Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Step by Step Tutorial to Crafting the Parts of a Resume

A Guide to Crafting the individual Parts of a Resume.

A resume is synergy.    
When you think about it, a resume is the perfect illustration of synergy.
The parts of your resume combine to paint a picture of you.   
"Synergy" is defined as the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  Each part is important, . . . no question about it.  But when added together, the parts exceed the value of each individual part.

The parts of your resume do the same --  Each part performs a separate function in teaching the reader something specific about you.  Combine the parts together and they paint a picture of the "whole" you.  That picture shows you to be a performer, as evidenced by the separate parts:  your experience, skills, abilities, accomplishments, education and knowledge, professional associations / activities, relevant volunteer activities, as well as awards, certificates, degrees and technical acumen, publications, presentations, and training.  These parts back up your claim that you are qualified for the job.

Showcases you as a qualified candidate
In short, your resume, when constructed with your goal in mind, showcases you as a qualified candidate for a position and backs up your claim.

Here’s how you do it.  The following is a guide to the information that should be included in each part or section of your resume.  Remember, there is no one way to do a resume, but the suggestions here offer a way to condense a lot of information into a concise and tight format that allows a reader to learn a lot about you from a short, 2-page document that is constructed in an easy to read manner.  For an illustrative guide to follow along with this article, please refer to “Resume Template” in the Resume and Marketing Tools section of the AJC website.

●    Header
    The Header contains your key contract information.

    Include the following information as described below:
    Mandatory                    Optional
    Complete name               Physical address
    Phone                              Linked-in address
    e-mail address                 Professional  personal website
    Phones:  Include any phone numbers for phones on which you take calls for your job search and for which you have an answering device that you check regularly.  Regularly means daily, at a minimum.

    E-mail: You may want to set up a separate e-mail address designated solely for your job search.  I think it’s a good idea.  It saves time when you are checking for responses and job alerts and ensures you won’t miss an opportunity hidden amidst all your other e-mails in your personal e-mail account.

    Physical address:  Resumes increasingly omit this piece of information today.  Employers will contact you today via phone or e-mail.  Include it if it is to your advantage to show your geographic location (i.e., the company will not have a relocation expense if you are a local resident).

    Linked-In address:  It is almost mandatory today for job seekers to have a completed profile on Linked In so that hiring companies can find you.  Your profile can be in the format of your resume, or a narrative (first or third person) style.

    Professional  personal website: 
  It is not mandatory; however, if you choose to do so, ensure the quality is high and worth the hiring company’s time to visit.  Keep it current.  In addition to your resume, include materials that bolster your cause such as executive summaries of work you’ve done, accolades and recommendations.

    Header for Page 2:  Include your full name and a contact method on page two.

●    Summary Statement
    The Summary Statement is a short one-paragraph synopsis of you as a worker/performer that appears underneath the Header on your resume.  It contains phrases that briefly describe your capabilities.  It goes by many names: Qualifications Summary, Experience Summary, Areas of Expertise, Career Overview, Summary, etc.  Label yours with a term that you like and are comfortable using.

    Use your “L"vator” speech as a model to craft your career summary statement. (Please refer to the article "Crafting Your “L”vator Speech" in the Resume and Marketing Tools section of the AJC website.)

    Include in this synopsis items such as:

    Mandatory                                     Optional as appropriate or relevant
    Type of profession you are in              Certifications/Designations
    Areas of expertise and knowledge      Interpersonal skills/abilities   
    Strengths                                             Languages - foreign, computer   Skills   Awards

    How to do it:  The trick to producing an effective summary statement is to present key information that:
        (1)  Supports you in achieving your goal, and
        (2)  Relates to the employer’s requirements for the position for which you are applying.
    When to do it:  Write it last.
Don’t try to write your summary statement following composing your header.  Instead, focus on writing about your work experience, education, professional development and training, and other relevant information.  Then, with an eye on your goal, decide what information about you that you want your summary to feature. 

    Optional: Should you include a photo?  Rarely.  A photo is rarely used on a resume.  Include a photo of yourself ONLY if it facilitates your goal, is appropriate for your industry/type of role, and you are comfortable including it.  Know that its inclusion can work against you.  I generally advise clients against it.

●    Professional / Work Experience / Employment History
    Your work history should feature positions held within the last 10  –  15 years; this is based on the theory that most people will be hired based on their more recent experience.  Older positions, that have relevancy, should be treated briefly.

    Include:  Your description of your recent positions should include: 
    Years in position(s)
    Position title  –   Formal title
    Optional:  Functional title  –  Use if it clarifies your work responsibilities.
    Optional:  Phrase stating the type of work the employer does  – For clarification purposes if needed. 

    Responsibilities / Duties
    Include a few (2 - 4) phrases stating your responsibilities in paragraph format.  These can be found in your job description or in a current advertisement for a similar position.

    Accomplishment Statements
    List approximately 4 – 6 accomplishment statements for recent positions, and 1-3 for past positions.  These are written as phrases, (1) beginning with an action verb, and (2) concluding with a result or consequence of the action you took.  For additional information, please refer to “How to Write Accomplishment Statements” in the in the Resume and Marketing Tools section of the AJC website.

    How to do it:  The key is to present relevant information that also relates to achieving your goal.

●    Other Relevant Experience:  Optional
    List positions held prior to the last 10  –  15 years, if they are relevant to your goal and the requirements of the position for which you are applying.  Include brief information about the company/your duties, amplifying only that which is pertinent.

    Company/organization name  -  omit years of employment
    Position title 
    Optional:  1 or 2 bullet points noting accomplishments, if relevant

●    Education
    List your formal education.  This section is reserved for degreed education and prominent programs from well known or prestigious institutions that turn heads. 

    Degree type (MBA, BA), school, location   -  in that order
    Itemize in order of highest degree to lowest degree.
    The words “Planned date of completion:  12/2014" can be used if the program of study is not completed.

    Do not include the dates that degrees, diplomas, or certificates were awarded unless currency is an issue.

●    Professional development & training
    This can be a separate section or combined with the Education section, often simply depending on space available.

    Include:  Write a list of:
    Training courses/workshops            Professional certifications
    Self-study courses                           Seminars
    Licenses                                           Prestigious in-company development
    Addenda:  Include items that relate to achieving your goal.  For lengthy lists, select a couple relevant items and prepare an Addendum showing an all inclusive list: i.e., all trainings attended, or all workshops presented, etc.  Use the same Header atop the Addendum as you did on your Resume.

●    Other categories as make sense
    Memberships                       Professional associations
    Honors                                 Publications
    Computer languages           Foreign languages
    Awards/commendations      Presentations

    DO NOT include personal, political, or religious information.

Addenda:  Include items that relate to achieving your goal.  For lengthy lists, select a couple relevant items and prepare an Addendum showing an all inclusive list: i.e., all honors, publications, etc.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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