Resume Writing ~ Effective Communication to Sell Your Skills to an Employer ~ Part 2

In part one of Resume writing/effective communication we talked about how difficult it can be for people to tell me what they do at their jobs so that I can write a resume for them or teach them how to write their own resume. Today we are going to expand on that concept and talk about the wording of a resume and how to choose what to write.

Once I have established what a person did on a job I must decide the best way to put that information on paper to showcase the talents of the client in relation to a specific job. Communication as it applies to a resume needs to be clustered into categories or types of work because one resume does not fit all. Often I have a client that has worked many different types of jobs and has accumulated some excellent and very diverse skill sets. I would be doing a disservice if I tried to put all of that information onto one resume. A resume must reflect specific traits for specific jobs and the duties that go with that particular job. Let’s take for example a person that has worked at years of customer service work but in the middle they worked doing research in a back lab with virtually no contact with others. What would we do with that resume? First I would ascertain the type of job that is wanted and if possible get a job description for the company they want to work for or find a generic job description on the internet. Let’s say that the position is for a Sales Associate at a high end department store that wants experience in customer service. I would draw on the customer service experience that my client had done, but I would minimize the back lab research unless there was a facet that I could use…and that is always possible since maybe I could use the statement about research to qualify that I would be able to track merchandise for clients between stores or corporate offices due to experience in computer research, but often I wouldn’t even have a category that discussed that job because it is not relevant to what my client wants to do.

What if the jobs were switched and I had the same client with the same years of customer service experience, the same short stint as a researcher but they wanted to continue with a career in research? Then I would up-play the research position and I would try to find transferable skills from the customer service jobs to help me. I might choose something like organizational skills
such as: Proven ability to organize and manage inventory both on a sales floor and in the computer data system for company X. I now show that I can be on a computer and organize and manage data! Many jobs have duties that are transferable to other jobs if you know how to find those skills. A professional career coach can help you to pull those skills to the forefront and shine the best light upon them. Communicating your skills is critical to success because often your resume is your first impression to an employer. During that first impression you have approximately 8-15 seconds to make a good impression and a professional resume can take you one step farther and create a great impression. Employers have limited time and must make decisions and determinations quickly so you must communicate your skills to impress the employer in those 8-15 seconds.

What are some things you need to accomplish your great first impression?

1. A detailed list of your job duties from past experiences ~ either paid or unpaid
2. A second list that has the skills you used while performing those job duties
3. A job description, either generic from the internet or specific from a company that details the type of job you want to apply for and for which your resume will be tailored.
4. A list of “action” words to create power statements
5. Good quality “resume” paper (remember communication isn’t always in words)

Once you have your information listed and detailed you will decide the type of resume you want to have and create your statements according to the format you choose. There are different resume styles to choose from including the chronological which lists your past employment in a chronological order beginning with your most recent position first; skill-based/functional resumes are based on various skill sets that work well for job seekers using transferable skills or that might have some gaps in employment because the top third of the resume is based on skill sets and the employment history is listed in a smaller section near the bottom; a combination has a top half based on skill sets and the bottom half chronologically to support the skills listed above the positions and the positions usually have accomplishment statements bulleted for maximum influence; the recent education works well for recent graduates even if you do have a long work history because it enhances and reinforces that history or it showcases new skills for those that are changing careers, and of course there are always various choices of look and formatting for each type of resume. Again this is one of those areas that you could utilize the services of a career coach for a consultation to help you choose the best option for your situation or decide to have them write the resume for you based on their expertise in this area.

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“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
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