Tuesday, August 26, 2008


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

Creating a succinct and attractive resume that contains well-prioritized data is one of the major challenges facing candidates today. Not only will an applicant’s resume be competing against hundreds of others, it must clearly portray the candidate in the most favorable light and as the most appropriate choice for the opening. In order to do this, several resume pitfalls must be avoided:

1. Poor or Inappropriate Formatting: The first impression a resume makes on an admissions director or hiring manager is generally the most lasting. Large blocks of uninterrupted text, small margins, text that is very small, or an abundance of bolding, italics, and “designer” fonts make documents difficult to read. Only one font (preferably Times New Roman or Arial) should be employed and never in a point size lower than 11. Bolding should be left to the header information (name, address, phone number, email) and subheadings within the document (Profile, Work History, Education). A candidate’s industry or field will determine whether the resume format will be conservative (i.e. Physicians, Teachers, CPAs, Individuals Seeking Admission to Graduate Schools, etc.) or more stylish (i.e. Marketing Professionals, Artists, Performers, etc.).

2. Lack of Focus: An effective resume should indicate to the reader within seven seconds, or less, the candidate’s targeted position and qualifications that match the opening. It’s not enough to list schooling, work history, and activities. Admissions directors and hiring managers will not thoroughly read a resume to cull needed information – candidates must provide this data quickly and effectively. Qualifications Summaries should include information as to what is sought (a position or entrance into a university program) and the candidate’s qualifications that are related to this. Employment History, Accomplishments, and Education should build upon what is provided in the Qualifications Summary.

3. Use of Self-serving Objective Statements: In today’s economy hiring managers are not interested in what a candidate wants (i.e. Seeking a position that will fully utilize my college education and provide for sufficient advancement within the industry). Rather, they seek candidates that clearly state what they can do for the targeted company in terms of cutting costs, increasing profits, and enhancing productivity. Hiring manager’s take note of applicants who place the company’s needs above their own.

4. Poor Data Prioritization: A resume should reveal the candidate’s professional & academic background as it applies to the targeted position or program being sought, and in reverse-chronological order (the last job worked or school attended is listed first within that section). If Education is an important qualification it should be presented before Work History, not dead last on the document. If real-world experience is valued, then it should come before Education. If special skills, such as IT, are at a premium, they should be showcased immediately after the opening summary, not left to the end of a two-page resume.

5. Failure to Showcase and Quantify Accomplishments: Hiring managers and admissions directors will not read every line of a resume to determine what a candidate has to offer, especially if it’s buried within dense blocks of text. Applicants must provide special sections indicating professional or academic achievements and these must be quantified. It’s not enough to write: Increased productivity within the division. Hiring managers and admissions directors will find this self-serving. A better way to present the data is to write: Increased productivity 58% within three-months of hire by retraining staff on latest accounting software. Providing percentages/dollar figures and time frames strengthen achievements.

6. Including Non-relevant Data: Hobbies and interests unless directly related to the current job search should never be included – such activities do not enhance candidacy. Additionally, birth dates, religious affiliations, race, social security numbers, and marital data should never be included.

7. Inappropriate Length: There is no one correct page length for a resume. The document is as long as it has to be in order to provide a clear and effective picture of the candidate. Professionals with many years of experience will most likely have two pages. To cram this data into one page or exclude important information in order to reach an arbitrary length will only dilute candidacy. The key is to provide only that data which is relevant to the current career goal. When this rule if followed, appropriate page length is always reached.

8. Personalizing the Document and using Casual Language: Modern resumes are business documents and should never be personalized with use of “I’ “my” “we” or other personal pronouns. Additionally, the tone of the resume should always remain professional and businesslike – slang is always excluded.

9. Redundancy of Data: Once information has been provided in a resume, whether it’s in the Qualifications Summary, Career Accomplishments section, or Professional Experience section, it is not repeated elsewhere. Hiring managers and admissions directors soon tire of redundancy and feel the candidate is padding the resume to reach a certain page length.

10. Spelling or Grammatical Errors and Incorrect Verb Tense: Once a spelling or grammatical error is detected by an admissions director or hiring manager, they will stop reading the resume. Their trust in that person’s abilities is forever lost. This is also true when dates of employment or education are obviously incorrect (i.e. a recent college graduate listing the date of graduation as 1979 instead of 1999), or when verb tense does not match dates of employment (i.e. current jobs have duties listed in present tense; previous jobs have duties listed in past tense).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


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

Generally speaking, CVs or Curriculum Vitaes, are only used in the United States when the candidate is:

1. Seeking an academic position or a fellowship

2. Has been published frequently within their career field

3. The company or institution to which the CV is being submitted requests a longer, more
detailed version of the candidate’s history

Overseas, however, the situation is far different. Although some countries will accept resumes, most still want CVs. If you are applying to another country for a position it’s important that you note how candidate data differs in that country and in this one. Overseas employers may ask for a listing of:

1. Personal information such as date of birth, marital status, nationality, religion,
and number of children.

2. Linguistic and computer capabilities (this is nearly standard in other countries)

Additionally, presentation of data may vary from country to country (some prefer Education to be listed first, while others want Professional Experience or Work History)

General Rules for Converting a Resume to a CV

Font Type & Format

When creating a CV from a resume, it’s important to note that CVs tend to be more formal. Whereas a stylish format and “designer” font can be used in resume creation, it’s best to err on the conservative side with a CV.

Choose the Times New Roman font and a standard template that separates data under appropriate subheadings – i.e. Career Accomplishments, Licensing, Professional Experience, Publications, etc. CVs are generally so lengthy, they should be easy to navigate.

Data Inclusion

Because most resumes are two-pages or less, information such as publications, extensive training, and career history that spans decades is rarely included.

In a CV, however, all publications should be listed, as well as all relevant training. Full work history should also be provided even if it encompasses twenty years or more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


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

While Curriculum Vitaes, or CVs as they are known, are quite standard in other countries, resumes are the norm in the United States.

So what do you do if you have a 10 to 15 page CV, but need a resume that does not exceed two pages?

Your first goal is to retain only that which is relevant to your career search, and pare down or exclude all non-essential data.

The Essentials – What to Keep

1. Your name and contact information (address, phone number, and email)

2. An opening summary that gives a clear and quick picture of what you have to offer, and contains an objective statement if you’re in a career transition or are targeting a specific industry/job.

3. Career Accomplishments that are quantified and are relevant to your new career goal.

4. Professional History providing a succinct listing of daily duties. Note: It’s important not to go back more than 15 years. For IT professionals, the maximum would be 10 years. Hiring managers are not interested in reading about every job a candidate has ever had. They want to know what you’ve recently done.

5. Educational data, and any training that’s germane to your new career search.

The Non-essentials – What to Exclude

1. Personal information. U.S. hiring managers cannot, and will not, ask to see details concerning your marital status, number of children, religious or political affiliation, or your date of birth on a resume.

2. Publications and Presentations. Whereas CVs generally list page after page of the candidate’s published work, resumes do not.

3. Hobbies or Interests. Hiring managers want to see only that data which proves a candidate will be able to fulfill job duties or excel at them. Collecting stamps, listening to music, or reading books does little to enhance anyone’s candidacy.

4. Volunteer work: Always exclude unless it’s directly related to your career goal. For example, volunteering time at a hospital when you’re in a health-related field.

By prioritizing data and keeping work history within a certain time frame even the lengthiest of CVs can be effectively reduced to a readable and appropriate two page format.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


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

Due to changes in staffing in the IT field, which include outsourcing and downsizing, jobseekers should be fully prepared to showcase their skills and talents during that small timeframe allotted to them by the hiring authority.

Unlike the last decade when IT skills were at a premium, now candidates must prove their worth. This can be done by following these tips:

1. Bring your resume and a list of completed projects to the interview:

Be certain to have enough copies to go around. Your past projects should include these components:

A. Project goals (i.e. Was the project initiated to resolve a problem or to grow business?)
B. Challenges faced in reaching said goals.
C. Results directly related to your work on the project.

2. Be prepared to be tested:

With so many applicants and so few positions, management may very well decide to pose a sample project and ask you to provide a solution. . .within the time allotted during the interview process.

Preparing beforehand for such an eventuality is obviously crucial. By taking the time to fully understand the requirements of the job (as listed in the posting) and researching the company online, you’ll get a feel for where it’s going and what its future IT needs will be.

3. Propose solutions:

Even if you’re asked to resolve problems in a sample project, use what you’ve learned about the company online and through the job posting to propose innovative solutions for:

A. Growing the business
B. Improving service
C. Going to the next level in the technology race.

By following the above three steps, you will significantly enhance your candidacy and will stand out in an increasing crowded field.