Resume words to avoid
When it comes time to craft your resume, you may want to come up with synonyms for what professional online network LinkedIn says are "the top 10 terms that are overused by professionals" in their resumes.
• Extensive experience
• Proven track record
• Team player
• Problem solver
Tips for writing a cover letter
Don't forget the cover letter, the note that introduces your resume to the potential employer. Steve Lagerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University in Indiana, said, "There are three parts to the letter. The first, why are you writing? You have only two choices: To apply for a position or to request information.
"Second is the core of your letter. It consists of two to four single concept paragraphs highlighting what you know about the position and explaining what you will do for them. . . . It's helpful to use a simple formula that includes the situation in which you used a skill, the task you had in that situation, the actions you took to address that task and, finally, the result of your action. The writing should be clear, concise and lead the reader to see you working for them.
"Third, thank them for their time and consideration and tell them what you will do next. You have only two choices, to call them and find out about the status of your application or to wait."
In the past few decades, an industry has developed to help people get jobs by crafting resumes for you both locally and online. They'll create a resume for your specific industry — IT/engineering, medical, federal, executive level — pinpointing your strong suit so as to dazzle the potential employer with your accomplishments.
But before you spend hundreds of dollars paying someone to list your previous jobs, let's meet Tony Beshara, Ph.D.
"I don't want to cut the resume writers out, but there's no reason to pay someone to write it for you," he said.
Beshara is president of Dallas' Babich & Associates, Texas' oldest placement and recruiting firm, according to Beshara. He is the author of The Job Search Solution and Unbeatable Resumes.
"What you want to do is state very simply where you worked, what you've done, how well you've done it and the success you've had," he said.
"The mistake that people make is they write down names of companies as though everybody in the world knows what they do, and they don't; you need to state very clearly who you worked for, what the company did and how well you performed doing it. It's that simple."
There are more involved resumes, known as curriculum vitae, or CVs, that take a narrative form rather than a structured list. Those can go much longer than two pages and go into specific detail, but "those are really more in the academic and scientific circles," Beshara said. "Those people in those businesses know which they ought to be doing, a resume or a CV."
Resumes today are most likely transmitted electronically as an attachment to an e-mail. That affords an opportunity to tailor your resume because you can easily make new versions specific to a job.
"Yes, (you should) have targeted resumes," Beshara said. "Address what you've done before but target specifically to a specific type of job.
And now get ready for a cold bucket of reality: "You've got to remember your resume isn't going to get you hired," Beshara said. "Your resume is just supposed to get you an interview.