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resume advice

How to blow it… Part 2…Cover letters

Cover letters can be crucial to the success of your job search. They can bring out the specifics the company is seeking. They can give you the opportunity to highlight achievements that may not fit neatly into your resume. They can show that you have a pleasing command of the English language, with clear, cohesive sentences all joined together into attractive paragraphs. But an unfortunate cover letter can put paid to your interview chances even with a terrific resume. How to avoid the landmines……read on…..  1) The correct length. Remember Goldilocks; it has to be just right. Too long is bad,

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Resume words that help your cause

Hiring managers want to hire people who will do the job well and, unless they want/need to hire a relative, the procedure to find that special someone can involve a resume, interviews and references. If your resume doesn’t jump out from the competition, then forget the interview and reference stages. What makes a resume stand out? Not gimmicks….no lay-out initiatives that have your sterling qualities in cute boxes down the side of the sheet, no 4-color displays. One exception to this is graphic artists. They are not using gimmicks, they are show-casing their expertise. HR and line managers like to see readable

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Resume words I never want to see again

There are certain words that are used soooo often in resumes they have become meaningless. They are generic and don’t show the reader WHY you are using them. Point A) You think that the reader will take your word for it? Ain’t happening. Point B) Your resume may be the 15th that morning that the Human Resources Department has scanned quickly through (you think they all give you a good three minutes/resume? HAH!). If there’s been nothing to stop them using it to line the trash can, then that’s what it’ll do. Here is some of the most popular resume

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I’ve been out of work for, er, ahem, QUITE some time

There have always been reasons that resumes stop w–a–y before the actual date they were sent out to prospective employers. With today’s economy, that has never been more the case. We’re not talking out of work for a few months here, sometimes now it’s two and three years. Do you not say anything on your resume about the recent gap, and hope that no-one minds? If what you have been doing sounds really lame to you, do you think you should write it down anyway because you think you have to tell them something? Do you think that every minute

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5 resume dos, 5 resume don’ts

5 dos:          Bullet points. The days of prose to give an overview of your job are gone the way of the dodo (and, if we don’t watch out, the tiger and the polar bear. But that’s for a whole other blog). Remember that whoever is looking over your resume has limited time to ooh and aah over it, and wants to see accomplishments, level of responsibility, and NUMBERS. My, do employers like their numbers…more of that later….          Start with a punchy verb that’s action-focused. Grab the reviewer’s attention. Examples of action verbs

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To proof or not to proof…

You’d think it was a given, wouldn’t you, that you should carefully proof your resume? But a depressing number of resumes that end up in front of me have mistakes in them. Some minor, some pretty horrendous. Two of my favorite examples: a) Two proofreaders who managed to misspell the word proofreading on their resumes. I mean, what were the odds? And b) a candidate who wrote at the top of the resume, in bold, upper case “DETAIL ORIENTED SLEF MOTIVATED.” Second phrase rather disproved the first one, didn’t it? It didn’t gain the owner any Brownie points but it

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Be specific. Generalizations can become meaningless.

Your resume is your chance to highlight your skills but you only have limited space (one page or two, doesn’t matter). What can happen is that job candidates sum up their skills SO generally that, in effect, they’re meaningless… “Excellent interpersonal skills”, “excellent communication skills”, “detail oriented.” Nearly everyone writes at least one of those on the resume but where’s the proof? And how to prove that you’re more detail oriented than the others? Prove it by giving examples! The resume with specified accomplishments has more chance of standing out from the competition and getting you in front of the

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Interests/activities/hobbies on a resume?

Should you write interests/activities/hobbies on a resume?  Not if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. However, it does add to the picture of who you are and can increase the likelihood of securing an interview. Interested in sports? It can mean you want to be fit, or that you like to win, or you enjoy playing in a team, or you do it because you like the socializing afterwards. Maybe it got you a scholarship at college. All of this is good, so why not write that you like baseball/tennis/water polo/running/synchronized swimming? All other interests are relevant, too. Charity work, church

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Lay-out of a resume

One page? Two pages? European-style 6-pager with a photo? One or two pages is fine. The days of the one v two page arguments are long gone. US resumes are never more than 2 pages. Well, occasional exceptions. Academic resumes are a special case, too). European-type c.v.s are just not the norm here, and tend to freak out HR Departments. And freaking out HR Depts is not the point of sending resumes. Do not add a photograph. Not relevant, and possibly illegal for potential employers to use the information. Don’t do it. Do not write age, marital status, number of

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