Part 2 : Develop a Working Resume
Welcome back! At this point, I hope you have had the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with family and friends about your previous work experience you have accumulated over the years and are ready to “put pen to paper” as my Mother would say. Last week I attended a virtual symposium for Military Spouses that focused on career readiness, education and entrepreneurship, it was AMAZING!!! I was able to gather some great resources and tools that I plan to share with y’all. The symposium was put on by Military One Source and SECO; if you have never been to either of those websites, definitely check them out!
Ok, let’s get into writing your resume. I am sure you have been told your resume is your first “look” from an employer. The purpose of your resume is to draw enough interest from a potential employer to secure you an interview. That being said, there are a couple of key categories that you want your resume to have in order to tell a flowing story that will offer a better chance at you securing an interview. Before getting into the categories, I want to just touch on a few topics that are pretty basic, but may not be that common in knowledge. The first is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are being used more and more in the weeding out of resumes. It is very infrequent that your resume is being viewed first by the hiring manager, and not a computer program that looks for certain key words that match the position description. Additionally, some of these systems do not pick up on certain fonts, therefore it is best to use the sans serif fonts, and Calibri and Ariel. Once your resume has passed the ATS, you have more of a chance of having your resume being reviewed by the hiring manager or team. Finally, while it may be the dirty side of employment hiring, discrimination is real. Avoid any factors that can lead to discrimination; age, zip code, and employment that may date you and be irrelevant.
Now that we have covered those, let’s get into the categories which are; contact information, personal brand, knowledge highlights, applicable skills, work history and education.
Contact Information: This is pretty self-explanatory; you want to have a way for the employer to contact you. Include your name, phone number and email address. Ensure that your voicemail is clear and professional, as well as professional email, usually your first and last name work well. Additionally, include your city and state, but not the physical address of your home for security reasons. You will also want to include your LinkedIn handle if you have an account. LinkedIn is being used more and more by employers, so if you do not have an account, be sure to create one. The SECO website has some great tools on creating one!
Personal Brand: A branding statement is the foundation for marketing your unique set of skills. You may be familiar with an objective statement in a resume. The objective statement tells the employer “this is what I want” versus the branding statement which says, “Here is the value I offer.” Think of your branding statement as your 30 second elevator pitch to the employer. You can use your branding statement to summarize your resume in your cover letter, on various social media outlets (think LinkedIn), as well as answering the “Tell me about yourself question” in the interview. Your branding statement should include the following four elements
- Your Specialty – Who you are
- Your Service – What you do
- Your Audience – Who you do it for
- Your Best Characteristic – What you’re known for
An example of a branding statement is: Highly competent Administrative professional with experience supporting senior level executives in the insurance and financial industries. Known for ability to be flexible and to respond to problems and issues quickly and adeptly. Professional manner at all times and relied upon for confidentiality and handling sensitive materials. Strengths include dependability, strong interpersonal skills and attentiveness to details.
I will attach some worksheets to this post to assist with writing your branding statement.
Knowledge Highlights: These are the major career accomplishments that you have gained in previous work areas. Think of awards and accolades that you have received in the past and list them here in bullet format. You also can think of recommendations or statements from previous performance evaluations to include in this area. If you have any security clearances, organizational affiliations or specific certifications that are related to the position or employer, this is a good place to list them.
Applicable Skills: This area is often called ‘Area of Expertise’ or ‘Core Competencies’. These are going to be your hard and soft transferrable skills. You want to ensure that you are looking at the position description and using the same wording from the description to write your skills. A great tool that we used at my job was Tag Crowd (https://tagcrowd.com/). You can highlight, copy and paste the position description into the field on the website and the word cloud will populate the most important and used words in the description. You should aim for 6 to 9 skills, again, listed in bullet format, ensuring that the skills listed are reflective of the position.
Work History: Depending on if you are using a combination format or a chronological format, you will list your employment history, starting with the most recent and going back 10 years. You will want to include the employers name and location, your title and dates in which you were employed. You will want to include 3-4 bullets of position duties under the listed information. Try not to simply state what the job duties were, but what YOU brought to the position and something successful you completed while in that role. If you have limited work experience you may want to list major skills that you acquired while working and the successes and growth of those skills prior to listing your work history. I will include a template of both the chronological and combination format of resumes.
Education: Your education can go in two different sections based on, relevance to the position and the length of time since earning your degree/certification. You will want to list the following information for any degrees earned:
Degree, Major (if relevant) 20XX
University City, State
If you are still enrolled in the program you list it as such:
College/Training program attending, anticipate certificate/license and completion date.
Finally, if you have you do not hold any degrees, list any relevant on-the-job training or relevant experience in this section as well.
I know that this can seem like a lot of information, but if you did the brainstorming, all of this will essentially write itself. It may be easier to write your branding statement after you have written your resume, so your skills are fresh in your mind. I will include some documents that should offer assistance in writing and formatting your resume as well as a practice template for your branding statement. Next time we will discuss visiting your local American Career Center and the free services they can provide.
Until next time,
Empowered Women, empower Women
Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.