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What can you do to help your resume stand out from crowd? Writing a resume can be frustrating - but it doesn't have to be! Resume Zen is your guide to writing clear, effective resumes.

What can you do to help your resume stand out from crowd? Writing a resume can be frustrating - but it doesn't have to be! Resume Zen is your guide to writing clear, effective resumes.

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  • 1. Resume Zen How to write clear, effective resumes The Global Services Career Center
  • 2. About This eBook Resume Zen is brought to you by the EMC Global Services Career Center (EMC Internal). This ebook was created on November 9, 2009. To check for new versions, and to download podcasts, templates and more, visit http://one.emc.com/clearspace/docs/DOC-17530. About the Author This ebook was written by Chris Ferdinandi. Chris is an HR professional at EMC, and manages the GS Career Center on EMC|One. Photo Credits The photos in this ebook were provided by:  Fotolia  Garr Reynolds 2
  • 3. Introduction Your resume is a marketing tool for your experience, skills and abilities. It services on purpose: to help land you an interview (and ultimately, a job). People skim resumes. Time and money are valuable and in short supply. Your resume may only get looked at for a few seconds. It’s critical that your resume effectively highlights your talents and shows recruiters and hiring managers why you’re the right person for the job. Resume Zen is your guide to writing clear, effective resumes. 3
  • 4. The Zen Aesthetic When you hear the word Zen, what do you think of? Garr Reynolds is a graphic designer and author living in Japan. He recently wrote a book about presentation design called Presentation Zen. As a resident of Japan, Garr sees the influences of Zen Buddhism on Japanese culture every day. In Presentation Zen, Garr discusses how to apply Zen concepts of simplicity and clarity to PowerPoint presentations to more effectively deliver information. In this guide, we’ll be applying Garr’s concepts to the resume writing process. 4
  • 5. Simplicity is About Design Simplicity is the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means. - Dr. Koichi Kawana What simplicity is really about is good design - figuring out what to include and what to leave out. For most people, design means decoration. Much like frosting and candles on a cake, it’s the aesthetic elements you add at the end to make something look nice. Good design is actually more like an iPod than a cake. Design isn’t what something looks like. It’s how it works. An iPod is a complex piece of technology. But the interface has only five buttons, and is very intuitive and easy to use. Many people who pick up an iPod for the first time instinctively know how to use it. Your resume should feel the way to the reader. They should be able to look at it and quickly identify your strengths and skills. Resume Zen means designing your resume for the reader. 5
  • 6. Design for the User There’s a good chance that your resume, if you have one right now, looks a lot like everyone else’s. Your contact information is probably at the top of the page, followed by an objective. Then you probably list your education, and then your work experience. At the bottom of the page, you may have some awards or special skills. You may find writing resumes frustrating. Chances are, recruiters and hiring managers find reading a resume like this a bit frustrating, too. What can you do about it? Ditch the Objective Most resumes have an objective at the top, and it usually says something like this: Looking to obtain a position where I can utilize my skills in a challenging environment. What you’re really saying is, “I’m looking for a job just like yours.” Almost every resume the hiring manger or recruiter looks at says more or less the same thing. And this kind of objective doesn’t tell them anything about why you’re the right person for the job. Ditch your objective, and replace it with a Summary of Qualifications. Summary of Qualifications A summary of qualifications is a bit different from an objective. Instead of talking about what you’re looking for in a job, a summary describes why you’re the right person for the job. 6
  • 7. Here’s what the summary on my resume looks like: A Human Resource Professional with strengths in training and development, strategic program design, and business partnering. Experience and skills include:  Recruiting  Employee Relations  Training & Development The summary is one of the first things someone reading your resume is going to see. Instead of telling them what you want, you’re telling them what you can do for them. If your skills match what they’re looking for, there’s a much better chance they’re going to keep reading your resume. Put Your Education at the End It’s not what you know. It’s what you’ve done with what you know. Education is important, but recruiters and hiring managers want to see how you’ve put your knowledge and learning into practice. Education definitely belongs on your resume, but you can move it to the end. If your education is at the end, though, what comes after the summary? 7
  • 8. Experience with Impact The bulk of your resume should be your prior experience. Make sure you’re writing about your accomplishments, not just your duties. A typical resume might say: Experience in(or responsible for) marketing and event planning. Instead, you should write about specific things you’ve done that show that you have those skills or experience. For example, you might instead write: Created a marketing plan for annual fundraiser. The “So What?” Rule It’s not enough to simply list things you’ve done. Every time you add a bullet point to resume, you should ask yourself, “So what?” You created a marketing plan for an annual fundraiser. So what? How did that add value to the organization? Why does it matter? You might write: Created a marketing plan for annual fundraiser that resulted in net earnings of over $35,000. Maybe after the event, you compiled a post-event analysis. So what? Compiled post-event analysis that aided in the growth and success of future fundraisers. Don’t assume the people reading your resume will understand why your experience is valuable. 8
  • 9. Summary of Duties You may still want to give the recruiter or hiring manager a better idea of what your day-to-day responsibilities were. One great way to do that is to add a one to three sentence summary of duties above your bullet points of accomplishments. Responsible for marketing and event planning for annual fundraiser.  Created a marketing plan for annual fundraiser that resulted in net earnings of over $35,000.  Developed webpage featuring event highlights and ticket purchase information.  Compiled post-event analysis that aided in the growth and success of future fundraisers. Make it Easy to Read Use Past Tense. Even for current or recent positions. If you jump from present to past tense, the resume doesn’t flow as nicely. Always use past tense, even for your current role. Keep It Short. One to three sentences per bullet point. One to three pages for the resume. Use Spell Check. Don’t make people read typos. It’s as easy as clicking a button. You should still proofread your resume though, as spell check doesn’t pick up grammatical errors. 9
  • 10. Customizing Your Resume It’s tempting to use the same resume every time you apply for a job. After all, your skills aren’t changing. If you want your resume to have more impact, customize it for each job. To start, gather as much information as you can about the assignment as possible. Dig through the job description and make sure you understand exactly what the job entails. Then, build connections between your experience and the requirements of the job. Pulling Verbs One of the easiest ways to customize your resume is to pull verbs from the job description. They’re looking for someone to coordinate? Use the word coordinated in your resume. They’re looking for someone to plan. Use the word planned in your resume. You want to make it as obvious as possible that you have the skills they’re looking for. Let’s say the job description says, “Code websites in Java programming language.” If that’s something you’ve done, you should write: Coded websites in Java programming language. Don’t forget the So what? rule, though: Coded websites in Java programming language to support one-thousand page views per second. Even your summary can be customized to highlight where your skills match the job description. 10
  • 11. How to keep it short if you have a lot of experience If you’ve been working for a while, it may be challenging to keep your resume to a short length. One way to help keep your resume down in length is to summarize older or less relevant experience. Rather than listing bullet points for a less relevant experience, you may just include the short one to three sentence summary about your day-to-day duties. Instead of this: Responsible for marketing and event planning for annual fundraiser.  Created a marketing plan for annual fundraiser that resulted in net earnings of over $35,000.  Developed webpage featuring event highlights and ticket purchase information.  Compiled post-event analysis that aided in the growth and success of future fundraisers. Include this: Responsible for marketing and event planning for annual fundraiser. 11
  • 12. In Sum  Ditch the Objective. Replace it with a Summary of Qualifications that highlights the overlap between your skills the job requirements.  The So What? Rule. Don’t just list your accomplishments. Show the reader why they matter.  Customize Your Resume. Tailor your resume to requirements and needs of the job you’re applying for. Make it easy for the recruiter or hiring manager to see that you’re a great fit. Pull verbs from the job description. 12