Apr 17, 2009
Drafting an effective résumé is key to contributing to a successful job search. Oftentimes, the résumé is the first thing a hiring manager reviews to determine your suitability for a potential opening. This first (and lasting) impression is critical; putting your best foot forward in creating a highly accomplishment-driven document will go a long way in ensuring that you are contacted. There are a number of things that should be considered to ensure your résumé works to your advantage:
Results - Everyone has responsibilities as part of their job. That does not engage or capture the reader though. It’s fairly boring to read ‘Responsible for…’ and whatever it is that you do on a daily basis. The key component is to provide the reader with an example of something you did that generated RESULTS for your employer. Consider the following acronym: SAR. This stands for Situation, Action, Result, and can help you define on paper what the situation was, the action you took, and the result that will demonstrate your ability to deliver. If you do this throughout your résumé, you will set a positive and proactive tone that you are a committed and productive individual who is able to serve as a change agent for a company.
It’s all in the Words - Using compelling verbs will serve to engage your reader. Try to come up with different verbs to lead the bullets or sections of your document. Avoid using the same words over and over again. The résumé is a marketing document. You need to take a step back and think “What would I think of this if I saw it for the first time?” Try to get inside the mind of the hiring manager. You want to impress and engage someone. Actionable word choices will help you do this. Some good résumé verbs: Spearheaded; championed; aligned; delivered; implemented. You get the idea – these words present a call to action.
Presentation -While ‘content is king,’ presentation plays a part in the recipe. People like to look at things that look nice – résumés are no exception to this rule. Your résumé should be presented in a consistent manner on the page. Ensure that the margins are aligned properly. Choose an appealing font like Book Antiqua in 10 pts. or something a bit stronger like Tahoma in 9.5 points. There are many fonts out there that hold more appeal than the totally boring Times New Roman. Once your résumé is complete, print it. Don’t just look at it on the screen. Printing it will give you a better sense of how you are presented overall.
Rules about Grammar and Spelling - If there are two things that will send your résumé straight to the circular file it is grammar and spelling mistakes. I recognize that we are not perfect – but, and there is always a but, your résumé must be perfect. If you know that this area is not your strong suit have someone else review it. It is also a good idea to have someone else look at it because the more you study it the less likely you are to catch small things that a fresh pair of eyes will capture. The Little Blue Book is a great resource to help with myriad grammar issues. Not sure how to spell something? Dictionary.com is there to help. Need another word for managed? No problem – check out Thesauras.com for synonyms. There are countless resources right at your fingertips. Gone are the days of heavy books; the online world allows access to the most inconceivable information, which you should use to your advantage.
The Downlow on Hobbies - Leave hobbies off the résumé unless a hobby for you is completing an Ironman Triathlon or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Simply stating that reading or running is a hobby is not very compelling. The hiring manager will learn about you in time. However, the aforementioned triathlon and climb is certainly of greater interest than reading books. In addition to being an icebreaker, which can set a personal tone to the meeting, those things also demonstrate a unique spirit and other traits that set you apart from your peers. The perseverance, commitment, and dedication needed for those things warrants referencing on the résumé. If not something really unique, leave it off.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and Chief Career Strategist of http://ResumesDoneWrite.com, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries. Debra is also the CareerDoctor (www.ResumesDoneWrite.blogspot.com)
Debra can be reached at DWheatman@ResumesDoneWrite.com
Few, however tied these programs together to clearly communicate and reinforce their Employment Brand. If you're going to put in place an incentive for your employees to speak with their friends and family about working for your company, you should ensure that your core values and unique programs are top of mind, and clearly understood by all. Again, as I have written several times, your values must be in line with the reality of your environment to ensure brand integrity, and ultimately brand loyalty.
When we consider changing recognition or appreciation programs in our company, we always closely examine how it will affect our ability to hire great people. As an extension of that, we explore how it will affect the retention of our current staff, and what potential word of mouth "advertising" they will bring to their communities.
Aside from offering the highest compensation in the land, a company's REPUTATION is the most important element to attracting applicants. Our company has built a reputation for fast growth, casual atmosphere, engaged employees at every level, and flexibility to generate, develop, and execute new initiatives. Our perks are very much in line with this reputation, and serve to reinforce our employer brand. Some of our special perks include Bring A Dog to Work Fridays, employee driven All Star Awards with photos on the wall, and company outings the local Triple-A baseball game, or a harbor cruise.
Even when times are tight, as they certainly are now for most companies, we understand that any changes we would make to these unique and special perks would impact our ability to retain and attract great employees in the future.
What special perks does your company offer, and how well do you connect them to your Employment Brand both internally and externally?
Apr 14, 2009
Here's a go at why I write the Recruiting Front Lines, and why you might care to read it or subscribe:
For than a decade I have have worked in marketing, sales, and advertising for media companies. In January of 2004, I joined JobsInTheUS.com, the umbrella of state-specific recruitment resources which now includes the leading resources (most job postings, events, and in-state traffic) in ME, NH, VT, and RI, along with growing presence in AL, CT, LA, MA, MS, NY, and PA.Okay, so I've never been one to be pithy or short on words. I hope this provides a good view of why I write and why I do what I do. Please feel free to visit often or subscribe to my feeds. If you know of someone who would be interested in following along, please share the link.
Starting in 2005, I was charged with building and managing a field marketing program that was focused on reinforcing our local focus by engaging job seekers and employers in the community. Through this activity, we have presented workshops at career centers and colleges, developed HRCI-accredited seminars and webinars for employers, promoted our brand at festivals, trade shows, and job fairs across our markets. Last year alone, we exhibited at more than 250 events in New England and the Gulf Coast.
While I captured a significant amount of market data for use in our sales and marketing, I had no outlet to share the qualitative information I was getting from front line managers, HR admins, job seekers, career counselors, and business owners. I started the Recruiting Front Lines as a way to record and share the stories, news, and trends that I was hearing first hand from both seekers and employers.
Over the past year, I have become much more involved in the HR community, and have found myself building a focus on employment branding, social media for HR, staffing management, and other recruiting/hr focused issues. I still attend many events, and continue to broaden my awareness and knowledge of the labor market from those most closely and directly affected by it every day.
Apr 12, 2009
1. If you are losing top talent to one specific competitor, why and what can you do about it?
2. Are you also hiring away top talent from you competitor, or is this a one way street?
There's really no way around this simple truth: Great companies are built by great employees.
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