Jul 12, 2011

5 Things Hirers Are Looking For In Your Resume

After asking scores of employers, business owners, recruiters, hirers and human resources directors around the nation for their thoughts on resumes, here are the five most common and critical elements mentioned as necessary before they even consider scheduling an interview.

1. Zero grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors – It’s true. Hirers, recruiters and employers still find errors in many of the resumes they receive. This is in fact the most common complaint they unanimously give. Grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors will lead your resume into the garbage bin; no matter how qualified you may be for the position. So do yourself and potential employers a favor: double check your resume for errors before submitting it.

2. Conservative and easy-to-follow layout – Don’t be tempted by the “hip is better” age we live in to make your resume too flashy, colorful and full of “bells and whistles.” It will only leave the impression of unprofessionalism and amateurishness with the reader, thus leaving you without a job.

3. The truth and nothing but the truth Don’t try to be sneaky and shade the truth in your favor just so you can manipulate yourself into a specific job position. It probably won’t work – and if it does, and the truth is found out, you’ll be immediately fired. Companies don’t take the risk of hiring dishonest employees.

4. Your achievements – Hirers, employers, recruiters, human resources directors – they’re all looking for an employee who will perform the duties at the job position available with skill, competence and results-producing performance. And when they look over a resume, the first and most important thing they are looking for are achievements and accomplishments. Sadly, most job applicants don’t offer them anything but a list of where they worked and where they were educated, totally neglecting their achievements. Next time, sell yourself to the hirer by adding your top career achievements to your resume. (And make sure the achievements align well with the job you’re applying for.)

5. Zero blandness – A well-written, power-packed, organized, easy-to-follow, achievement-focused resume is the key to winning the heart of the hiring decision-maker. Use active and powerful – as opposed to passive – words and phrases. Bring attention to what you accomplished for other companies and what you can achieve for your next employer. Draw the reader in from the very start of your resume straight to the phone call for an interview.

May 3, 2011

One Page, Two Pages or More?

It's one of the most common questions I am asked when it comes to resumes: How long should a resume be? Is one page still "in"? Are two-pagers more effective? Does it matter? And then there is always the question: Is it really a no-no to make my resume more than two pages?

I am going to attempt to answer this question here once and for all. Are you ready for the answer? Here it is: It depends. There, I will now end my shortest article ever, akin to a Twitter tweet.

Just joking - I'll explain what I mean here briefly and elaborate on some details. A good rule of thumb when it comes to resumes is this: There are no hard and fast rules. By this I mean that a resume should reflect you effectively, accurately and powerfully - and how can something set in stone with hard and fast rules give you justice? My point exactly.

Okay - I know you are dying for some rules (or else why would you be reading this?). So here goes. Student or entry level job seekers (someone just entering the professional job market or with 3 or less years of experience within that market), as a rule, should keep their resume to one page. The reason for this is because those with little work experience won't have a need (in most cases) for two pages to contain their experiences. Here's another hard and fast rule: Resumes should never include "fluff." Focus on your top talents, skills and training within an entry level resume, and that should usually stay within the bounds of one page easily. There may be exceptions, like I said, such as doctorate resumes within the medical or academic fields. But as a rule, when an entry, keep it on one.

Now, let's briefly consider the "over two pages" discussion. Again - a hard and fast rule is that resumes should never include fluff. With this in mind, also remember that your resume should not include everything about you or your work experience or your training / education or your skills. It should only focus on and include the top information - information that will get you an interview. You can (and should) elaborate on any additional information at the interview.

Again, there are certain examples where more than two pages are necessary. Highly intellectual, scientific and academic careers - which often include many publications, presentations and affiliations - may need to stretch to four or five pages to include all the necessary information. It just depends.

In conclusion, here is a good rule of thumb when determining your resume's length. Do you feel like you are trying to make it fit to a certain length of pages? Or squeezing it shorter? Whatever you do, make it natural (although there will always be some minor stretching or squeezing to fit the resume to an exact finish on the page you end with). Keep it yourself, focus on the best you have to offer and it'll work out great.


Want an individual estimate of what you need page-wise? Contact my professional resume service and email me your resume.

Apr 27, 2011

Administrative Professionals: Have a Great Day!

Today my trusty ol' faithful day planner reminded (or educated, I'm not really sure if this was new or old, forgotten knowledge) that today is Administrative Professionals Day. If you are one, pat yourself on the back. I know it's tough to oversee the operations of an office environment, keep supplies stocked, schedule morale-improving events and decipher hand-written, coded notes from executives which you are to transform into pleasant- and professional-looking letters, reports or PowerPoint presentations. If I could, I would give you all a raise, because I'm sure you deserve it.

Being, however, that I don't have that power or ability, I'll provide you with the next best thing - and perhaps more valuable: How to nab and keep a good administrative position.

1. Pick a company.

As with any other job that you are searching for, after you have a target position (in this case office or executive administration), proactively choose your company. This is very important when it comes to an administrative career - because your duties and responsibilities could be very different.

For example, perhaps one option is a shipping company. You may be working with accounting, bookkeeping, scheduling, data management, etc. Another may be executive assistance. This may entail scheduling, communication, coordination, report writing, etc. Practically two different jobs. So make sure to choose your company.

2. Target your resume toward individual company(ies).

Make sure to not just send out the same resume to every job opening available. Tweak it as needed. Remember keywords, and especially update the cover letter as needed. Individualize each resume you send out - and see for yourself the difference it makes.

3. Once you're in the job you want, keep it by doing everything you can to make your direct boss look good.

In today's business world of "survival of the fittest," this can seem naive at best, and suicidal at worst. But it will - in 95% of cases that I have seen (and I have seen a lot) - help you keep your job (and even work you toward promotions). If your boss wants you to bend over backwards to "save his skin" so to speak, or gives you tasks that he should really be doing - do them - and with a smile.

For example, I have been working with a nice lady that is seeking to apply within her company for a higher position. And the biggest advantage she has is because she had a "yes, sir" attitude when her superior asked her to perform certain detailed, difficult tasks that he should have been doing. Now she has essential know-how for the position she is applying for, something no one else has in her same position because she worked hard to make her boss look good. Now she is looking good in her job search.

In conclusion, it is a tough market out there, especially for administrative professionals. There are a lot of you, and only so many positions. However, apply these points, and you will have a hugely better chance at collecting and keeping that administrative position you have always wanted.


For more help in your job search, visit my professional resume service and request some of the services we offer. I'm always glad to help!

Apr 14, 2011

How's Your Job Search Going?

Let me ask you a very personal, specific question: How is your job search going? On a scale of 1-10? What is it?

Now let me ask you another hard question. One you probably don't want to hear: How hard are you working on your job search? One a scale of 1-10? What is it?

As I "tweeted" on Twitter today, if you don't work 8-10 hours a day on your job search, you are kicking yourself in the foot. You aren't going to get as far as you would like. However, if you do put in the hours in diligent work and effort - job position scanning, emailing, phone chatting, interviewing, researching, talent evaluating - you will be rewarded greatly, even in this lackadaisical economy in America.

Now the question is: What should you be doing? As I briefly mentioned above, you need to be nailing down the position you fit best into, researching the companies you have an interest in working for, drafting emails and cover letters and post interview letters to hirers - in short: Doing everything you can to get the job you want.

In conclusion, don't sit back on your laurels as you are unemployed. When you don't have a job, that is the time to take pride in your ability to prove yourself as a diligent, hard, dedicated worker.

Don't think that job is going to come to you - take that job for yourself!


Need more detailed and specific job search help? Visit our professional resume service website.

Apr 5, 2011

Focus on Achievements

And we have a winner! Today's recipient of the job position you have been desiring is... _____. Fill in the blank. Okay, can I be a bit nosy? Was it you? No! Why not!?

Let me be frank with you. I have chatted with hirers, employers, recruiters, HR managers - from various companies spanning from IBM to General Electric to Home Depot to Uncle Joe's Ice Cream Stand. Let me share an important secret (well, it used to be a secret until now) with you: They don't want to see where you've worked or even what you've done - they want to see what you can do for them. Now, this may seem a bit complicated and you may wonder how to do this. I will tell you (for free, just in case you were wondering).

Too many resumes focus on past job history, duties, responsibilities, even projects. These are not in and by themselves bad. But your resume needs to be an eye-catcher. It needs to say something that screams, "You need to read me right now or else you will regret it." And why would they regret it? That's where your achievements come in.

Achievements in a resume can be anything from how you expanded market reach to how you increased customer satisfaction to improving office work efficiencies to growing sales to skyrocketing the company mailing list. And the list goes on...

Now here's another secret: The keys I've found to making your achievements reach out to the reader from the computer screen or watermarked resume paper page are (1) to set your best achievements apart from the rest of the text with bullets and (2) to include metrics with your achievements. Metrics - in case you're wondering - are measurements of your achievement success - including percentages, dollars, volume, scores and more. A good hint is to include numbers in your achievements. Numbers (along with % and $) stand out from the rest of the page of text. They will get noticed. And you will be happy they did.


If you need more help related to your job search or are looking for a professional resume service, visit here.

Mar 30, 2011

Be Aggressive About Your Job Search: Pick Your Position

This just in from the Resume-Republic Times: Be aggressive in your job search. Pick your position, don't let it pick you!

I'm going to play psychologist or voice of reason or close (painful but honest advice) friend or Donald Trump presently: If you really, really want to nab that job - aggressively, proactively, assertively, energetically go after it - and pick your industry, pick your position, pick your location, pick your product, even pick your company.

The most important rule in your job search is this (imagine Don Corleone himself is reading this to you as business advice): You are in charge. This isn't cocky or unrealistic - it's a fact. And too many people - people who are eager and even desperate to get a job - don't realize this. They don't take the bull by the horns and take charge of their job search!

Next week, I will get into more details.


Mar 21, 2011

Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to Savvy Scribe Resumes - The Blog! I am happy to finally begin this blog targeted toward sharing helpful, useful job search information with you on a weekly-ish basis. This initial post will be a bit of an introduction about me and my business in resume writing, job interview coaching and job search help.

My business - as you probably already know - is Savvy Scribe Resumes (you can visit my website for comprehensive information on me and my services here). I am a professional resume writer, and have been writing resumes for close to four years now. I have written and edited more than 3,000 resumes for job seekers with a very wide and vast range of background and expertise (from school teachers and nuclear scientists to private island managers and senior executives). I specialize in executive, construction management and sales / marketing resumes (having a background and specialized training in these fields). Okay, enough about me...

Let's talk about you. You are - or probably at some point will be - searching for a job. Whether you were recently laid off and need a resume immediately, working to transition into another position or using a resume for insurance - a resume is essential. Resumes get you interviews, interviews get you jobs - and we help you with both. This blog is dedicated to getting you all the information you need to succeed in your job search endeavors. Keep posted for more helpful information.


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