Tag Archives: resumes

Common Defence-to Civilian Resume Blunders and How to Avoid Them

When developing your resume ready for civilian employers it is easy to fall into some simple traps that can cost you potential opportunities.  These are the easiest and most common mistakes that could cause resume rejection –

 1.  Launching into writing the resume without adequate research. Before you can sell yourself to a potential employer you need to know three things – what you want, what they need, and what you offer.  Without this knowledge your resume will lack substance and focus.  Find the answer to these questions before you lift your pen then use this information to build a compelling case for your alignment with the role.

 2.  Hiding Your Defence Background rather than Demystifying It. Many well-intentioned people will tell you to hide your Defence background as some employers may not understand Defence careers but ADF experience and training is second to none! Instead of hiding it demystify it! Translate your skills and experience into terminology employers can understand. Put the emphasis on transferable skills and phrase your achievements in common commercial wording that will engage your reader.

 3.  A Lack of Substance.   A good resume doesn’t tell an employer just what you did, but also includes more importantly how well you did it. Make sure to take the time to write and hone examples of the value you brought in each role.   Look for opportunities to show employers the value of your skills.  If you managed teams, don’t just tell them that but instead showcase how and where you were able to improve productivity or performance. If you moved materials and stores, showcase how you consistently delivered them on-time despite tough, uncompromising timeframes and rapidly shifting delivery parameters. Remember results talk!

 4. Too many (or any) Acronyms and Defence Terminology.  Next to IT resumes, ADF resumes are the second most likely to be filled with acronyms normal people won’t understand. If it won’t make sense to your mother or non-Defence friends then don’t include it.  Recruiters will not usually be an expert in your area so keep your resume simple so anyone who reads it can understand the context.    

 5.  Developing a resume only a human will love. Today resumes are read by computers just as often as humans so it’s important that your resume is scanner-friendly.  In the machine world – simple is good. Avoid graphics or shading, use common fonts in 10-12 point sizing, keep your resume in a Word format and remember to include the keywords relevant to the industry you are applying to.

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Ramping Up Your Resume with Transferable Skills

Understanding your transferable skills is essential to an effective job search strategy and absolutely vital if you are seeking a new direction in your career. All jobs incorporate the use of some transferable skills and the most successful career chameleons recognise this and adapt their resumes to suit.

So what are transferable skills? Essentially they are the skills you offer that you’ve gained through your work, study and personal life that are directly transferable and relevant to the roles you are applying for.

These skills don’t have to have been built only in the workplace, in fact unlike job-related skills they may have been developed through volunteer activities, studies, past projects, even through your hobbies.
Regardless of where you have developed them, knowing what skills employers are looking for in the positions you are applying for and showcasing your skills in these areas is vital to marketing yourself effectively in the career’s marketplace.

When trying to showcase your transferable skills it’s important to understand two things – firstly what the transferable skills are the employer is looking for, and secondly what you have to offer.

To begin this process start by reviewing the position descriptions and advertisements for the positions you are applying for and make a list of the commonly outlined skills they are seeking. Next review your past positions and break them down into the tasks that you performed and the skills you needed to perform them. If these skills can be used in other positions and are relevant to the positions you are applying for, then these are your relevant transferable skills.

When you have done this for past positions, broaden your assessment to others areas of your life such as voluntary work, studies, community activities and even hobbies to further broaden your skills lists. When trying to brainstorm skills consider common transferable skills such as leadership, time management, planning and organising, adaptability, decision-making, team work, relationship development, communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Once you’ve identified your transferable skills you are now able to use these to market yourself to potential employers in your resume, application letter and interview.

With most employers only skimming each resume for up to 15-20 seconds it’s important to realise that simply relying on employers to figure out your transferable skills from your job titles and accountabilities isn’t enough – you need to highlight these skills clearly to employers at the outset of your resume. Consider the front page of your resume as a marketing profile of you. It’s your opportunity to pitch yourself to the employer as skilled and relevant, and highlighting your key transferable skills is an important component of this.

You can do this through a number of ways.

1. Write a career objective that outlines the type of skills you offer and are looking to use.
2. Write an opening profile that describes your key skills.
3. Develop a bulleted list of keywords that describe your core transferable skills or develop a combination resume (chrono-functional resume) that incorporates a description of your key transferable skills and experience on the front page and focuses in the body of the resume more on the skills you offer than just the titles and dates of your past positions.

Finally if you are struggling to present yourself well, consider seeking the support of a professional resume writer. Click here for more information on resumes and Career Edge’s international award winning resume writing services.

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Avoiding becoming Resume Spam

Everyone hates spam but now for job seekers there is an even greater down side as candidates find their resumes ending up, not on the employer’s lap, but instead caught in the recruiter’s or employer’s spam box. 

In a 2008 survey done by Career Directors International regarding the percentage of résumés received that end up trapped in SPAM filters, 72 percent of recruiters said that less than 5 percent of résumés were caught; 22 percent said that 5-10 percent were caught; and 6 percent said that a whopping 11-25 percent were caught.

For jobseekers this can be devastating as dream jobs pass them by simply because of the inclusion of seemingly innocent words and/or symbols.  Words such as free, specialist (which contains the drug name cialis in the middle), trial, expand, winner and American University honour term ‘magna cum laude’ are all triggers that can cause your resume to spam blocked.

My three top tips to avoid having your resume renegaded to the email spam bin include

1. Avoid words that flag your resume as a risk to spam blocking technology or utilise a content checking technology such as the  free service “Lyris Content Checker” http://www.lyris. com/resources/contentchecker before sending it out. Alternatively contact a resume writer to check it for you.

2. If you send your resume as an attachment, word your subject line carefully. Alternatively cut and paste your resume in the body of the email.

3. Send a back up copy of your resume via the mail to ensure your resume is received and/or follow up via telephone. If you are concerned have the company white-list your email address.

Remember forewarned is forearmed, so take steps today to protect yourself.

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Branding and Your Resume – What Is Your Resume Saying About You?

No marketer would ever use home-brand packaging to sell a premium product. The cost of the potential losses in sales revenue alone would be obvious, and yet on a daily basis, highly qualified professionals sacrifice potential income through poor resume packaging.

It’s not the design or resume template that is at fault, but peoples’ tendency when using templates to lose sight of the fact that the resume is actually a marketing document. To sell a product, marketers realise they must know their customer. They invest time and effort in developing branding and copy content that will appeal and inspire action by the customer to buy. This is just as true for applicants. Just as every product has its unique selling points, so do individuals, and time must be invested in designing a resume that will truly reflect your relevant selling points and will operate as a catalyst to mobilize employers to make contact.

Fancy templates on their own won’t do this. Pretty may catch the employer’s eye but what then? A good resume will do that and a lot more. It will capture their interest, immediately showcasing the amazing skills and benefits you can offer their company. It will funnel them down through your resume on a journey packed with achievement and genuine contributions to your past employers. It will paint the picture of a consummate professional, who has faced commercial challenges and soared… and yes they will be caught, hook, line and sinker… motivated and intrigued to talk with you to see if you would be able to offer the same contributions to their company.

So before you pick a template and just start to type. Stop. Pause. Take time to really consider:

  • Who will be reading your resume. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they want? What skills and experience do you offer? Why would they want to ring you? 

    • Evaluate the template design. Does it reflect the image you want to put forward? Will you stand out from the pile of resumes, professional and distinctive or just blend in?
    • Assess your writing and personal marketing skills.Do you have the skills to really showcase your achievements? Would you be better investing in your future through the skills of a professional resume writer?

    When you know this, then you can start the resume process because I guarantee if your resume is plonked into a template with no thought given to the content – it will more likely than not be just you reading it! On the other hand, take the time to consider the employer in your resume, your branding and resume image and you are one step closer to that ringing phone and job offer!

     Need help with your resume design. Contact Gill at Career Edge today.

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    The Branded Resume Checklist – How does your resume rate?

    First impressions are everything. Does yours resume represent you as the consummate professional you are? Before you send it off, take a few moments to put it through the professional’s “Resume Checklist”.  The extra few minutes spent here could make all the difference to your resume’s impact and your subsequent job search success. 

    ð        Does your resume have impact from the outset? Will it grab the employer’s attention, telling him/her who you are; what you bring; and a snapshot of your career highlights and strengths?  Make sure it doesn’t waste valuable space with personal details. Condense your personal details to 1-2 lines and use the rest to sell you as a quality potential candidate.

    ð        Is your resume effectively targeted to the type of job you are seeking?  Every resume should be written with a target type of job in mind. Is yours? Read through the job advertisements for the type of employment you are seeking. Does your resume immediately paint you as “just what the employer is looking for”? Have you highlighted all the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that the employer may be seeking?

    ð        Does your resume start with a powerful header and profile? Your header should immediately tell the employer who you are. Experienced Sales Professional. Motivated Business Graduate. Qualified Training Auditor. It should be followed by a strong profile highlighting your unique experience, skills and benefits (or otherwise known as your unique selling proposition). Use this section to stand out from the others in the resume pack.  

    ð        Is your employment background written in an achievement-orientation? Is it focused on the challenges of each role and your personal contributions? Have you replaced accountabilities with achievements? Don’t bore the reader with a list of accountabilities that they probably already know – give them details on what you have achieved and the value you brought to each role. Draw them in on a journey packed with innovation, results and dedication. Don’t forget to make sure you include the title of the position, name of employer, and dates of employment, and ensure any gaps in your employment record are addressed.

    ð        Is your resume evidence based? Have you backed up your unique selling claims by highlighting in your employment your accomplishments including exactly what you did, how you did it and giving firm indications of the result. Eg slashed staffing costs 30% through restructured rosters that better matched staff ratios with peak period demands. Make sure it’s accurate and truthful. Be able to back up your claims.

    ð        Is your writing style energetic and filled with action verbs to create impact? Try starting your achievements with actions words. For example increased, lifted, slashed, reduced, eliminated, grew. This will bring power to your resume and increase its effect on the reader.

    ð        Does your resume include all licenses, qualifications, skills and credentials relevant to the job you seek?ð        Does it exclude all personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, etc. Make sure it avoids any negativities about past employers and never include reasons for leaving. Is your contact information up to date and accurate? Have you included your home phone, mobile number and email address.   

    ð        Does the overall layout of your resume look pleasing to the eye? Is it clear, logical and free from jargon. Is the layout simple, well structured and professional? Avoid graphics, keep fonts simple (just 1-2 at the most) and keep plenty of white space. Is it error-free? Check for grammar, spelling errors and grammar consistency.  

    ð        Is your resume scannable?  Ensure your layout can be scanned. No text boxes or graphics. True type fonts no less than 10 pt.

    ð        Have you proof read your resume? Have you prepared a powerful cover letter to go with it? Are you using good quality paper? Have you developed a separate referees sheet and included on your resume “Referees Available on Request”.

     

    If you have done all of the above – congratulations, you are now ready to start your job search. Good Luck!

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    The Dangers of Lying on Your Resume

    Almost everyone admits to it – adding that little white lie to your resume to make your case for that job just that little bit stronger. We tell ourselves it’s not lying – just embellishing. No-one will ever know. Think again!

    In today’s market, technology affords employer’s greater access to your career information than ever before, and the threat and costs associated with bad hiring decisions are pushing employers to scrutinize candidates more closely than ever. In fact with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse claiming “approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of job applications and résumés include some false or inflated facts”, employers are now going to greater extremes than ever to catch candidates out. Career Directors International latest Career Sector Megatrends Report 2007 stated that employers are now using Google, FaceBook and other internet forums to dig up digital dirt on candidates. They also highlight credit checks, reference checks and even handwriting checks as common techniques to assess potential candidates. From this it’s clear that candidates today need to do more to ensure their career and online identity is squeaky clean. 

    As a resume writer, I work to coach my clients that resume integrity is critical. Whilst a good resume will portray you in your best light, it’s never a good idea under any circumstances to lie. Not ever.A lie on a resume may get you to interview. But at what price? Today’s interviews are based on sophisticated behavioural interviewing techniques that demand a depth of detail not easily fudged. Nothing is more telling of a resume lie than a blank look as someone stumbles to put together feasible responses to what they wrote. Even if you manage to get through the interview – what then? Many employers now use professional pre-screening companies that are experts in hounding out resume lies and inaccuracies. As the internet has grown with sites offering access to a wealth of opportunities to buy mock degrees and fraudulent documentation, now we are seeing the backlash to this, as legal history is being made with individuals seeing the consequences both legally and financially for these actions.And of course, what if you do get the job? You’ve painted yourself as an expert in your field and now you are expected to deliver. Its highly likely that you’ll struggle to deliver performance at the levels they will expect and instead of having this great new job, you will have a failure leaving you rocked with poor morale and a terrible hole in your resume that you will now be again enticed to lie about to cover what happened. It’s a vicious circle and a place you don’t want to be.Instead consider the alternatives:

    •  Build yourself a resume that really sells you on your merits. A good resume writer will be able to structure your background to show achievements on any level.
    • Use your cover letter to address any gaps in experience you may have for the job through highlighting your transferable skills, and your capacity to adapt these skills to differing environments.
    •  Build passion into your resume for why you want the role, as employers will often be swayed by an individual’s energy and determination. More often than not, employers recognise that it is harder to find a person with the right qualities, than it is to teach job skills.

    Finally build a career based on integrity. Let your achievements speak for themselves and have confidence in yourself. You’ll do brilliantly. I know it!

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