The Career Club

a blog providing support & information on career building

Archive for the ‘Resumes’ Category

Put THIS in Your Resume

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Previously Posted 12 May 2009
Updated 15 December 2009

Lately, I’ve been receiving an astounding number of resumes a day to critique and edit. I take resumes seriously because it is the most important way to present yourself on paper; followed by applications and cover letters. However, some resumes that I’ve received have been so horrifying that I decided to dedicate a blog on what to put in your resume. If I don’t have it in here, you don’t put it in your resume. PERIOD.

So whether your putting together a functional or chronological resume, there are a few items that will be there regardless as well as those specific for either type of resume. For both types of resumes, you’ll be placing the following:

  1. Header – The header should only have your full name, address, phone number and email address. Oh and for all those that use other names, you must list that as well. For example, if your name is Edward Smith but everyone calls you “Bob”, then you’d write Edward “Bob” Smith. Simple.
  2. Qualifications or Skill Set – Mainly this is 3-5 bullets of what skills you have that make you a top choice for the position. On a functional resume, you’re listing “qualifications” including years of experience, specialized training in that line of work and special knowledge or expertise in that line of work. On a chronological resume, you’re listing “skill set” with skill traits such as being bilingual or receiving an award relevant to the line of work.
  3. Education – This area should only have the degree, school name, location and the year your expected to graduate if you haven’t already. Also, if applicable, note your minor or course work, no more then 3 bullets. If you completed any project of importance (and was through a semester or a good period of time), that should go in your work experience. Please don’t write out a summary of your masters’ thesis here!

Now the main and most important part of a resume is your experience versus your major skill sets. How you want to showcase what best represents you determines which resume format you use between a functional resume and a chronological resume.

In functional resumes, you will place under the header the job title or position in which you are applying for. Then, pick three major functions related to that job and below it list of at least three bullets of the appropriate tasks in which you did in your previous jobs. Then you simply list in the end your job title, company name, city and state location then the time period in which you worked there. This resume format is perfect for students or those with minimal job experience as it highlights your major skill sets rather then your long work history.

Functional Resume Template

For chronological resumes, you will list each position with the job title, company name, location and the time period in which you worked there. Under each job title, you’ll list at least three bullets of the tasks in which you did your previous jobs. This resume format is recommended for those who have a long history of working in a specialized area or want to show case their work history.

However, if you do have a long work history, you can list the most relevant history and note that should they require a complete work history, it is available upon request. From my personal experience, I’ve actually have shown this long history only twice but noting it’s availability is important. Make sure you keep an updated list of your work history so that you can also update your master application as well. Remember that your work history includes volunteer work and any major projects or contract work you completed. This is especially important for students who have done more volunteer work then paying jobs because any type of experience is relevant and should be listed.

Chronological Resume Template

Please remember that if you aren’t presented well on paper, the employer will not call you in for an interview. I recommend having your resume proof read and critiqued by at least two trusted individuals for constructive feedback.


Written by Ms. Hala

15 December 2009 at 2:27 am

Job Hunting Errors

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Since the economic downfall, I’ve been critiquing almost triple the resumes and conducting one on one counseling than the year before. I’ve also been scheduling several trainings on more campuses then ever before. It still completely boggles my mind the lack of education many of our students receive when it comes to the basics of looking for a job.

In this tight job market, employers are being very selective then before. Candidates need to be well aware of any habits or mistakes that could be the reasons they are not being hired. Years ago I came across an article by Costello, Erdian & Company thats to the point on the top job hunting errors. Here are the top 10 job hunting errors:

1. Poor Resume: The resume is used as a quick screening device by  most employeers. If it doesn’t strike them as outstanding, your chances of an interview may be nil. The resume should describe education and experience in a concise, well-written format. More importantly, it should emphasize accomplishments, over duties and responsibilities.

Create a quality resume using one of the following templates:
Functional Resume Template
Chronological Resume Template

2. Failure to Network: Friends, acquaintances and people you know should be sought out and their information be used in developing job leads.

3. Limiting Job Sources: Classified ads, employment agencies and other sources are often overlooked. Use all possible methods to learn of appropriate jobs.

4. Unplanned Approach: Pre-printed cover letters, quick and unimaginative phone calls and short non responsive resumes save time for the candidate but turn off employers who feel they will take short cuts in carrying out job responsibilities.

Write a simple but personized cover letter using the following template:
Simple Cover Letter Template

5. Too Short Work Week: For the unemployed, the job search should be a 40 hour per week proposition. You don’t get a job by only using part of your free time.

6. Inadequate Interview Preparation: Each situation is a separate challenge and requries unique preparation. Responses must be timely, flexible and address the specific needs of the employer.

7.  Poor Interviewselling  Techniques: A “give and take” honest relationship must be established during the interview. Candidate should exchange information while listening attentively, selling themselves and demonstrating enthusiasm for the job and the company.

Learn more about interviews by clicking here and here.

8. Restricted Job Search: Restrictions on geographical locations, commuting time, parking facilities, size and type of employer, and other personal matters should be secondary to the overall merit of an opportunity. Financial and professional pressures may also change your outlook later and make the opportunity more feasible. Remember that you can always decline a job offer if it is judged to be unattractive or a better one develops.

9. Negative Attitude: Candidates who “have all the answers criticize their managers, second guess employers” are seldom invited for second interviews. Negative attitudes toward prior jobs are seen as predictors of future performances.

10. Poor Physical Appearance: While there is no need to look like a movie star, candidates who do not demonstrate self-respect by creating a positive image are usually judged to be unacceptable.

Costello, Erdian, & Company
a national outplacement counseling and human resources consulting firm
as posted on University of Wisconsin’s Career Center

Fear Not the Unemployment Rate

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According to Sify News today, the unemployment rate in the nation is currently at 9.7%, the highist in 26 years. That’s with the job cuts being at it’s lowest this year, with 216,000 labor jobs cut in August.

What do these numbers mean? First of all, the unemployment rate is higher because it’s including those who did not find jobs from the months before. It is also high because blue collar jobs such as construction (with 65,000 job cuts) and manufacturing (with 63,000 job cuts) are being cut at a faster rate then white collar jobs, with the exception of the financial institutions (with 28,000 job cuts).

However, this report should not scare anyone. For one, the Department of Labor is working to bring in more jobs and make the job cuts even lower next month according to Secretary Hilda Solis. Remember that the stimulus package is slowly starting to fund many infrastructure projects which will help the construction sector. I do believe the government needs to mandate the overseas job sourcing for cheap labor. However, that idea will have to wait for another blog.

What can you do when you hear something like this? What ever you do, DO NOT PANIC! You would be surprised how many jobs are available out there, especially in many metro areas such as San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Houston and Miami. At least in San Francisco where I live, companies are going out of their way to not have any layoffs, but pay cuts so that their employees maintain their jobs. You will have to work harder then just posting your resume on an online job board. You’ll have to expand on your network, utilize the social media and even make a few cold calls. Organize your time as to what your tasks are in order to get back into the work force. Something as simple as looking up templates to perfect your resume can do you a lot of good in the near future.

Functional Resume Template

Chronological Resume Template

If you are self employeed as I am, you will have it tougher getting those contracts when businesses are on a strict budget. If you are willing to take on part-time job or even a second job along side your freelance work, I recommend you do so. I also recommend to all my job seekers to take refresher courses in their fields at their local community colleges. If you used to work in the construction or manufacturing sectors, I recommend going back for higher education in another feild or even a certification in a similar sector. It is never to late to pick up new skills that could even help you improve the skills you already have. The Department of Education is encouraging it if anything, they are helping fund it! I had much of my BSBA student loans bought out by the DoE at an extremely low interest rate!

In short, there is much hope in getting back into the workforce by doing your research, organizing your job search tasks, as well as going back to school. Until next time, fear not the unemployment rate reported, stay positive as you continue to work towards your goal.

Happy Labor Day!