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How to write resumes

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Posted on Dailykos, made it to Rec list:

How to get a job: what’s missing from resumes I’m reviewing Update X2

Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 04:03:59 PM PDT

I’m in the really weird position of having job openings at my non-profit for which we are recruiting and hiring. We are deluged with resumes and I thought it might be helpful to share a few frustrations I’ve had with reviewing them that might help one of my Kossack friends land that next job.  

I know there are like a million “how to write a cover letter” websites and books out there, but my tips might help distill those for someone.  Here goes. (I’ve put the relevant postings on the Kossacks networking site and also at npo.net.  No specifics here.)  

Getting the eye of the recruiter with the right resume is a must.  How to do it?  My recent experience might help, and I’ll try to compile a few suggestions here.  (Caveat: I’m writing in the first person even though it makes me seem bossy–third person was too passive, so here goes.)

First, don’t tell me about you.  Tell me about what you can do for me.  You’ve got lots of good skills, but tell me how they’ll help my non-profit.  If you don’t know my business line, look at my website, research my company, suggest a few ideas.  That will help me understand what you actually might bring to the business.  I am very surprised by the number of cover letters and resumes that make no explicit connection between the job seekers’ skills and my needs.  That leaves me to do the “work” and it’s best not to count on me to make the connections.  Make the connections for me.

Especially pay attention to this if you are changing fields or industry sectors.  I don’t care that you created the ad campaign for Frosted Flakes; I want to know how those skills will be of use to my not-for-profit.  

A hint: one resume that immediately got to the top of the pile came with a cover letter that took points from the job description, described how their skills would be applicable and what projects they’ve worked on that were relevant. A short bulleted list. Bingo.

Second, if you are going to write a summary, tell me something unusual about yourself.  I’ve got hundreds of “creative deadline-oriented professionals with XX years of progressive experience” and I can’t tell one from another.  “Creating Flash designs is a passion.” “I read seven daily newspapers to keep abreast of current events.” SOMETHING to make me remember you.

Third, don’t forget to list specific skills.  The outcomes-oriented version of resumes is all well and good – highlighting what you accomplished gives a sense of your project experience and is what resume services are coaching.  But HOW?  “Doubled sales.”  How?  What skills did you draw upon to double sales? Did you mentor new employees, upgrade the web page (and with what technology?), chose the right advertising campaign?

Fourth, and this may seem petty, but if you are sending a resume or cover letter via email, NAME THE FILE(s) WITH YOUR NAME.  I can’t tell you how important this is.  I now have 200+ documents titled “XX_director_position_resume.doc.” If I lose a hard copy, or someone emails me and says “I’m following up” I’ve got no way to find your resume, and tell you how it is moving through the queue, easily. I’ve got no way to forward it easily to others in my field who may find it useful.  

Hope I’ve not offended anyone by anything I wrote.  

Update.  Rec list – thanks!  This is a new job, it takes 10 hrs/day and so I’ve lost my TU status (squares instead of circles).  So, double thanks.  And reminder to self to make Mojo Friday this week …

Update number 2. See, I knew I’d offend someone.  Let me make clear, I don’t think that stronger resumes will solve the structural unemployment problems inherent in capitalism.  This is a little diary that might help someone get a job.  That’s it.  If you’d like to discuss structural unemployment, feel free to write a diary and I’ll contribute.  But that’s not what I’m doing here, and I’m not an idiot for not writing that “structural” diary


Written by defennder

April 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Posted in Misc.

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