Monthly Archives: July 2011

Resume: Standardized Templates

Most popular word pressing programs offer templates for several documents including resumes. My advice to anyone seeking to present a professional resume whether that be for a new job or application to an MBA or any graduate program is to refrain from using standardized templates. There are several professional resume services available with free templates to use which are all accepted by business today.

A word processing resume template screams amateur and is not taken seriously at the professional level of the job search. White space is important, but your resume should always be designed in relation to the types of positions and careers you are seeking. Your resume should be your masterpiece and be designed in a way that shares the most important information in the most effective way possible.

Professional resume writing organizations such as the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches has a robust database of resume writers with the most professional templates available. There are also several other associations to search as well. Take the value of your resume seriously and don’t look like an amateur. If your resume looks like an amateur, so will you as the job seeker.

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Creating a Presence with LinkedIn Groups

Joining groups on LinkedIn can be a very profitable opportunity for building relationships and gaining information for job seekers if used effectively.  Job seekers often ask me how to meet people on LinkedIn, and I can tell you right now that asking people you do not know to add you to their contacts list isn’t the way to go.  Here is a quick list of 7 things you can do to create a professional presence in your LinkedIn Groups which will result in building your contact base.

  1. Introduce yourself on the group.  Let everyone know you have joined and what you hope to learn from the content discussed.
  2. Join in on conversations in the group.  Comment on what you are learning or maybe add something you have recently read. 
  3. Watch the LinkedIn and online activity of the other members of the group.  See what others are doing and try to emulate when appropriate.
  4. Look for group member’s blogs and be sure to comment every now and then. 
  5. Ask to connect with members of the group once you have established yourself.  This might take a few weeks or a few months.  You just want to make sure you don’t join the group and immediately start asking everyone to be your contact.
  6. Follow the companies of group members and show interest in the companies represented.  The people involved in groups all belong to potential employers. Always remember that very important fact.
  7. If joining a group for an association, look for information on national conferences and either attend or join in on discussions for those not attending.  A growing trend is group conversations for those not attending a conference.  Look for twitter hash tags. 

Building a professional reputation online isn’t about increasing your number of contacts alone.  You have to prove that you are interested in what others have to say and that you want to learn from the experts.  Remember the simple rule of effective networking is showing you care more about other’s needs than your own.

Adding an Internship to an Already Full-page Resume

Each year I receive numerous questions from returning students on how to add an internship to an already full-page resume.  Students struggle with what to delete in order to fit the job description and accomplishments from their internship onto the page.  How do they decide what to delete in order to add more information?  Can they have a two-page resume? 

If you only have a certain amount of space to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, you need to identify what information MUST be on your resume and not focus so much on what to delete.  Too often, especially early in our careers, we work to add as much information as possible to our resumes to fill the page.  Then, once we start getting substance to our portfolios we struggle with that to delete.  Your goal is to have a resume that promotes the value you will offer potential employers.   Can one have a two-page resume as an undergrad or graduate student?  While some people will say some graduate students can certainly have a two-page resume, most still say keep it to one page.   Regardless of the length, the purpose of a resume remains to be a document that grabs the attention of the reader to promote knowledge, skills and abilities. 

After completing an internship, you should see that this experience is what needs to be on your resume as opposed to bullet points from previous jobs.  You will start to distinguish between your work history and professional experience.  Jobs that allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and value towards your future career goals will take the place of jobs in which you answered the phone for a parent’s company or other part time jobs. 

Each time you add something to your resume, decide whether this experience is better suited to market your ability in the future or just state what you did in the past.  Your high school experiences helped you get into a great college or university; your college experiences help you land a great entry-level position.