A little resume advice for the new year to all you job seekers…
• The contact information at the top should include the client’s name in CAPS, address (always spell out states, even under professional experience), telephone number (include home number and add to the list only if a client requests it), and email address (if you are given choices for email, choose personal versus work emails). NOTE: The samples are not intended to serve as templates, but if you choose to use them as such, please make sure that hyperlinks (email addresses) are turned on to the correct email address.
• Resumes should ALWAYS be introduced with the client’s objective in CAPS under their personal information. This information is provided by the client in the worksheets. When a client is targeting “Executive-Level Management” roles such as COO, CIO, CFO, VP, President, etc. use “Executive-Level Management” instead of specific title for objective. You can also add area of interest when there is one. For example, if a client wants to target VP of Marketing positions, you can use “Executive-Level Management: Marketing Operations”
• Follow the objective with a strong professional summary, which should always be focused on the objective. The samples will provide you with a better picture of how summaries should read and what kind of information to include.
• Most times, it is useful to include a section on “Core Competencies” prior to “Professional Experience.” This is a good place to include areas of strengths detailed in the worksheets, keyword lists, and keywords that you find throughout the client’s information. AGAIN, always keep a strong focus on the objective.
• At MJW Careers, we are true believers in the “Reverse Chronological Format” and luckily you will RARELY have to deviate from this layout. So start from the most recent job.
List company name in CAPS, followed by location (spell out states), and then years. Sometimes clients have held various roles under the same company. In such cases, include dates from the time they started and completed employment next to corporate name and location. In parentheses include dates in which they held individual titles next to the positions.
Include a description of roles under titles and then a bulleted list of contributions.
If you end up with too many highlights under one position, format achievements into different categories such as Key Projects, Corporate Contributions, Revenue Growth, Operational Enhancements, etc. in order to provide the reader with a more organized presentation of accomplishments.
Also, including a short corporate profile under company name is usually a good strategy, and it is information provided in the client’s worksheet.
• Group like accomplishments into categories. After you develop your accomplishment statements, look for trends within your achievements. Do some accomplishments represent increases in sales while others represent decreases in costs or process improvements? By grouping accomplishments by theme, and creating category headings within the chronology for each position, you can better communicate a client’s personal brand and make it easier for your reader to follow the accomplishments achieved within each key critical competency. This is a great strategy to implement when you end up with very long lists of accomplishments.
• We usually recommend going as far back as 10-15 years in a client’s professional history. If the client held important roles 15 years prior, include a section on “Additional Positions” and provide a short synopsis of each. We want to make sure that we avoid age discrimination. Therefore, leave out dates prior to 1990 for additional experience sections and/or career notes.
• Education should include all academics listed from HIGHEST to LOWEST degrees. List degree first, institution second, and lastly location (make sure to spell out states). Academics are usually listed towards the end of the resume unless the client is a new graduate just entering the field or a professional trying to transition to a different professional role that relates to his/her academics versus actual professional history. If listing education at the top, make sure to include the section after the summary. Also, leave out GPAs and extracurricular activities unless the client is a new graduate and educational background is the key offering. BTW-We never include dates for education.
• Training section should include information that is relevant to client’s objective.
• Affiliations/Memberships should also be relevant to the client’s objective.
• Technical Skills are hardly ever included for executive-level targets because it is expected for such professionals to have sufficient technical knowledge to run an organization. When it comes to technical resumes, if the client is targeting a hands-on programmer/software developer position, replace “Core Competencies” with technical skills. If the client is targeting leadership positions and you have room at the end of the resume, include a list of technical skills at the end. If you are having problems with space, include a line at the end of the resume – “Comprehensive List of Technical Skills is Available Upon Request.”
• When creating cover letters, keep in mind that the first paragraph should provide a powerful synopsis of key offerings focused on the objective. Also, include a short list of highlights/accomplishments. Pick out the most distinguished and relevant bullets to the client’s target position. You don’t have to follow the exact order and wording in the sample cover letters, but always include a short list of bulleted highlights. We expect you to be creative!
• If you come across sections of the resume where you feel the client needs to provide more information, request this information in the section and highlight it in the document. The same goes for dates you are not sure about. Either write a note to the client at the end of the resume with questions and highlight them or include the questions in the section.
• CAREER GAPS: We always include a “Career Note” when we encounter a gap in years under Professional Experience. If a client does not provide this information, ask him/her what they were doing (volunteering, consulting, completing education?) so you can create a professional note to include. Always touch base with your Resume Manager if you are not sure how to word a Career Note and they will be happy to assist you.