Insider’s Guide To Resume Writing - Career Hub

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Insider’s Guide to Resume WritingIntroductionHi!My name is Louise Fletcher and I am the Managing Editor andCo-founder of the Career Hub blog.I founded Career Hub to provide job seekers with the bestadvice from experts in career counseling, resume writing,personal branding and recruiting.The nature of blogging means that our experts can’t alwaysget into depth about their favorite subjects, and that’s why I decided to askthem to contribute to this eBook.“The Insider’s Guide to Resume Writing” is our second eBook (if you don’thave “The Insider’s Guide to Job Search” be sure to download it and once again, each of our bloggers hascontributed a wonderful article.Topics include defining your branded value proposition, the value of story telling, the secret ingredient of context, common resume mistakes, and howyou can go beyond the resume when marketing yourself. On all of thesesubjects and more, our experts provide real-world strategies for success.We hope you find the information valuable.Please feel free to share this eBook freely and visit us at the Career Hub blog( You can check in daily, subscribe to our RSSfeed, or request daily email updates.We’ll see you there,Louise FletcherManaging EditorCareer Hub

Insider’s Guide to Resume WritingThe Resume is Dead. Long Live the Resume!4By George BlomgrenThe One Thing Your Resume Must Say to Win8By Deb Dib and Mark HovindDon’t Write a Resume – Tell Them a Story!21by Louise FletcherHow to Pass the Hiring Manager’s 30-Second Test27By Barbara SafaniHow to Write a STAR Story . and Boost the PowerOf Your Resume or Leadership Addendum36By Jan MelnikUse Context to Create Impact39By Louise KursmarkSeven Secrets No one Ever Told You About Gettingthe Most Out of Your Resume43By Wendy J. TerwelpPros and Cons of the Two-Page Resume45By Susan GuarneriWOW! Resume Tips and Tricks51By Billie SucherResume Disasters: Why So Many ExecutivesAre Rejected63By Janice WorthingtonWhy You Should Hire a Professional Resume Writer67By Heather MundellHow Personal Branding Can Be Used to Create Morethan a Resumeby Paul Copcutt70

George Blomgren has more experience as a job seeker than he likes tothink about. He's also been responsible for recruiting, interviewing andhiring. He's a widely published author on career development and jobseeking. He works for a national network of employment Web sites,where every day he gets to see what works and what doesn't. Georgelikes motorcycling, the band Yes and vegetables that start with theletter "a".The Resume is Dead. Long Live The Resume!By George BlomgrenThe idea that the traditional resume is dead (or at least dying) has resurfacedrepeatedly in recent years. To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of its deathhave been greatly exaggerated.Let's consider the alternatives and the reasons why each has allegedlyunseated the reigning champion. I’ll explain why each of these upstarts won’treplace the resume as we know it, not anytime soon.Networking and/or personal referrals have replaced resumes. Whilethese avenues can open up a lot of potential job opportunities, they don'tsupplant the resume. A true "networking" hire may delay the request for aresume; it may not be required prior to an initial interview. But at some pointin the hiring process, a resume will be requested. You will look very bad if, atthat point, you don't have one or it isn't up to date. You will look even worseif you try to explain that, because you're there as a result of networking, youaren’t obliged to provide one!Video is now the medium of choice for resumes. Older job seekers mayrecall that resumes used to often include photos. The possibility that thesephotos could lead to any type of discrimination or profiling led to an abruptand decisive end to this practice. So, it's interesting that the ability to seewhat candidates look like is re-emerging as a multimedia concept! Sound and4

video don't eliminate the legal concerns. Furthermore, for a job seeker tospend the kind of money necessary to get a video resume professionallyproduced looks a little desperate, or at least ostentatious. But unless youspend enough to have it done really well (and, unless you are charismatic andarticulate), a video resume is likely to work against you. In fact, as YaleUniversity senior Aleksey Vayner recently discovered, video resumes canreally backfire!Your blog is your resume. Much like networking, a blog may open the doorto opportunities, but it won't close the deal. At an interview, or as part of yourapplication, you will be expected to share a copy of your resume. Additionally,no matter what your blog is about — personal or professional — is it acomprehensive document about your professional credentials? If it is, it'sprobably not a very widely read blog! If it isn't, it doesn't replace yourresume. Besides, employers like to include your resume in your personnel file— they can't do that with a blog.Profiles are better than resumes. Some employment web sites have betthe farm on this idea. Job seekers fill out a detailed personal profile thatidentifies their skills and experience. The profile also includes things like thejob seeker's location, and whether or not they are willing to relocate. It mayalso include personality profiling and questions that seek to establishcompatibility with different company cultures.Next, employers fill out reciprocal profiles regarding job opportunities theyhave available. Computer-based algorithms then try to match suitablecandidates and job opportunities. (If you're familiar with dating web sites, thisis the "eHarmony" model!) One immediate problem with this model is that itis time consuming for employers and job seekers alike. This tends to weedout all but the most desperate job seekers and employers.5

As much as I dispute the idea that the traditional resume is dead, or even onits way out, don't get me wrong. I'm not a big fan. Resumes are old school, inso many ways. In an era when marketing communications (that's what yourresume is, after all) have becom e all about multimedia, collaboration,transparency, candor, hyperlinks, annotation, tagging, etc., the traditionalresume is a dinosaur. But its extinction may take some time.Employers can't afford to stop relying on resumes as long as job seekers usethem, and job seekers can't afford to avoid using them until employers won'taccept them any longer. In either case, the brave souls who lead the chargeby refusing to provide resumes will be putting themselves at a tremendousdisadvantage until everyone else catches up.Having said that, the impending "war for talent" may prove to be theequivalent of the meteor that allegedly wiped out dinosaurs, or in this caseresumes. The talent shortage employers will experience as baby boomersretire will, many experts believe, turn the employment market on its head.There will be almost no unemployment, so employers will be desperatelycompeting with each other to recruit people who are already employed. If thisscenario holds true, and employers are desperately wooi ng candidates, thismay give candidates the upper hand. They may not have to provide resumes.For the time being, smart job seekers will continue to use resumes. Thesedocuments will just be one more tool in a full arsenal, but for now they willremain an essential tool. That's why it's worth the time to make your resumeas good as possible. (Of course, since you're reading this document, I'mpreaching to the choir!) Circling back to the "alternatives" I listed above,although I don't believe any will replace resumes any time soon, some areworth borrowing from. Here are a few specific things you can learn from thecontenders:6

·Keywords are the relevant words and phrases that (if you upload yourresume) get automatically indexed. The "web 2.0" replacement is tags— these are the words and phrases that you choose to identifyyourself under. Considering add a new section to the venerableresume format: tags. If you post your resume on employment sitesthat utilize tags, take advantage of this feature.·Though blogs won't replace resumes, blogs (if they are relevant toyour profession, and don't include questionable content) can be both agreat supplement to your resume, and a great place to house yourresume. Of course, if you are currently happily employed, yo u may notwant to push your luck by publicly distributing your resume on yourblog.·Although networking won't replace resumes, you should network as ifthis was true. In other words, don't expect your resume to open anydoors from you. Networking (online and in person) is the key tocreating the opportunities where your resume will then be invaluable.·If you are in job hunting mode, there's no reason to back a singlehorse. Do it all! Use employment web sites that eschew resumes infavor of profiles. Network. Blog. But have a resume as well. George Blomgren – All rights reserved The Career Hub blog connects professional and executive job seekerswith the best minds in career counseling, resume writing, personalbranding and recruiting.Check out the blog, subscribe to the feed, or ask for our daily emailedupdates. www.careerhub.typepad.com7

Deb Dib, helps visionary, gutsy six- and seven-figure C-suiteexecutives shorten their job searches, maximize their performanceand compensation, accelerate their careers, and even change theworld a bit. She holds eight certifications; has contributed to 30 career books; has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsday,and Fox News; speaks at national conferences; and serves on the BODof Career Masters Institute. Reach Deb or [email protected],Mark Hovind is the President of He helps six- andseven-figure executives maximize their job-finding odds through valueproposition letters targeted at the decision-makers most likely to hirethem. Always on the cutting edge, Mark recently pioneered theconcept of the “stand alone” value proposition letter. Beta tested andnow proven, JobBait value proposition letters are getting 2 to 6 timesthe response rates, compared to letters with resumes.The One Thing Your Resume Must Say to WinBy Deb Dib and Mark HovindPoke your job-seeking head in a decision-maker’s door and watch whathappens next. He or she will look up from the desk and ask:“What do you want?”Followed in close succession by any, or all, of the following:1. Why should I waste my valuable time talking to you?2. What good are you . exactly?3. Why should I care?4. What makes you so special?5. Why should you get the big bucks?8

If, in about just 10 seconds, you provide clear, concise, compelling answers tothese questions—answers with tangible benefits measured in dollars orpercentages—you’re invited to step in and sit down for a chat.If you can’t answer those questions—and answer each well—you’re still out inthe hall. In fact, you’re out the door.This scenario happens every day—not in doorways—but as resumes passthrough electronic tracking systems and/or across decision-makers’ desks. Ifyour resume doesn’t have what it takes to get attention you won’t get in thedoor.No interview, no job.What does it take to get the attention of a decision maker?Ironically, it’s the thing that is usually missing from most letters, resumes,and elevator pitches. It’s the one-two punch of a value proposition andpersonal brand.Here’s what usually happens without that one-two punch: You craft a resumeand letter that says what you do. The first line in your cover letter, or thesummary section of your says something like, “I’m a seasoned ChiefOperating Officer with offshore outsourcing experience, an MBA and 20 yearsof experience.”The decision-maker responds, “So what? Who cares? Go stand in line. Youcan cut in front of the MBAs with 15 years of experience, but please standbehind those with 25. By the way, what does ‘seasoned’ mean? Are youexperienced or are you ready to retire? I have plenty of people on staff withoffshore outsourcing experience. Why do I need you? We’re just fine.9

You’ve hidden your potential value to the new company so well, behindmeaningless facts, that you—a successful and valuable leader—can’t get facetime with a decision-maker.No interview, no job.Can you turn lead into gold?If you can do that, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you worked, or forhow long. If you’re currently a janitor who dropped out of high school andonly learned how to do this doesn’t matter.All that matters is the result . the outcome . the potential benefit to thedecision-maker and the company. All that matters is that you can turn leadinto gold. That’s your value proposition.A value proposition is a clear, concise, and compelling statement of thetangible benefits of your services. It focuses on measurable results,primarily in dollars or percents. It must be crisp and to the point . withoutfluff, self-praising adjectives, generalities, or any other vague language thathas built-in wiggle-room. And it must describe something that decision makers want—even crave—because what you do has no value if no one needsit.What if someone else can turn lead into gold, too?Let’s say you’re one of a just a few people who can turn lead into gold, andyou want the same job a fellow alchemist wants. You’re both very valuableand you’re both on the short list. How does the decision -maker choose?Let’s say that the decision-maker’s company has been in a downward slidelately. Morale is low, people are leaving, and even bringing on someone who10

can turn lead into gold may not work to turn the company around fast enoughto save it. The people in the company are resistant to change —even goodchange that could save their jobs.Let’s say that your alchemist competitor is a real go -getter, make-it-happenyesterday kind of guy. What he says goes—no questions—no deviation. Let’ssay that you are just as driven, but are a more hands -on, “Let me get in thetr