Re: resumes and credentials

Subject: Re: resumes and credentials
From: charles desaro <soacon -at- STYX -dot- IOS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 14:23:37 -0400

I have been following this thread and I have some resume tips I would
like to share with you. I operate a computer consultant company and have
found through experience what works for us and what does not. I do not
use cover letters, I let the resume speak fopr its self.

Here the tips and information we use:

There are two basic types of resumes (they even have different
names!) One is called a resume and the other is called a
Curriculum Vitae or CV for short. The CV is more of an
autobiography of the person and used primarily for someone who
is searching for a position with a university, college, or pure
research. The CV has particulars in great depth concerning
educational, studies, affiliations, papers, personal and
business experience information. CVs are generally not directed
towards a specific position. It can be quite prolonged and
detailed. CVs can be well over 5 pages in length. People from
other countries call a resume a CV, but for the purposes of our
discussion we will use the above definition.

A resume is addressed to commercial or business positions and a
CV to academic/research positions. Therefore, consider a CV to
be the lab coat and the resume to be the business suit.

A resume, unlike the CV, should be directed towards a specific
position or objective and it should be concise, highlighting the
skills, education and experiences that are of interest to the
reader/interviewer (from now on we will just call this person
the reader).

A resume should be constructed with a specific position or
company in mind. Yes, you may have to construct many variants
of your resume to satisfy different opportunities. You want the
job, don't you? Avoid constructing general all purpose resumes,
the positions available today are much more specific in the type
of person they are seeking. Your resume should take advantage
of this.

For example, not too long ago when a company wanted to hire a
computer programmer they would advertise for a person with x
number of years experience and the programming language.
Simple. Today, that same ad will ask for years of experience,
programming language, specific area of the language (is it c,
C++, VB C++, Borland C++, etc.), type of platform, type of
operating system, even versions, and much more. The point is
that in every industry we have become specialists with certain
specific skill sets. Your resume must take this into account!

The main objective of your resume is to convince the reader you
may, repeat, may have the necessary skills, education,
experiences, etc. to do the job! The resume by itself will not
get you the job. You are the only one who can do that. And,
the only way you can, is with direct contact with the reader.
To achieve this objective will require some effort and work on
your behalf in addition to creating the resume.

To get the attention of the reader you must first possess a fair
amount of the skills, education, and experience background they
are seeking. Obviously, you must be qualified to perform the
functions and responsibilities of the job. Your resume must
highlight this. The resume must make it easy for the reader to
see and understand this. A badly written resume may have all
the information the reader is looking for but in a format or
language that the reader can't find or understand. One way to
avoid this is to research the company, find out the
products/services they provide, and what they call them. Find
out the company jargon and use it in your resume. You can do
this by obtaining sales brochures from the company or by
speaking to someone within the company. You may know someone
who works there, or someone who knows someone, etc. If the
company is large enough, you may find valuable information at
the library, or magazines such as Forbes, or the Wall Street
Journal. Make the extra effort, chances are other candidates
submitting their resume have not.

Well, if you read the prior information and followed our advice,
the expectation is quite clear. You should expect to be
contacted by the reader for a telephone interview or an in-
person interview. That is basically all you should expect. Now
it is up to you. It would be great if every resume you sent out
resulted in a call from the reader. It won't happen. Your task
is to increase the chances that it will. One very important way
which will increase those chances and save you time and effort
is to have a complete understanding of the position and
prerequisite requirements. Job descriptions, employment adds
can be vague and general. What do you do? How to you get the
right information? Do a little homework. Call the company, if
a telephone number is given. Ask to speak to someone who can
answer technical questions about the position. Sometimes you
may be directed to the reader. I have known of several
occasions where job seekers obtained interviews this way! If
you do get the reader, be brief as possible with clear simple
questions about the position. Don't, at this time discuss
compensation, benefits, etc. Ask a question or two which will
give you vital information you can add to your resume. You may
find that with the additional information this position is not
suited for you. Move on to the next one. By the way, suspect
ads which do not include telephone numbers or have only a box
number listed. It is generally a waste of time and effort to

The information requested will be directed towards the resume,
not the CV, although, some of the tips can be applied to both.

TIP #1.
Do not construct a resume that is longer than 2 pages. Believe
it or not, if you can, construct one that is 1 page. Remember,
less is better in this case. If you are fortunate enough to
have access to a laser printer with different fonts, do not use
a type size that is less than 11 points (it's tempting to use a
smaller size to fit the two page limit, don't do it). Use a
type font that is easy on the reader's eyes. Don't use a fancy
font like script. Times Roman or Helvenica are quite suitable.
Also adjust your paper margins to leave at least 1 inch on the
left. This gives the reader a space to make notations. If you
have to squeeze, then adjust the line spacing down from 100% (1)
to 90% (.9).

TIP #2.
What not to put in a resume. The contents of a resume are
important. It is equally important to leave certain information
out. One, don't put in salary requirements or past salaries,
unless it is specifically requested and your resume will not be
considered with out this information. Age, sex, martial status,
hobbies, organizations other then professional ones, and date of
birth should never be included in the resume. Your objective is
to not clutter your resume with information that is of secondary
importance to the reader.

For the mature job seeker, don't include previous positions over
15 years ago. With the rapidly changing world, experiences
gained then are probably not relevant today. And sad as it is,
and wrong as it is, young is in. Don't give the reader a chance
to reject your resume this way.

TIP #3.
The opening or beginning of your resume is important. This is
where the reader is going first. This should be a summary, not
an objective. It should be a summary of your specific skills
that fit the position's job requirements. For example, if
position calls for a computer programmer with specific skills
list the skills here. Also let the reader know that you enjoy
doing this work! Tell the reader you enjoy working with other
people. To say you have excellent interpersonal skills is very
over used today and means nothing.

TIP #4.
Within the body of the resume where you describe work
experiences and duties, use bullets or phrases. Be brief and to
the point. Make sure to list the information important to the
reader first. The attention span of the reader is going to be
short. The reader has other resumes to read, in addition to
their day to day job responsibilities. They do not wish to be
bored. Give them the information they are looking for quickly.
When you give them information also try to anticipate the
questions that the reader may have and include that information
(I know this is easy to say, another thing to accomplish). But
this where the extra effort pays off! For example, let's say
the position calls for a MS Window software developer. Tell the
reader you did this and also list the tools you used. I guess
you can tell I am in the computer field by the examples. But
this information applies to any profession.

TIP #5.
The structure of the resume. The major components of the resume
are in most cases similar and should be listed in this order:
* Summary (we discussed this)

* Education, list each formal degree, college, GPA (if above
3.1) and year of graduation (for the mature job seeker leave
the year out, it's a good way of ascertaining approximate
age). Here's an example:

EDUCATION: MIT, Boston, MA 1993
B.S., Electrical Engineering, GPA 3.5/4.0

* Skills, list here all the technical or business skills you
have. Remember, list the pertinent information first and
least of interest to the reader last.

* Work Experience. List previous or current employer first.
This is the most important section of your resume and the
tips, suggestions given to you throughout this paper should
be applied here. Here's an example:

EXPERIENCE: ABC Co., Brighton, MA May 1992 to Present
Sales Manager
o Increased sales in department 150% by re-doing
ads, using promotions, loss leaders, trained
staff to be more customer friendly.

Most candidates will only say they increased sales by 150%.
You will tell them how. This anticipates the readers

* Associations, list all professional organizations you belong
to that can help you get the job.

* Publications, Patents, list those here.

* Achievements, Awards, if you have room list here.

* References, place in your resume the names and telephone
numbers of two people who can provide excellent professional
references. "Available upon request" is overly used. Give
the reader this information up-front.

Well, those are the tips. Once you apply them you should see
dramatic improvements with your job search results. There are
no real secrets, just doing a little more than the next person,
going the extra step and extra effort

Happy job hunting!

Charles De Saro

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