jespah
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 06:16 am
I recently came across an article about resume writing.
It said a lot of things I've already seen/heard, although it does put the information together succinctly.

About the only new thing it told me was that I shouldn't go back beyond about 10 - 15 years unless the work is truly relevant. Frankly, that's helpful to me as it nicely glides over a gap in work experience and it does get rid of some truly irrelevant stuff (I adjusted claims for a while, etc., whereas now I work in IT), but I've been summarizing a lot of that already. Seems to me that I may need to summarize more, which is fine and would also give me some room, as currently I am barely within the 2 page limit.

Now, I'm not looking for work or anything, but I do like to keep my resume up to date. What are your tips for resume writing? Have your ideas changed over time? Would you provide different advice depending upon electronic versus paper versions of a resume? Me, I'm in the work force for something like a quarter of a decade. What would you say to me? Or to someone just starting out? Or to someone further along in their career than I am?

What works for you?
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sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 06:56 am
I think it depends on your age.

Claims adjuster means attention to detail and organization skills and good writing skills.

One thing about having an lot of experience and considering the economy, I'd write the resume to fit the needs of the job.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 07:35 am
@jespah,
Right out of school, I had mine done by a professional resume writing service; they made tremendous improvements.

One thing they did was make the whole thing more dynamic by making each bullet point an action:

Designed and implemented a new networking topology

Then, they made sure to include how it affected the company:

Designed and implemented a new networking topology, which improved reliability and increased productivity.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 09:40 am
I read a lot of resumes, and what I am looking for is basically the "no frills"
facts. Meaning: don't elaborate on a 10-finger-keyboard knowledge and other
tasks that are a basic expectation. I don't like to see frequent job changes
of less than 2 years and I don't care for personal references that include Aunt Dottie.
I'd like to see a great layout where I can find dates and qualifications, job
experience and expectations in an instant. It's okay to email a resume but I
prefer an attached pdf file. It's also okay to make a "cold call" to see if there
are any openings, as this shows me that the person is proactive.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 09:43 am
@CalamityJane,
Best job (current job, actually, coming up on 11 years) I ever got was from cold-calling. Went through the yellow pages, four hours a day. Got two hits on the third day....
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 09:55 am
That's really interesting -- thank you, everyone -- re the cold calling. Certainly the odds are better if the call is not truly cold, but it's great to know that that isn't wasted time.

I know I need to be better at networking. I have some improvement since I can now do some networking online (LinkedIn, Facebook {a bit}, etc.), but I still find in-person to be somewhat daunting.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:07 am
@DrewDad,
I think that was Quarter of a Century...

My best job was also from cold calling. The country was in a recession, and my new profession, landscape architecture, was badly hit by that. I worked my fingers through the Los Angeles phone book under Landscape Architects, and also hit paydirt about the third or fourth day. This was a long time ago though - perhaps people were nicer then. A lot of the people who answered the phone were happy enough to talk with me even if they had no openings. Perhaps that is because many land archs have their own practices with fairly few employees.

With someone with as much experience in IT as Jes and who would be looking in IT, I'd think she could skip the claims work. I can understand an applicant using some older data if it is relevant.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:28 am
@jespah,
One thing I've done on that older experience is to note: Other experiences include and list those jobs titles. In my industry most know the job titles or they are similar.

One thing I like is to include a cover letter - that way you can outline some specific strengths even those that are not as obvious by your job responsibilities.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:37 am
@Linkat,
I used to read a lot of resumes. I had an instinctive negative reaction to what I felt was braggadocio from people either just out of school or with little experience. I tended not to see that in resumes where people had put in more time working in the field. Braggadocio is not simply listing capabilities and accomplishments and their relevance, but putting a certain tone to the listing. That's a little hard to describe, perhaps you will know what I mean.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:46 am
@jespah,
You can network when you call; ask if they know any other folks in the field, or folks that might be looking. Then the next call you make can be, "I spoke with Jes and she gave me your name...."

Personally, I think you have better odds of finding a great job cold-calling than you do answering an ad. When you're answering an ad, you're competing with everyone else. Cold-calling lets you find that job that just opened up, but they haven't placed an ad, yet.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:48 am
I once attended a job-hunting seminar where there speaker said to go easy on elaborate fontage: i.e. don't use one font for headings, a different font for subheadings, yet another font for bullet-point text, etc. You don't want to make your resume look like a wedding invitation. He said elaborate fontage and excessively creative layouts distract the reader and cause him or her to wonder about the free time you must have on your hands rather than on the content of your resume.

Another tip that's come in handy is that when you're working on your resume you should picture yours sitting in the middle of a stack of possibly hundreds of other resumes, and what you should be thinking about is how you can make it easy for your readers to find yours again--i.e. how to put the most essential identifying information near the top of the page so that readers can easily sift through it and find that guy from U. Chicago who works at Widgets Inc. whose application they remembered reading a few days ago.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 10:55 am
@Shapeless,
High-quality paper. Off-white, but not a weird color.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:15 am
Also, make sure your email address isn't juvenile-sounding like "[email protected]" or something like that.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:28 am
@Shapeless,
Oh, definitely - some people have the worst-sounding email addresses and don't seem to even think about that.

Most of my (much) older experience is way outside the field of IT. However, I also have a JD and practiced, so that stands out quickly. I swear half the time I get interviews because someone wants to take a look at the gal who threw over law for IT. This tends to get me in some doors.

I've also gotten a company award (last job), which is on my resume plus I use it in my quickie pitch. It's got a good hook to it, too, as I essentially turned a 30-day report (er, a report that it took 30 days to do) into a 3-hour one. Never mind that the person I took it over from did not truly understand computers. They were very grateful, hence the nomination for said award. I love to be able to end that little story with, " ... and that's how I won a company award." Smile

I've never converted any resume to a PDF file. That's a great tip as it retains the formatting. And I agree, too much formatting and frills are distracting. I want you to read my resume, not admire how facilely I can switch from Ultra Boldoni to Arial.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:36 am
@Shapeless,
Yes Shapeless, that is a valid point: a professional email is a must.
I agree with DrewDad, cold calling is still a great tool in addition to sending
out resumes to prospective employers.

Not long ago, we had an employee that wasn't working out too great and I was debating on what to do, though had not made up my mind completely yet. Then, when I got a cold call from a pleasant voice, I asked for her resume to be faxed (please don't use liquor store fax machines). In the end, it did not work for us, but she had at least her foot in the door.

jespah, even though we're a small corporation, most of our employees were/are hired through networking. I like the fact that people are known to
either current employees or affiliates who know of their reputation and
work ethics.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:40 am
@Shapeless,
Something that I've learned over the years is that as you work your way up the corporate hierarchy - the bigger the font you need. More often than not - VP's are going to be older than supervisors or managers. As it becomes more likely that your resume is going to be reviewed at a higher rank, the more likely it is that your reviewer needs bifocals. Not BIG print, just a slightly larger font - which then means you need to edit your resume even more judiciously as you have space for fewer words.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:44 am
I've only seen something counter to the "don't get all creative" rule once, and that was done by a landscape arch who was, in fact, creative in a sophisticated way, and I bet that helped him get picked out for a job at that then prestigious firm. (I was a go-pher/presentation drawing person at that firm, and read the resume files at some point.) I've never worked for a graphics firm, so I've no idea if their resumes are all down the line fine-paper and no pizzazz.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 01:23 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Not BIG print, just a slightly larger font - which then means you need to edit your resume even more judiciously as you have space for fewer words.


Interesting! I would never have thought to take into account something like that.

I confess to being a bit font-obsessive in my own documents (syllabi and such), but I do try to achieve a happy middle ground in resumes. I avoid fonts that are so extravagant as to be annoying to the eye, but I do like to use fonts other than Arial, Times New Roman, etc. in order to make it easier for readers to pick mine out from a stack, as mentioned above.

This is more pertinent to academic c.v.'s than professional resumes, but I've learned that one's graduate degree has to be handled delicately. If you are applying to the kind of job where employers will be particularly interested in what your specialty was in grad school, then you should include details like the title of your thesis/dissertation rather than simply listing that you have a degree in whatever. I've even seen c.v.'s that included the names of the applicant's thesis advisers. On the other hand, once one has been out of grad school for a few years it seems like listing one's thesis title becomes a liability: it might give the impression that you are too narrowly focused ("Can this guy do anything besides Victorian literature?") or that you still identify yourself with your graduate work ("Hasn't this guy done anything since grad school?"). In these cases, it is better simply to list your degree and be done with it.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 03:11 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

Now, I'm not looking for work or anything, but I do like to keep my resume up to date. What are your tips for resume writing?
What works for you?

Here's my tip: Know your Reader.

This may not always be possible, but if there's any way you can find out who will be reading the resumes and what they are looking for you will know where to focus your efforts.

For example, I do a lot of hiring so I have to read tons of resumes. I also have a very strong "engineering" type personality, so fancy resumes with long descriptions are a waste on me. I'm looking for raw data in very clear direct format. When I receive resumes in .doc format the first thing I do is "Select all" copy, and paste the whole thing into an Email without any formatting, then Email it to myself and stash it in the list with all the other resumes (so they all look the same).

When I go through the list I summarize them into "Name", "Geographic location of individual", "Skill level", "unusual notes of interest". All the highest skill levels are filtered into a particular list and sub-filtered for geography. Everything else goes into a backup list. I rarely find myself needing to go to the backup list, usually all my hiring is done from the correct geographies with the highest skills.

If Geography and Skills are equal, then I look into anything personal comments which were included to try to figure out who is the friendliest person (because I require personable behavior for the job I'm trying to fill). The top candidates then get a phone call and I evaluate on communications skills. In-person interviews are last.

I'm sure some managers are looking for pretty resumes (I only look for correct punctuation and writing skills), but I don't care about format at all, and the harder it is for me to summarize the skill set, the less likely I'll spend time on it.




0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 04:59 pm
This is truly fascinating, and it makes so much sense. Beth, I love your font info; never, ever would've thought of that. Ros, similar idea, what does the reader want from me (or someone like me) when hiring? Well, if they're an engineer, they certainly don't want to hear about too much fluffy stuff. Unless, of course, they're hiring for soft skills (I tend to be the soft skills person in engineering departments, so I tread a line in some ways).
 

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