Resumes that rock!


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  • Welcome to Resumes that ROCK! I’m Laura Allen. I work in the State 4-H Office and have been in the Human Resources arena for a number of years. During my time at MSU, I’ve had 9 promotions. I have always had a passion for topics related to career development and resumes is one of them. If you don’t have one already, consider your resume file folder today the one you’ll use to build on throughout your career. As you learn new skills or move in and out of various positions, add notes to the file as reminders for updating your resume. All career-minded individuals will want to have an up-to-date resume even if they aren’t currently active in a job search. Most of the handouts we’ll use today are used by the experts at MSU’s Career Services and Placement. Much of the information I’m sharing today is located in “Career Passport” though it contains much more than tips on resumes. Today we’ll focus on how to create a resume that showcases your abilities and experiences. Let’s get started!
  • To catch the ear of Universal or Warner Brothers – a band has to have a great “hit” song to get in the door. You want your resume to stand out amongst the others and land you an interview – the primary goal of the resume. You never get a 2 nd chance to make a first impression. Authors Jim Bright and Joanne Earl – in their book – Amazing Resumes – recently compared the importance of the resume with the interview in determining candidate suitability. The resume provides more data on competencies and achievements (or it should if it’s properly written), whereas the interview provides more data on interpersonal skills and rapport. RESUMES COUNT! You must put as much effort into your resume as you do into your interview. Take the time to learn resume basics and it will serve you well throughout your career.
  • Your resume is your opportunity to be in the spotlight – unfortunately, hiring managers report (not publicly, of course) on the average they spend less than 2 minutes reading a resume. Your job is to make the most of that tiny window of opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. Remember that you’re marketing yourself; so while the integrity of the document is a must, the resume must present your best experience and detail your relevant skills and competencies. Amazing Resumes – page 4 Not Selling Yourself – too negative Good Selling – turning negatives into believable positives Bad Selling – over the top, unbelievable and undesirable Avoid the Wild and Crazy attention getting resume – recruiters dislike them. Keep your resume in good taste. Just like our musical tastes differ – you might like rap, reggae or rock and I might like smooth jazz. Things that are unusual will attract attention – but, if you don’t know how the reader will react, why run the risk of rejection unnecessarily?
  • Recruiters are looking for a good “fit” when they look at your resume. Whenever possible, get a copy of the position description for the job you’re applying for. You can tailor your resume to emphasize your skills and experience for that particular position. Thank goodness for technology – it makes it easy to create several versions of your resume. Think about what the employer is looking for and then reflect that in your resume. Get as much information about the job and the company as you can, i.e job advertisement, position description, a friend in the company, the media, gossip and rumor, someone already doing the job or something similar. Best published source of information about what specific jobs are like is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, by the US Department of Labor – you can find this info online, too, at or the book I have “Best Jobs for the 21 st Century.” Has more than 500 position descriptions. A companies annual report can tell you a lot – it can tell you about future projects the company may be involved in, who their clients and competitors are. WIIFFT – “What’s in it for Them?” – keep this in mind – understanding the benefits of having you as an employee
  • These are the basic steps. Once you’ve targeted a particular job to apply for, then you choose the resume format, draft the resume, edit and critique and PROOF, PROOF, PROOF!
  • Refer to the sample resumes Use the Fill-In Resume Worksheet & Critique Form from CS &P Chronological Traditional resume preferred among conventional or conservative employers Combination – Amazing Resumes call it “The Hybrid Resume” More contemporary – blend of functional and chronological Amazing Resumes – page 70 – The Structured Interview Resume –very different – lays out questions with answers
  • HANDOUT – CS & P Fill in Resume Worksheet and Critique Form It’s time to draft your resume text!
  • The word is that recruiters like to see a good objective statement. Guideline is 12 words or less, but don’t narrow it down too much to get excluded for something Ie. Employment in a hospital specializing in care of the elderly. If this person would be happy caring for young children – this statement may be too narrow Before: Seeking a challenging position with a future-oriented company offering opportunities for growth and advancement. After: Dynamic public speaker/presenter with advanced technical knowledge, seeking to leverage these strengths as an award-winning computer instructor into an entry level software sales position.
  • HANDOUT – Macomb Community College – Employment Services – excellent set of sample resume qualification action statements, history action statements & Education and Training Action Statements HANDOUT Take Your AmeriCorps Experience to Work in your Next Job Potential employers recognize the value of the AmeriCorps service. The experience you develop through service shows your Ability to handle tough tasks Commitment to seeing things through Dedication to working on challenging issues Build Your Resume How you include your AmeriCorps experience on your resume and in interviews is important. You should describe briefly but clearly the AmeriCorps program where you served and what you did. Many AmeriCorps assignments include Civic Engagement Nonprofit and Project Development Fundraising Let’s take time to list a few others right now: Also look at the CS & P brochure pages 26 & 27 action Verbs by categories When describing work, education or job experience, be as specific and results-oriented as possible. Using numbers is especially effective. Instead of saying “increased sales” say “increased sales by 25 percent,” or instead of saying “trained employees.” say “trained ten employees.” Describe skills and knowledge used or gained, not just duties. Avoid using the same Action word twice
  • Start by making a list of all your skills and build from there. Note the Action words in the slide – skilled, proficient, adept Include anything you think an employer will want to know. Then set up your resume format and fill in the items from your list in the appropriate spaces, expanding them as you go.
  • Use the bullets or other symbols to highlight accomplishments. This breaks up the key information and pulls out selling points that could be missed otherwise. Try to refrain from using “I,” “the,” and “an.” Proofread with a ruler to carefully proofread each line. Reread the resume from the bottom up to prevent skipping over the same mistake. Be consistent with the chosen format throughout the entire resume. Use the same line spacing, headline font, font size, etc. Leave a one inch margin on all 4 sides – this provides more space for an interviewer to write in notes and it give the resume a very organized appearance. Once your resume is complete, have it critiqued – remember you’ve been looking at it for a long time Ask the person: Do you have any ideas on how to make this a stronger document? Or Could you look for any errors in this? Or Does this look well-organized and is it easy to follow? Not – How do you like this? Take feedback in stride and incorporate only those items you feel are appropriate. It is your document. Ask more than one person to look it over – a variety of opinions is best.
  • Remember a resume is also a documentation of your written communication skills – make sure it is error-free. Avoid resume templates – people who review LOTS of resumes can spot them. Take the time to create an “original” that tells your story. Review it for “extra” words – something I’m famous for and have to do with everything I create – even this PowerPoint! Print your resume on a laser printer only – remember it may be copied and you want the quality to be good. Don’t use unusual fonts that may be hard to read – even if you like the looks of them – KEEP IT SIMPLE
  • No Resume is complete with out a list of references - HANDOUT – Sample Reference Sheet 3-5 references Centering looks good Heading should match your resume heading in case it gets separated from your resume. Include for each reference – name, title, place of employment, address, phone and list their relationship to you.
  • Handout – CS & P - 12 Essentials for Success – Competencies Employers Seek in College Graduates Working in a Diverse Environment Managing Time and Priorities Acquiring Knowledge Thinking Critically Communicating Effectively Solving Problems Contributing to a Team Navigating Across Boundaries Performing with Integrity Developing Professional Competencies Balancing Work and Life Embracing Change
  • Keep your resume up-to-date. A good time to update it is at the time of your annual performance.
  • Resumes that rock!

    1. 1. Resumes That ROCK! Touch the Future Career Fair
    2. 2. Why a Resume that ROCKS ? <ul><li>Catch the attention of an employer </li></ul><ul><li>Get an interview </li></ul>
    3. 3. Definition of a Resume <ul><li>A resume is an advertisement for yourself, designed to communicate your school and work history and skills in a way that motivates the employer to invite you for an interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Or here’s why you should hire me for the job. </li></ul>
    4. 4. No One-Size-Fits-All RESUME <ul><li>Tailor the resume to the position. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate language from the job posting/ position description into headings and action bullets. </li></ul>
    5. 5. An Effective Resume <ul><li>Is clear, organized, direct & professional. </li></ul><ul><li>Has accurate information. </li></ul><ul><li>Looks good on paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on accomplishments by using action verbs. </li></ul><ul><li>Is brief and easy to read. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Resume Writing Steps <ul><li>Target your job. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a format. </li></ul><ul><li>Draft your resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Edit and critique. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Choose a Resume Format <ul><li>Chronological </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work history – most recent first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format preferred by many employers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best for those who’ve advanced in titles and have a good work history </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Centers around skill areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Works best for those with limited education or experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not well received – work with a career advisor if you use this style </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Combination </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combines work history & skills </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Rocking Resume Contents <ul><li>One-page format (two at most) </li></ul><ul><li>Name, relevant addresses and phone numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Web page & e-mail address </li></ul><ul><li>Objective </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Experience </li></ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Honors </li></ul>
    9. 9. Objectives <ul><li>In one statement, define your career goals clearly & concisely, or briefly describe a particular position you are considering for employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex : To obtain an entry level retail sales position that provides opportunities for advancement </li></ul>
    10. 10. Education <ul><li>List high school & graduation date. </li></ul><ul><li>State GPA if 3.0 or better. </li></ul><ul><li>List any special honors, ex: Honor Roll. </li></ul><ul><li>List pertinent courses completed related to job you’re applying for. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Holt High School, Holt, Michigan 48842 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graduation Expected: June 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer Classes: Microsoft Word, Excel & PowerPoint </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Experience <ul><li>Action verbs & statements </li></ul><ul><li>Show potential for more responsibility. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced from Youth Leader to 4-H Council Youth Representative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Show results. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provided club leadership for Habitat for Humanity Community Service project resulting in 50 hours of donated services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoted from caddie to grounds student supervisor </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Skills <ul><li>Not just a list of duties performed </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific and results-oriented . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoted from hostess to waitress in two months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proficient in MS-Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrote youth column for high school newsletter for three years </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Activities & Honors <ul><li>Demonstrate your leadership and community involvement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4-H Michigan State University Junior Scholarship, 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outstanding Service Volunteer, Harvest House, Holt, MI, 2005 </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Resume Do’s <ul><li>Stick to one page. </li></ul><ul><li>Use one-inch margins. </li></ul><ul><li>Use consistent format. </li></ul><ul><li>Use bullets instead of paragraphs. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid italics and underlining. </li></ul><ul><li>Use all caps and bold to make important words stand out. </li></ul><ul><li>Make headers & contact info larger. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose an easy-to-read font. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arial, Times New Roman, Palatino, Tahoma or Verdana </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No less than 11 points for smaller fonts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Larger fonts can be 10 points </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Resume Killers <ul><li>Spelling, typos or poor grammar (proof backwards) </li></ul><ul><li>Poor presentation (poor formatting, too wordy or poor paper selection) </li></ul><ul><li>Unprofessional e-mail address </li></ul><ul><li>Unqualified candidates </li></ul>
    16. 16. References <ul><li>List references on a separate page. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask permission & give them a copy of your resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose wisely. </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation letters need to be originals. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Cover & Thank-You Letters <ul><li>A cover letter draws attention to the resume and convinces the employer to grant you an interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Use a one-page cover letter when you mail, fax or e-mail a resume or application. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank-you letters leave a positive impression and set you apart from others. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Conclusion…. <ul><li>Resumes evolve and are developed over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Good resumes get interview opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>Your interview “performance” secures the job. </li></ul><ul><li>What you put into your career management is what you will get out of it. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.” - Abraham Lincoln </li></ul></ul>