Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 3)

Are you ready to move forward with your job search? Let’s check.

Step 1 is Attitude. Attitude is the most important step.

If you have given yourself time to process the loss of the job and are looking forward to the next opportunity, then you are ready for the next important step to landing that job.

Step 2 is Aptitude: knowing what you offer a future employer and what makes you better than your competition.

Take the time to inventory (discover and document) your abilities, accomplishments, strengths, values, interests, education, personality, and technical skills. This information will be used to strengthen your resume and to add power to your interview answers. A side benefit is that it reminds YOU how valuable you are.


Step 3 is Altitude: who is hiring and where do you want to work, i.e. your target companies.


If and only if you have completed Steps 1, 2, and 3 are you ready to create or update your marketing materials. Updating your marketing materials and launching your search without completing the first three steps will sabotage your job search efforts. If you have been in a job search and it has not been going well, revisit the first three steps and then revise your marketing materials.

Complete List of Marketing Materials

The resume is not the only piece of a job seeker’s marketing material. In fact there are other pieces of marketing collateral that are just as important as the resume. It is important to have these and use them as they are intended. Let’s look at the entire list and then we will cover each one in detail.
• Brand Statement
• Elevator Pitch
• Marketing Plan
• Business Cards
• Resume / CV
• Cover Letter
• References
• Salary History
• Accomplishment List
• Social Network Sites especially Linked In

To read up on creating a brand statement and developing an elevator pitch, go to:


To read up on creating a marketing plan and how to use it, go to:


To read up on creating and using business cards, go to:



There are entire books dedicated to the topic of do’s and don’t’s for resume writing, more information than any one article could cover. This article covers the typical questions asked by and mistakes made by job seekers. Just as important as the suggestions, included is the logic behind these suggestions.


The name / address section is the header and is sometimes referred to as the letterhead because it is the letterhead for your stationery. This same letterhead should be used at the top of your cover letter, your reference list, and all career correspondences to give you a professional look. Here are a few points to check about your letterhead.

1. Your name should be in a larger font than the rest of the header; you want the reader to see and remember your name.

2. Your entire letterhead should not be the smallest font on the page or squeezed up at the top making it look like an afterthought. Again, you want the reader to see and remember your name

3. You do not need to preface your e-mail address with the word “email:” The format will indicate that.

4. Simplify things for the hiring manger by listing only one phone number, the number at which you can be reached the most often, which is usually your cell phone number. Just as it was unnecessary to preface the e-mail address with the word “e-mail”, you do not need to preface the phone number with the word “phone” or “cell”.

5. Have a professional and individual e-mail address (versus an email address that contains the name of the family or couple). Using your college mascot name in the e-mail address indicates your school spirit but is not professional.

6. Do not embed the header in the MS Word Header; it should be part of the body of the document.

Above the Fold

The top third of the first page of the resume is the most important. The typical reader of a resume will spend only seconds looking at your resume before deciding what to do with it - read on or discard. You want to be sure your most important skills, abilities, and accomplishments are mentioned in this section. Therefore, the combination resume format is recommended over the old chronological format.

1. A career summary section is more powerful and unique than an objectives statement. The typical objective is so vague that anyone could write the same statement, whereas a career summary statement is uniquely you.

2. Significant Qualifications: List the items that sell you. Use of category headers will help the reader understand how this section is formatted.

3. Do not use blocks of text in this section. Points should be concise. Use bullet points where possible.

4. Keep the “above the fold” section limited to the first half of the first page. The reader should be able to see the beginning of the experience section without having to turn the page.

Experience / Job History / Chronological Portion

A combination resume is recommended because it provides the important points in the most important section of the resume (“above the fold”) as well as the career history with key accomplishments that most recruiters and hiring managers like to see.

1. If you have worked several positions for the same company, be sure the formatting clearly indicates it. The start and end date at the company should be placed on the line with the company name and the position start and end date can be placed on the line with the position.

2. Under each position, in paragraph format, use no more than 5 lines to provide the job description. This description should define the duties of anyone who serves in that position.

3. Beneath each position use bullets to list the accomplishments you had in the position; i.e. what you brought to the job.
a. Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible; ex. Saved the company 120K
b. Sort your accomplishments in priority order. This is important for two reasons 1) in case the reader stops reading them, they have read the most important accomplishments first 2) when you go to trim your resume to make room for your new accomplishments, you can trim from the bottom.

4. When listing accomplishments, put the results first. We have been told to put power verbs up front and to be consistent with tense. We have also been told to answer interview questions in the STAR format: situation / task, actions, and results. In the accomplishment section, put the results first to grab the reader’s attention. Here is an example of an accomplishment statement before and after applying this principle.

Automated system installation process for a saving of $120,000 for a rollout schedule of 120 systems.

Saved $120K by automating the system installation process for a rollout of 120 systems

5. Be 100% consistent with formatting. Start at the bottom and read to the top checking everything including the spacing around the dash in your dates, the fonts, commas, capitalizations, etc.

6. Spell out acronyms with the first use. This not only helps the person reviewing your resume but also increases the chances of getting your resume to pass an electronic keyword search.

Other Sections to Consider


There are two schools of thought about putting the date of your graduation on your resume if you are beyond the age of 45.

A friend and fellow job search coach shared with a group that he felt leaving the date of graduation off the resume raises a flag that you are old.

My philosophy is that if I include the date, they not only know I am old, they know exactly how old I am. I recommend leaving it off if age discrimination is a possible concern.

Certificates and Related Training

Only relevant certificates should be included. If these certificates are significant enough to distinguish you as a candidate, you may want to add them to the section “above the fold”.


If you are a subject matter expert in your field and publish articles in trade magazines or respected web sites, you can list the names of the articles, the publication, and the publication date.

Technical Skills

List your computer skills or other technical skills that you have (ex. equipment you are skilled to work on). As with other special sections, if the information is significant enough to distinguish you as a candidate, you may want to add them to the section “above the fold”.


If you are fluent in languages other than the native language of the country in which you work, list the language and the level of skill you have in that language (written, verbal, fluent, native, etc.).

Items to Exclude

There are sections on the old resume format that are no longer needed. These should be excluded from the new resume format.

1. References Available Upon Request. Logic: references are now a regular part of the hiring process and are expected and assumed.

2. Hobbies and Interests. Logic: In previous years, this was a standard section on the resume so the hiring manager could see that you have other interests. Today, companies hire you for the work you will do for them. Listing non-relevant outside interests will make the hiring manager wonder if you will be distracted from the work they need you to do.

3. Non relevant certificates, training, etc. You do not want the important facts of your resume to get lost in the noise of the non-relevant text.

4. Jobs from more than 15 years ago. After a certain amount of time, that experience is no longer relevant.

Other Tips

Adding Your Name and Page Number on the second page.
When your resume is printed out by the recruiter or hiring manager, the pages may get separated. You should include your name and the page number on the second page. MS Word has a page header feature and with a simple check you can indicate that you want a different header for page one (blank) then you do on subsequent pages.

Insert a page header on the second page with your first and last name and on the right side of the header add the word “Page” and insert the automatic page number (also a feature within Word).

If you are unfamiliar with these features, simply Google “Microsoft Word insert page Header” and you will see tips on how to do this. The menus for the 2007 version of Word are very different than 2003 and earlier so you will want to select the tip that relates to the version of Word you are using.

Relevant Experience / Other Experience
If you have experience in the field you are pursuing and experience in other non-relevant fields, you can group the relevant experience together toward the top in a section titled Relevant Experience (instead of Experience). The advantage of this approach is that you help the reader find the relevant portions yet still provide the other information.

List the jobs as you normally would in the experience section (reverse chronological order). Do not be concerned about gaps in your job history. Following the Relevant Experience section, include a section titled Other Experience and list the remaining jobs there. Together they make up your job history. The term Relevant Experience will automatically inform the reader that you have grouped the job history into the two categories.

This is especially useful for job seekers who are changing careers.

Prioritize all lists
In any place on the resume where you list multiple items, be sure the items are listed in priority order, from the most important points to the hiring manager to the least important.

In some resumes, some job seekers listed awards they won before listing the accomplishments where they saved the company money or increased revenue. Most hiring managers consider saving a company money or increasing revenue more important than a personal award.

As stated above, sort any list in priority order. This is important for two reasons 1) in case the reader stops reading them, they have read the most important points first 2) when you go to trim your resume to make room, you can trim from the bottom.

Everyone has an Opinion

In this article the logic behind the recommendations have been included. Everyone has an opinion about resumes.

One person told me that he had his resume written by a firm and then for grins and giggles, he submitted the final copy under another name to the same firm to see what they would say about the format. He heard back that there was a lot of improvements they could make and that he should pay them to do so.

Some resume writers have been writing resumes for years and have not kept up on the newer trends. Before going with a resume writer, ask them to tell you some of the new trends in resumes to see if they are familiar with them. For instance if the resume writer has you add “References Available Upon Request”, walk away.

No matter who you have review your resume, if they make suggestions for changes, ask them the reasoning behind the suggestion; then you can make an informed decision about what changes to implement.

The Resume File Name
People use all kinds of file names for attaching resumes. In one case a person used a name that was not her own name, the position, nor the word “resume”. It is still a mystery how the person came up with the name.

1. The name should include your name and preferably the position you seek. Do not just name the file Resume.doc because it makes it harder for the recipient to file and locate your resume.

2. Minimize using any other items in your file name such as the date or version. Store old resumes in another folder on your PC or rename them instead of renaming your current version. Dates or version numbers may send a wrong, unintended message to the recipient (Joe Doe Resume version 99.doc).


Have you applied on-line or e-mailed a resume without a cover letter? Or do you write a wordy letter flowing with prose? If you answered yes to either of those, you are missing out on the most powerful cover letter that will get your resume sorted to the top.

To read the previously published article: The Most Powerful Cover Letter, go to:


Next week we will detail the final elements of your marketing materials.
Copyright: The 6 Steps of a Job Search are copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services.

No comments:

Post a Comment