team to improve efficiency?
  • Create accountability?
  • Retain a client that was almost lost due to mismanagement?

All of these questions are fair game to create resume stories to fill out a Leadership Success Highlights section or a Strategic Achievements in Engineering area.

What about burying the lead in your bullets?

While collaboration in most roles is critical, people who worry that it will look like they did it alone tend to start their resume bullets with:

  • Collaborated with the Vice President on…
  • Worked closely with the Engineering Department…

Guess what? You just buried the lead. You can still mention the collaboration — at the back of the sentence. Don’t bury the lead! Read these bullets I wrote with a client who landed a job-winning new role as Vice President of Global Transportation:

  • Strategic Sales Growth – Rapidly drove sales gains from $3 million to $25 million in North America for Company by tapping new markets, showcasing solutions within the market segment, and working with government officials on the local, state, and national level in both Canada and the United States.
  • Establish and foster strategic partnerships with vendor base to create the necessary individualized tools and products to win and deliver specific contract requirements.

These bullets speak to working with others but they lead with the concept that critical without a beginning focused on just working with others.

Do you enjoy my career and job search content? Sign up to Read More Posts Like This One! If I know there are people who appreciate my content, it makes me want to continue writing.
Land your next role! I am the pioneer of unique resume writing services and strategy. I use interactive live writing and coaching sessions to capture your value. This positions you for success in your resume, on LinkedIn, and throughout your job search. I help bring out your passion and stories to dig deep into your experiences with you. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net