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Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

If you are looking for a job then your resume (or CV) is the key document which will either get you an interview or put you on the reject pile.  Most recruitment agencies and most recruiting managers receive hundreds of resumes and they typically scan each one for 15 seconds or less so it is critical that your document gains attention and says the right things about you in the right way.

Your resume should be no longer than two pages.  The first page contains your summary, key skills and achievements.  The second page contains a brief career history and your highest educational achievement.  Here are seven key steps when constructing your resume.

1.  Summary Statement.

In terms of the job market what are you?  You need a short summary statement of one or two sentences which clearly articulates what you are.  Avoid long, generic, ‘motherhood’ claims which anyone could make e.g. ‘A highly motivated goal-oriented team-player with strong interpersonal skills and excellent communication abilities.’  These opinions of yourself are worthless because who would not say this?  Be specific e.g.  ‘A qualified project manager with a proven track record in delivering major projects on time and within budget.  I have particular experience in leading multinational teams to deliver Oracle and SAP implementation projects in financial and retail sectors.’

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2.  Key Skills

Give four or five bullet points of your most valuable transferable skills.  You need to choose these carefully and be as specific as possible,  Once again try to avoid motherhood and wherever possible list explicit expertise.  What are the skills you have acquired that employers are looking for?  What are the keywords that recruiters will put into search engines when looking for someone for the kind of position you desire?  Instead of saying ‘Strong IT skills’ list the particular programming languages or applications that you know best.

3. Achievements

Select a list of your three or four proudest achievements.  What results did you deliver for the organizations where you worked?  Do not be bashful. Blow your own trumpet with facts, figures and names of companies.  ‘As Sales Manager at XYZ I grew sales revenue from $12m to $19m in two years.’  ‘At ABC I lead the team which won Citibank as a major new account.’

4. Career History

The second page contains a brief summary of your most recent work experiences.  List the organizations, your job title, your key responsibilities and achievements.  Do not include long explanations for why you left one job to go to another or why you were laid off.  Keep it concise and factual.  In general it is only the last 10 to 15 years that are relevant so do not include a complete career history if it goes back further than this.  If you are older than 50 then do not indicate your age as some employers may be prejudiced against older candidates.

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5. Details

Add your highest educational achievement and any relevant professional qualifications.  You can add some personal interests and hobbies but keep them to a minimum.  Be sure to have your name, email and phone number clearly visible on the front page so that people can contact you easily.  You do not have to include your address but it might be helpful to mention the town where you are located.

6. Align your LinkedIn profile to your resume

Recruiters use both so they should be aligned.  Your LinkedIn profile contains more material e.g. recommendations but both this profile and your resume should clearly position you in the same way with the same key words for the search engines.

7. Personalize your covering letter

Whenever you apply for a position send a covering letter or email with your resume and tailor the letter to the exact wording and needs expressed in the advert.  Explain precisely and briefly why you are a good candidate for the position and how your skills and experience are relevant.

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Get several different people to review your resume.  Keep working at it so that every word counts.  Make it clear, short, well laid out and and easy to read.  Once you have your resume in good shape you should apply, apply, apply.  Good luck with your job hunting.

 

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Featured photo credit: krosseel via mrg.bz

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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