Blog Archive - April 2014
When describing your work history on a resume, be sure that you show how your level of responsibility fits what prospective employers need. Review the samples below and note how it is possible to describe “scope” or “weight” depending on your career level. Demonstrate how your previous experience will let you fill the role you are applying for.
Worked as lead and assistant analyst for several projects. (Marketing, Project Management)
Prepared journal entries and government reporting as well as annual, quarterly, and monthly consolidated financial statements. (Accounting)
Contacted college instructors to promote books and materials from an academic publisher. (Sales)
Researched clients’ businesses and determined what events/awards would raise their profile and brand. (Marketing)
Mid-level and Managerial:
Oversaw facilities and service along with supervising 150 employees.
Supervised a team of 20 in delivering services to seniors, homeless, and victims of child abuse. Oversaw a $1.5 million budget for department operations and program costs.
Oversee radiology and MRI operations at an orthopedic practice that has had as many as 14 physicians.
Quickly took on increased leadership roles over 15+ years at 3 large corporations, moving from a positions as Process Engineer to Brand Manager to COO and President.
Directed operations at three casual dining American restaurants located in Wheeling, Illinois (Chicago), San Diego, California, and Naples, Florida. Managed annual revenue of $10 million and a staff of 100-120, including three Executive Chefs.
Direct finance and operations for a $500 million portfolio of student housing that generates $50 million in annual revenue. Collaborated with the CEO in establishing policies for acquisition, pricing, and sales.
Hired to turn around regional accounting operations in Russia and former territories of the U.S.S.R. ($175 million annual revenue) for a global leader that provides technical support to the energy industry. Reported to the European CFO headquartered in Zurich and a Regional Sales VP in Russia.
Bryce Covert of Think Progress reports that Americans are failing to do something important: Take paid vacations. 15% take none of the time coming to them – 75% take only part of it. That’s a lot of compensation that is going back into the employers’ pockets. Covert adds that 60% of those surveyed say that they often do some work while on vacation. Paid time off is a type of compensation. When we don’t take that time or when we work while on vacation, it’s the same as working for free. Many of my friends and clients have told me that they don’t take time coming to them or work while on vacation because their companies are understaffed. “There is no else to do the work.” What that means is that it pays for companies to stay understaffed, which keeps them from paying for time off. It’s not quite wage theft, but it’s close.
One of my clients is worried about getting laid off. Three people in is his department have been let go. They are all higher paid employees age 50+ who have been with the company for more than ten years. He has been with the company for 15 years and makes more money than the people who have been let go. His boss has reassured him that his job is not in danger, but my client knows that his former co-workers were told similar words of encouragement.
Could my client take action against his employer for age discrimination if he’s laid off? He could, but he doesn’t want to go through the hassle. What he’s doing instead is being proactive in updating his resume and starting a job search before he gets bad news. He’s not happy with the way the company has changed and would probably want to look for a new job even if he wasn’t worried about getting a pink slip. His income has been flat over the past few years. The best way for him to get ahead is to find something new. Don’t look back unless you’re doing so to move forward.
Should the language of a resume be specific or general? Really, this isn’t a good question. The language of a resume should fit the kind of job you are applying for. It should show how you are qualified to fill the level of responsibility that the employer needs. Sometimes the terms will be broader. If you’re looking for a sales job that cuts across different industries, you will talk about sales in more general language. However, if you’re only seeking a sales job in IT, your language needs to reflect your background in that industry. That language needs to be more specific.
Beware of simply taking the job description for your current job and repeating it point by point. That language works for the job you are leaving, but it doesn’t show your next employer how you fit her needs. I recommend gathering 5-10 posts for the kind of job you’ll be seeking. Write your resume to appeal to the needs of these employers, speak to their key words, and match your technical skills to what you see in the job posts. A good review of the job posts will tell you how specific or general the language in your resume needs to be.
I’d estimate that 25% of prospective clients bring me a resume that makes the same mistake: It asks a busy employer to figure out what the applicant is looking for. In such a resume format there is no objective or profile/summary to guide the reader. Instead, the resume simply lists job after job. I’m looking at a sample in which a prospective employee describe three positions in accounting and six jobs in teaching. Is this person looking for a job in accounting or teaching?
Don’t make the employer guess about your goals. They do not have time. Keep your resume focused. Begin with a brief frame that tells the employer what you want to do and why you are qualified. If you’re applying for jobs that can have a variety of titles, I recommend starting with a simple objective that states the position you are seeking. After that give a brief summary of your qualifications. Some summaries offer a paragraph style description. I use two or three descriptive points along with six to nine key words. Here is a sample:
OBJECTIVE: To obtain a position as (TITLE)
EXPERIENCE: Controller & senior accounting professional who has managed financial record keeping and advised owners on internal controls and operations.
LEADERSHIP: Proven team builder who directs staff, resources, and projects so goals are met and efficiency maximized.
• Accounting Systems • Tax Preparation • Compliance
• Cash Flow Management • Payroll & Benefits • Negotiation
By framing the resume in this way, you make it easier for someone who is reading quickly. Most HR professionals have to sift through large stacks of resumes for each job post. Keep your resume clear and easy to read. No one has time to figure out what you want to do.
Huffington Post offers an interesting take on wage trends since the year 2000. The article, originally from Upworthy, shows that most Americans have seen their income go flat or decline over the last 13 years. Income for the bottom 20 percentile has fallen by nearly 5%. Workers are feeling more and more stress. This article and the accompanying graph helps explain why. As the President said, “America needs a raise.”