COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT: Training – Reviewing Your Resume

Is Your Resume In The Best Shape To Work For You?

by Denise Sawitsch & David Calderone

What is a resume?

A resume is a marketing tool to get you to the interview. Many people often list responsibilities and not accomplishments. A job seeker cannot be humble or modest, remember you are “selling” yourself so be self aware of your strengths.

To best position your resume, accomplishments should focus on the specific job description (or company) and the resume needs to clearly illustrate the correlation. However, content is only one piece of the puzzle. The best content in the world will not work if people cannot read it easily or match your experience/accomplishments to their needs. Resumes that contain too many acronyms and are relevant to only “that” company will not help the hiring manager or recruiter understand your role. You want a recruiter to see in your resume exactly what his/her client is looking for, without making them guess at your intention.

Another aspect of your resume that you can shape up is the use of a variety of verbs (Google Hinda‘s List of action verbs or < http://www.resume-resource.com/resumeverbs.html > for help). A resume is a constant live document that needs to be fine-tuned, tweaked and calibrated. Review your resume on a regular basis to ensure it reflects newly acquired skills and that you are on top of your game. Solicit feedback from your friends, colleagues and network groups. Re-writing and amending a resume should not be painful as long as you remember why it is important to do. The process helps in organizing thoughts, recalling accomplishments and further prepares you for interviews. For more help with sample resumes, visit < www.resume-resource.com > or Google Guerrilla Resume for some different resume ideas.

Many times we hear about keyword searches as resume attention grabber. An article from the Star-Ledger business section (October 6, 2010) listed some popular keywords that employers seek in a resume: accountant, customer service, manager, sales. Consider incorporating these words if they describe your background.

A recent survey conducted by ResumeDoctor of over 2,500 recruiters/headhunters throughout the US and Canada to find out their “Pet Peeves” with resumes. Contributors to the survey were recruiters from varied specialties and industries, (Engineering, Information Technology, Sales and Marketing, Executive, Biotech, Healthcare, Administrative, Finance, etc.) and canvassed to find out what the recruiter‘s likes and dislikes in a resume and what is going to get a resume read by them. Here are some of the results of that survey that we thought are easy to fix:

  • Spelling errors, typos and poor grammar
  • Too duty oriented – reads like a job description, failing to explain the job seeker’s relevant accomplishments
  • Missing contact information, inaccurate or unprofessional email address
  • Poor formatting – boxes, templates, tables, use of header and footers, etc.
  • Resumes organized by job function as opposed to chronological by employer
  • Long, dense paragraphs – no bullet-points (too hard to read).

Remember that your brand and message should be consistent. Where can you be found – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Job Boards, etc.? Is the data the same in all places compared to your resume?

Employers are more demanding; they have less time to review and more candidates to choose.

When preparing a good resume, the exercise of organizing thoughts, assessing goals, recalling accomplishments, and forming CAR stories (challenge/action/result) also prepares you for interviews and other aspects of the job search. A crowded or confusing resume with typos or embellishments could distract the reader and not convey how your past experience can translate into a new position. The job search should be focused on the role in the company, not on the candidate. A resume with accomplishments that are relevant to the job listing is a resume that can work for you to get the interview and then, in turn, help position you to get the job offer.

Is your resume in the best shape or could you benefit from a review from a new perspective?

PSG CNJ offers Advanced Resume Review (ARR) to members. You can request an appointment by sending your resume to < mailto:psgcnj_advresume@yahoo.com> and indicate what date you took the 5-day PSG training.

Denise Sawitsch

  • PSGCNJ Training Committee
  • PSGCNJ Program & Networking Committee

David Calderone

  • PSGCNJ Training Committee, Lead Trainer & Advanced Resume Review
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