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Change Your Resume for a Great 2009 – Part I

Change Your Resume for a Great 2009 – Part I

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    2009 will be a time of change.  Included in those changes for many will be a job change.  In tight economic times, job search skills become even more important.  You need to stand out from the crowd.

    There are two ways to stand out.  You will stand out if you do things that make you look ridiculous, and you will stand out by doing things that make you look remarkable.  Ridiculous or remarkable: both cause you to stand out, but one gets you the job and one doesn’t.

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    Naturally then, you hope to be seen as remarkable.  That means you need to create a remarkable resume; remarkable, but not ridiculous.  This three-part series will help you prepare a remarkable resume.

    1. Understand the goal of your resume

    The goal of your resume is simple – to get an interview. Your resume will not get you the job, only the interview.  Remembering that goal will help shape how you write your resume.  You are not trying to get everything across.  You are not trying to tell them every reason they should hire you.  You are trying to get across enough information to get the interview – and that’s all.

    2. Customize your resume for your job target.

    In other words don’t use the same resume for each and every job. Employers can easily tell when you use a blanket resume that is the same for each and every job.  Instead you need to use a resume targeted directly for the job you are aiming for. This may mean completely different resumes for each job. For others it may mean a separate resume for each categories of job; for example one resume for all “cook” positions that you apply for.

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    3. Understand that your resume will only be scanned initially.

    Your resume needs to catch attention quickly.  Just like a newspaper aims to catch your attention with stories “above the fold”, the top half of the first page will make or break you. If you are not careful, your resume could be filled under “G – for garbage” before the potential employer even starts to read it.  Make sure the information on the first half of your resume looks good and instantly shows what you can bring to the employer.

    4. Your resume is an ad.  You must stress the benefits you will bring to the employer.

    Just as in good advertising, your resume must stress the benefits. The places you have worked and things you have studied are your “features”. You need to use your features (experiences) to show how they will allow you to benefit your potential employer.

    5. Focus on the employers needs, not on your own.

    In order to understand the employers needs you need to learn as much as you can about the job you are applying for.  Start with the job posting itself.  This job posting will include a job description and job specifications.  Make sure your resume clearly connects your skills to the job specifications.

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    You can go the extra mile by finding someone who works with your potential employer and talk to them about the needs of the company. Use your personal network to make these kinds of contacts.  Any extra information can be used to further customize your resume to the employers needs.

    6. Ask yourself: “What about me makes me the perfect candidate?”

    Asking yourself this question can help you understand how to present yourself on your resume.  The answer to this question is what you want to get across first.  The better you know the employer, the better you will be able to know why you are the perfect candidate for that job.

    7. Put name and full contact information first

    Perhaps it is obvious, but the first thing you need to put on your resume, at the very top, is your name and full contact information.  It is amazing how many resumes have very little, or even incomplete, contact information.  You want to be prepared for any way that the potential employer may want to contact you – remember your goal is simply to get the interview.  Include your mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.

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    8. Use a professional email address and voice mail service.

    Be sure your email address is professional looking. Ideally use an email address that includes your name.  It is amazing how many resumes use an email address that includes a nickname as their contact information.  Email addresses such as “skiergirl” or “skaterboy” or even “successguru” don’t sound professional to someone making hiring decisions.

    Also, ensure that any voice mail service you use on these phone numbers includes a professional greeting.  And don’t use a phone number where someone else will be taking messages for you.  Be sure that either you will answer the phone, or it will go to voice mail.  You don’t want to risk someone missing the message or sending across the wrong signal to a potential employer.

    9. Lead with a summary paragraph.

    Following your name and contact information you want to lead with a summary paragraph.  The summary paragraph is where you should present some of the key benefits that will show the employer why you are the perfect candidate for the job. This paragraph should only be about three or four lines long and should be in a formal third-person tone.

    10. Know the 3 Types of Resumes.

    There are three general types of resumes.  The first is chronological.  A chronological resume presents your work and educational experience in chronological order with the most recent first.  A second type is a functional resume which groups your experience based on job categories.  Finally you can use a combined style.  A combined style generally uses functions as the overarching pattern, but follows a clear chronological order within the functions.  For most people with a variety of work experiences, the combined approach will be the best. It will provide the most opportunity to customize your resume for your employer.

    Hopefully these ten points will help you get started on writing a remarkable resume that will help you get the interview you desire.  Part II will continue to help you with what to include on your resume and where to put it.

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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