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The art of crafting an effective resume should be taught in school since it's so meaningful in our working lives. Most of us learned how to create our resumes from online samples and campus career-counseling handbooks, but those basic examples can only help us so much. While I'm not a professional career counselor or resume builder, I have a keen eye for resume blunders and have been helping my friends with their resumes for years. Think your resume could use a second opinion? Upload your resume without your personal information (or private message me) and I'll offer my advice on how to polish it to perfection.

Recent College Graduate Résumé, Remedied

Posted By Smart Living on Jan 20, 2009 at 11:30AM

TeamSugar member htric is a recent college graduate in need of a job, so she posted her résumé in my Résumé Remedy group for some advice on how it could be improved. Htric is hoping to get an IT job, which is smart thinking because it's thought to be one of the few recession-proof fields out there.

  1. Remove unnecessary details: You want employers to get a clear picture of why you might be qualified by skimming though your résumé, and if they only catch the unnecessary stuff your candidacy loses strength. At minimum, consider taking out the objective (it's stating the obvious), your University's address, and your lifeguarding experience.
  2. Focus on what is important: It makes sense that you've had several different experiences during college, but you've only listed one responsibility next to a few of them. Either elaborate on these jobs, indicating the skills you learned that will help you in another job you might get, or delete them.

See my other recommendations and share your own in the comments — just read more

I'm Asking: How Do You Describe Yourself on Your Resume?

Posted By Smart Living on Aug 1, 2008 at 9:30AM

Deciding what adjectives to use to describe yourself on a resume, or even in a job interview, is a daunting task, but one that you should put considerable thought into.

There are certain words you should never use on your resume (amazing, phenomenal, awesome and cool being just a few), but I find it's best to be honest and use words that accurately describe your best traits.

What words do you use to describe yourself professionally?


Nine Most Common Résumé Search Terms

Posted By Smart Living on Aug 1, 2008 at 6:30AM

Your mom's advice to be yourself in any anxiety-inducing situation can certainly be applied to your job search, although not all applicants have been remembering the wise words of mom. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that half of hiring managers have caught a lie on a résumé and the fibs include things like embellishing responsibilities and faking academic degrees.

CareerBuilder also polled the managers to find out the words they most commonly search for when filtering résumés. Many use electronic scanners to select résumés that contain the qualifications they're seeking. As long as you're not lying so that you can incorporate some of these search words, try and include them in your updated résumé for a better shot at making it through the scanning process. Here are the most common search terms along with the percentage of hiring managers who mentioned them.

  • problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)
  • oral and written communications (44 percent)
  • customer service or retention (34 percent)
  • performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)

There are five more search terms, find out what they are when you read more

Ask Savvy: What Should a Cover Letter Include?

Posted By Smart Living on Jun 12, 2008 at 12:36PM

Dear Savvy,

My problem is not exactly related to my résumé, but I am having problems when it comes to my cover letter. I don't know what it should include or how to correctly send one. So what should a cover letter include? Also, I usually sent my resume via email because that's the way they want to receive it, but should I send it as a PDF or a .doc?

See my suggestions and share your own in the comments! Just read more

Résumé Tip: Print It Before You Hit Send

Posted By Smart Living on Jun 9, 2008 at 3:11PM

During a past job search, a recruiter added her company name as my résumé's header. When viewed in Word the header was hidden, but as a printed page her name was there in bold, leaving me susceptible to making a serious mistake when applying for jobs outside the efforts of my recruiter.

Employers often print out résumés even if it was sent through email, especially if you're scheduled to interview. Before sending your résume print it out to check for big mistakes like the one I described. Make sure your formatting is intact, and take the time to triple check for any grammatical errors that wouldn't have been caught by spellcheck (like mistakenly using their for they're).


Résumé Tip: Read It Out Loud

Posted By Smart Living on Jun 6, 2008 at 9:34AM

One of the common problems I've observed among several résumés in my Résumé Remedy group is the improper use of tenses. It may seem obvious to use the present tense when detailing a current job, but résumé writers are constantly using the past tense or seem to misunderstand how to properly use tenses in general.

You don't need your own professional editor on call to clean up your tense issues — instead, read your résumé out loud so you know what it sounds like to the employer who will be reading it. You're likely to catch several mistakes with your own ear. Rule of thumb: if you have to add words when reading it aloud for it to make sense, then something is probably amiss.


In Need of a More Professional Résumé, Remedied

Posted By Smart Living on Jun 5, 2008 at 11:11AM

TeamSugar member blackninjakitty is a semester and a half away from graduating but wants a job pronto, so she posted her résumé in my Résumé Remedy group and asked for some tips on how to make it appear more professional.

  1. Get organized: As is, her résumé is a bit disorganized and that's distracting to the reviewer. You want to present employers with a complete picture and not have to make their own assumptions or try to reformat your experience in their minds so that it makes good sense. Currently there is repetition of the same information at the beginning and end of the résumé and it doesn't make sense for her to repeat her educational details.

See my other recommendations and share your own! Just read more

A More Grown-Up Résumé, Remedied

Posted By Smart Living on May 28, 2008 at 12:32PM

TeamSugar member cherylrc is hoping to "make her résumé look more adult and less college student," and shared her résumé in my Résumé Remedy group to get some tips on how to make these improvements. She's tailoring her résumé for jobs in event planning and coordination, and she definitely isn't short of experience. From managing events at well-known restaurants to working as a self-employed wedding planner, cherylrc sure seems to know what she's doing!

  1. Be less redundant: I think she could remove the last two positions currently listed. They don't tell me anything new and simply repeat responsibilities she's had in more current positions. Instead, expand on other positions that are lacking in detail and add information to make each experience stand out. The idea is to paint a picture of overall experience that shows some connectedness between positions, while making it clear that she's grown over the years and has made an impact in each job.

Check out my other suggestions and then feel free to share your own! Just read more

Fresh Out of College Résumé, Remedied

Posted By Smart Living on May 23, 2008 at 11:29AM

TeamSugar member mstinalin is graduating from college and needs to get her résumé ready to send to potential employers, so she's shared it in my Résumé Remedy group. I can't tell you how many times I sent my résumé to my sister and brother-in-law to edit for me when I was graduating, and I'm sure many of you had input from family and friends when you were a new grad. What do you say ladies, time to pay it forward?

  1. Remove the high-school education: Even if high-school graduation seems like it was just yesterday, employers really don't care about a high-school diploma when you have a college degree.

See my other suggestions and share your own when you read more

Marketing Manager's Résumé, Remedied

Posted By Smart Living on May 21, 2008 at 1:17PM

TeamSugar member mellybean knows she's accomplished a lot considering the relatively short time she's been out of college, but she's eager to fine tune her résumé so that it grabs the attention of employers. She shared her résumé in my Résumé Remedy group, and it's clear that she has been very busy! I think with a few touchups, her résumé will immediately get noticed.

  1. Go from entry-level to next-level: Two years isn't a long time to be out of college, but depending on how you've made use of your time, it's enough to grow professionally and make it clear that you're looking for more than just a job. Mellybean should her bump her educational experience to the bottom and showcase her work experience as the first section on her résumé. It may seem like a small gesture, but it's a meaningful one. Doing this shows that you take yourself seriously as a professional and have enough work experience that you don't have to rely on just your degree and strong GPA to get you by.

To see my other suggestions just read more