Creating an Effective Resume
Illustration by Mark Todd

Entering the workforce


Creating an Effective Resume

with Mariann Siegert

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Video: Entering the workforce

So, you're ready to enter the workforce. Let me begin by saying congratulations! Keep in mind that we've all been there. Even hiring managers and recruiters have been in your shoes. Although writing your first resume can be challenging, it can actually be quite fun. Think of it this way. What other time do you have to create your own marketing campaign and do a little boasting on yourself? When creating your resume, be positive, be honest, and above all, be yourself.
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  1. 3m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Filling out the career management worksheet
      1m 34s
  2. 29m 13s
    1. Creating a marketing campaign
      2m 50s
    2. Discovering your dream job
      3m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of keywords
      2m 14s
    4. Finding essential keywords
      6m 34s
    5. Incorporating action verbs
      4m 51s
    6. Getting results using PAR statements
      4m 40s
    7. Researching the employer
      4m 25s
  3. 37m 2s
    1. Targeting your resume
      7m 16s
    2. Sidestepping blunders and the "10-Second Screen-Out"
      5m 44s
    3. Deciding on resume length
      6m 29s
    4. Keeping your resume concise
      5m 23s
    5. Refreshing your resume
      4m 52s
    6. Critiquing your resume
      3m 31s
    7. Avoiding identity theft
      3m 47s
  4. 21m 14s
    1. Entering the workforce
      7m 48s
    2. Filling in employment gaps
      5m 21s
    3. Dealing with long-term employment
      3m 9s
    4. Switching career paths
      4m 56s
  5. 12m 38s
    1. Understanding resume jargon
      1m 27s
    2. Reverse chronological
      2m 25s
    3. Functional
      6m 11s
    4. Combined chrono-functional
      2m 35s
  6. 7m 1s
    1. Understanding the curriculum vitae (CV)
      3m 29s
    2. Working with online resumes and portfolios
      3m 32s
  7. 41m 23s
    1. Formatting fundamentals for your resume
      6m 39s
    2. Including (or not including) an objective
      4m 10s
    3. Creating a headline
      5m 1s
    4. Writing a qualifications summary
      4m 47s
    5. Showcasing achievements vs. listing job duties
      5m 31s
    6. Including technical information
      5m 22s
    7. Putting your education to work
      4m 41s
    8. Including awards, honors, and other information
      5m 12s
  8. 19m 1s
    1. Knowing which file format is best
      2m 10s
    2. Saving to earlier versions of Word
      2m 48s
    3. Saving as a PDF
      5m 27s
    4. Creating a RTF version
      3m 54s
    5. Saving to HTML format
      4m 42s
  9. 15m 9s
    1. Evaluating online resume banks
      5m 32s
    2. Writing effective names for resume banks
      3m 43s
    3. Double-checking formatting after uploading
      2m 45s
    4. Becoming too visible
      3m 9s
  10. 21m 45s
    1. Creating a cover letter
      7m 47s
    2. Compiling your references
      4m 35s
    3. Writing thank-you notes
      5m 38s
    4. Printing, copying, and the importance of paper
      3m 45s
  11. 52s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating an Effective Resume
3h 29m Appropriate for all Apr 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Creating an Effective Resume, author Mariann Siegert provides step-by-step guidance on creating resumes that highlight accomplishments and specifically target a potential employer's needs. The course covers how to build a resume that encompasses action statements, keywords, styling, and effective content, while addressing common stumbling blocks such as handling employment gaps and career changes. Framing the resume as a vital component of a personalized marketing campaign, Mariann shows how to conduct employer research and utilize keyword optimization techniques to increase a resume's potential of being found by employers and recruiters on resume banks and job sites. Also included are tips on writing cover letters and thank-you notes. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Determining the appropriate resume length
  • Choosing the best layout
  • Identifying and incorporating essential keywords
  • Tips from recruiters
  • Showcasing achievements and job duties using P.A.R. statements
  • Evaluating resume banks
  • Saving to different file formats
  • Compiling references, cover letters, and thank-you notes
Mariann Siegert

Entering the workforce

So, you're ready to enter the workforce. Let me begin by saying congratulations! Keep in mind that we've all been there. Even hiring managers and recruiters have been in your shoes. Although writing your first resume can be challenging, it can actually be quite fun. Think of it this way. What other time do you have to create your own marketing campaign and do a little boasting on yourself? When creating your resume, be positive, be honest, and above all, be yourself.

Don't feel as if you have nothing to offer simply because you have little or no work experience. You have what's known as transferable skills. It's your job to find your transferable skills and then put them down on paper. So what are transferable skills? Simply put, they are skills that you have accumulated throughout your life. Some examples of transferable skills are your education, jobs you've held, classes you've taken, some projects that you've worked on, extra-curricular activities, clubs and memberships you've joined. How about hobbies and sports you might have participated in? Even your own character traits can be transferable skills.

Each of these types of life experiences bring along their own skillsets and transferable skills that will help you in finding a job. This concept is crucial to understand for every person writing a resume, although understanding this concept is most especially important to you, someone just entering the workforce. So, how do you do this? First, you must know what you want. Make sure you complete the exercise in the movie for "Discovering Your Dream Job." Next, you must do your homework.

You must know what the employers are looking for in order to best meet their needs. Get on the Internet and start looking at job openings and job descriptions specific to your goal. And if you're not sure how to do this, see the chapter on "Gathering and Organizing the Facts," if you haven't already. Create a spreadsheet and begin copying and pasting words, sentences, and paragraphs from the online job descriptions that you like best. Then in the second column list your transferable skills.

But first, of course you must know what these transferable skills are. To find your transferable skills, create a second spreadsheet and begin filling in the following types of information. For example, underneath the skill, you might put in education, and you might have done white papers, term papers, or projects. And example of the transferable skill might be research, time management, or even for presentations made during class, your oral presentation skills.

Let's say that you had a GPA that's pretty high, maybe 3.0 or above. An example of that of course is 3.5 GPA, and what does it show? Your transferable skill would be shows dedication and intelligence. Let's say that you have experience working. So it might be a part-time position. You could have babysat, or you might have had pizza delivery. You might have been a student aide, or even done some lawn mowing. Almost any prior experience that you have can be transferred into positions that are out there in the real job market. Character traits, it could be you are honest, you have strong moral values.

Their transferable skill would be positive character traits; any kind of positive character traits can always be transferred to a position. All employers are looking for someone that's honest. Your activities, maybe you were in tennis or swimming. Perhaps you are in a basketball team, or a baseball team, a soccer, or football team. It shows that you're a team player. And again, you see in a lot of job descriptions out there that team player is needed. What if you're in a club? Perhaps you are the president of Drama club or the Math club, and the transferable skill would be leadership and organizational skills.

There's lots of skills that you can have such as computer applications, and Office tools that you might have, such as a fax, or a copier, even a scanner. That's knowledge of common office tools. Maybe you had some awards and honors, the Dean's List, that you're in the Honor Society. That shows that you're going above and beyond. It shows extraordinary skills in this area and that you're just better than the average bear. Internships, study abroad programs, your oral and written communication skills, or even if you were doing some training on the side or tutoring, such as math or English, this shows how you can relate to other people, your communication skills, and also your leadership skills.

Once you know what your transferable skills are, match them to the employers needs in your worksheet. You can use this information throughout your resume. For example, here you list your employer wants and your transferable skills. So, the employer here said that they need someone to conduct training courses, both on-site and on-line, for the company's applications and systems to include lectures and hands-on sessions. Under Transferable Skills, you created and conducted training materials and courses for continuing education classes on campus.

When you're just entering the workforce, it's best to use either a Functional Resume format or the Chrono-Functional format, also known as a combination format. The Chronological format focuses on professional experience, so it's best not to use that at this point. What about the order of your resume? After your contact information, you can create a headline that states your career goal in bold text. A headline should include your job target as well as the benefit of hiring you. Following your career goal comes one of the most important parts of your resume, the grabber.

It's called the qualifications summary. A qualifications summary is not an objective. An objective tells the employer what you what. Unfortunately, the employer could really care less what your objective is. You need to tell the employer what you can offer them. So, what is the objective of the employer? First, you need to know what they want and what their objective is. This is the information that you found during your research phase above. Now, you need to convince them that you are the best fit and that you can meet their objective.

Spend some time studying your spreadsheet and find the top qualifications, degrees, certifications, and skills from column two that you listed that best meet their job requirements for this specific opening. Remember to target your resume for each particular job. Put your top qualifications in bright lights, your marquee so to speak, at the top of your resume by placing them in your qualifications summary. This is your chance to shine and to get them to read on. If you just graduated from college and your degree is important to your chosen career, be sure to showcase your education at the top of your resume.

Rule of thumb: the most important information should be placed in the top one-third portion of your resume to better highlight these points. Remember, you only have approximately ten seconds to grab their attention, so use this space wisely. Just because you're new to the workforce, doesn't mean that you don't have experience you've gained in your life that you can use in your professional life and your career. Find out what your transferable skills are, so that you can match it to what the employer are seeking. Remember, we've all been there, and the more you can show the employer what you can do for them by using transferable skills, the more likely you will be invited to an interview.

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