Is your resume a monster?

Does your resume look like a zombie, using old, outdated tactics that died 10 years ago? Or is it like a mummy: dry, lifeless, and stale? Or is a hulking beast, weighed down with too much information? Is it a weird conglomeration of different styles, making it look like Frankenstein’s monster?

Check out these horrifying errors and learn what you can do to breathe new life into your resume:

1. The Zombie Resume
Like old corpses digging their way out of the grave, a zombie resume tries to resurrect old, ineffective strategies that may have been great 20 years ago but don’t really work that well in the modern world. These errors are usually in format, including the visual appearance and the key sections.
The biggest format offender is the “classic” two-column approach, where the section headings are listed on the left and the content is on the right. While it can still be appealing when used correctly, the problem is the WAY that this document is formatted. If you use the template straight out of Microsoft Word, many are built with tables or text boxes. However, computers don’t read these like humans. They process the first column DOWN, then move on to the next column and read that down. The final effect is that the headings are completely divorced from the content.
Have you ever heard that your resume should be “one page only?” That’s another classic zombie resume. Unless you are seeking an entry level job, this tactic died years ago. There is simply no way for an experienced job seeker to layer in enough key words to survive the screening and capture key achievements to impress hiring managers within one page.

Ways to improve:
First of all, understand how different computers and systems will interpret your resume. It is possible to create a visually-appealing resume that still uploads smoothly into an online application. Another option is to save your documents as PDFs, especially when emailing your resume. That way, you know what you sent will appear the same way on the other side.

2. The Mummy Resume
For a mummy, the writing itself is dry, boring, and lifeless. Whether this is a lack of clear achievements or simply repeating such deadly phrases as “responsible for,” these are the things that both recruiters and hiring managers hate to read.
A classic mummy strategy is the Objective Statement. Ever feel like these are boring, generalized statements that could apply to almost any job? That’s because they are. HR hates objective statements because they are vague. Who wouldn’t want “a stable job with a dynamic company that has plenty of opportunity for growth?” On the flip side, sometimes Objective Statements are extremely specific, such as “To become the Production Manager at ABC Company.” In that case, if you miss out on the targeted job, you won’t be considered for anything else.

Ways to improve:
While sometimes we need to use antiquated phrases such as “excellent communication skills” to increase our key word count, your entire resume should not read like the job description. Make it a balance of key words, top responsibilities, and achievements. Plus, let your personality come through in the summary.
Struggling with achievements? Think in terms of top metrics. It’s one thing to say, “led a development team,” but it is much more impressive and informative to write “led a team of 12 developers that produced 3 new CPG products within 3 years.”
Kill the Objective Statement. Instead, write a solid, engaging summary that tells the employers why you are the best candidate for the job.
Bonus points: modernize your contact information. Include your LinkedIn profile and only list your city and state for your location.

3. The Hulking Beast Resume
Has your resume grown to unbelievable proportions, with every new job adding what feels like miles of content? While this can happen to anyone with a long career, some industries such as IT are more susceptible to adding massive bulk.
While spreading out onto three pages is an obvious sign of a beastly resume, the writing itself can be the problem. It is tempting to write in run-on sentences or highly detailed bullets.
Ways to improve:

GET TO THE POINT. Resumes are not the formal, stuffy documents that they were 15 years ago. Read it out loud. If you must take a breath before coming to the end of a sentence, it is too long. You need to either break it into multiple sentences or trim it back significantly.
Not sure what to keep? Read the job description. If your skills, duties, achievements, education, and anything else on your resume doesn’t relate to the job, it is hurting your chances.

4. Frankenstein’s Monster Resume
WAAAAY back in the day, we did things like different fonts, different styles, and other formatting tricks to help guide the eyes. However, modern resumes should be more consistent in their look and feel.
This goes double for the writing style itself. Nothing reflects more poorly on a resume than two distinct writing styles within one document. It can be switching the tenses from first person to third, or being inconsistent with present and past tense. Similarly, if someone else wrote your original resume, you need to either match the writing style yourself or pay a professional to make sure that the tone is the same throughout the document.
Ways to improve:
Pick one font and stick with it. Make sure your voice is consistent throughout the document, especially when drafting your achievements. A pop of color can be effective, but make sure that the colors complement each other and don’t distract from your overall message.

Want a see how your resume stacks up to the competition? Visit my website to schedule a free resume review: http://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact

Don’t Miss These Interview Videos!

As a professional career coach, I find myself repeating the “basics” of a good interview. Everyone seems to know things like you shouldn’t speak negatively about past employers or that you should be properly dressed. But have you ever seen an interview from the employers’ point-of-view?

Over the next few weeks, we are going to show you how some of these train wrecks play out in mock interview situations. Hopefully you can see how detrimental bad behavior can be, and understand why you wouldn’t want to follow their bad example.

Our 5-part video series will show you:

  1. The selfish candidate who is clearly not thinking about how she comes across to the interviewer.
  2. The shy and nervous candidate whose non-verbal communication sinks her chances for the job.
  3. The “Too-Much-Information (TMI)” candidate who volunteers waaaay more than any company needs to know.
  4. A strong candidate who hits all of the RIGHT notes to make a positive impression.
  5. The crazy interviewer. Yes, sometimes the problem is not the candidate! Check out how to handle the illegal interview questions – and possibly inappropriate advances. Definitely a good sign you do not want to work for that company…

I’m sure these entertaining videos give you some insight on simple ways to do better in an interview.  Here is the link to the first video of the series regarding the selfish candidate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzA2yZztpYs&feature=youtu.be

Need help in better interviewing skills?  We can help.CLICK HERE to set up an appointment to speak with us.

Recruiter Spotlight: PrideStaff Arvada

As a well-connected career coaching service, we often build relationships with key recruiters in the Denver area and across the United States. To help our clients – the job seekers – find the right recruiters for their situation, we have our ongoing Recruiter Spotlight series to answer the most common questions that job hunters ask.

In this week’s Recruiter Spotlight, John  Bohannon from PrideStaff in Arvada, CO, shares their secrets to success in matching candidates with temporary, temp-to-perm, and permanent placement options.

  1. How long have you been in business?

PrideStaff was founded in 1978 and the PrideStaff Denver Northwest office opened in 2010.

  1. What makes your agency unique?

We make it all about you!  Staffing excellence is built upon two fundamental principles: client service and exceptional job candidates. Everyone says they provide these things, yet few can prove it. PrideStaff does. How do we do it? By taking a few crucial steps:

Track Results

We proudly follow the Net Promoter methodology developed and validated by client loyalty expert Fred Reichheld. The premise of his work focuses on continually measuring, tracking and responding to feedback based around a single question: “Would you recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” All PrideStaff offices utilize a Net Promoter* survey process, three times a year, with all clients and job candidates participating. In addition to industry-leading NPS scores, PrideStaff has also been consistently recognized among the best of the best in staffing, having received multiple “best of” awards from the American Staffing Association, Inavero and Leading Providers, LLC.

Build Loyalty

At the core of PrideStaff’s success are the relationships we have with the candidates we place. Our candidates are crucial to helping us deliver our Mission and deserve to be treated fairly during the employment process. Our candidates have come to value the following when working with PrideStaff:

  • We care about them as individuals
  • We provide job opportunities that fit
  • We treat them with respect and fairness

Celebrate Success

PrideStaff has received the staffing industry’s highest honor for client service: the Best of Staffing award from loyalty research firm, Inavero. Inavero is our industry’s leading provider of independent client and job candidate surveys. Their Best of Staffing award is reserved for the top performing firms; fewer than 1% of all staffing firms in North America.

  1. What type of positions do you place?

For temp and temp to hire positions, we focus on the broad categories of office/clerical and warehouse/light industrial.  Through our direct hire placements, we fill a variety of other positions.

4. Do you specialize in a particular industry?

We work across a broad range of industries.

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

We work with a very diverse candidate pool.  We typically look for prior or transferable experience in the type of position the candidate is seeking.  Initiative, communication, and responsiveness are traits we value.

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? What other locations do you serve?

The PrideStaff Denver Northwest office places locally, but PrideStaff has offices nationwide. PrideStaff’s current office locations can be found at www.pridestaff.com

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

We post most of our open positions on our website at http://pridestaff.com/search-job-database?location_id=32.  We post positions on CareerBuilder and also utilize Snagajob and Indeed.  PrideStaff has a Talent Network candidates can join.  Based on the position, we will use local job boards such as community colleges, universities, and workforce centers.

  1. What is the #1 thing a candidate can do to stand out from the crowd?

Communicate responsively. In other words, please return our calls and emails in a timely manner to be counted as a top candidate.

  1. How should a candidate apply for a job? Do you want an online application, resume, or both?

The easiest way to get started is to email a current resume to denvernwap@pridestaff.com.  We prefer to start with a resume and go from there. Candidates may also apply through jobs posted on our website and other job boards.  Candidates are welcome to visit our office to apply in person.

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

American Staffing Association, Arvada Chamber of Commerce.

  1. How can people contact you?

They can call us at (720) 279-0960 or via email at denvernw@pridestaff.com.

Would your company like to be featured in our Recruiter Spotlight? There is no charge! Just contact donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com to find out more.

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