Certified Resume Writer Panel:
Brenda Cunningham, Donna Tucker, Martha Rockwell, Leslie Fountain and Amanda Collins
Written by Mark Salcido
September is International Update Your Resume Month and Career Connectors along with the Resume Writers Council of Arizona (RWCA) offered the timely panel discussion presentation: Resume Mythbusters, moderated by Career Connectors’ own Jessica Pierce. The panel of Certified Resume Writers with over 100 years of combined resume writing experience provided a wealth of information regarding the writing of resumes as it has evolved over the last several years with the advent of technology including Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” was a statement provided by Martha Rockwell, one of the panelists during the introductory overview segment of the panel, which then opened into an informational session of current standards for resumes. The following section provides a sample of the questions and answers provided during the panel discussion.
What is Most Important on the Resume?
The most important component of a resume is clarity. Be clear and concise in your resume regarding your experience. Your experience needs to be supported with clear details and examples of your accomplishments. Your capabilities need to be clearly stated and substantiated by the words in your resume. As discussed by the RWCA panel members, “Quantify results” and the impact you had on the company while at the same time “Qualify yourself” for the position by clearly stating your qualifications.
What are the Key Mechanical Components of a Resume?
Among the Best Practices of Current Resume Writing things to remember are:
- Resume should be one or two pages (if a second page is needed to show experience)
- Font needs to be kept to 10 to 12 Size Sans Serif Font for clarity (ex. Calibri, Arial)
- Include contact information such as phone number and email address (Do not include street address)
- Keep employment history to 10 or 15 years (unless it is relevant to the job)
- Resume does NOT have to be pretty – Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) do not see “pretty”
- Pretty resumes (tables, graphics and other details) may work for in-person interviews but not for ATS
- Don’t ever upload a .PDF file. Applicant Tracking Systems do not recognize/read PDF file accurately.
- Customize your resume for each job – show you care
- Personalize your resume using the top 4 lines or the top paragraph on your resume
How do you get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
Most companies, if not all companies, are using Applicant Tracking Systems for the application processing in the initial stages of the hiring process. There are over 200 types of ATS with different levels of sophistication.
Some ideas to keep in mind in uploading a resume into an ATS are:
- Use Key Words or Key Phrases that will be “proven worthy” by the ATS. You will find the key words and phrases in the job description. Go through the job description and highlight, red pen or underline the key words and phrases and put them into your resume. However, do NOT copy verbatim from the job description. Be creative, use name recognition such as the company name.
- Update key words and phrases for each job, again, based on the job description.
- ATS do not recognize Table, Headers, Boxes, Graphics or italics.
- Be careful with “free” resume writing tools online – graphics and other formatting in those tools may not be compatible with ATS.
What is the value of paying for a resume versus talking to a recruiter to see what they want?
When looking at the value of a professional resume, one must keep in mind the Return on Investment (ROI). Is paying $500 for a $10,000 to $40,000 salary increase a good investment? Most would think that is a good investment. This is especially true if you are currently unemployed, zero salary versus a significant salary increase is worth the investment in a professional, customized resume.
Professional Resume Writers Offer:
- Face to face interviews to glean important information that build confidence for the job seeker
- A trusted source such as a professional resume writer will provide valuable feedback regarding the contents of your resume
- Professional resume writers will ensure certifications and other important information is included in your resume
- Professional resume writers will offer samples of their work
- Resume writing fees are tax deductible
Thank you to the following generous donors to the drawing held following the RWCA panel discussion:
• Martha Rockwell
• Vered Kogan
• Jeri Hird Dutcher
• Brenda M. Cunningham
Four lucky winners were the recipients of One hour of resume consultation, One hour of Job Search or Career Coaching, $175 Value Resume Services and a free Career Assessment with a one hour career assessment analysis.
Pamela Cales-Kuzel, Field Recruiter
Pamela Cales-Kuzel, Field Recruiter, discussed local and national employment opportunities in the Disaster Response field assisting people who have experienced natural as well as man-made disasters such as explosions, chemical spills, hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters.
Bruce Branch, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Bruce Branch, Talent Acquisition Specialist, presented opportunities with the parent organization of The Art Institute, Argosy University, South, and Brown Mackie. EDMC is one of the leading educational institutions providing educational opportunities for non-traditional students since 1962. Current opportunities include admission representatives, advisors and adjunct faculty members.
Eric Nelson, Director of National Sales
Eric Nelson, Director of National Sales presented the opportunities with OPEN – a recruiting partner exclusively dedicated to assembling on-demand, high caliber Work-At-Home teams.
Heather Marcom, Head of Talent Acquisition
Heather Marcom, Head of Talent Acquisition presented the opportunities available at Freedom Financial Network as it grows into a local leader in the financial market. With new facilities in Tempe and more being planned, Freedom Financial Network is in a high growth phase and seeking to fill numerous positions over the next several months. Freedom Financial Network is enjoying the recognition of being one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley of the Sun. Openings include QA Engineer, Salesforce Developer, Sr. Software Engineer, Cisco Network Engineer, Technical Writer, Underwriters, Operations Managers, Loan Servicing Supervisor, Sr. Product Manager, Debt Settlement Negotiator, and more.
Joe Rostowsky presented educational opportunities for current individuals in career transition. Among the training programs available there are also opportunities for grant for job seekers to obtain certifications to increase their marketability for employers.
In her closing remarks, Jessica Pierce announced the upcoming West Valley Health Care Career Expo scheduled for September 20, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Avondale Sports Center in Avondale Arizona.
Career Connectors is also starting a new event venue in Glendale, Arizona beginning in October 2017.
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