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January 2006
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New Year\’s Resolution #4: Find a Rewarding New Job
Filed under: Resume
Posted by: site admin @ 10:01 am
After making new year’s resolutions to lose weight, become more fit, and get out of debt, many people vow to find a rewarding new job in the new year. To help keep this resolution, you’re going to need a top-notch resume.  

On a January 27, 2006, segment on NBC with Keisha Grant, I presented my top 10 resume "must-dos":

1.  Use a qualifications profile not an old-fashioned objective statement … the latter definitely dates a resume and is inappropriate – instead, use a targeted cover letter to match qualifications and experience to requirements of position and enthusiastically articulate goal.
2.  Present specific, quantifiable accomplishments (use the CAR approach – Challenge – Action – Results … to create “stories” used for both the resume and in interviewing). These must be accurate and sizzle!
3.  Frontload the resume with keywords – if replying to online or classified listings, cull keywords that match your skills and attributes. Couple keywords with accomplishments to drive home “signature strengths.” These should be predictors of what you’ll do in your next position. The resume has 20 seconds to command attention … and is designed only to open the door to the interview (where you can then sell yourself).
4.  Don’t create a tombstone or obituary-style resume … listing only what you’ve done in the past, “tasks, duties, and responsibilities” – in fact, avoid those words. Also, never use the words “I” or “my” in a resume … write in resume-ese, not complete sentences (drop articles of speech, the “the’s,” “an’s,” and “a’s”).
5.  One or two pages? Whatever is needed to best sell your story – succinctly and saliently!
6. Avoid over-using bullets (the “laundry list” look) but don’t be too text-heavy or “densely written” either … a mix of succinct narrative with selective bullets is the best way to go.
7.  Keep it professional! Don’t list health or marital status, number of kids, birth date or place, or social security number. But, civic-community involvement is important to demonstrate, however, particularly with leadership or elected positions.
8.  Good use of white space: visually appealing, clear and readable font no smaller than 10 or 11 point for content. Don’t mix too many typographical highlights – be selective when using bold, italics, and underscore features. Do adjust spacing (called leading) between lines and between paragraphs.
9.  Select a high quality cotton fiber watermarked resume paper – 32-pound weight is desirable – in an understated-but-elegant off-white. For posting your resume on the internet, create a text format of your resume as well as a Microsoft Word version.
10. Proofread and proofread again. Don’t rely on spell-check. Have a trusted friend (with good English skills) double-check your work.

– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage

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Marketing Brand YOU!
Filed under: Job Search
Posted by: site admin @ 12:39 pm
Ready to get started? One of the best things about living in
New England is the reminder we get every three months that it’s time to recharge and face new challenges and opportunities. Now that winter is here in earnest, it’s a great time to start or rejuvenate a job search (in addition to any "traditional" New Year’s resolutions that may have fallen by the wayside). Consider these keys in defining your own personal marketing strategy through effective branding and your marketing message … Not unlike a corporate marketing strategy, an individual’s overall branding strategy is developed by combining the various tactics of each element of the marketing mix.
An effective marketing strategy is a statement that answers the following questions — (1) WHO is the target market (i.e., prospective employer)? (2) WHAT are their needs/wants (objectives, challenges)? (3) WHAT benefits (attributes) are you providing to satisfy those needs? (4) WHAT is your availability (are you immediately available, relocatable, etc.)? (5) At what PRICE (always save salary negotiations until well into the interview process)? (6) HOW is the "customer" (prospective employer) informed of the benefits you offer and encouraged to buy (is your resume distinctive? your cover letter compelling? are your follow-up phone calls effective? your interview techniques strong?)?
Marketing Yourself: As with marketing a product or service solution, marketing yourself can be as basic as defining a niche and then demonstrating why you are uniquely qualified to fill the need/requirement. Knowledge of the competition (candidates for the same job) is critical to effective preparation and development of a solid marketing strategy.
Be critical when assessing yourself. Always look at yourself from the eyes of the employer. What benefits do you provide/deliver? What expectations do you meet? What perceived value and ROI do you offer? Ensure consistency in your approach (a cohesive and professional look to all your documents, from resume and initial cover letter to leave-behind materials, references, benefits statement, etc.). Be concise, polished, proactive–and let your energy and enthusiasm show!
– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage


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