Resume Writing Tips
By Paul D.
There are only a few simple steps to getting a job with a Resume (or Résumé, or Curriculum vitae, or CV).
We have a resume template coming soon as a sample file for Story Software. You can use this page for resume examples.
Nowadays it is recommended to promote yourself as a brand, using social media, websites, and video. These are all free on the web, using Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and your own blog. Since you are unemployed, you have the time to do all this!
Even if your usual job is a normal blue collar or white collar job (ie, not media or design or glamorous) you can still show that you are dependable, interesting, even normal! This online resume work is just to give you an advantage over the competition when you apply for a job. You might also get a job via the online resumes.
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Story Lite software can be used to keep to track of your job applications, by having a box for the job details, and a box for your response, application, feedback etc. These can be color coded – - hot jobs, boring jobs etc. Download it now, it’s free!
Business cards can be handed out. Include name, email, phone number, what you do. In Asia, they are crammed with information, but in the West they are more designed.
If you have an online resume, make a QR Code for your main website, to print on the card. Then people can use their smart phone or tablet to scan the QR Code and go straight to your website. QR Code stands for Quick Response Code, and is a 2D matrix barcode that a smart phone or tablet can scan. Our QR Code is to the right side of this screen now!
Social Networking and Social Media
These days it is a good idea to use Social Networking to at least keep up a positive profile. Make sure you have a good LinkedIn or similar profile, perhaps have both a Work profile and a Friends profile on the sites like Facebook, etc.
In Facebook this is done by having a select custom profile (friends) for certain images etc. This can be used for close friends only, not work or people you might ‘friend’ even though they are actually colleagues or employers.
There is a new job hunting app BranchOut on Facebook which might be of interest.
Alternatively a professional .name domain can work (eg, www.yourname.name).
New York design company Marc Jacobs has a popular Twitter account by Duffy (CEO Robert Duffy). They have become the first company to ‘interview’ by Twitter, for the post of social media director (writer, strategist).
This was advertised on their Twitter feed which has 90,000 followers. Applicants have to ‘say something clever’ to get the job. This is presumably a pre interview selection process.
This shows how important it is to keep up with developments in your industry, and social media, from company and journalist blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter, is the most instant.
For some jobs you can post a video statement on YouTube .
This has been done with great success, but the job type is important. A job as an accountant might not suit a video, but a job in PR, media, the Web, journalism, etc, might be a way to stand out. You have to have good production values, and make everything clear and engaging. Don’t forget to tune it to the particular job, don’t use just one general video clip.
And get it checked by someone independent, not your best mate.
Employers will still look at your Resume, so here are some tips:
The job vacancy or position
What is this with ‘position’? I would like a job lying down all day please. (Become an under-car mechanic).
Choose a suitable job – not a fantasy job (spaceman’s assistant etc)
You are probably looking on:
- Job seeker’s web sites – great but huge competition
- Local noticeboards – for non-executive jobs like retail, cleaning
- Ask friends and relatives – can be helpful
- Walk up and down streets banging on doors – and talking to people – this is quite effective for retail, catering and bar jobs, as if you are friendly they might take your details and get back to you. These places have a high turnover
- Agencies – good to get a job, and temporary jobs can be converted to full time (and you get paid too)
Read the job requirements carefully
Make sure you have the basic qualifications – you will not get short-listed if you miss even one essential point.
If it says ‘new graduate’ and you are 50 and just out of a job, don’t bother. Over 40s are a special case (yes I have been there) and you might need to revamp your expectations. Self-employment and consultancy are good routes. This is a vast topic. Age discrimination is illegal in Europe.
Apply for all jobs in your chosen field, as the ‘lower’ jobs might be the only ones you get offered on.
Also, you might get lucky and get a better job than you think you will get – interviewing can be a bit random.
All of it is practise in writing, editing, interviews, presentation, answering hard questions, keeping calm and confident etc.
The Resume Cover Letter
This is just a guide to the Resume – so no showing off and don’t make any jokes, or any negative comments; don’t mention your last job, unless it is very relevant, and a positive experience – it will be in the Resume anyway.
- keep it short – half a page is fine
- spelling and grammar must be perfect
- a clear layout, don’t add clip art etc.
- show you have the requirements and/or qualifications in the job description
- show you are interested in the job
- show that you are ready to work, or when you will be available (if you get the job of course)
- leave everything else out and put it in the Resume (ie, school grades, hobbies, accomplishments etc)
- avoid negatives, unless required by law
- don’t mention you are a karate black belt or they might feel threatened!
- perhaps mention any Nobel prizes, they are a special case
The Resume (or Résumé)
Having once been the hiring person for different programming teams, I would say the cover letter is hardly glanced at (unless it is a mess, it can only have a negative effect).
The Resume has to be neat, instantly in focus for the actual job, and also quickly show any extras that might come in handy later on; hobbies, religion etc. are irrelevant.
The cover letter advice also applies to the Resume.
- focus on the actual job on offer – do not send out a general resume to all jobs – edit it to suit
- keep the language and page layout neat and tidy and easy to read
- use lists and bullet points
- keep the language simple and focus on achievements (with facts and figures if impressive)
- list your good points as pertaining to the actual job
- team work is important even if for a solo type job – so mention any positions of responsibility, unless it is ‘organised trip to pub’ – instead say you were the Team Social Organiser – that is positive
- look at similar job offers to see if they have other requirement in case this job listing left them off – and it makes you look like an all-rounder in that field
- be positive. But no poems
- layout of the page – keep to one or at most two pages
- do not cram lots in – plenty of white space and aim for clarity
- do not use a tiny font size or too much bold, italic etc.
- no colors (unless subtle)
- no photos – unless they ask for, which is rare, unless you are a model
- get a friend or relative to have a look at it before you send it off
- unless in a big hurry, sleep on it (not literally) and double check everything in the morning
- send by registered post or hand deliver.
Resume Page order
Start with Professional Experience in reverse order – most recent first (ie, last or current job)
Then Academic Achievements
This usually goes back to GCSE or school level.
Then Relevant Activities
These should be up-to-date and obviously positive. They should not be taken up (looked at) by the hirer until the end of the process, but some will check them around the time of the shortlisting to save wasted interviews.
The idea is to show that your whole life has been aiming towards this great job you have applied for.
Don’t forget to edit your Resume or CV for each job vacancy or position.
Story Software sample resumes and resume templates will be here very soon. We will also be adding Resume Writing to our new courses that are coming in November 2011.
See also Wikipedia on Resume >