Many resumes get rejected within 15 seconds of being opened because they simply do not capture the interest of the hiring manager. The ‘Career Objective’ statement is the first thing hiring managers see on a resume, and where most people go wrong is making it too WIIFM-centric (what’s in it for me), when it should be WIIFT (what’s in it for them). The key is finding the most catching, specific statement that captures your job interest, and then getting back to selling your potential – hence, what’s in it for them if they hire you.
So how the heck do you do that?
Although resumes are the first impression of our professional selves, do not feel that you have to write a monotone or stiff objective. Don’t be afraid to let some personality show, often times this will actually provide the hiring manager with a ‘personal tone’ and will set your resume apart from many.
Consider some of the following points when writing your ‘career objective’ or ‘statement’:
To read more about things you didn’t know you could put on your resume or career objective, read the article at the Daily Muse.
Stay tuned for my piece on LinkedIn – who matters, the jobs that are paying, and the 200 million competing users.
Not sure which sections to include in your resume or how to order them? Consider some of the following points while you’re preparing your resume:
Resumes, unlike your cover letter, are a more detailed (and yet more point-form) description of where you want to go, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and how well and long you’ve done it. This document entails a career statement (we’ll get to this in a minute), employment history, education, certifications you might hold, awards you have received, or volunteer work you’ve done. There is a great deal of debate over how all of these important tidbits are to be ordered, but generally speaking you’ll want to order any of your work history or education in chronological order (listing the most recent first, and then going backwards). People get really caught up in making their resumes ‘really pretty’ – you’ll want to read a little bit about the company first, get to know their culture or maybe read up on their blog to see what their overall tone is and evaluate how appropriate your design is based on your findings. For instance, an advertising or marketing firm might appreciate an eye-catching resume more than an engineering firm might.
Although an aesthetically pleasing resume will catch eyes, it won’t get you the job (or even the interview) without context-rich and buzzword-less sections – what I mean by context-rich is ensuring you’re modifying or highlighting aspects (but not lying about) of your previous roles and tasks to fit the keywords of the job posting and positioning yourself correctly for the job.
Below is an image of a sample reverse chronological format resume.
Below is an image of a sample functional format resume.
Stay tuned for my next post on career statements/objectives, and what the heck they are.
Trying to write that compelling cover letter to land an awesome job? Not sure how to structure your cover letter or what some of the faux-pas are that may deter employers? Consider a few of the points below as you are seeking employment this summer:
Cover letters, unlike your resume, are written in full sentences and paragraphs, and should not be any longer than one page. The key is to include the most pertinent information from your resume that the hiring manager for the position would be looking for. Hiring managers sift through hundreds of cover letters and resumes in hopes of finding the perfect candidate, so you’ll need to capture their attention in that 40 seconds or so it takes them to read this one page. In doing so, be sure you aren’t disguising some of your skills or talents with some of these buzz words:
Now that we’ve gone through a few of the buzz words that you should be avoiding, try taking a stab at structuring your cover letter:
Stay tuned for help on resumes later on this week.
I would like to use the example of Post-It Notes to preface my story. A scientist at 3M Innovations came out with what was supposed to be a super-adhesive glue that caused minimal damage. What it ended up becoming was an exhaustive saga and a glue that was bad, in fact it was really bad. Didn’t stick to anything, what could you ever do with such a thing? This mistake turned into a $50 billion a year revenue and is used as a reminder or ‘mental nudge’ tool that sits on many desks across the world. A swell mistake indeed!
So no, your eyes didn’t play a trick on you, I mean it – taking all the wrong post-secondary programs was my best mistake. Although some might not consider this a ‘mistake’, but rather a life experience that is more common with today’s twenty-somethings.
I was a graduate after the double-cohort in Ontario, meaning students were graduating a year earlier than once before and that ‘OAC’ or ‘Grade 13′ became obsolete. I wasn’t a kid with a longstanding career option already picked out since childhood, like being a doctor or a teacher – I liked a variety of different subject matter.
The first program I ever took was Marketing, which is what I knew I would end up doing, but I didn’t want to do sales. I wanted to be involved behind the scenes of marketing campaigns, so I wanted to try other things. I then went on to a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English because that’s what I was supposed to do. Finished that and then went into a multidisciplinary Political Science and Human Rights program – which actually drew a deeper passion out of me than I would have initially expected, but the career path was too fuzzy there. The last program I graduated from was a Technical Writing certification, and I truly stumbled upon it by accident, but it gave me the breadth and variety in a career that I was looking for all along.
The beauty in taking all the wrong courses, at least for me, was that I actually enjoyed writing, and researching, and doing essays (don’t all cringe at once), my passion was just being masked by various subject matter that I only had a surface-level interest for. By the time I had finished the Human Rights program and was facing a serious re-evaluation of where I was going, I narrowed my requirements down to three things: I needed to work with people, I needed to be able to write and research, but I didn’t want to be a salesperson.
So I started looking for what kinds of programs were offered that were writing and business-heavy, and I stumbled upon Technical Writing – which is very much an outdated umbrella term for a lot of different niches, but that’s what drew me. You can branch out and do so many different things coming out of the Technical Writing program – the fact that I don’t have a previous IT or engineering background or couldn’t tell you the first thing about how servers operate is a moot point, but I can adapt to information and visualize its function; I’m an advocate for information, I know what to do with it.
Although the path you’re traveling down may seem like one that repeatedly serves into itself and is missing direction, you may actually be making the best mistake by learning something you don’t care to end up in. Opportunities in this life are endless, particularly with the workforce revolution in full swing.
Trust your struggle, be open-minded, and always remember that mistakes aren’t always bad, in fact they rarely are because they signal the coming of something tried for and great.
Good morning and happy April Fools to all!
Nothing like poking a little fun at terrible web design that actually worked.
To read more from the article about popular websites with terrible web design, visit the Conduit Blog.