Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tell companies what you can do for them

What value can you bring to a company?

If your resume answers this question, you're on your way to getting an interview and one step closer to getting the job.

If you're resume doesn't answer this question, it needs to.

Experts say that recruiters and hiring managers will spend no more than 30 seconds glancing over your resume, and maybe less. Your information needs to be easy to read and quickly understandable, because a recruiter with a stack of resumes doesn't want to spend five minutes figuring out exactly what you did at your last job. If your resume is hard to read, it won't be read at all. Sad but true.

Your resume also needs to show what makes you different, and better, than the other candidates for the job. Give the hiring manager a reason -- or even better, several reasons -- to pick you out of the crowd and make you an offer.

Those reasons can be found in your accomplishments. Hiring managers believe that what you've done for your previous employers indicates what you are capable of accomplishing for them. Describe your accomplishments using language that can be understood by people who are not in your field, and you'll have a winning resume.

Try using these techniques to highlight your value while writing your resume:

Discuss outcomes. What happened as a result of your efforts? Put your work in context. If your resume says, "Served as an integral part of Project X," the reader has no way to understand what you did and what difference it made. A bullet point that says, "Reorganized the sales team to cover more territory, resulting in a 25 percent increase in sales," illustrates that you're a strategic thinker who knows how to manage employees to achieve desired results.

Use numbers. For example, instead of stating that accuracy is one of your strengths, include your accuracy rate as a percentage. If you increased sales, as in the example above, it gives the reader an exact picture of your accomplishments when you say how much you increased sales. Numbers are facts, and quantifying your achievements is the fastest way to convey your value.

Don't use jargon. No matter what field you're in, do your best not to use abbreviations or words that have meaning only for people who know what you do. The majority of resumes go through the human resources department and will be screened in or out of a candidate search by someone who is not an expert in your field. Your resume will be more effective if it can be understood by everyone who reads it. There are some fields, such as technology, where using jargon and abbreviations will be necessary. In those cases, include enough context so that the reader doesn't have to understand the jargon to understand the effect of your work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome! Are you ready to make a change?

In my professional life, the only constant has been change.

I began my career as a newspaper journalist and spent more than a decade learning to roll with changes, sometimes on an hourly basis. A year ago, I jumped into advertising, an industry that could teach journalists a thing or two about living with constant change.

This year, I'm starting my own business, one that's devoted to helping you navigate change.

In three years of studying the job market, I've learned just how much the workplace has changed since I graduated from college 12 years ago. Today's recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you have done for your employers -- and what you will do for them. Resumes need to highlight accomplishments in quantifiable terms, in order for companies to understand what you can do to enhance productivity and the company's bottom line. Interviewers ask behavioral questions to find out how you've responded to real-life work situations, in order to determine how you'll behave if you work for them. And in order to get someone to read your resume, let alone to invite you for an interview, you need to know people who can recommend your work.

In short, job hunting in the 21st century is challenging. And you deserve to have as many resources as possible to help you navigate the experience and find the job you want.

That's where Make A Change Resumes comes in.

The goal of this blog is to connect you with news, tips and information that will assist with your job hunt. My goal as the owner of Make A Change Resumes is to create a resume for you that will showcase your accomplishments and tell recruiters and hiring managers why you're the person they need to hire.

Consider me as the newest cheerleader for Team You. Let's make a change together!