Over 50? 3 Tips For Writing An Ageless Resume

Age discrimination is real. So, what can you do if you are over 50 and know hiring managers are screening you out? Some suggest leaving dates of graduation off your resume. Others suggest only listing your last 15 years of experience. The problem with these suggestions is recruiters are keen to them. Thus, if you do them - you'll get screened out anyways! Here are 3 resume tips for job seekers over 50:

1. Understand what an ATS is and how to write a resume for it.
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. Companies use them to match resumes that are submitted on-line to their job postings. The problem with the technology is that, according to a recent Wall St. Journal article, they actually screen out the best candidates. The solution is to keyword optimize your resume for the job you are applying to. Make sure you have all the words in the job description (skills, traits, experience, etc.) that the job description has so that you match more tightly and (hopefully) get passed on to a human for review.

2. Simplify your text.
Writing formally and with lots of multi-syllabic words screams "I'm old-school and I'm trying hard to impress you!" In fact, a study indicates when people use complex vocabulary, they actually come across as less impressive. Don't date yourself by writing in overly-formal language. Keep it simple and easy to read.

3. Be objective – a.k.a. stick to the facts.
Years ago, writing a good resume was all about making yourself sound amazing. You filled it with subjective text like, "resourceful self-starter" and "accomplished multi-tasker with outstanding attention to detail." The problem with this text is it's an opinion of yourself. And these days, recruiters are sick and tired of reading resumes where the person sounds too good to be true.

The new resume style focuses on removing over-the-top language and sticking to the quantifiable accomplishments. "15+ years managing departments ranging in size from 10-50 people with average operational budget of $500K/month," is far more impressive than saying, "I'm an exceptional people person with top-notch leadership skills and the ability to drive performance." The first one is fact, the second one is fluff. See the difference? Recruiters sure do!

As an over 50 worker, you have the professional experience and expertise to do great things for another 17+ years. However, you won't get that chance if you don't update your resume to reflect the fact that in spite of your age, you are timeless in your ability to adapt to the changing professional landscape. Updating your resume using the tips above will help you achieve a more attractive persona – and hopefully get employers to see age brings value!

Source: AOL

Incredibly Dumb Resume Mistakes That Hiring Managers Hate

resume mistakes

Any career expert will tell you that resume customization is key to standing out in a job search. You need to include key details that will spark the hiring manager's curiosity and make her want to take a second look. However, divulging such personal information as your ties to the mob? Not a good idea. If you think that's stating the obvious, then you obviously haven't spoken to any hiring managers lately.

CareerBuilder did, asking hiring managers to share the most "memorable and unusual job applications" that have crossed their desk. Aside from the candidate whose cover letter discussed her family being in the mob, answers included:
  • Candidate called himself "a genius" and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment.
  • Candidate applying for a management job listed "gator hunting" as a skill.
  • Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of "The Brady Bunch."
  • Candidate highlighted the fact that he was "homecoming prom prince" in 1984.
  • Candidate claimed to be able to speak "Antartican" when applying for a job to work in Antarctica.
  • Candidate's resume was decorated with pink rabbits. (Really. Could we make this up?)
  • Candidate listed "to make dough" as the resume's objective.
  • Candidate applying for an accounting job said that he was "deetail-oriented" and spelled the company's name incorrectly.
When Creativity Works
Showing originality can help you stand out of the pack -- in a good way. You just have to make sure that whatever you've written directly relates to the job you're applying for, notes Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. Given today's highly competitive job market, job seekers need to clearly demonstrate how their skills and experience are relevant to the employer.

Here are some examples of candidates that tried the creative approach, made a positive impression and were ultimately hired:
  • Candidate sent his resume in the form of an oversize Rubik's Cube, where you had to push the tiles around to align the resume. He was hired.
  • Candidate who had been a stay-at-home mom listed her skills as nursing, housekeeping, chef, teacher, bio-hazard cleanup, fight referee, taxi driver, secretary, tailor, personal shopping assistant and therapist. She was hired.
  • Candidate created a marketing brochure promoting herself as the best candidate and was hired.
  • Candidate listed accomplishments and lessons learned from each position. He gave examples of good customer service as well as situations that he wished he would have handled differently. He was hired.
  • Candidate applying for a food and beverage management position sent a resume in the form of a fine-dining menu and was hired.
Guaranteed Deal-Breakers
When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration, employers' top responses included resumes with typos (61 percent), resumes that copied large amounts of wording from the job posting (41 percent) and resumes with an inappropriate email address (35 percent).

 Other responses included:
  • Resumes that don't include a list of skills -- 30 percent
  • Resumes that are more than two pages long -- 22 percent
  • Resumes printed on decorative paper -- 20 percent
  • Resumes that detail more tasks than results for previous positions -- 16 percent
  • Resumes that include a photo -- 13 percent
  • Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space -- 13 percent.
 What other resume mistakes do you think people should avoid?

Source: AOL

Should I Put This On My Resume? 7 Questions Answered

include on resume

Are you a 5-foot-7 female who has three dogs, loves skydiving and makes a killer margarita? Unless you're applying for a job as a dog walker, skydiving instructor or bartender, these details do not belong on your resume. Resumes should only include information that is relevant to the position for which you're applying, was requested by the employer or makes it easy for them to contact you. Anything superfluous -- hobbies and personal attributes for example -- should not be shared.

Yet it's not always easy to decide what should stay and what should go. While every situation is unique, and it's important to take the job and employer requirements into account, there are some general rules for what does and doesn't have a place on your resume. Here is some advice on seven common resume question marks:

1. Home address.

While not everyone is comfortable with sharing such private information, career coach Lavie Margolin recommends including your address. "Not listing your address on your resume will make things more challenging for you," Margolin says. "It will be an immediate question mark for employers as to why there is no address listed. They may even perceive it as you not living near the position you are applying for." Margolin says that while you can still get a job without sharing your address, you're also more likely to be eliminated for not including it. Just make sure that you've done your research on the company to ensure its legitimacy before sharing any contact information.

2. Reference information.

"Never include reference information; you don't want your references being bothered by employers, especially if you don't know that you want the job," says Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing. "Once there is mutual interest, then provide the references." And remember: Always speak to your references first before sharing their details with prospective companies.

3. A disability.

"There is a common and not unfounded fear that revealing a disability on the resume may lead to not being selected for a position, which makes the disclosure choice a difficult one," says Barbara Otto, executive director of Think Beyond the Label, a national collaborative to increase employment among people with disabilities.

"A resume is a springboard for you to give details about your skills, experience and the unique perspectives you bring to the table. You should not explicitly state your disability, but you can weave in your professional experience and hobbies that may be disability-related, such as volunteer work or awards received. Then in the interview you can use these achievements to break the ice about your disability if you choose to."

4. Grade point average.

It's great if you graduated from college with a 4.0, but if you did so 10 years ago, it's probably time to remove your GPA from your resume. "A person's GPA would normally only be listed on the resume if he/she recently graduated from college," Margolin says. "If the GPA is below a 3.0, it is usually best to leave it off. Feel free to keep on any special academic status or awards you may have achieved such as Magna Cum Laude." The exception? Some companies may request a GPA, so read the application before removing it. "In certain circumstances, a GPA would remain on longer ... some job listings require a certain GPA minimum."

5. Objective.

A decade ago, many resumes included objectives. Today, most experts agree that they're just taking up valuable space. "Never put an 'objective,'" Hurwitz says. "The real objective is to get the job. If it is too generic, it means nothing. If it is not a perfect match for the job, the employer will ask herself, 'Why is he applying if he wants something else?' It's a waste of space and has no advantage."

6. A photo.

If you're pursuing a modeling career, you'd understandably want to share a photo of yourself with the prospective employer. For most other jobs, leave the photo off. If information isn't relevant to a job, you wouldn't include it, so why would you share a photo when your appearance has nothing to do with the position? If you do, you're putting the employer in an uncomfortable situation, because if you aren't hired, it could technically lead to potential discriminatory action. The same situation applies for sharing other personal attributes, such as race, age or religion.

7. Quick response code.

QR codes -- bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones to download or link to information -- are growing in popularity as a tool to connect employers with a candidate's portfolio or LinkedIn profile. If you're debating about including one on your resume, consider the type of job for which you're applying. If it's a social-media or technology-driven role, using one will show that you're up on the latest trends. If it's a more traditional job, it may be better to give it a pass.

"QR codes are cool, but unless you're in a situation where they make sense, give them a miss," says Beth Campbell Duke, principal at CampbellDuke Personal Branding. "Also ... if you're sending someone to a website, it must be optimized for mobile technology."

And don't just include a QR code for show -- it should link to something interesting and applicable. Connecting the employer to an online replica of your resume or a poorly written and sparsely updated site won't score any points.

Source: AOL

10 Words and Terms That Ruin a Resume

10 Words and Terms That Ruin a Resume
Your resume needs an update -- that is, if your resume is like that of most people, it’s not as good as it could be. The problem is language: Most resumes are a thicket of deadwood words and phrases -- empty cliches, annoying jargon and recycled buzzwords. Recruiters, HR folks and hiring managers see these terms over and over again, and it makes them sad. 

Wouldn’t you rather make them happy? It’s time to start raking out your resume, starting with these (and similar) terms:

1. “Salary negotiable”

Yes, they know. If you’re wasting a precious line of your resume on this term, it looks as though you’re padding -- that you’ve run out of things to talk about. If your salary is not negotiable, that would be somewhat unusual. (Still, don’t put that on your resume either.)

2. “References available by request”

See the preceding comment about unnecessary terms.

3. “Responsible for ______”

Reading this term, the recruiter can almost picture the C-average, uninspired employee mechanically fulfilling his job requirements -- no more, no less. Having been responsible for something isn’t something you did -- it’s something that happened to you. Turn phrases like “responsible for” into “managed,” “led” or other decisive, strong verbs.

4. “Experience working in ______”

Again, experience is something that happens to you -- not something you achieve. Describe your background in terms of achievements.

5. “Problem-solving skills”
You know who else has problem-solving skills? Monkeys. Dogs. On your resume, stick to skills that require a human.

6. “Detail-oriented”

So, you pay attention to details. Well, so does everyone else. Don’t you have something unique to tell the hiring manager? Plus, putting this on your resume will make that accidental typo in your cover letter or resume all the more comical.

7. “Hardworking”

Have you ever heard the term “show -- don’t tell”? This is where that might apply. Anyone can call himself a hard worker. It’s a lot more convincing if you describe situations in concrete detail in which your hard work benefited an employer.

8. “Team player”

See the preceding comment about showing instead of telling. There are very few jobs that don’t involve working with someone else. If you have relevant success stories about collaboration, put them on your resume. Talk about the kinds of teams you worked on, and how you succeeded.

9. “Proactive”

This is a completely deflated buzzword. Again, show rather than tell.

10. “Objective”

This term isn’t always verboten, but you should use it carefully. If your objective is to get the job you’ve applied for, there’s no need to spell that out on your resume with its own heading. A resume objective is usually better replaced by a career summary describing your background, achievements and what you have to offer an employer. An exception might be if you haven’t applied for a specific job and don’t have a lot of experience that speaks to the position you’d like to achieve.

Source: Monster

Sample Resume for an Entry-Level Sales Professional

Starting a career in sales? Make sure your resume conveys your key competencies and motivation to succeed. Check out sample below for inspiration and get a downloadable Word version of the resume template here.

Impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service.

15 Main St.
Sometown, FL 55555
Home: (555) 555-5555
Cell: (555) 555-5556

  • Recent honors graduate of ABC College's communications program -- highly motivated to launch professional sales career.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and relationship-building skills. Listen attentively, communicate persuasively and follow through diligently.
  • Technically skilled -- cross-platform expertise (Win/Mac) and proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuarkXPress and Photoshop.

  • Customer Acquisition
  • Referral/Repeat Business Generation
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Public Speaking
  • Complaint Handling
  • Consultative Sales
  • Sales Reports & Correspondence
  • Inventory Management
  • POS Systems


ABC SCHOOL, Sometown, FL
BA in Communications, GPA: 3.75 (Graduated with honors), May 2011
  • Awards: Student Achievement Scholarship (2007 to 2011); Communications Honor Society (2010 to 2011); Frederick McMillan Award for Academic Excellence (2007 to 2011)
  • Volunteerism: Save the Children (2007 to Present); Tutor, Miami Family Shelter (2009 to 2010); Crisis Line Staff, Women's Center (2007 to 2008)

WORK EXPERIENCE (concurrent with college studies)

Bartender, 2007-present
ABC Restaurant and Lounge, Sometown, FL

Handle the setup, service and daily operations of bar serving an international clientele, tourists and business travelers. Enter orders into POS system; prepare daily sales reports for management; conduct monthly inventory; and perform heavy cash handling and reconciliation functions.

Sales Accomplishments:
  • Earned consistent commendations for exemplary service delivery (average of 100 guests per shift). Regularly singled out on comment cards for "going above and beyond expectations" and "providing outstanding service and attention to guests."
  • Recognized for ability to quickly establish rapport with customers, up-sell products and build a loyal clientele.
  • Selected and streamlined bar products based on analysis of consumption and sales, resulting in superior inventory and selection for guests.
  • Developed floor plans for auxiliary bars used for large private parties. Outcomes included faster service, improved efficiency and enhanced guest satisfaction.
Server / Bartender, 2006-2007
DEF Hotel, Sometown, FL

Served food and beverages at a luxury, historic hotel. Anticipated and met guests' needs while working efficiently in a fast-paced environment.

Sales Accomplishments:
  • Consistently achieved highest per-night sales averages (out of 10+ servers) by up-selling orders and suggesting add-ons/extras to meals.  
  • Proved the ability to multitask, handle crowds of up to 350 people, resolve customer issues and excel within a demanding, high-volume setting. 
Available to Relocate Nationwide

Source: Monster

Simple Steps to Shape Up Your Résumé

Writing a résumé is a lot like hitting the gym: It requires initiative, energy and dedication, and, at times, it can be daunting. In the long run, however, the hard work pays off and allows you to put your best foot forward with prospective employers.

Why don't you try engaging in an exercise routine that will improve your career prospects: a five-step résumé-writing workout. You may not have the muscle tone to show for it, but you'll have an impressive tool to use in your job search. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or new to your field, you can follow the same simple regimen.

Step 1: Establish an objective.
While a gym buff's main goal may be to lose a few pounds, a job seeker's ultimate aim is to get hired. Start by including an objective on your résumé. It should spell out your career goals and your qualifications for the role. Although it is an optional element, an objective allows you to tailor your résumé to the job opening. Make sure what you include in this section is targeted to the company and the job for which you are applying. Your objective might look something like this: "An entry-level position at a magazine that gives me an opportunity to apply my background in English and my three years' experience as editor of my college newspaper."

Step 2: Shift into high gear.
If you expect to see results, whether you're working on your calves or your résumé, sooner or later, you've got to pick up the pace. Since the work history section is the most important element of your résumé, it's the best place to step it up. Most employers prefer that applicants list their work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with their most recent jobs. Be sure to include the position, company, location and dates of employment. Use action words to describe your accomplishments and specifically demonstrate how you made a positive impact on the company. For example, it's not enough to say, "Grew territory revenue in excess of corporate goal." A statement such as, "Grew territory revenues 25 percent in less than six months, exceeding established goal of 15 percent," will impress employers more.

Remember that one size does not fit all on your résumé. If you're applying for a variety of roles, what you highlight should relate specifically to each unique job opening.

If you have been out of the workforce for some time or are looking to make a career change, consider grouping your work history under functional categories instead of chronologically.

Step 3: Eliminate extraneous activities.
Even the strongest athletes run out of steam when they overexert themselves. Avoid exhausting yourself, and the résumé reader, by weeding out information that does not directly relate to the job at hand. For example, if you are currently in a finance role and a big fan of the circus, there's no point in mentioning your affinity for the flying trapeze. Or if you want to show off a particular skill that isn't included in the work history section, such as familiarity with a certain software application, list the training courses you've taken or certifications you've received. Just don't go into detail about personal hobbies that don't directly relate to the job.

Step 4: Don't forget the final stretch.
Feeling the burn while working out is one thing, but waking up in pain is another. Smart athletes know it's important to conclude their exercise routines with some final stretches. After you've written your résumé, you should give it one last look for grammar and punctuation errors, misspelled words and typos. Format the document so it's easy to read and appealing to the eye. Use boldface type for section headings, employer names and jobs titles, and leave ample white space so it doesn't look cluttered.

If you submit your application via e-mail, prepare the file as a plain-text document so it can be read on any computer system. Remove all formatting enhancements, such as underlining or boldface, and replace bullets with asterisks or dashes.

Step 5: Request a quick once-over.
If you've worked hard to develop well-defined abs, you shouldn't be afraid to show them off. Similarly, before submitting your résumé, show it to a few friends or professionals in the field and ask if they think it successfully highlights your background and skills. A pair of fresh eyes also can spot any errors that you've overlooked.

Writing a résumé can be challenging, but it shouldn't make you break out in a sweat. Approach the task like you would a workout: Break it down into small steps, take your time and give each one your all. With a little effort and willpower, you're bound to strengthen your chances of landing the job you seek.

Source: careerbuilder

Breaking the Résumé Rules

If you've read books on résumé writing, you might be confused by all the rules.  In fact, during my weekly résumé writing teleseminar, I correct a lot of misinformation.

With the economy in the toilet these days, the last worry you need is whether you have the correct indent template or that you aren't using this year's approved action verbs. It's imperative that you deliver the right content to push a hiring manager's buttons now.

Forget the "rules."  Here are the critical points you must address in your résumé:

Answer the employer's most important question
Most rules fail to address the critical question: WIIFM, or "What's in it for me?"  This is the employer's primary question in a tough economy. If your initial paragraph doesn't immediately answer this question, your résumé won't last 20 seconds with the person who's reading it.
A résumé is a selling document.  Unfortunately, judging from the advice I've heard and the "professionally written" résumés I've read, it's obvious that many résumé "experts" have never sold a product or service in their careers. If they had, they would realize now, more than ever, that it's about money not mission statements. 

For this reason the opening statement on your résumé must develop the reader's immediate interest and entice them to learn more about you.  Drop the long-winded paragraphs filled with "results oriented" and "proven track record" clichés.  Instead, address the specific benefits you bring to them.  In today's recession, that means a short personal brand statement that clearly summarizes who you are, your biggest strength and the primary benefit you bring to an employer.

Prove it

In the past you could sell yourself by promoting your skills and length of service in a profession or job.  Those days are gone.  Today, you must sell results.  When you sell your skills, you're selling a commodity.  It's likely hundreds (if not thousands) of other job seekers have your same or better skills.  Here's the problem: when you sell skills, you've reduced yourself to a commodity and commodities always sell for the lowest price.
So get yourself out of that commodity game.

Today, you need to sell results by speaking the employer's language, which is "return on investment" or ROI. If you can't do that, you can't answer their question, and you've lost their interest.  They will move on to the next résumé.                   

List specific, measurable results of activities performed for your employer or client.  Place these activities in their own section under your personal brand statement.  This strengthens the statement with measurable evidence including examples of problems that you've solved.

Don't tell too much
Employers are typically going to look for the top three to five candidates. They'll weed out large numbers of résumés in the initial process, looking for an easy way to eliminate you.  Don't give them a reason by telling too much, confusing them or taking them off track.  These are called "screenouts." Yet I still see résumés that were written heeding the advice of "experts" to include too much information. 

Here's the point: Your résumé is not a dossier.  It's a sales document. Your résumé's only purpose is to get the reader to pick up the phone to call you.  You're only applying for one job title. If the résumé doesn't clearly explain why you're the best project manager, executive assistant or purchasing agent, then get rid of the information or minimize it because it doesn't belong there.

Source: careerbuilder

How to Identify Your Transferrable Skills

This "finding a career" thing is tricky business.

You go to college and major in one thing -- but find yourself in a job opposite from what you spent four years studying. Or, you land a job that's exactly in line with your college major -- but discover it's not what you had in mind. Or even still, you score a gig doing what you love and are content for many years -- until you get bored and want to make a switch.

So what happens to the experience you've gained from your current job and those before it? What about the hours, years and dollars spent studying this vocation in school? Do you really have to start at square one if you decide to drastically switch careers?

Not at all. Your experience turns into transferable skills; you just have to learn to recognize and sell them to employers.

Need help? Here's everything you need to know about identifying, applying and marketing your transferable skills.

What are transferable skills?
Transferable skills are talents you've acquired that can help an employer but that aren't immediately relevant to the job you seek, says Kevin Donlin, résumé writer and creator of TheSimpleJobSearch.com. Experiences like volunteer work, hobbies, sports, previous jobs, college coursework or even life happenings can lead you to find these skills.
Any skill is transferable; the trick is showing employers how it applies and is useful to them.

Identify transferable skills
With so much experience -- in work and otherwise -- the thought of sifting through it to recognize your applicable skills might sound scary. But, it's not as hard as you think.
Asking yourself questions like, "What are my three favorite accomplishments?" or "What activities make me the happiest?" will help you find your transferable skills easily, says Dawn Clare, a career and life coach.
"Evaluate your whole life, not just professional experiences," she says. "The point is to determine skill strengths. Use a framework of school, job, personal and organizational activities to determine your relevant accomplishments."
Start with the job you seek and identify the three most important abilities you'll need to do that job well, Donlin says. Then look over your experience and describe what you've done before in terms of what you want to do next. The best way to do this is through customized résumés and cover letters.

Apply transferable skills to your résumé
We've told you before and we'll tell you again: You have to create a résumé and cover letter specific to each job you apply for.
"Many times résumés fall short because one résumé applying for a variety of positions loses HR interest and job opportunities," says Jamie Yasko-Mangum, a self-image and training consultant and owner of Successful Style & Image Inc.
Organize your résumé by skill area or accomplishments rather than chronologically or functionally. Categorize all applicable skills, highlights and experiences and group them in categories such as "professional highlights," "skills summary" and "professional experience" and place them at the top of your résumé, Yasko-Mangum says.
"This will not pigeonhole you into a closed career option," she says, but will "showcase all your abilities for many career options."
For example, Andrew Best had six years of experience in customer service, but wanted to transition into sales. Donlin, the professional résumé writer, helped Best rework his résumé by including a profile at the top that showcased his transferable skills.
"We talked about the sales-related things Andrew did in customer service, like convincing customers to try new services, which we described in sales language like up-selling and cross-selling," Donlin says. "We talked about how he had ranked at or near the top for training and productivity, because sales are a competitive sport."
Shel Horowitz, marketing consultant and founder of FrugalMarketing.com, remembers Carol, who had been out of the work force for 10 years as a homemaker. With an extensive volunteer history that Horowitz emphasized in her résumé, Carol landed a job as a director of a human service agency -- a position she held for 12 years.
"I stressed her administrative, fundraising and public contact skills," Horowitz says. He put a summary of her background in volunteering at the top of the résumé, followed by specific experiences to showcase her skills.

Sell your skills to an employer
Most marketable skills can be grouped into broad categories and broken down further based on the job you're applying for. For example, communication is a general skill area, which can be broken down into such skills as speaking effectively, writing concisely or negotiation.
"You must do all the thinking for the person reading your résumé," Donlin says. "Never expect anyone to figure out your relevant skills or how valuable they are."
To add credibility, Donlin suggests adding a quote to your résumé from past managers or clients to emphasize your transferable skills. For example, John, a client of Donlin's, made the transition from retail management to real-estate sales. His résumé included a quote from a real-estate agent praising John's character and sales skills, both of which are necessary in real estate.
"A third party endorsement of you is many times more credible and interesting than anything you could say about yourself," Donlin says.

Examples of applicable skills
Still need help selling your skills? Here are three examples of career transitions and how our experts suggest you could apply your transferable skills.

  • Server to entry-level marketing
    Transferable skills: Communication, client retention, sales and marketing, multitasking.
    How to sell it: "During peak periods, I had to prioritize and handle multiple orders, market menu items, answer questions quickly, communicate clearly, up sell additional selections and ensure repeat business. My daily tip totals provided highly efficient feedback, as they were based on personal productivity and customer satisfaction."

  • Nanny to human resources specialist
    Transferable skills: Human relations, teaching, development, time management, patience.
    How to sell it: "As a former caregiver to five children, I learned to identify with each child and learn his/her individual strengths, weaknesses and interests. I've also learned the importance of good time management, which would be an essential skill in the human resource department."

  • College student to software engineering
    Transferable skills: Computer science degree, team player, work ethic, trainable.
    How to sell it: "I have a strong background in computer science, with both a degree and extensive training in the field. An accomplished team player, I've worked with a database management group at XYZ University, created an online multimedia store and used CGI scripts written in C+++ to track customer satisfaction."

    Source: careerbuilder

  • 10 Things To Leave Off Your Resume

    leave words off of resume What you don't include on your resume can be as important as what you do include.

    Here are 10 things you should leave off:  

    1. An objective.
    Resume objectives never help and often hurt. Not only do they feel outdated at this point, but they're all about what you want, rather than what this stage of the hiring process is all about-what the employer wants. Your resume should be about showing your experience, skills, and accomplishments. If you want to talk about how this particular position is the perfect next step in your career, use the cover letter for that.

    2. Short-term jobs.
    Short-term jobs raise red flags for hiring managers, who will wonder if you were fired, couldn't do the work, or had trouble getting along with co-workers. Plus, a few months on a job won't typically be useful in showing any real accomplishments or advancement anyway.

    One exception to this rule is if the job was short-term because it was designed that way, like contract work or, say, working on a political campaign. Those won't raise the sorts of questions above, because you'll have an explanation that doesn't reflect on you poorly.

    3. A functional format.
    Functional resumes (which list skills and abilities without including a chronological job history) are widely hated by employers, since they easily mask limited work experience or significant work gaps and make it difficult to understand a candidate's career progression. For most hiring managers, these resumes are an immediate red flag that you might be hiding something.

    4. Your photo.
    Unless you're applying for a job as a model or actor, photos of yourself have no place on your resume. Since your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, including a photo comes across as naive and unprofessional.

    5. A fancy design.
    Here's what most hiring managers think when we see a resume with unusual design or use of color: Does this candidate think that their skills and achievements won't speak for themselves? Do they not understand what employers are looking for? Do they put an inappropriate emphasis on appearances over substance? (The obvious exception to this rule is if you're applying for design jobs.)

    6. Subjective descriptions.
    Your resume is for experience and accomplishments only. It's not the place for subjective traits, like "great leadership skills" or "creative innovator." Smart employers ignore anything subjective that applicants write about themselves because so many people's self-assessments are wildly inaccurate, so your resume should stick to objective facts.

    7. Any mention of high school.
    If you're more than a few years past your high school graduation date, employers don't care which high school you attended or how accomplished you were there. Keep any mention of high school off your resume.

    8. Extra pages.
    If you're in your 20s, your resume should only be one page; there's not enough experience to justify a second one. If you're older, two pages are fine, but you go over that limit at your own peril. Hiring managers may spend only 20 or 30 seconds on your application initially, so extra pages are either ignored or they dilute the impact of the others. Your resume should be for highlights, not extensive detail.

    9. Your salary.
    Resumes don't typically include a salary history, so candidates who include it come across as naive. And by sharing that information unbidden, you'll also compromise your negotiating power later.

    10. Any mention of references, including the statement: "references are available upon request."
    You don't need to say that you'll provide references if asked, because that goes without saying. You're not causing any harm by including that now somewhat-dated statement, but it takes up space you could use for something else.

    Source: AOL

    Accomplishments Resume

    4789 Minarets Avenue
    Fishkill, New York 01242

    Business: 914.422.2341
    Residence: 914.424.3312
    Email: mckenziej@yahoo.com




    Senior Buyer (Shoes/Accessories) with a regional retailer that will benefit from an impressive 18-year history of contributions to gross margin improvement, comparable store sales and product development.



    • Drove gross margins from 41.7% to 45.6% to capture record $860,000 net profit.
    • Exceeded comparable store sales increases with 13% departmental improvement (storewide average, 1.4%).
    • Set up and launched shoe departments for six new stores; generated comparable business increase of 15.4%.
    • Reversed history of shoe losses, delivering overall increase of $935,000 in profit (from negative 5-figure loss).
    • Built department volume from $6.9 million to more than $10 million with a 3.9% increase in gross margins.
    • Contributed an average of 48% net profit to store's total net income.
    • Introduced and promoted several items that earned "key item" status, a first for the department.
    • Served on EDI Implementation Committee and Fast-Track Warehousing Committee (reduced merchandise flow through warehouse from 5 days to 48 hours).
    • Appointed to national Buying Office Steering Committee, with extensive domestic and foreign travel for private label programs for member stores (projected sales of $80 million for shoes).



    Senior Shoe Buyer: Recruited to turn around underperforming department for $450 million retailer with 42 store in the New England area. Exceeded all performance benchmarks as detailed above.
    Clothing, Etc., New York, New York, 3/94-present

    Senior Buyer: Slated for fast-track promotion as Management Trainee, Assistant Buyer, Associate Buyer, Buyer and Senior Buyer. Instrumental in increasing sales from $2.5 million to $8.5 million during buying tenure
    Regional Retailers, Amherst Massachusetts, 5/80-3/94

    Expertise in private label programs, multistore buying, new store launch and domestic/import buying. Accomplished in all aspects of sales promotions (ROP, direct mail, newspaper standard advertising catalog vehicles), inventory tracking, EDI reordering, vendor negotiations, and competitive pricing. Hands-on manager with skills in supervising and coaching buying staff.


    University of Texas: Concentration in Engineering with strong preparation in Business Finance and Marketing.

    Available for Relocation

    Source: careerbulder 

    Fun Ways to Beef Up Your Resume

    Enjoyable Activities That Can Help You Advance Your Career:

    The word "fun" isn't usually associated with looking for a job. Even in the best of circumstances, being unemployed or underemployed can be scary and stressful. But in any job search, keeping a positive attitude is important. So in addition to refining your resume and assiduously applying for jobs, consider these pursuits that are not only lots of fun, but that also make just about any candidate more attractive to hiring managers. Even better, most can be done for free or on the cheap.

    What's more, most of these activities involve meeting new people -- and therefore put you in the path of new networking opportunities. Meeting people outside of your normal social and professional spheres is an excellent way to broaden the reach of your job search.

    Study a Language
    Even knowing only the basics of a second language can be a boon in many jobs -- for instance, greeting foreign clients in their own tongue makes a great first impression. And most language classes involve fun socializing activities and learning about foreign cultures.
    Fluency takes time, but just telling an employer that you're studying a language can demonstrate self-discipline and a desire to learn new things, according to career expert Jason Seiden, the author of Super Staying Power: What You Need to Become Valuable & Resilient at Work

    Enroll in an Acting or Improvisation Workshop
    "I definitely advocate taking an improv class," says Seiden. "I've done this myself...and I learned to work across an incredibly diverse group of people, I learned to become more adaptive to my environment, and I got some great stories to use to break the ice with new people."

    These types of workshops can also be very beneficial for people who fear public speaking. Joining a Toastmasters club is another fun way to become a more effective speaker.

    Learn Something New
    "Take classes at your local college, online or through job-training programs," suggests Debra Davenport, business coach and founder of Identity IQ. "Employers want knowledge workers with top skills in the areas of technology, social media, communication, leadership, coaching, budgeting, marketing and global commerce." In addition, "fun" classes -- like photography -- may come in handy in surprising ways. After you get your finance job, say, the company may urgently need someone to take photos at an investor event -- and you'll be able to save the day.

    Turn a Hobby Into a Business
    Enjoy cooking? Gardening? Crafting? Davenport suggests looking into services provided by the Small Business Administration for ideas and guidance on turning your pastime into profits. And even if your side business doesn't become lucrative, your entrepreneurial initiative may impress the hiring managers in your future.

    Jay Block, the author of 101 Best Ways to Land a Job in Troubled Times, recommends volunteering as a way to gain confidence and strengthen your resume: You could volunteer to teach what you know -- for instance, if you're good at sales, an organization like Junior Achievement might be a good fit. You could turn a hobby into a volunteer opportunity -- for instance, if you enjoy playing the piano, you could schedule song nights at a local retirement center. Or you could even travel to an area that could use your help or skills -- for instance, to work with Habitat for Humanity.

    Many career experts suggest developing a blog that focuses on a hobby or your industry. Or, suggests Block, you could offer to write a column for a free local newspaper. These are not only enjoyable ways to express yourself but also great ways to promote yourself as an expert and establish a well-rounded online presence.
    Get Physical
    "Sign up for yoga or Pilates -- or work on becoming an instructor or a certified fitness trainer," suggests Block. "At a time where too many people are unhealthy and depressed, this can be fun and healthy and look great on a resume."

    Get Social
    "Become a social networking junkie -- not to just pass time socially, but to collect a huge amount of contacts and to build solid relationships that would be valuable to a prospective employer," says Block. "Networking and relationship building are critical skills today."

    Explore a New Career
    Block suggests job shadowing as one interesting way to learn about a new field. "Job shadowing is when you follow someone around to learn how they do their job," he says. "It's an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and get advice from professionals in industries or venues you hope to break into."

    Be Creative
    If you're in the midst of a period of unemployment, you can expect hiring managers to ask how you've spent your time away from the 9-to-5 routine. With some creative thinking, you can turn just about any hobby or learning experience into a resume or interview asset. "The most important thing about resume boosters is not what they are, but how you present them," Sieden says. "When you're interested, focused and self-motivated, nearly anything can be an asset."

    Source: Monster

    How Long Should Your Résumé Be?

    Is one page too short? Are two pages too long?

    Résumés are a subject of great debate in the career world. What to include, what not to include; serif or sans serif font; what color paper; which jobs to highlight? And, more commonly in today's job market, how long should the résumé be? Does it matter?

    We asked résumé experts for their take on whether job seekers should use a one- or two-page résumé and why it matters. Here's what they had to say:

    The argument: One page
    "Many people feel that a longer résumé makes them look more accomplished or important -- not so. Recent college grads and those who have only had one to two jobs don't need more than one page. Avoid excessive spacing to fill up the page as well and instead flesh out your skill sets, even if you think you have none due to little experience." -- Kristen Fischer, author of "Ramen Noodles, Rent and Résumés: An After-College Guide to Life"

    "Someone newer to the work force may have a one-page résumé, with a more seasoned employee having two or more. Most experienced employees cannot fit their work history onto one page, and that's fine. What is critical is that the important information stands out: a very brief summary of who you are, what you're looking for, your key accomplishments and strengths, which tells the employer why they should hire you. This should be captured at the beginning of your résumé in the top quarter of the page -- then the employer could quickly scan where you worked and when, along with more details listed under each position." -- Michelle D. Roccia, senior vice president of corporate organizational development from Winter, Wyman
    "I personally believe that a one-page résumé, for the most part, is the way to go -- unless you are a very senior executive with a number of accomplishments through your long career. Otherwise, short and focused is better." -- Jim Joseph, author of "The Experience Effect" and president of Lippe Taylor
    "Remember the length Golden Rule: You want your résumé to highlight your best attributes, and hiring authorities shouldn't have to search for them on your résumé. For this reason, stick to the one-page rule and carry over to a second page only if your experience warrants it. This will force you to choose only the most important information for your résumé." -- Alexis Lane, résumé writing specialist at Snelling Staffing - The Wyckoff Group
    "While I understand that most candidates want a two-page résumé (or longer), I happen to know that employers put the most focus on a candidate's first page. Their attention starts to wane before they even flip the page. Therefore, appropriate and strategic editing is a smart move. Most job seekers find it difficult to be so objective about their lengthy and accomplishment-based history, so here's a good tip to keep in mind: Job seekers have to think of themselves as a product and their résumé their marketing campaign. Any good marketing director knows to focus on their target consumer while creating a marketing campaign, right? Same thing applies here. You aren't writing your résumé for yourself, but rather, for your potential employers." -- Lauren Milligan, résumé expert and job coach at ResuMayday
    "A one-page résumé is needed to get you in the door. At the outset of the process, most companies are using software to scan for keywords and subsequently weeding out those who haven't included them. A two-page résumé is necessary once you've gotten in the door and are sitting in front of a human being. That said, it should not be dense. Bullet points are preferable to paragraphs." -- Frances Cole Jones, author of "The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today's Business World"
    "Less is always more when it comes to résumés today, with one page preferable, as overworked HR departments need to process information faster and are mostly using electronic solutions to identify candidates to start with anyway. On top of this, the more experience you put on there, the more dollar signs begin to flash in hiring managers' heads, and they worry about what it's going to cost to acquire such an experienced candidate." -- Scott Steinberg, CEO, lead analyst, TechSavvy Global
    "It does matter, but primarily in relation to the quality of the content. Do not try to create a two-page résumé if you really only have related experiences that fill up one page. Using bigger font and wider space margins do not help your cause. Similarly, if you have a long, impressive career of related professional achievements, there is no need to try to shrink it all down onto one page. Having said all of that, do not go longer than three pages. You should be able to be able to present the best of the best in less than three pages, and if you must, you can add a note 'Additional work history provided upon request.'" -- Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs
    The argument: Two pages
    "A two-page résumé is important. Given the nature of today's job search, applicants are searching via the Internet and using job boards or a company's website as the first touch. HR professionals and recruiters are either sifting through the résumés or résumés are searched automatically via a computer program. The more information you provide, the better your chances for a call back." -- Allison Rapaport, founder of www.hospitaldreamjobs.com
    "It is important to remember that whoever will be looking at your résumé will probably be looking at 50-100 others, so first impressions are critical. Like Goldilocks tasting the porridge, a two-page résumé is 'just about right.' A one-page résumé gives the impression that you do not have a lot of experience. Anything more than two pages gives the impression that you are 'all over the place' and simply don't have the ability to focus. Managers want to be reassured that you can zero in on what you need to do and get it done." -- Mario Almonte, managing partner, Herman and Almonte PR

    The argument: It doesn't matter
    "I am less concerned about a one-page résumé than assuring that a candidate for employment provides the necessary information in a concise, direct manner. It's the qualifications that need to get noticed. Tell the employer what you can do for them. Be concise but keep it to two pages. Grab their attention first and foremost. Design your résumé to bring out what the employer is seeking and align these requirements to your own personal strengths. Don't sell yourself –short -- quite literally." -- Wendy Powell, author of "Management Experience Acquired" 
    "It really comes down to relevant content. If you have the experience needed to back up the position you're seeking, then you need to share it. If it's more than two pages, then let it flow. If it's just fluff to fill blank paper, limit that fluff to the pertinent information. Experienced hiring managers are very good at identifying fabricated content"-- Joel Rudy, chief operating officer of Photographic Solutions Inc.
    "Job seekers focus on the wrong thing when they obsess about whether hiring managers prefer a one- or two-page résumé. Job seekers with great experience, skills, industry connections and attitudes can stop worrying about the one- versus two-page résumé dilemma and be assured that hiring managers are not going to rule out a terrific candidate for sending a two-page résumé instead of a one-page résumé." -- Janet Civitelli, Ph.D., workplace psychologist and founder of career advice website VocationVillage.com
    "Your résumé is your introduction to a new company. It says volumes about you before you ever get a chance to and may decide if you get to say anything yourself. One or two pages don't really matter, but two pages in most cases are all you need. Résumés should incorporate both responsibilities and accomplishments, conveyed in specific and measurable form -- how did you make or save your company money?" -- Ira Bershard, Kaye Bassman
    "I've seen stacks and stacks of résumés and have strong opinions on how they should be organized and written. As far as number of pages required for a résumé, the idea that everything should fit on one page is dated. Don't leave key experience out just because you're trying to keep it to one page. But do make sure all of the key important experience is on the first page and highlighted appropriately. A good way to accomplish this is by creating a 'career highlights' section at the beginning of your résumé." -- Jenna (Gruhala) Oltersdorf, principal, Snackbox 
    "A two-page résumé full of fluff and padding kills interest. Yet a one-page résumé that
    leaves out compelling selling points shortchanges both the applicant and the hiring company. The length of your résumé should be determined by how long you can keep the story you're telling compelling. You need to pique enough interest to generate an interview, not hide your strengths in a pile of unimpressive blather and puffery." -- Barry Maher is the author of "Filling the Glass"
    "Although I do prefer to see a one-page résumé, it's a mild preference and I definitely think this issue gets overemphasized.  I have hired applicants that submitted a two-page résumé and would do so again in the future.  My best advice is to keep in mind that hiring managers often scan résumés for only 20-30 seconds each.  Because of this, the wording of your bullet points is crucial; they must be succinct and attention-grabbing. Also, consider placing a bulleted list of work accomplishments (from all jobs) at the top of your résumé. This technique is gaining more and more popularity as it can really help to grab the attention of the manager that is scanning the résumés."  -- Kris Alban, director of strategic partnerships, iGrad
    The verdict: The length of your résumé will vary based on your experience. If you're a new graduate or you have less experience, keep your résumé to one page. If you're a seasoned employee in the work force, it's OK to have your résumé a little longer.
    No matter how many pages you choose to include, make sure to include all of your pertinent career information on the first page -- and in the top portion -- of the document.

    Source: careerbuilder

    5 Ways You Could Be Ruining Your Résumé Without Realizing It

    Signs are emerging that the job market is picking up, but landing a new position can still be a challenge. The last thing you want to do is sabotage your employment search, and, since your résumé is typically the first impression that hiring managers have of you, it's also the first place where you can potentially ruin your chances.

    According to a survey conducted by Robert Half International, executives spend more than six minutes, on average, screening each résumé they receive -- which means every word counts in this critical document.
    Of course, no job seeker is going to shoot himself or herself in the foot on purpose. But you might be harming yourself without realizing it. Here are five common mistakes that put you at risk of losing the job opportunity:

    1. You don't proofread Three out of four executives interviewed said just one or two typos in a résumé would remove applicants from consideration for a job. Since your word processing program has a spell-check function, you may think there's no need to review your résumé for typos and grammatical errors. Unfortunately, spell-checkers don't catch words that may be spelled correctly but used incorrectly: For example, if your most recent position was as a corporate blogger, your software may not raise the red flag if you mistakenly list yourself as a "logger." In addition to reading through the résumé yourself, you should also have someone else review it to catch any errors that you may have overlooked.

    2. You ignore potential red flags
    When reviewing your résumé, imagine that it belongs to someone else. After reading through it, would you have questions about the information provided or be concerned by a lack of details? If you have these thoughts, rest assured potential employers will, too. For instance, one of the biggest red flags is a gap in employment that goes unexplained. Rather than make a hiring manager wonder why you were away from the workplace for an extended period of time, use your cover letter to address why you weren't working and how you continued to advance your career through volunteer opportunities, professional development courses or other means.

    3. You exaggerate your qualifications Some people will do whatever they can to stand out, which includes fudging the details about a job title, the amount of time spent with an employer or a professional accomplishment. If you think that a hiring manager won't try to confirm your qualifications, think again. If you are caught making up information, you not only will lose out on the opportunity at that company but also may permanently harm your reputation. Even a small fib can prove harmful. For instance, if you're working toward a degree that you plan to complete by the summer, don't say you already have the credential.

    4. You don't explain yourself
    The best résumés use specific language so hiring managers can clearly understand your qualifications and accomplishments. If you say you are "knowledgeable" about HTML, an employer will not know if you use it every day to code Web pages or if you simply know that the acronym stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Instead of using a vague term, you should explain how you've used your knowledge of HTML for certain projects or to aid your employer, how long you've been using it and if you possess any relevant certifications. Along the same lines, be specific when listing periods of employment, including the month and year for start and end dates instead of just the year.

    5. You're too wordy Sometimes it's difficult to determine what information belongs in your résumé and what can be safely left out. After all, the temptation is to describe any qualification that might remotely tip the scales in your favor. But you might not want to list every accomplishment, skill or project you've worked on. Hiring managers appreciate brevity, so cull the information you include, focusing on the aspects of your work history that are most relevant to the job for which you're applying. If you've had a long career, for instance, you may include fewer details about jobs you held early on that don't relate to your current career path. Omit hobbies, personal facts and other fluff, too.

    6 Tricks for a Recession-Proof Résumé

    It's no secret that today's job market is extremely challenging. With more and more job candidates applying to fewer and fewer open positions, it may seem nearly impossible for you to get a potential employer's attention.

    How can you move your document to the top of the stack? Consider the following suggestions for writing a recession-proof résumé:

    1. Don't just update your old résumé
    If you haven't been on the job hunt for many years, it can be tempting to simply pull out the last résumé you used, add your most recent accomplishments and send it out. But the document could be many years old, which means the content is likely outdated.
    At the very least, give your résumé a thorough review and weed out any information that is not applicable to your current career goals. You may, for example, remove positions you held in college or delete the mention of an old computer application. You might even find the best course of action is to prepare your résumé from scratch.

    2. Consider your form A chronological résumé, in which you list your work experience in reverse chronological order, has long been the standard format that job seekers use. But in a downturn it may not be the best style for showcasing your skills and experience.
    If you have frequent or large gaps in your employment history, you may want to use a combination résumé instead. A combination résumé places the most emphasis on your skills and accomplishments, downplaying your previous positions and dates of employment. Rather than having a section called "Work Experience" serve as the bulk of your résumé, for instance, you might have sections titled "Administrative Experience," "Computer Skills" and "Management and Training Skills." A combination résumé still details your work history, but this information is abbreviated and placed near the end of the document.
    A combination résumé also could be a good choice if you are hoping to switch careers. If you don't have experience that relates directly to your new path, this format allows you to highlight transferable skills that are applicable to the position you seek.

    3. Focus on the bottom line
    Companies today are looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies. When detailing the positions you've held in the past, be sure to mention how you've helped boost a former employer's bottom line. If you worked as an administrative assistant, rather than saying "filed documents" or "answered phones," try something like this: "Identified new office-supplies vendor, resulting in cost savings of 25 percent." Be as specific as possible when describing your achievements, and don't be afraid to brag a little.

    4. Customize your content
    One of the most important steps when crafting your résumé is to target your content to each company and position. Rather than creating a standard document for use with every opportunity, customize your résumé so it speaks directly to a potential employer's unique needs.
    This may mean highlighting different accomplishments or going into greater detail about certain contributions, for instance. Doing so might take a little extra time and effort, but submitting a targeted résumé demonstrates your knowledge of and interest in each position and will help you stand apart from other job candidates.

    5. Use your cover letter
    Like many job seekers today, you may have extended gaps in your work history due to current economic conditions. The cover letter allows you to address any concerns an employer may have about these gaps. In it, explain how you've kept your skills up-to-date since your last full-time position, whether through temporary assignments, volunteer work or professional development courses.

    6. Check for mistakes In a Robert Half survey, 84 percent of executives polled said it takes just one or two typographical errors on a résumé to remove a candidate from contention for an open position. Employers see typos, misspellings and grammatical mistakes as a sign you lack professionalism and attention to detail. And in today's environment, hiring managers are less willing to take a chance on applicants who seem unqualified. Use the spell-check function and ask friends and family to proofread your résumé before you send it out.
    One last piece of advice: Use your network to your advantage. Even if your résumé is solid, having a professional contact who can refer you for an open position or personally hand your document to a hiring manager could be key to landing the role you seek. 

    Source: careerbuilder

    Sample Resume: Retail

    Compiling a resume in which the majority of your experience comes from retail may seem difficult at first. "I worked at this store, I sold these products" is the typical mindset of many retail employees. However, with a little thought, you can make your retail experience work for you. Think about what you've done to go above and beyond the typical employees at your store.

    Have you received any accolades or awards? What have you done that is quantifiable by numbers or percentages?

    Michelle Jobseeker
    500 Berry St. • Chicago, IL 60601 • (312) 555-1020

    Retail sales professional with seven years' experience. Proven history of first-rate leadership, customer service and sales ability. Excellent merchandising, retail math and communication skills.

    Professional Experience
    The Big Store; Chicago, IL
    Assistant Manager, 4/2009 - Present

    • Manage store with monthly sales volume of $2 million+.
    • Hire, schedule and train 60+ staff members.
    • Launched customer-retention program using monthly, emailed coupons. Signed up more than 3,000 customers and increased overall store sales by 15 percent during first six months of program.
    • Won national customer service award for managing store with highest customer satisfaction rating.
    • Increased overall store sales by 30 percent during tenure.
    • Implemented and created curriculum for staff in-service days, to help sales associates learn better customer service and sales skills.

    Pretty Clothes; Chicago, IL
    Department Manager, 1/2006 - 4/2009

    • Promoted from sales associate to department manager.
    • Oversaw children's clothing department and 12 staff members.
    • Reduced department losses by 62 percent.
    • Provided excellent department customer service through rectifying complaints, exchanging merchandise and answering questions.
    • Managed daily department shipments and inventory.

    Sales Associate, 12/2004 - 12/2006
    • Met or exceeded sales quota for all 24 months of employment.
    • Top-selling employee during 2005 holiday season.
    • Won "Rookie of the Year" award for excellent customer service and sales efforts.

    Hudson Community College, 2002-2004
    A.S., Retail Management

    Source: AOL

    Crafting an Eye-Catching Cover Letter

    Many job seekers today are tempted to skip the cover letter. Think twice before doing so.
    Experienced candidates may find that they don't need a cover letter to sell their skills to prospective employers. But this document can be invaluable for entry-level professionals or individuals who seek a career change. A thoughtfully written letter can distinguish these individuals from the crowd by allowing them to go into greater detail about the unique skills and qualifications that make them the best fit for the role.

    Following are some tips for creating an eye-catching cover letter.

    1. Avoid a generic salutation
    If possible, don't start your note with "To whom it may concern" or "Dear sir or madam." Instead, call the company to ask the hiring manager's name (as well as the correct spelling) and title if it's not apparent in the job posting. Addressing the letter to a specific individual will demonstrate both motivation and resourcefulness.

    2. Keep it focused
    Hiring managers don't want to read a novel, so limit your note to two or three short paragraphs. Explain why the job interests you and what qualities you can bring to the position. Your interest in rock climbing isn't applicable unless you are applying to a firm that caters to sports enthusiasts, for example.

    3. Customize the content
    It's important to target each letter to the actual job opening. You can determine which professional accomplishments to focus on by looking at the job posting. For example, if you are applying for a position that involves managing a small team, play up your interpersonal skills and previous experience overseeing small groups. Expand upon one or two key points from your résumé -- perhaps how you oversaw a successful product launch -- to better key into the potential employer's needs.

    4. Showcase your top assets
    There's a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Saying you are the best "Web designer west of the Rockies" is less effective than explaining how your redesign of a client's Web site increased sales for the company by 10 percent or noting that you won a prestigious award for your work.

    5. Address any concerns
    The cover letter also is a place to address any issues that may give a hiring manager pause, such as gaps in employment. Briefly explain why you were out of work and, more important, what you have been doing since then to keep your skills up-to-date.

    6. Don't make demands
    Avoid asking for a specific salary or making other work-related demands ("I prefer working from home every Friday"). The purpose of your letter is to explain what you can do for the company, not vice versa.

    7. Be honest
    Don't stretch the truth about your accomplishments. Even seemingly minor misrepresentations -- saying you managed the daily operations of a firm's help desk when you actually co-managed it, for example -- can come back to haunt you during the reference or background check process.

    8. Check for errors
    A sure way to take yourself out of the running for a job is to have a typo or grammatical mistake in your cover letter. Ask a trusted friend or family member to review the document before you send it out. Seventy-six percent of executives we interviewed said just one or two typos in a résumé would remove applicants from consideration for a job; 40 percent said it takes only one typo to rule candidates out.

    9. Find a place
    When applying for a position electronically, paste your cover letter into the body of the e-mail message you send to the hiring manager or into the appropriate space on an online application, if possible. Keep in mind that not all online job services will allow you to take this step.

    When well-crafted and targeted to the opportunity and employer, a cover letter can give you a significant edge over the competition. If you're searching for your first job or looking to take your career in a new direction, don't miss this chance to make a strong first impression and set yourself apart from other contenders.

    Successfully Sell Yourself With Your Cover Letter

    Four Tips:

    It is often said that finding a job is a job in itself.  But what you may not realize is that it’s a sales job.  To win over hiring managers and convince them to invest in the product you’re pitching — you — it’s important to take full advantage of every marketing tool at your disposal. 
    In recent years, however, some job seekers have hurt their causes by overlooking a key self-promotional document: the cover letter.  The majority of applications today are submitted through e-mail.  As a result, many candidates forgo the cover letter, offering little more than “Please see attached résumé” instead. 

    That’s a huge mistake. 

    While your résumé provides an overview of your professional background, a well-written cover letter allows you to explain in depth the unique skills and qualifications that make you ideal for the role.  Following are tips on successfully selling yourself to prospective employers using your cover letter:

    Address for Success:

    Standout salespeople know the names of all their customers.  Whenever possible, get personal by addressing your cover letter to a particular individual instead of writing a generic salutation such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Employer.”  If a job posting doesn’t mention whom to contact, be proactive and call the company to ask for the hiring manager’s name and title, the correct spelling of the name, and the person’s gender if it’s not obvious.  
    By doing so, your letter will land in the right hands, and you’ll score points for demonstrating motivation and resourcefulness.  At the very least, avoid using the following salutations from two actual cover letters: “Dear Sir or Mom” and “To Concern Whom It May Concern.”

    Sell Customized Content:

    Employers have unique needs and corporate cultures, which is why it’s crucial that you target your sales pitch to each company you contact.  Link your skills, work history and biggest professional accomplishments to the requirements of the open position.  Base your approach on the information revealed in the job posting.

    For example, design candidates might emphasize their stellar interpersonal and critical-thinking abilities to an employer looking for “a positive-minded, team-oriented strategist,” but play up their mastery of design software for a company seeking a

    “tech-savvy professional with advanced Adobe Phostoshop skills and motion graphics expertise.” 

    Keep It Short and Sweet:

    Most TV advertisers have a mere 30 seconds to get their messages across to potential customers.  Keep this in mind when crafting your cover letter.  Hiring managers with piles of applications on their desks do not have time to wade through verbose and unfocused documents.  The best cover letters are comprehensive, clear, concise and compelling. 

    Write an attention-grabbing introduction, succinctly highlight your top attributes, explain why the job interests you, request an interview and then thank the employer for his or her time.  Don’t waste valuable space with clichéd buzzwords or long-winded anecdotes.  Also, while it’s acceptable to inject some personality, keep the spotlight on your career instead of meandering off track with irrelevant details about your personal life.  For instance, one real-life job seeker offered this odd statement: “By the time I graduated college, I had been sold at a charity auction, welcomed a niece into the world — and been hit by a train.”  Another included this tidbit in her cover letter: “I can’t work anywhere that isn’t surrounded by fast food.”

    Offer Truth in Advertising:

    Sales, marketing and advertising professionals can get themselves in hot water by claiming a product or service offers more than it actually does.  Likewise, the worst faux pas a job seeker can make is to lie on a résumé or cover letter.  While you want to make a positive first impression and land an interview, don’t stretch the truth in order to do so.  
    For example, one applicant we came across claimed to be Time magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year.  He forgot to mention that when Time named “You” the honoree, the publication meant everyone on Earth.  Remember that even white lies and “minor” misrepresentations can come back to haunt you, even after you’ve landed the position.

    Finally, if you meet all of the requirements and feel that you’re the perfect candidate for a job, understand that there’s a fine line between coming across as confident and cocky.  Therefore, steer clear of off-putting self-praise in your cover letter.  Instead of boastfully writing about being the “best,” use specific examples of how you positively contribute to your current employer’s bottom line as a means of selling yourself.  After all, the most persuasive salespeople can always back up their well-crafted pitches with quantifiable facts.