How to write a résumé for the manufacturing industry

The keys to writing a winning résumé in any industry are to demonstrate your knowledge and experience, position yourself as a skilled individual who is a good match with the company, and show that you know and understand the field. But when it comes to manufacturing, hiring managers are looking for more. Not only do they expect you to know your industry, but they look for résumés that are formatted a certain way, demonstrate specific experience and prove that a candidate fits with the industry's culture.

Experts weigh in on how to write a résumé in the manufacturing industry, as well as what mistakes to avoid.

General formatting and length
In manufacturing, it's essential to keep the process moving and ensure that every piece works well together. Apply the same logic when writing your résumé. Keep it streamlined, avoiding lengthy and unnecessary work. Generally, the rule for résumé length is that one page is standard, and it's acceptable to add another page for every 10 to 20 years of experience you have. However, social media and abbreviated attention spans have changed how we communicate. "In the Twitter age, less is more," says Vanessa Smith, career services director of Employment Boost, which provides professional résumé writing services. "We constantly see résumés that are four to six pages long, when they should only be one to two pages in length. Long résumés convey the image that you have a hard time articulating your point. Hiring managers often say individuals who have long résumés are likely to talk too much instead of listening."
One way to save some space is to ditch unnecessary résumé sections, such as references or an objective statement. "Having an objective statement rather than a professional or executive summary is the next mistake," Smith says. "The summary is intended to 'sell you' to potential employers. It is usually the only section of a résumé that a hiring manager will read word for word, so it is absolutely imperative that it is written well, pushing you into the top 5 percent candidate range."
When it comes to the experience section of your résumé, if you've got it, show it. "In manufacturing, experience is always a plus," says Lyndsey Ellis, general manager at Country Leisure Manufacturing. "When employers find someone with experience working on a manufacturing team, regardless of whether or not that candidate has worked to build the same or similar product that the manufacturer produces, that application typically gets a second look. It is important for an applicant to elaborate on all prior manufacturing experience. Details of the specifics of each job held, quality control standards, safety records and inventory control are all important aspects that interest a recruiter."
Ellis also notes that manufacturing isn't a one-man job, so it's important to display a strong element of teamwork on your résumé. "Hiring managers want to know that an applicant understands that his or her role in the process affects many other aspects and that the applicant is dependable and accountable. Be sure to pay special attention to any required licenses or certifications. It is always important to list any training and/or educational programs attended."
However, if you lack manufacturing experience or are looking to join the industry, there are other ways to prove you're ready for the challenges and responsibilities that come with the job. "If no prior manufacturing experience can be listed, some advice for any applicant would be to read the job description thoroughly and highlight aspects within the résumé that closely relate to the main functions of the job," Ellis says. "The manufacturing industry as a whole places a large importance on safety, so listing an excellent safety record is always helpful. Any recognition received from previous employment regarding things such as attendance, production standards, output or quality is important to list on a résumé."
Cover letter
If you're worried that a one- to two-page résumé isn't going to convey your experience or enthusiasm for the industry, a cover letter is the solution. While hard skills such as certifications or equipment knowledge are more easily conveyed on a résumé, soft skills are better left to the cover letter. Paint yourself as someone with passion for the industry and include soft skills that depict you as a team player and someone with solutions. "Manufacturing companies are often seeking 'lead by example' and 'roll up your sleeves' individuals," Employment Boost's Smith says.
No matter how much experience you have, the cover letter is your opportunity to explain why you're the best fit for the job. "Manufacturing hiring managers -- from those seeking production workers to leaders -- are looking for problem solvers," Smith says. "They want someone who has hands-on experience in an environment where things are being built and problems are being solved during production. We've seen lots of individuals make industry changes from medical device to consumer electronics and then to automotive, by leveraging their knowledge of how things are being built."

Vouch For Me? 3 Things Job Seekers Should Know About References

"Will you vouch for me?"
If you're a job seeker, you've probably asked that question at one point. After all, what is more valuable than someone agreeing that, yes, in fact, you are the best employee for the job?

Your landlord probably asked for a reference, the local coffee shop wants one too, and the large firm where you'd like to get your foot in the door wants three.

Considering that references are so valuable, I think it's time to share three important bits of info about them:

1. There's a vocabulary.
If you've ever had someone vouch for you, you probably called them your reference. After all, that's what the employer says and just about everyone else. However, this isn't exactly correct.
Strictly speaking, the person who vouches for you is the referee while you are the referent. The reference is the actual information given to an employer. Unless your referee is a real stickler for semantics, this probably won't come up. However, it's good information to have on hand.

2. They don't like surprises
How would you like it if someone were to call you and quiz you about someone you worked with some time ago? You probably wouldn't like it. The same goes for the people who vouch for you. Prevent any surprise-induced mishaps by following this two-step process:
  • Ask the person before you submit their information as a referee.
  • Hold onto their information until an employer asks for it, then give your referee a head's up that a call might be coming.
Add this to the long list of reasons why your resume should never include reference information. This makes it oh-so-easy for prospective employers to call up your referees whenever they see fit. Trust me, they will.

3. Help them help you.
As you progress in your career, you'll probably start serving as a referee for your colleagues. As much as you want to, there's only so much information that you'll be able to remember when that fated phone call comes in from Mr. Bob from XYZ Inc.
Instead of leaving your referees in a pinch to find good information to share about you, give them a cheat sheet. Your resume is excellent for this purpose. Your referee will be able to study up on your career goals, experience and skills without having to scour your LinkedIn page.

What do you think? What else should job seekers know about references? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Virtual Handshake: Making And Taking Email Introductions

email introductions handshakeBy Nathan Lustig

I get asked to connect people all the time. I also ask others to connect me to people every single day. Introductions are an incredibly powerful way to get to know people who can help you with your business or in your personal life. It's also great to be able to give an introduction to two people who will mutually benefit from knowing each other. Email introductions are the most common intros these days, so it's important to know how to both introduce two people and respond to introductions, just like a virtual handshake.

Introducing Two People
I like to keep it really simple. Here's a mock introduction between my business partner Jesse Davis and our friend/Madison entrepreneur, Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts.
To: Jesse Davis, Steve Faulkner
From: Nathan Lustig
Subject: Introducing You
Jesse, meet Steve Faulkner. Steve is, among other entrepreneurial endeavors, the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that texts subscribers free drink offers at local bars in real time. He also wrote an awesome article about Madison entrepreneurship that was featured in Techcrunch.
Steve, meet Jesse Davis. Jesse is the cofounder of Entrustet, a website that allows you to decide if you'd like your digital assets transferred to heirs or deleted when you die. He is also active in the Madison startup scene and Capital Entrepreneurs and writes a great entrepreneurship blog. Jesse is interested in connecting with you to see if there is a potential partnership for Real Time Txts and Entrustet.
I wanted to connect you guys so you could figure out how to make it happen. I'll let you take it from here.

Key Points to Remember
  • Use the format above to introduce both people to each other
  • Include links to each person's business, unless the person is well known
  • Include a sentence at the end to say why you're connecting both people to each other
  • Include a sentence that tells the two people you've just introduced that it's up to them to take it further

Responding to an Introduction
Responding is fairly straight forward. Click "reply all" and thank the introducer for making the intro. Introduce yourself to the other person and go from there. It's important to include the introducer in the first reply so that they know that you've actually responded. If I've taken the time to introduce two people, I want to know that they've actually taken the next step to connect. After the first email, feel free to leave the introducer off further conversations.
Here's a sample reply:
To: Jesse Davis, Nathan Lustig
From: Steve Faulkner
Nathan, Thanks for intro.
Jesse, many people have told me that we should meet as well. As Nate said, I'm the founder of Real Time Txts, a service that sends people texts about free drinks at Madison area bars. Do you have some time this week to chat via phone or meet up for coffee so we can discuss a potential partnership?

Just because an introduction hasn't happened in person yet doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen at all. Embrace the email introduction; virtually shake hands and let the partnerships begin!

2013 Resume Writing Trends

A new year has begun and that means new job hunting trends. While the resume has also played an important role, there are also new trends to which we must pay attention. The most important thing to remember in writing your resume is that 2013 is the year of showing, not telling. What are some other resume writing trends for this year?

2013 Resume Writing Trends

If you want to write a resume that will help you stand out, you should pay attention to these tips:

1. Social Resumes

If you are serious about landing a job in 2013, then you’ll have to realize that resumes are no longer static pieces of paper. One of the most important changes in 2013 is the sociability of resumes. Resumes are becoming living entities online. Social Media means that the type of communication between hiring managers and prospective employees has also changed, is more direct and closer.
Prospective employees have the opportunity to interact with, and sometimes befriend, hiring managers before applying for a position. Companies are increasingly likely to use social networks and your social media accounts are now the true first impression.

2. Twitter

The popularity of Twitter is growing astronomically. The good news is that you are probably already on it. Job seekers can harness the power of a tweet by explaining why they are an excellent candidate in 140 characters or less.
Fortunately, you have 160 characters to describe yourself in your Twitter biography. Your Twitter biography section is the online version of your elevator pitch. If you find the task of condensing your qualifications daunting, then you just have to view this as an opportunity.
It is your opportunity to figure out what really makes you different. Brands refer to this as their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Twitter is your chance to figure out your USP and develop your personal brand. Once you’ve hooked your prospective employee with your amazing biography, then you need to link your website, resume or other professional networking site, i.e. LinkedIn.

3. QR Codes

If you are applying for a technology related position, then QR codes might help you stand out. A QR code is that small, square, barcode-looking image that you’ve probably seen in publications, advertising, and some product packaging. It shows that are aware of technology trends and that you know how to use them too.
It’s not mandatory, of course, but it can be a good way to add some coolness factor to your resume and make it stand out from the crowd.
Some tips for using QR codes on your resume:
  • Take into consideration the type of position and the “audience”: QR codes will be more accepted by maketing-oriented employers
  • Include your website’s URL in addition to the QR code
  • Make sure that the website to which your QR code goes is fully accessible and mobile-friendly

4. Infographics

A picture is worth 1000 words. Infographics are popping up everywhere online and on print. Candidates most likely applying for visual or creative positions can use the popularity of infographics to highlight their qualifications and skills.
Since infographic resumes do not cover in-depth details (they tend to be more simplistic than the standard resume), job seekers can use them to supplement their resume. In some cases, an infographic resume could catch the employer’s attention, but probably they will never replace the traditional text CV.

5. Other Useful Tips

Resumes should always be targeted, specific and quantifiable. Make sure that your resume is not only tailored to the position that you are applying to, but it should also be tailored to the company that you are applying to. Numbers, figures and percentages show what you can do. Quantifying your experience, where possible, also makes you appear more professional.
Hate to break it to you, but the standard “References Available Upon Request” is really outdated. Instead of using that overused phrase, consider showing managers what others have to say about you in 2013. You can pull your strongest third party testimonials and put them at the very top of your resume. The easiest place to find testimonials is from LinkedIn recommendations.
The debate of one or two page resumes continues. If you are making a resume that is tailored to that specific job description and company, then hiring managers can overlook the length. Edit your resume where necessary. Hiring managers are busy and have limited time. An important tip is to make sure that your resume is readable on a computer and another mobile device.
Try reading your resume on a phone or tablet because hiring managers can quite possibly be reviewing your resume on a mobile device. Readability with bullets, bold fonts and short paragraphs matter more than resume length.

44 Resume Writing Tips

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. That is beyond discussion. How does one make sure that his resume is top notch and bullet proof, however? There are several websites with tips around the web, but most bring just a handful of them. We wanted to put them all together in a single place, and that is what you will find below: 44 resume writing tips.
resume writing tips

1. Know the purpose of your resume
Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result they end up with a really long and boring piece that makes them look like desperate job hunters. The objective of your resume is to land an interview, and the interview will land you the job (hopefully!).
2. Back up your qualities and strengths
Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. In other words, you need to back these qualities and strengths up, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things.
3. Make sure to use the right keywords
Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. Guess what, if your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.
These keywords will usually be nouns. Check the job description and related job ads for a clue on what the employer might be looking for. You can read more about resume keywords on the article Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume’s Effectiveness.
4. Use effective titles
Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:
Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of A/R and A/P and Recordkeeping
5. Proofread it twice
It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary. If you don’t know how to proofread effectively, here are 8 tips that you can use.
6. Use bullet points
No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.
7. Where are you going?
Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. You don’t need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it. The question of whether or not to highlight your career objectives on the resume is a polemic one among HR managers, so go with your feeling. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.
8. Put the most important information first
This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.
9. Attention to the typography
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.
10. Do not include “no kidding” information
There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think “no kidding!”
11. Explain the benefits of your skills
Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.
12. Avoid negativity
Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don’t need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.
13. Achievements instead of responsibilities
Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities included…” are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements.
14. No pictures
Sure, we know that you are good looking, but unless you are applying for a job where the physical traits are very important (e.g., modeling, acting and so on), and unless the employer specifically requested it, you should avoid attaching your picture to the resume.
15. Use numbers
This tip is a complement to the 13th one. If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don’t merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say that you increased them by $100,000, by 78%, and so on.
16. One resume for each employer
One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. The same point applies to your cover letters.
17. Identify the problems of the employer
A good starting point to tailor your resume for a specific employer is to identify what possible problems he might have at hand. Try to understand the market of the company you are applying for a job, and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that illustrate on your resume how you and your skills would help to solve those problems.
18. Avoid age discrimination
It is illegal to discriminate people because of their age, but some employers do these considerations nonetheless. Why risk the trouble? Unless specifically requested, do not include your age on your resume.
19. You don’t need to list all your work experiences
If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.
20. Go with what you got
If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.
21. Sell your fish
Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don’t go over the edge, all the marketing efforts that you can put in your resume (in its content, design, delivery method and so on) will give you an advantage over the other candidates.
22. Don’t include irrelevant information
Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion and sexual preference will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview. Just skip it.