Resume Tips Carol Miller


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Resume Tips Carol Miller

  1. 1. 1 SECTIONS AND CONTENT OF A GOOD RESUME BY CAROL A. MILLER FOR PBJ PARTICIPANTS Note to you: These are the sections of a good resume; one that captures the attention of your reader and allows you to SELL your competencies up front. An employer wants to know if your skills and tangible achievements are a good fit with his/her company and the position they have open. They don’t want to have to plow through your prior jobs to figure this out. Also, NEVER provide any “personal” information (e.g. left job because of family problems) in a resume; that type of information sets up “red flags” to a prospective employer. If asked and if appropriate, this can be divulged in an interview; however, most employers know the legal issues of asking such questions. SECTION 1—PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION—Your name placed prominently at the top with address and other items less prominent because you want the reader to really only remember YOU. You can format with underlines or in a box for further enhancement. An example follows: JOHN/JANE DOE Address Telephone #’s Finish address email address OPTIONAL SECTION 2—A statement of the position you are seeking. This section is “optional” because it limits your horizons unless your resume has been tailored to an exact position an employer has open. In order to make your resume as generic as possible (and thereby not place yourself out of potential positions that might utilize your skills/competencies), don’t include this section. Rather, save it for the cover letter and only if you are aiming the statement at an exact position opening. After all, you’d expect a reader to know you are an engineer, for example, if your skills and accomplishments tell them that. Don’t waste space on redundancies. OPTIONAL SECTION 2A—Because you want to start your resume with an “attention-grabbing” section, you may set up this section by including the names of positions you’ve held previously. This needs to be done judiciously because you need to use terms that show a focus on use of your core competencies/skills (to be listed in the next section). Also, it immediately clues the reader into the career level you have achieved as in “assistant to” or “manager,” or “director.” A partial example is given in the following for a Sales/Marketing-type person:
  2. 2. 2 NOTE TO YOU: this section doesn’t need a title; it is self-explanatory if positioned immediately under the identification section. -SALES CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR -MARKETING COMMUNICATION ADMINISTRATOR -MULTI-STATE AND REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR SECTION 3---PROFESSIONAL PROFILE (can also term it just PROFILE)—I’ve noticed over the course of reviewing over 25 resumes that this is truly the most difficult section for people to do because it forces you to come to grips with what you’re capable of and what you’ve done that has worth. However, this is really the MOST IMPORTANT section in the resume because it includes the “very best you have to offer” to an employer. This section should include your SKILLS/CORE COMPETENCIES, really key tangible ACCOMPLISHMENTS and TRAITS you’d like the employer to know you have. Remember, this is the first page of the resume and it may be the only one page the prospective employer reads, so it MUST GRAB THEM. YOU HAVE TO SELL YOURSELF; NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO THAT FOR YOU AS GOOD AS YOU CAN! You may have buried these items in the “JOBS” section or on the last page of your resume, so dig them out of that page (or out of your work memory) and get them into a format that gets the attention of the reader. An example for a Mechanical Engineer follows : PROFESSIONAL PROFILE SKILLS: Skilled in use of AFGROW --Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue Crack Growth Analysis Software Proficient in use of Pro/ENGINEER with full CAD/CAM/CAE capabilities; this software is the world's most commercially adopted 3D product design solution for engineering SAP Lean Planning and Operations –skilled in the corporate SAP software solutions to accelerate lean transformation, and sustain lean operations Skilled and Certified in use of Microsoft Tools including Word, Excel, Access (to share and access multiple data sets across a variety of departments) and PowerPoint Project Team Leader—manage multi-disciplinary projects with collaborative inter- personal skills and facilitated with functionally simple BaseCamp software NOTE TO YOU ON SKILLS: You may wish to place your skills in a tabular format but be careful not to use acronyms (abbreviations) unless you explain them. Also give some qualifier to your user level, as in “skilled in,” or “proficient in” because you want to give the reader a good idea of your capability. Select SKILLS that definitely reinforce your field of expertise. KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Developed multidisciplinary product development team that utilized BaseCamp software to design, construct, field stress test and provide prototype for a $3.5 million
  3. 3. 3 government contract wind-driven generator and finished project $24K under budget and 6 months ahead of government goals; awarded a $10K bonus. SuperEngineer of Indiana Award 2006---This is a yearly, state-wide competition award given to a Mechanical Engineer with peer judged achievements indicative of excellence; the award was accompanied with a $5K check. NOTE TO YOU ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Select those key, tangible achievements (over your professional career) that “knock the socks off” a reader and give them reason to get you in for an interview. Don’t fill this section with a “work list” or a “responsibility” list. Give as many of these accomplishments ($-saving values or time-saving values) as possible. For Mangagement-types, you can include the size of the budgets you’ve had under your supervision to give an employer an understanding of the responsibility of budgets you’ve had. Don’t forget to include awards, either internal to your Company or from outside. Note the one I included above is a “figment of my imagination,” but please don’t use figments of yours; always keep your information honest. TRAITS: Always meet or bring projects to completion before deadlines with appropriate documentation and quality Strive to achieve harmony within Project Teams and with my peers and management Highly organized and have ability to juggle many projects with ease Search out software systems that are effective in streamlining projects and development of mechanical systems NOTE TO YOU ON TRAITS: This section doesn’t have to be long. It’s main purpose is to give some idea of what kind of a person you are and the traits you bring to the workplace. SECTION 4—CAREER PROFILE—OK, you’ve now arrived at the section with which you are most comfortable, right? You can now list everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve been “responsible” for in your entire professional career--well, no, not necessarily. This area is an expansion on your accomplishments, so don’t turn it in to a laundry list of mundane tasks with no tangible achievements and NEVER use the terms “experience” or “responsible for” or “my assignment was”—you get the picture. These terms make you sound passive as in I’ve had experience in that area, but I have no tangible accomplishments; OR Yes, I was responsible for X but I can’t list any tangible achievements; OR Yes, I was assigned that job, but that makes me sound like they had nothing else for me to do. Get your verbs in these lists like: developed, managed, created, supervised, etc. These words make you sound like a person of action, not someone standing around waiting to be “assigned” or “given responsibility.” REMEMBER, YOU’RE STILL SELLING YOURSELF! I suggest listing your JOB TITLE FIRST because YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM here, not the Company. This may be hard for you to do, since you’ve identified CAREER PROFILE yourself so long with that company; but remember, it’s your skills your selling now, not the company who put you out of a job. You’re not selling that company. An example follows:
  4. 4. 4 MULTISTATE REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR 2001---2009 XYZ Widget Company, Elkhart, IN Designed Microsoft Access data base for all salespersons in 15 state-wide sales territory to expedite sales leads, the order process, and collaborated with Order Entry, Manufacturing, and Payables Departments to streamline the order to shipment time for a time savings of 10 days/order and increased sales profitability of $4.3K for Q1 to Q2, 2003; the system and enhanced profitability are ongoing. NOTE TO YOU: The above action could have been placed in the KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS SECTION because it is a tangible achievement. You have to judge which tangible achievements/accomplishments you want to put up front as attention-grabbing items and, those that, as well are KEY to the job you’re seeking. The following item shows an accomplishment not easily related to a profit goal; however it does get some #’s into it (# of people and # of days). Always try to add tangible items. Terms like “entered work orders” or “worked closely with” or “adjusted work schedules” may be things you did, but are “mind numbing” to read unless you can provide some quantitative rationale for that laundry list. Finally, adding “months” in the time period is not necessary. Spearheaded regional sales training meeting to retrain all salespersons for new product introductions; 150 salespersons and support personnel trained over a 5-day period. SECTION 4—or ACADEMIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS or ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS You’re now nearly done with this resume. The title should, again, SELL YOU! Don’t be so mundane as to entitle it—EDUCATION or EXPERIENCE. YOU’VE accomplished these academic fetes, so be proud of them. Also, include any post-degree training, but only if it is key to your PROFESSIONAL PROFILE; don’t include “basket weaving” if you’re a trained Electrical Engineer, unless, of course, if you are designing a new “woven” circuit  SECTION 5-- COMMUNITY OR VOLUNTEER WORK This is pretty much the end of the resume and should include things like volunteer work with: Scouts, Road beautification, Food Pantries, Facilitator for PBJ,etc. This type of information shows the prospective employer you are involved in your community and have compassion for the less advantaged around you. NOTE TO YOU—WILLINGNESS TO RELOCATE If you are willing to relocate to another geographic area, you should state that either at the end of your resume or more appropriately in your cover letter. Right now, you have to go where the jobs are and this may mean relocation. A prospective employer should know that willingness on your part; some may assume you are not because of your length of stay in one area.