First comprehensive "How to" guide for resume writing written by a 13 year industry veteran - in this book Andrea Drew shares her professional secrets to truly help those acquire professional resume writing skills for life
Barnes & Noble.com
Professional Resume Writing How To Guide
What makes this step-by-step how to guide so exciting is that it gives you the power to.......
Start a SUCCESSFUL job search resulting in an endless stream of requests for interviews and job offers. It's a fact - 95% of the people who write their resume fail dismally, and within a few months their morale is at an all time low and they are just about ready to give up. Now you can learn how to be in the successful 5% group that keeps on getting job offer after job offer.
Make money from resume writing even if you have no idea on how to write a professional resume. If you've ever wanted write for a living, but just dont know HOW to write a professional resume that others would be willing to pay very well for, then don't worry. Not only will this system teach you how to write a professional document worthy of selling it to your clients, but you will also receive personal mentoring from me during the first two months of purchase
Make money from resume writing without investing in plant, equipment or staff. When you mention making money working from yourself, most people naturally assume this is a scam and that you will be broke within twleve months. Whilst this is generally true, it is not necessarily the truth if you are guided by an ethical professional that has passed the acid test of whether they got results for their clients. Did you know there are successful resume writers who have learned how to use other powerful ways to write resumes that cut through the thousands of applications submitted and get an instant resposne? Now you can learn their alternative strategies and secrets and learn from my real-world experience of exactly how it's done.
Write a professional resume with ease and without making very expensive mistakes and wasting time. 97% of all so called "how to" programs are a total waste of money if you are looking to change your career success! These programs are more often than not written by writers who don't want to give away their intellectual property, and are re-hashed guides taken from either the internet or not written by a resume writer with years of experience. More often than not they are not specific to the actuality and 'ABC's" of writing a resume professionally at all. If you want to learn the truth about how professional resume writers do it, then read every word of this new book because it could save you thousands of your hard-earned dollars!
Who I am and Why I can help you........
I have been a professional resume writer and small business entrepreneur for the last 13 years. Over this time I personally founded and successfully employed staff within two of my own businesses. I've made great friends along the way and assisted countless job seekers change their life for the better. Resume writing and Human Resources/Recruitment and marketing is my life – outside of my three children, it's all I've ever done!
"Andrea, your book is amazing. You don't talk down to the reader, you just give them the info they need. It is such fantastic value and it is chock full of vital information, so much so that a person really can't go wrong." K.A. Administrative Assistant (Europe)
13 Years of Research, Trial, experimentation and ultimately writing professional resumes for between $400 and $700 each..........
I've spent my entire working life studying business, recruitment and marketing. Ever since my first furtive steps into running a home based business, I wanted to know everything there was to know about resume writing, government job applications and cover letters - I've been totally consumed by it. So I started studying, taking out memberships to relevant resume writing associations and attending seminars. I was persistent and voracious! I bought every book on how to write resumes effectively, on marketing, writing, and building a business, that I could get my hands on. I also spent thousands on seminars and tapes/CD's on resume writing and career success, recruitment and marketing. I would spend hours in my car listening to all my writing CD's. I would attend expensive seminars and take comprehensive notes and listen to every word eagerly.
Then, I turned myself into a human test subject!
I then applied everything I learned in my own businesses. Some things worked exceptionally well, others just bombed or were a complete waste of time and money. Most importantly though, I tried everything! Now, 13 Years and Thousands of Diligent Work Hours Later, I Made Some Fantastic (Secret) Discoveries
The first thing I discovered from my research is that there are certain rules to resume writing that are essential to career success in business, no matter what the person's position or background.
The second thing I discovered is that some job seekers just never seem to get it and unless they learn and apply certain time proven techniques they are destined to failure. In fact many of these people end up losing money and just "spinning their wheels" with ineffective resumes and job applications.
I discovered many job seekers and resume writers were making the same fatal mistakes!
In 1998 I was running a secretarial business and decided I wanted to focus more on writing resumes and started to do well - not surprising considering my resumes sold for the princely sum of $75 – I was in awe of how little people seemed to know when it came to such an important subject! But when I realised how many hours of blood sweat and tears I was pouring into these documetns and how little job seekers were willing to pay at such pitiful prices, I decided I had to do something about it.
I saw skilled resume writers who had put many hours of work into their amazing creations, and after taking into account their time, effort and money spent on training, at these low prices there was no way they could effectively make money. I knew that with the right knowledge and good ideas, they could be getting paid double their asking price AND have people begging to buy more!
From my extensive experience I had learned the hard way that selling such cheap prices only ends in one outcome - you make no money and eventually give up or go out backwards
Discovering the Secrets to Writing a Winning Resume time after time....
Because of my new found interest in writing and my obsession with all things to do with career success and professionally writing resumesI started looking at the best ways of writing and presenting them.
I poured everything out of my head onto paper and began applying all I knew about marketing and writing to resume preparation . Would the same great ideas and proven business success principles work as well for job seekers from all around the world to win job interviews time after time consistently and predictably?
I had to find out, so I went in search of success stories – job seekers who would prove to me that it was possible. I set out to discover exactly the before and after of their success, what specific jobs did they apply for, what sort of success they had and what lifestyles did they now lead, where did they start, and what difference this had made to their lives.
Wow! Real Job Seekers getting pay rises of often $50,000 per year or more!
Like Trevor, a 'mature age' sales manager who hadn't worked for 18 months, had virtually no money and his self esteem was plummeting fast. After applying my techniques he got his first interview in 18 months, and now works for a global multinational as a Sales Manager, managing 80 people, with a new car, mobile and laptop earning a six figure salary!. And Tracey, a stay at home Mum desperate to work at home, who now earns over $1200 per week writing resumes from home. And Laura who with my help got a new job two days after being made redundant!
Once I started looking, I found so many job seekers living their dream, working in a job they love and some of them making money from their passion!
These Secrets are Now Revealed....
What were these successful job seekers doing that was different from everyone else? What were the secrets to their success? Could I unlock their secrets and create simple strategies that could be taught and easily implemented by job seekers anywhere wishing to choose their ideal job, whether just a small pay rise with work closer to home or in some cases tripling their salary ?
I wanted to come up with successful strategies that would work for anyone worldwide no matter what their level of experience or resume writing expertise - whether beginners or experienced,
The End Result?
From this labour of love I unlocked five strategies, each of which if used in the right way were guaranteed to help job seekers to gain job interviews time after time, and if so inclined, make money from their writing passion.
Now, for the first time ever, the same strategies and techniques that job seekers from around the world have used to create income through dramatically amplified salaries, is now available to you in a single, information packed, 115 page E-book.
"Insider Secrets of a Pro Resume Writer.."
Andrea Drew formed Impressive Resumes in 1998 and the business has grown steadily over the last 12 years. It is an enjoyment of the English language, and a lifetime passion for writing, which she brings to the company, in the preparation and writing of resumes. With a background in Human Resources and Recruitment, Andrea has worked in helping people with jobs since 1992. Her roles included: culling CV’s, arranging interviews, assessing resumes; writing marketing material; writing tenders; editing, proofreading and rewriting large documents. Andrea is currently studying prior to gaining accreditation as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer and is a member of Career Directors International and the Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals. Impressive Resumes was recently awarded a “best business award 2010” by www.womow.com (Word of Mouth on the Web) in the employment provider category
You can follow Andrea on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/ImpressiveCV
Chapter 1 – Some basics Page 4
Chapter 2 – Planning – the first part of the resume process Page 5
Chapter 3 – Layout and writing the resume Page 13
Chapter 4 – Professional Summary/Employment Narrative Page 17
Chapter 5 – Where to place the resume focus Page 22
Chapter 6 – Education Page 30
Chapter 7 – Attributes and keywords Page 34
Chapter 8 – Voluntary Work Page 37
Chapter 9 – References Page 39
Chapter 10 – The cover letter Page 42
Chapter 11 – Making sure you are ready Page 47
Chapter 12- More Resume samples Page 50
Chapter 13 – Sample cover letters Page 58
Chapter 14 – Sample reference sheets Page 64
Chapter 15 – The interview Page 68
Chapter 16 – Frequently Asked questions page 70
Chapter 17 – More about cover letters Page 77
Chapter 18 – Job Interview tips and tricks Page 79
Conclusion Page 113
NB: As I am an Australian, I have used Australian or UK spelling throughout the document. This includes spelling or words such as organization (US spelling) as organisation (Australian spelling) and Defense (US spelling) as Defence (UK/Australian spelling). So before you berate me for a spelling error, please check that this is simply not due to the different spelling in different countries!
Chapter 1 – Some basics
What is the purpose of a resume? If you ask most people, they will tell you it is “to get a job interview.” Yes, that’s right it is designed to get you a job interview. But a resume is also designed to sell you, or generate enough interest in you to make the reader make contact and schedule a meeting time. Your resume has had enough impact, that out of the hundreds of resumes a recruiter receives in their email inbox daily, yours has stood out.
If you’ve heard the saying that recruiter’s look at most resumes for between 5 and 20 seconds, it’s true. Add to that equation the fact that resumes are now received via email inbox, and you need to consider the fact that this means that the top third of your first page will be the first thing the recruiter sees when they click open the attachment.
I’ll be running you through the step by step process I use when writing a resume.
My resumes are written in a way that they;
a) Catch the recruiters eye immediately
b) Give them a reason to keep on reading
c) Stand out by writing them in a way that only 5% of all job applicants use effectively; and
d) Works with scanning software sometimes used by recruiters
e) Makes the reader want to meet with you!
Chapter 2 – First part of the resume writing process - planning
I’m sure most of you have lots and lots of questions including what headings to use, how long should it be, and do I include an objective and similar questions.
In my 11 years of writing resumes professionally, I’ve lost count of the number of questions that I have been asked about resumes.
Honestly, I think the best way to do this is for me to go through my resume writing process step by step, and then, when we’re done, I’ll include a list of possible questions and answers that may be still unanswered at the end of this book, OK? How does that sound? Good. OK, here we go.
The first thing to understand is that you don’t need to include the word resume or curriculum vitae (CV) as a title within the document. What you are really telling the recruiter in doing so is that you really do think they are thick as two short planks, and that they are so dumb they don’t even realise that this is your resume. No, don’t go there. By the same token, you don’t need headings or identifications such as name, address, telephone. It is obvious what they are! Surely people aren’t that dumb? (hold your tongue!)
Most resumes I see (and I have seen thousands) fall into the “shopping list” resume category. That is, they are a hastily written document scribbled down, and it is just a list of boring, general descriptions which mean little. The problem with this type of document is that it only describes the sort of duties that anyone in that position could do. There is nothing in there that markets you as a unique individual with value to bring to the potential employer.
Usually, when a client purchases a resume writing package online, they also upload their current CV to me. At this point I acknowledge receipt of their payment and documents, and ask them to complete my in-house questionnaire.
Why do I do this?
Well most resumes are what I have rather cheekily termed “shopping list” resumes. That is, a quickly scribbled dry boring very general list of functions and responsibilities.
This does nothing to market the candidate, and actually really only talks about the types of functions anyone within that position could perform. A resume needs to talk about why you are different. What challenges or problems did you face, no matter how small? What did you do to solve these problems? And (hopefully) what was the fantastic result?
It is this information that I am really looking for when sending the questionnaire to a client. I also send them a video to guide them as to the “resume gold” that I am digging for.
Once I receive this, I get to work. I’m going to show you my process from start to finish, using the case study of “Angela” but firstly the planning stage. I usually write an action plan as this makes it easier to write the resume. It doesn’t need to have all the boxes and look beautiful so long as you have the information there to work with. Here is a sample: So you can see there I have the person’s name – their position title, the position they are aiming for or targeting and their personal traits. Similarly I list the number of years experience they have, as well as their “hard skills.” These are their skills that I will be using to formulate a list of keywords within the resume, more on that to come. Hard skills list should only include those skills and ability that can be backed up by evidence. General skills are something most job seekers use a lot of; I see lots of words such as “team player” and “excellent organisational and prioritisation abilities”
What the job seeker doesn’t realise is that almost every other job seeker out there has done the same. Of course they don’t realise this, as they don’t get to see lots of CVs as I do (and lots of recruiters do) and so these statements lose impact. Statements such as “Contract Negotiation” and “Process re-engineering” or “Profit Maximisation” where this is a few sentences down backed up with evidence is much more powerful and makes the reader sit up and take notice, even if just for the fact that they very rarely see a resume of this kind.
Keywords are something that are not only used to attract the readers’ attention, particularly in a situation where a recruiter is scanning through hundreds of resumes; they are also occasionally picked up by computer scanning software. Not all recruitment companies use this software, but those that do are able to search across their entire database of say 20,000 resumes through scanning for several keywords which may be for example, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) or Contract Negotiations. So including “hard skills” here within the keywords section serves a dual purpose in that these words listed on the first page could more than likely assist you in gaining an interview, months after registering with a recruitment company. A position comes along, they interviewed you six months ago for a different position, and they registered your CV on their database and do a search and bang, up comes your resume in their search results months later!
Getting back to the action plan and resume writing, the second page of the action plan is where I plan the “meat” of the resume or achievements.
I use a tried and true method of CAR or Challenge, Action, Results. Here what I am doing is splitting up achievements into chunks to make sense of these prior to writing the resume. You will see here that these make up the bulk of the job seekers “story” and really demonstrate their skills:
Here you can see the challenge, action result planning in action. As the above text is a little small, I thought I’d include a few of them here:
Lack of shared purpose amongst staff, four departments all working hard but efforts disjointed and haphazard
Strategic Planning Review – several meetings took place, review distributed to staff. Met with resistance due to perceived increase in workload, involved staff to gain 90% commitment – arranged meetings so staff could “vent” – facilitated sessions to demonstrate how sharing of information needed to be reciprocal (i.e. other depts., customer) – arranging training sessions in customer service and dealing with difficult people for managers and supervisors
Two supervisors struggling with change resigned, Staff turnover reduced from 30% to 5%, Profit increased by 3% as well as adding 4 additional resources across the contract, Finance and Facilities depts. Held their own strategic planning sessions using my principles to ensure uniform message, resulting in late invoicing and debtor’s payments reduced from 60% to 5%
As you can see this is my rough “internal” text. From here it is a matter of tight phrasing, trying to get the salient points across to the reader without being too drawn out and long winded.
In this case the CAR approach became these two bullet points one after the other:
Instigated and rolled out a series of strategic planning review meetings with outcomes distributed to staff. Allowed staff to communicate frustrations and concerns whilst simultaneously facilitating training sessions in customer service, and dealing with difficult people. Staff turnover reduced dramatically from 30% to 5% with a marked upsurge in morale and a more cohesive unit.
Increased profit by 3% whilst adding five additional resources across the contract through formulation and rollout of strategic planning, staff training, facilitating staff meetings and demonstrating how improvements could be made
Here’s another example of how a rough CAR planning point became a selling point within the resume:
Tenders for project work not being effectively managed with customer complaining – complaints were justified
Arranged for myself and two others within Facilities department to be trained in defence’s procurement guidelines, then implemented these into all project processes including Identifying exact scope of work, using correct forms and processes throughout tender process
Additional $3 million of work managed from writing scope of work through tender process and to financial completion for year 2007/2008 – on time and on budget. By 2008/2009 this was done without my input
Which when rewritten became the following:
Recognised poor management of tenders for project work resulting in disgruntled client. Arranged two staff and myself to be trained in formal Defence procurement guidelines, implementing these into all project processes. Subsequently managed an additional $3 million in project work (estimated $7m in 2010/2011 financial year) throughout the entire tender process, enabling staff in following years to manage this process with minimal input
Chapter 3 – Layout and writing the resume
So now we have done our planning, we can get to writing. Remembering our earlier example, Angela is a graduate nurse, passionate about midwifery. She is trying to gain entry into this program. But her existing resume is just likes so many others I see, boring, ho hum, plain and in my opinion pretty useless (sorry Angela but I am sure you would agree with me )
Right, well here is a snippet of the first section of the first page of her resume as it was:
So what’s wrong with that? You might be thinking. Well, here’s what’s wrong with it. Firstly, why does it need a heading or title of “Curriculum Vitae?” Shouldn’t it be obvious to the reader what this is, after all they’ve already received an email in response to a job ad (most of the time) so the recruiter should know that you aren’t sending them the latest cricket scores.
Unless, you really are desperately trying to tell the recruiter that you think they are stupid. No? I didn’t think so.
The second thing is that this doesn’t really stand out to me. Keep in mind that I was a recruiter in a previous life. Picture this. Your manager has put you in charge of the advertising and screening process for 30 positions. Each position receives between 100 and 1000 applications including cover letters and resumes. So you really do only give each application about 5 to 30 seconds, meaning that the resume has to stand out immediately.
Combine this information with the fact that over the last eleven years I have looked at countless thousands of resumes, and I can assure you that most resumes look exactly like the “before” resume listed here. Bland, boring, non-descript. When I write the resumes, I try to incorporate in the very top section of the document:
a) Contact details of the candidate:
b) A quick idea for the recruiter as to what sort of candidate they are dealing with e.g. Results focussed Accountant seeking auditors role (or similar)
c) 6-8 bullet points of “hard” skills
You can see below how I rewrote the very beginning of this clients resume:
A couple of things to remember:
1. Only list “hard” skills. You may notice above I have listed these, which I discovered via Angela’s questionnaire. Don’t, don’t please don’t include wishy washy statements such as “effective team skills” “outstanding communication” “ability to prioritise and manage time” I see these sorts of general meaningless statements all the time. Trust me, 99% of all resumes I see make these sorts of claims which, without evidence mean nothing! Every man and his dog will claim they have these skills.
2. Don’t go overboard with fancy graphics, fonts or layout. I say stick to black and white, with a regular font or typeface such as Arial or similar. Yes, use bullets and bold or underline for emphasis, but don’t go overboard. If you are using these for emphasis, they are no longer emphasised if the entire page is bold, or 75% or 50% of it is. Get the idea? Use bolding or underlining or italics sparingly and only where definitely needed
From here you need to continue writing the resume, as outlined in the previous chapter, and using the CAR approach. Once your resume is completed, including an education and references section, have someone that you trust look over the resume to hopefully give an objective opinion.
Or, ask me to critique it for you! Simply go to my website, orders page, and there it is! You can then upload your brand spanking new resume to me via the website.
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