Monthly Archives: April 2011

Resume Death by Objective Statement

Original post on:  http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/ 

 
One of the reasons job seekers dislike writing resumes is because they dread writing an objective statement.  Job seekers worry that the statement will be too specific or too broad.   So, what do most job seekers write as an objective statement? Most sound just like this: “Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and abilities and give me the experience I need for a future career.”   Frankly, this type of statement is a waste of precious resume real estate.

My advice, delete that meaningless objective statement.  Objective statements focus on what the job seeker wants.  The job search by its very nature is about marketing your services to a company in need of someone with your specific skills and abilities.  The first thing to do when you create your personal marketing campaign is to determine your unique value proposition.  Once you have identified your value proposition, the next step is to create a complete marketing portfolio with your value proposition as the continual message.  This is what creates your personal brand.

Your resume is a snapshot of your personal brand that communicates what you have to offer to prospective employers.  Have you ever seen a marketing document that focuses on what the seller wants?  Absolutely not!  Effective marketing focuses on what the buyer needs and wants.  The employer is the buyer that has outlined their needs for a certain position.  Every word on a resume must promote the value that a potential employee can bring to the position and employer.

Objective statements have no place on a resume because they don’t market the features and benefits of hiring you, the candidate.  A buyer-focused resume opens with a profile statement that summarizes the value you bring to an organization.  Instead of an objective statement, write a profile of your skills or a summary of your qualifications.  Profile or summary statements communicate the value or solution you bring to the equation.  They’re employer-focused statements designed to grab the attention of hiring managers.

Employers want to know what types of positions you are seeking, and a well-written skills profile will promote the value you bring to the employer while at the same time communicating exactly what position or career path you are seeking.  For example, a well-written skills profile might read “Financial professional with nine years of experience in valuations, financial modeling and analysis.”

The next time you start to write an objective statement, stop and write an introduction to your resume that is something that the employer wants to read.  Ask yourself, what does the employer need from an ideal job candidate?  Do not let a traditional and meaningless objective statement kill your resume.

5 Most Common Resume Writing Mistakes Job Seekers Make

Original post on www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog

Anymore, editing resumes is only a small portion of what I do.  Instead, I teach students how to write a resume the right way in the first place.  Over 80% of the resumes that I am asked to edit must be completely rewritten due to five common resume mistakes.  Some of these mistakes used to be acceptable resume writing practices, but times have changed and if you want to be competitive in today’s job market, you must change with the times.

  • 1. Passive Voice: Have you ever started a bullet point with “responsible for” “participated in” or “assisted with”?  At one time or another, every job seeker has probably written a bullet point in a passive voice.  What makes this a mistake is that passive does not sell, ACTION SELLS.  Without action, you cannot have results. When you sit down to write your bullet points begin the sentence using action words such as developed, introduced, accelerated, built, designed, etc. Using action words makes your resume more hard-hitting and compels the reader to keep reading.
  • 2. Quantifiable Results: I am amazed at the number of resumes that I see with bullet points that only state the tasks performed in a job with no mention of the accomplishments that followed. If your efforts resulted in increased revenue of 45%, make sure you include that valuable information in your resume. Your ability to communicate quantifiable accomplishments such as volume, percentages, and numbers will greatly differentiate you from the competition.  Prove your value wherever possible.  Failure to do so is a huge mistake.
  • 3. Objective Statements: My advice to job seekers is to omit an objective statement and replace it with a statement of purpose or summary statement. Objective statements typically focus on what the job seeker wants and not on what the company needs.  If well written, a statement of purpose or summary statement will promote the job seeker’s value, and as a result, what the job seeker wants.
  • 4. Personal Information: You may want the employer to know more about you, but the resume is not the place for personal information.  Honestly, this information should not be shared during the interview process at all.  Marital status, number of children, or place of birth bear no weight on your marketability for the position and may eliminate you as a potential candidate.
  • 5. Grammar: Let me start by saying that spelling and grammar mistakes are the most common reasons that hiring managers toss resumes into the trashcan. Rule number one to avoid these resume mistakes, never trust spell check.  For example, lead is a word, but it is an error if meant it in the past tense form of the word, which is led.  While spell check would not catch the error—a prospective employer will.  Another error often overlooked on resumes is properly capitalizing words. One of the most common places that I find these errors is the resume heading.  Yes, I said it, the heading.  If you live on Smith St. be sure that you do not type Smith st.

Your resume is the story of your career experiences and achievements.  Errors discount your value and minimize your ability to communicate the value you bring to a prospective employer.  Your resume is the hiring manager’s first impression of you.  Remember that old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression”.

Combine Sizzle and Steak in Your Resume Writing

Original post from www.careerwizards.com/blog

Typically, when we write a resume, we open a blank page in MS Word and start at the top with our personal information.  We add a few tabs and set the font, and then what?  If you write an objective and then list your work experience, this blog is perfect for you.  This approach to resume writing might sound common but is, in fact, the most ineffective way to marketing your skills and abilities.

Beginning a resume with an objective statement followed by a list of work experiences is a thing of the past.  This resume writing approach focuses only on facts and what the job seeker wants rather than what the employer needs.  Today’s marketplace requires job seekers to focus on marketing their unique value proposition to potential employers.  Think about it, the employer is the consumer, right? With that information in mind, consider what should drive the advertising message for this vital marketing document.

If  you really want to write an effective resume, my advice is to forget everything you have ever been taught about resume writing.  Don’t open a blank page and start writing because you will forget your audience every time with this approach.  Your first step should be to break down your past experiences.  For every work or leadership experience, list the duties, accomplishments, and skills that you demonstrated, along with a copy of the job description(s) for which you want to apply, and then compare the two.  Prove that you possess the skills and competencies that the employer needs in this position. Using these two documents, write a summary statement at the top of your resume that promotes a snapshot of the value you will bring to the job.

The best practice when writing a professional resume is to tell a successful story about the candidate.  When writing your own resume, don’t let resume buzz words get in the way of the action or “sizzle” of your story.  Phrases such as “responsible for, acted as, and participated in” diminish the impact of your message and will not inspire hiring authorities to read your resume.

Remember that the average time spent during the first pass of a resume is roughly 10-20 seconds.  Frankly, readers scan for relevance and focus on finding candidates to eliminate the first time through the stack as opposed to targeting the ideal candidates.

A resume needs to be a job seeker’s written masterpiece.  Resumes beginning with the typical “Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and experience” will not merit a second look.  A professional opening to your resume will grab the attention of the reader and get right to the heart of the employer’s needs.   This is what brings the sizzle and steak together.

A resume that only contains bland facts displayed in a tasteless manner will usually be overlooked. Whereas a resume that addresses the needs and interests of prospective employers will result in invitations to interviews.

To learn more about how Career Wizards can help you develop a resume that focuses on the job you want and how you are qualified for it, visit us at http://www.careerwizardsinc.com. And please feel free to reach out to us through our “Contact Us” page. We look forward to hearing from you!