Resume Advice

Your resume represents who you are-on paper, it is the first impression a new Company or Hiring Manager  will have about you and studies show that impressions are made in the first 2 minutes of reviewing a resume. Hiring Managers may have dozens of resumes to sort through. The average time he or she spends on one resume might be 15-20 seconds. Knowing this, your resume MUST be ON TARGET!

Your resume is not just a listing of your professional experience; it is your brain on paper. A great resume, and we don't mean just the contents of it, can open a door even if you don't exactly have the exact skills that the company is looking for. A sloppy resume will slam that same door shut -- even if your experience is exactly aligned with the available position.

Your resume is your business card. You have a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of information, so the presentation of that information is critical. The most effective exercise you can perform is to put yourself in the Hiring Manager’s shoes. What would you want to know about a candidate?  What would make you want to read that résumé? 

Writing a resume takes time, don’t rush through it or put in half the effort. It shouldn't be a last-minute proposition. When you slam one together over the weekend, you are bound to make mistakes. And when there is a mistake in your resume, D-O-N-E

A resume is the first line of attack for a company to thin out the crowd. If you overlook a mistake, use poor grammar, don't sell yourself enough or sell yourself too much, you can say hello to the reject pile.

Put things into perspective: The distinction between a strong resume and a poorly written resume can make the difference between getting the interview and not getting the interview, which could then lead to whether or not you land the job.

G&S has screened thousands of resumes. We’re confident that a strong, well-crafted resume can make the difference between getting that first interview and thus a potential offer. Therefore, we urge you to follow our advice.

The resume is a tool with a goal: to get an interview. It must stand out from stacks of other resumes and convince the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in the role. Here are some tips for writing a resume that will get you in the door and on the path to your next great career move.

Remember, it all starts with a strong resume !

Resume Hints

G&S has screened thousands of resumes. We’re confident that a strong, well-crafted resume can make the difference between getting that first interview and thus a potential offer. We urge you to follow our advice on resumes.

Tailor Your Resume Towards Each Job

This is one of the most common errors we see at G&S. Candidates use one standard resume for every position. The reality is that every position will likely be different. There are nuances to each position that make it unique, and a smart candidate will do their best to appropriately highlight the relevant experience on the resume. For instance, if a position requires experience with a specific technology or software, you should make sure that your relevant experience with that technology or software is found at the beginning of the resume with sufficient details and description. If you have used a specific technology at a specific job—TALK ABOUT IT at the specific job !

Human Resource Recruiters and Hiring Managers are NOT mind-readers and if you only mention it once in your summary of skills, it may be assumed that you are not that strong with it or are not using it to the extent that you might be.

List and Tailor an Objective

Client’s read objectives. Similar to Tip #1, tailor every objective statement with each Information Technology and Creative Service job. If you’re applying for a Project Manager position, yet you have a broad IT background that includes some hands-on Development, Business Analysis and some Project Management experience, create an "Objective" that reads something like "Strong IT professional looking for a Project Management position where I can also utilize my development skills and business analysis experience." Since Objectives are listed at the top of the resume, they’re typically the line that people first see. Therefore, utilize this header to express the exact position, location and/or vertical market that you’re looking for.

If there is more than one position applied for at the same company, then just leave it out all together. It is not uncommon to find resumes without an objective statement.

Include Technology Key Words
Do not assume every hiring manager is as technical as you. Therefore, he or she may not be able to infer you have experience with a specific technology based upon your job title, so do not assume they know this. Be sure to list every technology that you confidently have experience with under each and every job including the latest version and or model #’s.
Build a resume using specific dates

Many resumes list experience by the year, i.e. Company X, 2000-2005. This can be harmful if a hiring authority is looking for a specific amount of experience in a role. It’s always better to use a month/year format to show transitions. Otherwise it could be thought that a candidate is trying to cover up a gap in employment, or lacks the required amount of experience to apply for the position. A candidate that states employment of 1/2000 – 12/2005 could have up to two more years of experience than the candidate that states 2000 – 2005!

List the months in which you started and ended a position in addition to the year. Be sure you’re accurate with each, as you never know if an employment verification search is a required part of the hiring process. If there are gaps in your employment, then just be prepared to speak about the reasons. Don’t be afraid to be honest and tell the hiring manager that you just could not find a job. However, if the gap is large enough, then be sure to explain where you interviewed or what you did to keep up with your skills. Clients would prefer the honest approach rather than finding out your position was a short-term assignment and/or you were only employed for a small period of time throughout the entire year. In the end, that looks deceitful and could cost you the job.

Avoid generic phrases that cannot be easily measured
Candidates often feel compelled to sell themselves on paper by providing a self-description of outstanding personal attributes. This leads to the inevitable use of phrases such as “team-player”, “strong interpersonal skills”, “outstanding relationship builder”, “strong analytical skills” and the list goes on. These types of phrases are overused, trite and add no value to a candidate’s qualifications. Remember that a resume is simply what gets a candidate in the door for an initial interview. The time for selling intangible skills comes once the interview starts.
Use Fonts and Formatting appropriately and be Consistent

Formatting a resume with italics, bold, font, and size is necessary to bring focus to important areas of a resume. Areas where it is acceptable to use formatting are on Name, Company, Job Title, and Date. Any formatting in the body of a resume is inappropriate, apart from using bullets to list accomplishments or awards. Do not use different colors, sizes, unusual fonts, italics, or highlighting to make specific things stand out within the body of the resume. A resume is a formal document and rules of formal writing apply. Improper use of formatting is an indicator of poor writing and organization of a resume.

Your resume should be clean and consistent throughout. If you bold and underline the "Objective," be sure to do the same with the other headers. If you skip one space between past employments, do the same throughout. The font, size and margins should all be uniform. In addition, don’t be afraid to show some white. Try not to cram all of your information together because you want to fit everything on one or two pages. Cleanliness is more important than trying to keep your resume short. It may be fun to play with new fonts, but the resume is not the place to do so. Select an easy-to-read, basic font such as Arial, Times, or Helvetica. Make your type size at least 11 points.

Provide a balance of both responsibilities and achievements.
A resume that is filled with nothing but “in this position I was responsible for . . .” leaves the reader with no idea about what kind of impact you had at that position. This could be the crucial difference between getting called in for an interview or sitting by the phone. We always tell candidates that achievements are what differentiate them in the eyes of a hiring manager. If a hiring manager is looking at 10 resumes of candidates with very similar backgrounds, he or she will narrow the field by selecting the candidates that display the highest level of performance. 

Conversely, if a hiring manager is looking at a resume that is filled with achievements, and lacks a good description of responsibilities, he/she may think that the scope of the position was not that demanding and/or that the candidate is overstating their impact in that role.
Don’t Be Afraid to Brag- Clarify achievements and awards

List all of your accomplishments. If you were highly ranked within your group, company or even school then reference it. If you were named "Employee of the month" or "Team MVP," list it. The more information you can provide that speaks to your achievements and ability the better. Be sure to include all certifications, awards, education and technical courses as well.

The following are some examples of vague impact statements and suggestions on how to make them more meaningful.

  • Ex 1: Received Presidents Club award in 2004 and 2006: Awards vary from company to company, and almost always represent something different. An award should read like this: Received Presidents Club award in 2004 and 2006, recognizing the top 10 reps out of 500 across the country.
  • Ex 2: Revised internal reporting forms to enhance productivity and efficiency: This kind of statement is commonly found on resumes. It is a meaningless statement though, because it does not reveal what kind of impact these revisions brought. It should read: Revised internal reporting forms, saving the company six hours of processing time each week. (or X amount of dollars)
Use Action Words / Avoid Using First Person

Action words provide more impact and will naturally add credibility to your roles and responsibilities. Use action words like "developed," "managed," "monitored," "implemented," etc. Additionally, never write a resume in first person. The reader obviously knows whom the resume is talking about. Below is an example of avoiding first person and utilizing action words:

  • Instead of this:
    • I designed and developed a Windows-based application
  • Write this:
    • Designed & developed a Windows-based application
Never "stretch the truth" or lie
Hiring managers will verify facts from your resume. Lying about jobs you have held, employment dates, education etc. will only hurt you.
Education and Certifications

Showcase your Education and Certifications the top of your resume

If your certifications are  more than 7 years old-and have not been renewed, keep them at the bottom of your resume. If you do not have  a degree, keep this at the bottom of your resume and it’s fine to say “attended”

Short and Precise
One of the biggest mistakes is writing a resume as if you were writing an autobiography. Resumes should be brief bullet points outlining your experience. When you’re putting together your resume, imagine that it will be sent to a manager and placed in a pile of 50 additional candidates. If you keep this in mind, then you’ll understand that a novel will never be read. IT Managers may have dozens of resumes to sort through. The average time he or she spends on one resume might be 15-20 seconds. Knowing this, your resume should be precise and to the point.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! 

Pay attention to detail. Proofread your resume checking spelling, grammar, sentence structure and tone. Spell check doesn't find all errors! Spelling and Grammatical mistakes are unacceptable

Don’t lose out on an opportunity due to an oversight. Taking the extra time to proofread may mean the difference between getting that ever-important first interview

Have a friend or colleague that you trust review your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. The slightest error may jump out and send the wrong message to a hiring manager, eliminating your chances of getting an interview. 

Resume Action Words

Achieved

Adapted

Addressed

Administered

Advised

Analyzed

Arranged

Assembled

Assessed

Assisted

Attained

Audited

Budgeted

Calculated

Classified

Coached

Collected

Communicated

Compiled

Composed

Computed

Conducted

Consolidated

Constructed

Consulted

Coordinated

Counseled

Created

Critiqued

Defined

Designed

Detected

Determined

Devised

Diagnosed

Directed

Discovered

Displayed

Earned

Edited

Eliminated

Enforced

Established

Estimated

Evaluated

Examined

Expanded

Explained

Experimented

Financed

Formulated

Gathered

Generated

Grossed

Guided

Handled

Hypothesized

Identified

Illustrated

Implemented

Improved

Increased

Influenced

Initiated

Inspected

Installed

Instituted

Instructed

Interpreted

Interviewed

Invented

Investigated

Lectured

Managed

Marketed

Mediated

Modeled

Monitored

Motivated

Negotiated

Obtained

Operated

Ordered

Organized

Oversaw

Performed

Persuaded

Photographed

Planned

Prepared

Presented

Printed

Processed

Produced

Projected

Promoted

Proofread

Provided

Publicized

Purchased

Received

Recommended

Reconciled

Recorded

Recruited

Reduced

Referred

Refined

Rehabilitated

Repaired

Reported

Represented

Researched

Resolved

Responded

Restored

Retrieved

Reviewed

Scheduled

Selected

Solved

Sorted

Studied

Summarized

Supervised

Supplied

Surveyed

Tested

Trained

Transcribed

Translated

Traveled

Tutored

Upgraded

Utilized

Wrote

 

 

 

 

When a hiring manger reviews your resume, they’re looking for answers to important questions. If you can answer those questions quickly, they’ll keep reading. By keeping these in mind while preparing your resume, you will help draw their attention to your “big picture” vision. This kind of attention could lead to an interview. Here’s what’s going through their heads:

We need a specific set of skills; does this person understand what we need?  
Your G&S staffing and recruiting specialist will discuss this with you. Be sure to read the job description thoroughly. By threading your own ideas into your resume you speak their language. Never overlook the value of tweaking your resume to reflect the expressed needs of the company to truly highlight your fit as long as everything you add is 100% accurate and honest.
Is this person capable of producing results? 
Your G&S staffing and recruiting specialist will discuss this with you. Employers fear the idea of a bad hire. By answering this question with measurable results from your past positions, you’re quickly dissolving their concerns. A useful guide to craft this piece of your resume is: Problem. Action. Results. Offer a brief explanation of the problem, the actions you took and the results.
How committed is this person to their career? 
Your G&S staffing and recruiting specialist will discuss this with you. This is a complicated topic - especially if you’ve held many types of jobs or changed employers frequently. Emphasize on the jobs that demonstrate the skills related to the job you’re applying for. Also, discuss how each position has contributed to your overall strategy to grow your career.