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  1. #1
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Hints on how to write a resume...

    (this applies to pretty much everyone except the lofty exec crowd.)

    When writing a resume, the most important thing to remember is who the initial first
    reviewer of that resume will be -- not necessarily the end manager. For any of you
    who have ever interacted with a clueless HR Assistant and wondered exactly how they
    kept their job, here is the answer -- they are the gatekeeper standing in the way of
    YOU getting hired. So unless you can get directly to the hiring manager, you need to
    get past the gatekeeper. And since that gatekeeper typically has NO CLUE what the
    description of anyone's job is until it is put before them, YOU need to match that
    description to get past the gate. Face it, chances are if you are an Engineer, or
    Financial Analyst, or Statistical Process Control Manager -- the HR assistant couldn't
    tell you 1% of what your job entails.

    So what CAN they do? Put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes.
    Don't ask any more of them because it ain't gonna happen. They are typically young
    and really don't care to learn what you do for a living.

    So how do you get past them?

    Write a 'news story' resume and cover letter.

    Pretty much everything we watch, read in the paper, or listen to on the radio is couched in
    a standard format of:

    1) tell 'em what you are gonna tell 'em
    2) tell 'em what you wanna tell 'em
    3) tell 'em what you told 'em

    Your resume should be the same.

    Part 1) comes at the top. It consists of 6 to 9 bullet'd items over three columns that highlight in
    one or two words your strongest skills (or what matches the job description in the job ad). THESE
    are the things that get you past the HR Assistant and keep you out of the reject pile.

    Part 2) is your history, most recent and going backwards. If you are 'getting up there', stop by the
    time you get to roughly 20-25 years experience unless you have loads of jobs, at which case stop
    by the 5th or so job. TMI (too much information) is not a good thing. And while there is not supposed
    to be age discrimination, quite frankly, a healthplan for an older worker with several dependents is a lot
    more expensive than for one who is younger with no dependents. Don't make yourself look too old. If you
    put in a college degree and it is older than 25 years, just put in "BS/BA - University of Wherever".

    Part 3) is you cover letter. This is NOT the first thing people look at -- they look at your resume first.
    If the resume has what is needed for the job, they read the cover letter to find out if you can actually
    communicate in a coherent fashion, and to see what experience you wish to elaborate on from your
    resume. It goes without saying that spelling errors are a BIG no-no, and grammer needs to be in
    sentence format, cohesive and logical. (But I will say that anyway!)

    Now unfortunately I cannot actually write a resume, as the formatting will go to crapola due to the
    way the forum treats things, but here is how it would go...


    Name
    Address,
    City State Zip
    Phone number

    Career Objective:


    Skills: (this is your bullet list)


    Employment History:


    Education:


    Hobbies: (list nothing political, or controversial -- No "Obama supporter" or "President - local NRA"


    Attach a cover letter (which I guarantee will get read last).

    Use CLEAN White or slighly off-color paper (it stands out from other papers on the desk) of a good
    bond quality -- NOT copy paper. Make sure the font is readable and in 12 point. Serif fonts are
    much easier to read than sans-serif. Printing should be straight (as in the paper must feed correctly
    thru the printer). Many resumes are now scanned by OCR systems that have a hard time reading
    dark colored paper, bad formatting, or crooked printing.

    Do NOT worry about if your name belongs on the left or right or center, or how far to indent your job
    description, or similar rubbish -- no one cares besides the morons who write books to tell you that
    rubbish.

    And there you go -- the best way to write a resume and cover letter. Good luck!
    Last edited by Mr. Markets; 01-28-09 at 08:16 PM.
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  2. #2
    BF Risk Manager
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    In my experience, very few organizations these days want or can easily handle a paper resume. It is all done via email or an automated application system. The only time I ever use a paper resume is when I go to an actual interview.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  3. #3
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Mr. Markets
    Good job on providing this information. I am sure many will get helpful information out of this.

    I totally agree with you that an HR Clerk is the first one to look at the resume. At times, this can be done by a computer program. Either way, make sure you include keywords from the job description.

  4. #4
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
    In my experience, very few organizations these days want or can easily handle a paper resume. It is all done via email or an automated application system. The only time I ever use a paper resume is when I go to an actual interview.
    you are correct, however many small organizations have limited resources, and that a LOT of them
    will use 'blind box' ads (no company name or individuals name) for responses, the paper side of this
    still holds...
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  5. #5
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    I also agree with this information. For years, my Career Services department has been very stringent on keeping a resume, regardless of how loaded it was, to a page max. My last manager and I talked resumes, and she noted that she hates spending more than a minute looking at a resume, and will really read a long resume if there's enough interesting information to warrant that extra time.

    Keeping within those page limits has been a bit difficult for me lately, and will probably be a real nice challenge after my fourth (and hopefully last) internship before I graduate, but it sure does become helpful when posting it.
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  6. #6
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Mr Market spent a lot of years doing this kind of thing, by the way...helping folk get jobs. he's volunteering his time in here, and I can guarantee I appreciate it.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    One hint I can think of right off the bat as well. In my experience, a simple, clean, well written resume will get a better response than a fancy one from a Word boilerplate template. Most people that deal with them can smell a template from a mile away
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  8. #8
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    ^^^

    It's really not that hard to create a straightforward, professional-looking resume that will get people's attention. I have seen some resumes that, for better or (almost always) worse, looked like they were written in about five minutes using Notepad. (WordPad? Seems like work.)

    I have some contributions for collegiates like me:

    1) If you don't like your GPA, DON'T POST IT. There are lots of differing opinions about this, but I stick to the advice given to me to keep the GPA off of the resume if it looks iffy. Posting that you have a Dean's List and a 3.8 Cumulative GPA will surely open almost all of the doors available (except maybe Google, Microsoft and the NSA; you have to have made an operating system or solved the unsolvable math problem to get hired there). Posting a 2.6 GPA...not so much. There are two things that can trump that:

    a) In-Major GPA: Post this if you feel compelled to. I was told to keep it off to avoid confusion, but some people leave it on to at least show for something. One person got fired from an internship due to a GPA issue (his in-major was above 3.0, but his cumulative was definitely not).

    b) Experience. This is what will really make a resume shine (at least from college, or so I've been told by recruiters and managers). The time to gain this experience starts freshman year. Attaining lots of internships not only helps build very useful experience, but can also display a sense of what the working world relative to one's field of study and help in making choices. A lot of people are dissatisfied with their jobs, regardless of position, because not enough time was spent in college really trying to find that mark.

    2) MAKE YOUR NAME HUGE. If you make the name too small or indistinguishable in size, it might blend in with everything else and get skipped over.

    3) MAJOR, MINOR. THAT'S IT. A manager gave me good advice on foregoing additional courses that I took while in my major because:

    • a) Most HR recruiters might not care, and
      b) Managers will assume your knowledge from your major.


    Plus, listing that I took Data Structures and Algorithms won't help much if attempting to quickly describe how a binary search tree works is a huge challenge anyway (if you want to do software development).

    4) ACTION WORDS AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE ARE IMPORTANT. What sounds better?

    * Assisted in writing requirements for the migration of our web services to a major company's member website.
    or

    * Contributed requirements for incorporating online products and services into the member service for a major healthcare provider?
    Action words and sentences can make the difference between making something sound procedural or really noteworthy of describing. In fact, some of my previous work has spawned conversations of their own in interviews...and now in hindsight, they were poorly described!

    5) PRINTING. Would you rather read a book from printer paper binded with staples or one with nice press-quality paper with hardcover binding and covering? This same line of thought also applies in maknig resumes. Spend the extra bucks and print it on nice press paper (canary is preferred). Print a lot of them, and also get a nice resume cover to look good with that suit when presenting your stuff. Every little bit helps.

    6) GRAMMAR. Spell check is your friend. Use it before they do.
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    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  9. #9
    BF Risk Manager
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    I have been in the professional workforce for about 25 years now. In the 'education' section, I was told to only list my relevant professional degrees. I was told that no one cares about my undergrad stuff anymore. Obviously, this would not apply to someone right out of college.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  10. #10
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Add them all, but leave off dates at 25 years...
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  11. #11
    trois, mon frère JaRow's Avatar
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    How necessary is the objective? I have never seen a decent objective. They all sound cliche and really formulaic.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Just don't hand in a dog-eared piece of paper that's been in your hoodie pocket all day (oh yeah, skateboarding in to the place you want to work? Unless you're Tony Hawk, don't even think about it), and for the love of all that is holey don't put perfume on your damn resume. I'm allergic, and you're an idiot who is apparently in sixth grade.

    Oh, and it's never, ever a good idea to be rude to the "receptionist" who takes your application. She may be on the hiring committee. :evil:

    That's my two cents on resumes

  13. #13
    Cue
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaRow View Post
    How necessary is the objective? I have never seen a decent objective. They all sound cliche and really formulaic.
    I'd say leave it off. Your objective is get the job.

  14. #14
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Objective helps to clarify what job you are looking for if your stuff gets 'mis-filed', otherwise worthless.
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  15. #15
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaRow View Post
    How necessary is the objective? I have never seen a decent objective. They all sound cliche and really formulaic.
    So far as I've seen, it's pretty essential. It's a quick summary of what you should be looking for, and the level of work that you are expecting. The more creative you can get with this, the better.
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    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  16. #16
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Markets View Post
    Objective helps to clarify what job you are looking for if your stuff gets 'mis-filed', otherwise worthless.
    If that's the case, then why do so many resume improvement websites suggest adding it?
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    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  17. #17
    superArti artifice's Avatar
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    Its good to have a text-only copy of your resume formatted and on-hand. Sites like monster, and large corporations often require you submit it that way.
    i woke up one morning and i stepped out of bed | had to get a bike, had to paint it red
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  18. #18
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Markets View Post
    So unless you can get directly to the hiring manager, you need to
    get past the gatekeeper. And since that gatekeeper typically has NO CLUE what the
    description of anyone's job is until it is put before them, YOU need to match that
    description to get past the gate. Face it, chances are if you are an Engineer, or
    Financial Analyst, or Statistical Process Control Manager -- the HR assistant couldn't
    tell you 1% of what your job entails.
    Unfortunately with a lot of larger companies, you're lucky if you even get that far. A lot of them now have computerized resume-eating monstrosities that are miraculously even more poorly attuned to the needs of a position than the HR grunts. Computers generally don't have very good vocabularies, so if they require advanced skills with "Finite Element Analysis", and you include that you're an expert in "FEA", you don't stand a chance.

    Unfortunately, it's hard to know if your resume will be first read by a computer or by a human. However, there can be valuable hints in the job-posting. If it says they require a certain skill, and you happen to have that skill, make sure it's in your bulletted list verbatim.

    And of course, if you personally know someone in the company or can make contact with someone in the department you want to work in, make sure you let them know you're sending in a resume. If they trust you and care about the position, they'll swing by the HR office and ask if an application has been received with your name on it.

    Regarding the "Objective" section...I title it "Profile," which is the "Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em" section. It's a super-brief overview of your expertise and intentions. I also think its a quick way outside the cover letter to show enthusiasm for the job.

    Overall, excellent and timely advice (I'm in the middle of polishing my resume right now).
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  19. #19
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    It's also good to customize the resume to fit the employment ad better.

    You should be selling what they are buying.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  20. #20
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    It's also good to customize the resume to fit the employment ad better.

    You should be selling what they are buying.
    I think this is also an imperative piece of advice. Generic resumes can be spotted pretty easily, while catering the resume to the employer or even the person you know will be reviewing it can make it easier to pay more attention to it.
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     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  21. #21
    en fuego ILUVUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    It's also good to customize the resume to fit the employment ad better.

    You should be selling what they are buying.
    Excellent advice!

  22. #22
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    time to ba-da-bump this one...
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  23. #23
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    SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK.
    Misspelled words will get your resume tossed. Use spell check.
    Print and READ your resume, or better yet, have a friend read it. If it doesn't make sense to you or a friend, how will the HR or hiring manager make any sense of it. Read it out loud, does it still make sense?

    And before you send it to anyone, SPELL CHECK.

  24. #24
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Oh yes, and spell check it.

    Personally I hate resumes with objectives. Either the candidates look far ahead and look pushy, or they say they want the job they are going for and I just say "duh". Or (worse) they say they aim to land a job at company a, and send the letter to company b.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  25. #25
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    There is no difference between "padding your resume" and "lying". Do not lie, because eventually you will be found out. Some of my favourites:

    - Woman claimed a degree from the local University. She was offered a FTE position after 3mo of temp work. Temp agency never checked her resume, but the company I worked for did. She lied about her degree, and the FTE offer was withdrawn.

    - Recent candidate claimed 3 years experience working with a technology our company pioneered... last year.

    - "Boosting" your experience with a technology: No one reading your resume believes you are an expert at something for which you've misspelled the acronym. (Intervied a guy who claimed to have 10 years experience processing ELIZA assays. Yes, that is how he spelled it on the resume. No, he couldn't tell me what the acronym stood for.)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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