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Crafting the Best Resume for You and Your Unique Job Search

The best resume you can write—or that a professional resume writer can write for you—is

  • Unique to your specific job search
  • Targeted to the positions you are trying to obtain
  • Authentically about your specific career history and your personal brand.

There are hundreds of articles on resume personal branding. There are perhaps thousands of articles on resume accomplishment statements. However, strictly speaking, using accomplishments in your bullets alone won’t convert your history into your unique branding, or make your career history into the best resume it can be.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Plutor

You could research resume examples written for anonymous other members of your industry (or look at a friend’s) and copy the bullets word for word. You could also use resume writing systems that you buy on the Internet, which are simply lists of bullets that you can use in your resume. And there are the professional resume writers that won’t even talk to you before embarking on the tricky process of writing a resume that best suits your job search.

These seemingly simple systems don’t work. They do not capture the authentic you. If you want to be authentic in your job search and to find the best fit for your specific job search needs, you need to think about your resume as an organic document that is borne of your particular personal history. Even if you worked in a factory, or even ran one, you are not a factory yourself. There’s no such thing as data-in, data-out in a resume writing process that gets you interviews. It’s much more thoughtful and careful than that.

The following are the minimum steps I follow to write the best resume that fits your specific job search needs.

  • I learn about what makes you special.
  • I learn about what makes you unique.
  • I ask you about every aspect of your job, in the context of your position, role, and industry.

When I start a resume writing project, I start with a blank screen. Yes, this process is tougher than using a resume template, but it’s much more authentic. I start from scratch because I make sure that each client receives 100% unique content that is 100% about his/her specific career history, branding, and personal excellence.

If this is the type of personal, one-on-one, targeted resume writing service you need, call me at 801-810-JOBS. I am confident it will produce the best resume for you.

 

Resume Color: When in Doubt, Leave It Out

The Question of Resume Color

Time and again I get questions about using color in a resume design. The questions read something like this:

  • Should I use color in a resume?
  • Which resume color will make mine stand out?
  • Do recruiters and hiring managers love or hate resume color?

Some say color is the kiss of death in a resume. Some love it. I say “it depends.”

Before you even think about which shade of green to use in your resume, make sure your resume content is the best it can be. Don’t even think about designing your resume—color or no color—until you’ve written stellar content that highlights your best accomplishments. The design is window dressing for the content of your resume, not the other way around.

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Colors in Your Resume: Help or Hurt?

When you are sure that your resume content markets you in the best way possible, then start to think about the way you want to present it. You can make excellent resume content highly visible with careful use of color. Some good ways to incorporate color include:

  • Using a subtle color shade to call out a text box containing important resume skills.
  • Incorporating rules (lines all the way across your resume page) in a color that highlights section headings in your resume.
  • Drawing attention to your bullet points with a clever use of color in the bullet design.

It should go without saying that the color of the body text in your resume should be black. Only black.

Color in a Resume Depends on What You Want to Telegraph to Your Future Employer

If you are not completely sure that using color in a resume will help you, don’t use any color at all. You definitely won’t go wrong by being ultraconservative in your resume design approach.

For example, if you work in a very conservative industry, such as finance or banking, you’re not likely to win over a hiring manager who wants someone conservative like her. You wouldn’t appear at your interview wearing bright green socks with your navy pinstriped suit, so don’t be flagrantly untraditional in your resume, either.

On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer, and you want to show off your skills in a concrete way, take advantage of your skills and add a cleverly designed element to your resume. Use color in a way that shows your flair, cleverness, and capability.

The Truth Is Somewhere in the Middle

Most people aren’t corporate bankers or artists: They’re regular people seeking regular jobs. If this sounds more like you, then simply use common sense about color. As a professional resume writer, I like using color. However, I know that “less is more.” The most important part of the resumes I write—and the most important part of your resume—is not the design. Rather, the most important message in your resume is why you are the ONLY person for the job.

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, is president and founder of Inscribe / Express and your partner in your job search. I write exceptional resumes and cover letters that get interviews for savvy job seekers. Contact me at 801-810-JOBS.

Soft Skills—The New Hard Skills?

Do Resume Writers Need to Unlearn Conventional Wisdom?

Imagine my surprise while perusing a recent copy of Newsweek, when I read an article called “Does the World Still Have Talent?”

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Thinking about change--How adaptable are you?

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/27/does-the-world-still-have-talent.html. Most of the article reflected the idea that with the tremendous unemployment currently plaguing our economy, companies are still having huge problems recruiting the very executives who might be able to lead them through these tough times. Growing companies in emerging markets are having a particularly tough time keeping up with their management needs.

So the most striking comment in the article became the following, which related to individual adaptability on top of superior technical skills:

[S]kills that were previously seen as gloss on the CV—adaptability, foreign-language skills, ease in other cultures—are part of the core job description of managers.

Unlearning What We Think We Know as Resume Writers

Clearly, these types of comments have serious implications for the way we resume writers do our jobs, and as our client bases become more and more internationalized. We need to ensure that we include these types of soft skills as well as the more “wonky” (as Newsweek called them) technology skill sets. How hard will this be for us as a group? I imagine it will be pretty tough to teach old dogs new tricks; we need to adapt with the times, keep our own knowledge abreast with changing times, and, as always, produce top-tier career documentation that will get the interviews our clients need for the jobs they want.

Thoughts from resume writers and job seekers alike are welcome.

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, is the owner and president of Inscribe / Express, professional provider of career documentation. Contact Amy at for a free consultation about methods to improve your resume.

Salt Lake City Job Club Presentation: “Re-Think Your Resume: 10 Tips for Jobseekers”

On Thursday, May 27, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting “Re-Think Your Resume: 10 Tips for Jobseekers” to the Salt Lake City Job Club, sponsored by recruiter and job coach extraordinaire Mary Cosgrove, owner and principal of What’s Working Well.

I spoke for about an hour to a lovely group of job seekers from a variety of industries on a variety of tips and tricks that they can use to improve their resumes. The topics I addressed ranged from methods to promote the first third of the first page to overall presentation and design. The handout I provided, Words You Can’t Use in a Resume, detailed my favorite resume words—and my least favorite.  I received many insightful comments from the audience as well, especially from the HR professionals attending at Mary’s request.

She invited additional these HR experts to join me in a round-robin critique of the participants’ resumes. So for about an hour, I had the opportunity to meet so many Job Club members one-on-one.

It is my hope that my comments informed the processes that these job seekers are experiencing; they should all know they are more than welcome to use me as a sounding board at any time.

Many thanks to this wonderful group and to Mary Cosgrove for this terrific opportunity.