Professional Resume Review – Selling Your Brand

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

On the job market, you are a product. You’re one of many, actually, lining the hypothetical aisles of the employment grocery store with recruiters and hiring managers reading your resume like the back of a box.

How well does your resume sell you? Is it perfectly packaged like a top-tier brand that an employer simply can’t ignore? Or does it fall into the generic category – bland, uninspiring and destined for an extended shelf life?

YOU are your personal marketing, branding and sales team all wrapped into one. And especially if you want to capture recruiter attention in the marketing industry, you better make sure you’re hitting all of the right metrics.

This week’s critique (below) falls a bit short of elite product presence but with a little help from our writer critique, can be rebuilt into a dynamic, market-leading resume.

As is so often the case, the major need for improvement in the document below falls into two main categories: Format and content. Read our writer comments as the resume is critiqued section by section, and find ideas to improve your own document.

Even if you’re not a Director of Marketing, your objective is to SELL, SELL, SELL!

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE. Get started here

Professional Resume Critique 12.5.14 – Selling by TopResume

Professional Resume Critique 12.5.14 – Consistency

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

Unlike previous weeks in this section, the critique below is less focused on industry and more centered on one of the fundamentals of a great resume: Consistency.

The below document is plagued with inconsistencies across format, font sizes and the way in which information is conveyed. Ask any reviewer what makes the list of their top pet peeves and a sporadically presented resume will be on it.

Your resume in most cases is your introduction to hiring managers. Imagine meeting them for the first time and spouting out some incoherent sentences while flailing your arms wildly in the air. That scenario is akin to sending in a disorganized document.

If you can’t come across as organized and concise in your initial “interaction,” then you likely won’t be asked to come back for an interview. If there is one thing to learn from the marked up document below, it is that details matter.

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE. Get started here

Professional Resume Critique 12.5.14 – Consistency by TopResume

Professional Resume Critique 11.21.14

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

Considering the vast mix of cultures and backgrounds of the American population, global experience is an absolute advantage for professionals in any industry. Yet, day after day we see so many clients undervalue their international experience or bilingual abilities when it comes time to highlight them on a resume.

The marked-up document below is a prime example of this. This client is a senior manager in the hospitality industry, which by nature facilitates collaboration between diverse populations. Our client mentions the fact that he has global experience and can speak two languages, but he doesn’t explain why those attributes make him a must-hire!

It is vitally important that the client rewrite his opening summary to shine a spotlight on his ability to interact and converse with people of various backgrounds. Another aspect missing from the top third of page one – the most critical section of resume real estate – is any focus on guest relations. This is a major misstep considering his industry.

Yes, it is important to highlight your ability to cut costs, automate operations and lead teams to success, but not at the risk of downplaying the importance of guest satisfaction and your multicultural experience. We rewrote the document to this client’s delight, but below is our initial critique that helped shape the overhaul process.

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE.   Get started here.

A Resume Analysis By TopResume 11.21.14 by TopResume

Example TopResume Critique – How Does Yours Compare?

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

Every professional faces a challenge when it comes to his or her career. Senior executives with 25 years of experience who suddenly find themselves on the job market may find it overwhelming to start a job search so late in their career.

Likewise, a new or pending college graduate is presented with fierce competition and a shaky employment market from the jump – a different but completely legitimate challenge.

In this week’s resume review, our client falls into the latter category. Set to gradate with a bachelor’s degree in 2015, our emerging professional is struggling to find an identity, and struggling even more to convey one on paper. The one-page format is best for this client’s needs, but it’s what is within the document that is going to make it challenging to grab and demand recruiter attention.

And when going against hundreds of candidates in the business management and marketing sectors, catching the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager is absolutely crucial.

Check out the marked-up document below for specific recommendations on how to achieve this, as well as for document-wide improvements that could help transform the resume and re-brand our client.

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE.   Get started here.

TopResume Blog 11.14.2014 by TopResume

Resumes Through HR’s Eyes

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

This week’s resume comes from one of the most highly sought-after industries for Ph.D. job candidates – higher education. Professor positions in the United States pay an average of nearly $100,000, as recently reported by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. Now consider the great insurance packages and potential for a tenured position. It’s apparent why the industry is so competitive.

The resume below was in need of some help to compete for any of the nation’s upper-tier instructor and professor positions.

While in an acceptable format, the document’s content was the main issue prior to our professional writer completely overhauling the resume. This is a common mistake we see in education-focused resumes – candidates think that bland is best when that’s simply not the case.

The truth is, university hiring managers want to see a little of your personality shine through your resume. You will, after all, be inspiring and preparing students for future success. Credentials and publications are vital to highlight, but so too is your passion for teaching.

Check out the marked-up document below for specific recommendations on how to achieve this, as well as for document-wide improvements that could bring this resume from back-of-the-class to teacher’s pet.

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE. Get started here.

A Resume Analysis By TopResume by TopResume

A Resume Critique By Our Writers

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

This week’s resume comes from the financial sector, which means hiring managers are expecting one thing: Quantitative Results. In plain speak, give them the numbers! In industries like finance, sales and marketing, numbers can literally be the defining factor in a candidate receiving and not receiving a call for an interview.

This particular resume is lacking in the numbers department, as well as some formatting essentials that could have made the document much more presentable.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the resume is how it uses a chronological format when listing job history. This can immediately throw off a hiring manager, who is looking for what you have achieved within the past 10 to 15 years.

This all probably sounds pretty gloomy, however, there are some positives within the document that one of our professional resume writers would be able to really make shine.

One solid aspect is how the client separated job tasks from achievements. His most notable accomplishments are in bullet format, which helps make them easier to spot upon a review. Unfortunately, the language throughout the resume does nothing to excite a reader into wanting to reach out for an interview.

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE. Get started here.

TopResume Blog Series by TopResume

A Resume Critique By Our Writers

A powerful resume unlocks doors.   A poorly crafted one places more in your way.

Each week we review a resume in need of some help. Our comments are authentic, straightforward and 100% tailored to the particular document you will see. We aren’t necessarily re-writing the resume, rather marking it up and giving tips for improvement.

This week’s resume is in dire need of a facelift. Its format is outdated and would quickly fail in the ultimate mission of a job-seeker: exciting a hiring manager. To be fair, the professional field that this resume is targeting isn’t graphic design or web development – industries that almost require visually stunning, innovative designs to catch the attention of recruiters. But still.

The language is also antiquated and weak. One section you’ll see has at least three bullet points beginning with the word ‘provided.’ The way you state your job tasks is absolutely crucial in telling your story. ‘Provided’ isn’t going to cut it. We have tips inside the document for more impactful action words.

Enjoy!

Reading the in-document critique may leave you questioning the quality of your resume but please note we are not out to scare, but prepare you for future career success. A TopResume writer is ready to critique your resume today – FOR FREE. Get started here.

Writing A Winning Cover Letter

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A cover letter serves two important functions, says recruiter Emy Unger. It introduces and sells you. Putting your best foot forward means sending a thoughtful, distinct letter, so consider these nine tips:

1. KEEP IT SHORT. The ideal cover letter is about half a page long, and never exceeds one page. A concise letter demonstrates that you are focused and have strong communication skills. Aim for two to four brief paragraphs.

2. STATE THE POSITION. The recruiter who reads your letter may be hiring for several posts. While candidates who e-mail their resumes often include the job title in the subject line of their e-mails, if the recruiter prints a letter out before reading it, such information may be lost. Clearly state the job title in the first paragraph of the letter, preferably in the first sentence.

3. EXPLAIN WHY YOU WANT THE JOB. “Candidates should always answer the question ‘Why do I want to do this work?’” says Unger. Ask yourself how the position fits into your overall career plans and what you find exciting about the particular sector. A genuine show of enthusiasm and knowledge will set you apart from those sending generic form letters.

4. CLEARLY DESCRIBE WAYS YOU WILL CONTRIBUTE. According to Andrew Posner, a career counselor and website consultant in San Francisco, this is the most important element of a cover letter. After carefully reading the job description, write a paragraph outlining one or two specific examples of how your skills and experiences will fit the company’s needs.

5. MATCH, BUT DON’T REITERATE, YOUR RESUME. This is one point many job seekers find tricky. You should never claim experience in your cover letter that isn’t reflected on your resume. Doing so makes you look like a liar. At the same time, your cover letter shouldn’t simply restate your resume. When you explain the ways you will contribute, refer to an experience or skill on your resume to show how you will add value to the company.

6. DON’T SAY YOU’RE NOT QUALIFIED. Even if you think the position is out of your reach, your job is to convince the recruiter you are qualified. If the recruiter thinks you’re unqualified, a confessional letter is not going to get you an interview. Keep the letter positive by focusing on your transferable skills and unusual accomplishments.

7. KEEP THE TONE AND CONTENT PROFESSIONAL. “Don’t be a comedian, don’t get really personal, and don’t beg for the job,” says Unger. Recruiters are more likely than not to think your attempts at humor or stories about your personal life are just plain weird.

8. TELL THE READER WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO NEXT. Too many job seekers never follow up after sending a resume. “Saying what you’re going to do next is the second-most important thing to do in your letter,” says Posner. “It forces you to make a commitment to action.” If the job post lists a phone number, indicate you will call within a specified time to arrange an interview. If not, consider calling anyway, unless the post specifically requests “no calls.” You may also consider a follow-up e-mail if you sent your resume electronically.

9. PROOFREAD. AGAIN. Using a spell checker is not enough. Many recruiters will dismiss even the most qualified candidate if there’s one typo in the cover letter or resume. Reread your letter two or three times, then give it to someone else who knows a thing or two about good writing. Even if your letter is free of typos, poor grammar also makes a bad impression.

5 Things To Do Before Writing Your Resume

When applying for a new job, a great resume is extremely important in order to get your foot in the door. It is especially important when you think about the fact that on average, about 250 resumes are submitted per each corporate job opening.

While this number obviously fluctuates depending on the industry and company, it still showcases the importance of a strong resume to get you noticed. However, you can’t just dive into writing your resume without any preparation.

So for your convenience, I have compiled a list of 5 things to do before writing your resume that will help you not only with the writing process, but also help to land you an interview.

1. Make a List Of All Your Jobs

Depending on your age, the number of jobs that you have held can vary drastically. Nevertheless, you should make a complete list of every job that you have ever held and list them in reverse chronological order (from most recent moving backward).

If you have worked in a large collection of positions, then you probably won’t list all of them, but you will have a good pool to choose from.

2. Write Down All Of Your Job Responsibilities 

You may think that you can remember every aspect of your job without writing it down, but chances are that you are wrong. You often do much more than you think, so write down all of your job responsibilities for each position in order to get a thorough list to include on your resume.

3. Look Over The Job Requirements Thoroughly

Say you are applying to an open position at a manufacturing company. Well, the job requirements and skills needed for their sales position are going to be much different than that of the mechanic position.

Do your homework! Thoroughly look over the requirements and skills the position needs. Then, include all of the skills that you have that they are looking for. The matching keywords will show that your skills align with what the company needs.

4. Consult Your Performance Reviews

Your manager took the time to let you know what you excelled at and what needed work, so use these critiques to your advantage. Pull key points from your past performance reviews such as your impact on increased sales numbers or what you excelled at. You can then use this information as a key point for a particular position you have held.

5. Find a List of Strong Action Verbs

Do not use boring verbs when listing your responsibilities and accomplishments on your resume. It will sound dull to the hiring manager, and even unimpressive.

Instead, find and compile a great list of strong action verbs that you can use. Words such as “orchestrated” sound much better than “led”, and the incorporation of these terms will expand your vocabulary.

The plus of already having this list put together is that you will save yourself time when you actually begin to write your resume, which allows you to focus on the facts.

Now You’re Ready

So, you’ve followed these 5 steps and have written your resume. Great! What’s next you ask?

Well, once your resume is ready to go you will need to draw up a well-tailored cover letter to accompany it. Then, it’s time to clean up your social media profiles to make them employer friendly. You can alter your LinkedIn account to reflect the resume that you just wrote, as well, which will make your information more consistent.

Once you have all of these things done, it’s time to actually send your application and hope for the best.

About the Author: Leah Rutherford is a freelance blogger specializing in career development, especially resumes, cover letters, and job search. She also writes about small businesses startups and social media, which you can find on her blog, JetFeeds.

For this post, TopResume thanks our friends at Doostang. 

Cover Letter Must-Haves

 

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In your cover letter, include information that truly tailors the application to a particular employer and specific job opening.  Complement and reinforce the qualifications presented in your resume, using words and phrases from the employer’s job listing and/or website.

Here are some points about content you’ll want to keep in mind as you write your cover letter:

  • How you learned of the job or company is important to recruiters and hiring managers, especially if there is a mutual connection that can speak of your qualifications.
  • Demonstrate a good fit with the employer’s corporate or organization culture.  Be sure to back up any assertions of personal characteristics by describing the resulting achievement either on your resume or in your cover letter.  Ideally, the cover letter refers to information found on your resume without being repetitive or redundant.
  •  Go beyond the resume in explaining your situation and career direction.  For example: “My career goals include gaining leadership experience in the delivery of financial advising services in a private business setting.  I am open to relocation for the appropriate opportunity.”
  • Avoid discussing weakness or making excuses; instead, concentrate on what you have to offer.  The cover letter is not the place to confess your mistakes or problems.  For example, if you’ve been laid off, don’t mention that fact.  Instead, discuss what you have done recently to be productive or better prepared for this job (e.g. I have recently completed training in….or I have gained valuable marketing experience volunteering with….).
  • If salary requirements are requested in a job posting, discuss them in your cover letter.  It’s best not to trap yourself by naming a specific amount.  Instead, say something like “my salary requirements are in step with the responsibilities of the position and the expertise I would offer your company.”  If an ad or job posting absolutely requires a salary figure, state a range, such as “seeking a compensation package to include benefits and a salary in the low-to mid-$30s.”

 

 For this post, TopResume thanks our friends at Doostang.

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