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June 11, 2018

Get Interviews: Update Your Resume

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On your first pass in front of the eyes of a hiring manager, you have less than 30 seconds to impress them with your resume. Career professionals like to call this the "applicant black hole." What many people don't realize is that they aren't even getting their resume into the hands of hiring managers for reading! What can you do to avoid the black hole?

Well, for starters, you need to realize that it isn't your skill-set or your accomplishments that are ruling you out, it's your resume! A self-written resume has a 6% chance of being read. A professionally written resume has a 60% chance and generates 2-3x as many interviews as a self-written resume. Job Seeker Weekly has arranged a special deal with TopResume and is offering free resume evaluations. Get your free-resume critique from an experienced resume writer!

Get Interviews: Update Your Resume

By Michael Goldberg, Career Search Expert

Resumes have changed over the last several years. They used to reflect a biographical overview of all your work experience, as well as your education and personal interests. Remember the section on hobbies?

Also, the resume was never to be more than one page. Today, resumes are typically 2 pages with the focus on the most recent 15-20 years of professional experience. Personal interests are rarely included.

The following guidelines can help you keep the focus of your resume on your accomplishments, education, and related skills. This is what will get you interviewed and ultimately hired.

  • Insure your contact information is on the top of both pages of your resume. If your e-mail address is unprofessional, change it. Many email programs allow you to create a host name.

  • If you know precisely what you want to do specific to your profession and industry, start your resume with "Professional Objective." If you don't know, leave it out.

  • There should be a brief paragraph on the top of the resume called a Summary. It outlines your entire resume highlighting your profession, expertise, background, and skills. This insures prospective employers need not read the entire resume to capture what you have to offer. It also makes it easier for keyword searches to pick up important aspects of your background.

  • Summarize all job titles with a Responsibility Statement. Responsibility Statements are micro job descriptions that outline in broad terms the nature of your role. These statements are followed by Accomplishment Statements, written in a bullet point format.

  • Write all aspects of the resume in Active Voice. Good practices around writing in Active Voice include omitting pronouns such as I, you, us, them, we, they, and me. Better to begin sentences using action words such as managed, implemented, created, and designed.

  • Avoid the use of abbreviations (except for states), industry related jargon, and acronyms when possible. If you need to use acronyms, write out the whole term and then display the acronym afterward in parenthesis (only when written the first time).

  • Proofread, proofread, and then proofread. Correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar are vital to the impression your resume will make. Also, proofread for typographical errors and insure accuracy with all biographical and accomplishment based information.

  • Realize that the first draft of your resume will need revisions. It normally takes 3 or 4 drafts before the perfect resume is complete.

  • There is no need to include references with your resume or make mention of them. And there is no need to include the phrase references furnished upon request.

  • Do not include personal information on your resume including age, marital status, number of children, or anything that may cause doubt or screen you out of the hiring process.

  • Numbers one through nine can be written out. Numbers 10 and up can be written numerically.

  • Avoid leaving gaps between employment dates. Best to list jobs by year rather than by month.

  • Use key words reflecting the industry and profession you are targeting rather than from previous experience.
Remember, your resume is the first impression a future employer may have of you. It serves as your sales kit, business card, and as a friendly reminder of how you present yourself and go about your work. Always keep your resume updated and within reach. You never know where your next opportunity may come from!

Michael Goldberg is an expert in the areas of career search and networking. His company, Building Blocks Consulting, helps organizations and individuals land great employment opportunities.

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