Tuesday, November 27, 2007


by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

Few things are as disheartening to a professional as being fired from a position. But there are ways to minimize the damage on your new resume, and make it an effective marketing tool.

1. Let the resume format work for you in downplaying the loss of a job.

Instead of using a reverse chronological format that accentuates employment dates, use a functional format that showcases what you know rather than where you attained that expertise. For an accountant that would mean highlighting skills in reconciling accounts, generating tax returns, implementing internal controls, etc. The fact that these skills were attained at XYZ Company is minimized as employer names are not mentioned until the very end of the resume.

2. Use dates of employment to your advantage.

If you were fired from a job of short duration that fell within the same year as your last position, it can be completely excluded. For example – you worked at ABC Company from March to September of 2007. Before that, you worked at DEF Company from July of 2002 to February of 2007. Simply list the second company (DEF) with the years of employment (2002-2007). This will show an unbroken employment record.

3. Never explain on a resume that you were fired.

As much as hiring managers want to be fair and open-minded, they are only human and will tend to dismiss any candidate who admits to being fired. No matter how you try to explain your dismissal (i.e. “It was office politics.” “My manager didn’t like me; I have no idea why.” “It’s because I’m old; they wanted someone younger.” “They didn’t want to pay me a living wage so they hired someone less expensive.”), the explanation will still sound negative.

4. Don’t confuse being laid off or let go due to downsizing as being fired.

If your company was bought out by another firm and you were let go, that’s not the same as being fired. If your position has been eliminated (for whatever reason), you weren’t technically fired. Hiring managers tend to look at “being fired” as a negative that was caused by the employee (eg: they stole company funds, they were always late to work, they didn’t fulfill their daily duties, etc.) It’s important to note the distinction and to list those jobs on your resume when economic conditions, beyond your control, were a factor.

5. When there’s no way to avoid the fact that you’ve been fired.

If the industry you’re working in is a small one and everyone knows about your job loss, then it’s essential to showcase the positive (what you achieved at the job or what you learned), and to minimize the negative (confrontations with management or co-workers). A job search is not the time to prove that you were treated unfairly at the last company – rather, it’s the time to prove to the new company that you can excel because of your unique set of skills and qualifications.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

Temporary (contract) employees are the wave of the future. Companies no longer have to worry about benefits or keeping someone on who doesn’t fit in with the corporate culture. Of course, that leaves many individuals with ten or more short-termed positions to detail on a resume. Although it seems daunting and impossible to attract a hiring manager’s attention with that kind of data, it can be done.


Technically speaking, the agency – not the company where you actually do the work – is the employer and should be listed as such. If you’re like most contract workers, you do the same job for a number of companies, and you should detail those duties one time only beneath your job title, which will also include the employer list. For example:

FIRST STAFFING AGENCY, White Plains, New York, 2001 – Present
Administrative Assistant
(XYZ Company, RRT Company, ABC Company, & CDF Company)
* Generate correspondence for staff and senior executives.
* Answer telephone inquiries.
* Maintain inventory of office supplies.

The above is organized and provides relevant data without repetition.


Showcase your time management skills (especially if you’ve been asked – at the last moment – to accept a position because of an emergency staff shortage), how you thrive on change and meeting new people, what a quick learner you are (every company has its own policies and procedures that new staff must adhere to), and the range of your skills, which have to be comprehensive in order to move from company to company on short notice. In other words, show the hiring manager that you can make a quick, seamless transition from your contract job into a more permanent position at the targeted company.


Detail why you were offered a permanent position, and where it led – either to a promotion or to increased responsibility. The key is to show the new hiring manager that you have what it takes to get the job done.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

In our youth-oriented culture many workers, some as young as 40, worry that their employment options diminish substantially with each passing year.

To avoid the potential for age discrimination even before you’re invited to interview, make certain that your resume showcases your unique talents and qualifications, rather than your years in the industry. This can be accomplished in three ways:

1. Use a functional format to market your unique skills and qualifications:

Unlike a reverse-chronological resume that stresses dates and employers, a functional format emphasizes what you know and what you can do, rather than how long you’ve been doing it. For example, a business analyst would have a “Career History” section with the following subheadings and bulleted information:

Financial & Business Analysis
· Performed complex analyses for system-wide negotiations, projections, and line-of-business reviews in addition to analysis of population distribution, claims/utilization, and cost.
· Identified, collected, and organized data from multiple sources for input into monthly, quarterly, annual, and ad hoc reports provided to contracting/finance departments and senior management.
· Designed and implemented database applications used in contract rate and risk management analysis as well as the identification and correction of data errors and discrepancies.

Management & Supervision
· Analyzed, interpreted, and resolved claims with authorization for payments up to $75,000.
· Directed activities of 40 claims analysts at a large project site.
· Interacted daily with enrollment, claims, utilization/quality management, and customer service to resolve provider issues.

Nowhere in the above are years specified or emphasized.

2. Exclude early positions that do not enhance your candidacy, especially if you’re in the IT field:

Modern resumes generally do not go further back into employment history than 15 years. For IT professionals, no professional history past 10 years should be included. Why? Industries change so rapidly, early skills are replaced with more current methodologies. And most employers want to know what you’ve been doing recently, not what you did when you first graduated from college.

3. Exclude dates of college graduation:

Although it’s considered unorthodox by some, excluding dates of graduation, especially if you left college in the early 70’s, will minimize the risk of age discrimination. For seasoned professionals especially, college graduation is not the hook it might be for an entry-level candidate. If what came before your educational data is stellar (i.e. career history, accomplishments, unique skills), then few hiring manages will notice or care about this omission.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

When competing against hundreds of other applicants for limited seats in degree programs, it’s essential that your resume quickly conveys what you can bring to the program in terms of academic abilities, special talents, or real-world experiences. Below are general guidelines as to what admissions directors seek in application resumes. Be advised that it’s always wise to first check with the targeted school for specific guidelines that will help in creating your new resume so that it gets noticed.

Should you use a Resume or a CV (Curriculum Vitae) for Admission to Schools?

Generally speaking, if you’re applying to college or a university for an undergraduate degree program, or to a law/business/medical school, a resume should be employed.

If you are applying for a medical fellowship and have numerous publications, presentations, and abstract submissions, the preferred format is the CV. CVs, unlike resumes, may be longer than two pages in length, and often exceed ten pages when the candidate has numerous publications.

Guidelines for resumes used in application to Colleges or Universities for Undergraduate Degrees:

1. Opening Summary: This should provide an admissions director with a “snapshot” of you as a candidate, and your most relevant accomplishment. The achievement may be academic in nature (a perfect SAT score, selection as Class Valedictorian), may involve a specific talent (awards for art work or in drama competitions), or be focused towards athletics (member of football team that won division championship). The idea is to show your skill and potential.

2. Education: In addition to listing your high school, include any relevant club memberships (National Honor Society, Gold Key Club, Art Club for an aspiring artist – Language Clubs for an aspiring Linguist/Interpreter), honors (dean’s list, etc.), and anything else that made your work in high school special.

3. Volunteer Work: List first that volunteer work that coincides with your future goals. For example, if your intent is to study sociology or psychology in college, then detail volunteer work done at homeless/battered women shelters.

4. Hobbies: List first those hobbies that coincide with your future goals. (i.e. working with fabrics and sewing if you’re interested in becoming a Fashion or Interior Designer).

5. Length: No more than one page
Guidelines for resumes used in application to Graduate Schools:

Many schools will have their own requirements. It’s best to follow those directives in constructing your resume.

However, some general components are:

1. Education: List only the Bachelor’s Degree, not any Associates Degrees leading up to it. Include coursework that is relevant to the graduate program (i.e. Banking coursework for Finance programs), and any academic honors such as scholarships, dean’s lists, honor societies.

2. Professional Experience: Your employment and relevant daily duties presented in a reverse chronological order – that is, your most recent employment first, followed by the next most recent, and so on. If the school requires it, include full dates of employment – that is, both months and years. If no such requirement exists, then only provide years of employment (i.e. 2001-2004).

3. Volunteer Work & Hobbies/Interests


1. A Qualifications Summary: These are optional. Some schools may even require that they not be included. It’s best to check with the school to which you are applying to determine if inclusion of an opening summary is appropriate.

2. Career Accomplishments: Professional achievements can be showcased in their own section, or as a part of the employment listing. It’s best to check with the graduate school to see which is preferred.

3. Length: It’s best to check with the targeted school to see if any length restrictions exist.

Guidelines for resumes used in application to Law Schools:

The specific requirements for most law schools are:

1. List all academic and non-academic honors and awards received, including fellowships, prizes and memberships in honor societies; list and/or describe the basis for your selection.

2. List your extracurricular activities since entering undergraduate school, the hours per week devoted to such activities, and the dates of the activities.

3. List your positions of employment since high school (either full or part time), the number of hours per week devoted to each position, and the dates of employment.


1. Length: Generally speaking, most law school resumes are no more than one page in length. However, some law schools have their own length restrictions and/or requirements. It’s best to check with the school to which you are applying to determine what is most appropriate.

2. Opening Summary (also known as Qualifications Summary): These are optional. Some schools may even require that they not be included. It’s best to check with the school to which you are applying to determine if inclusion of an opening summary is appropriate.

Guidelines for resumes used in application to Business Schools:

Unlike other graduate school programs, Business Schools are seeking candidates that have real world experience. Therefore, in applying to this type of graduate program, the resume should resemble, as closely as possible, one being sent to a hiring manager.

The components of a Business School resume include:

1. A Qualifications Summary: This brief paragraph should provide relevant and recent data that enhances your candidacy. This would include an overview of your professional experience (i.e. “Internet Entrepreneur with a successful background in founding and operating two websites specializing in. . .”), a recent/relevant accomplishment (i.e. “Increased sales at Bank One by 40% within six months of hire by implementing a unique bank card program targeted towards college students.”), and your goal in applying to Business School (i.e. “Currently seeking admission into the MBA program to enhance business skills for a future as a venture capitalist.”)

2. Career Accomplishments: When competing against countless other candidates with similar backgrounds, the only thing that sets you apart is what you achieved during your professional career. These accomplishments should be showcased in a separate section, directly beneath the Qualifications Summary. They should be quantified with dollar figures, percentages, and time frames, if possible (i.e. “Reduced costs 35%, representing $4000 monthly, by outsourcing all publishing work.”)

3. Professional Experience: Your employment and relevant daily duties, presented in a reverse-chronological order – that is, your most recent employment first, followed by the next most recent, and so on. Accomplishments that have been previously provided should not be repeated here.

4. Education: List only the Bachelor’s degree, not any Associates Degrees leading up to it. Include any academic honors such as scholarships, dean’s lists, honor societies.

5. Length: Business school resumes generally can be two pages in length as long as only relevant data, as it pertains to the application, is included.

Guidelines for resumes used in application to Medical Schools:

The components of a Medical School resume include:

1. Education and Training: List here GPAs, honors (dean’s list, scholarship), memberships in relevant honor societies, relevant coursework (Biology, Labs)
2. Professional Experience Related to Medicine
3. Other Professional Experience
4. Volunteer Work Related to Medicine
5. Other Volunteer Work
6. Hobbies & Interests – if relevant to medicine


1. Opening Summary: It’s best to check with the selected medical school as to whether a Qualifications Summary is allowed. If not, exclude.

2. Length: This can vary from school to school. Therefore, it’s best to check with the selected medical school as to the appropriate length of the resume.