Rochester NY Stake Employment Center

February 16, 2012

Developing the 3 Tools you need to get your next better job

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 9:38 pm

An excellent tutorial at


December 3, 2011

How to Avoid Exaggerating In Your Resume

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 11:22 am

By Heather Eagar

When you’re drafting a resume, it is tempting to stretch the truth some so that you appear to be more impressive than maybe your skills might indicate. However, while there is such a thing as packaging your resume in a smart way, choosing words that tell the truth, yet sound sensational, for example, you want to avoid flat-out exaggerating.

So, how can you avoid crossing the fine line from smart resume packaging to exaggeration? Here are a few ideas to consider:….

Choose Creative Ways to Describe Your Skills and Accomplishments
It’s one thing to choose a creative way to describe what you’ve accomplished in prior positions; fudging the truth is another matter altogether. If you are able to find creative words for what you’ve actually done, you’re considered a smart cookie. However, if you fudge the truth and tell a story that didn’t happen, you’re considered a liar.

It’s very important that you carefully choose what you write in your resume because everything can be tracked. So if you tell an employer that you managed 10 employees in a packing department, when in actuality you managed handing out daily assignments drawn up by the real manager of the packing department, you could find yourself in deep trouble for fudging the truth. Using action words like managed, oversaw, developed and arranged are good ways to make small tasks look bigger, as long as using them doesn’t result in a lie.

Get Used to Telling the Truth
How do you find the happy medium between exaggerating and underselling yourself? The best way is to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For instance, if you’ve managed an average of 50 calls per day, successfully routing them to the appropriate party via the company’s complex phone system, yet on your resume, you write that you were "in charge of answering phones," you’re only telling a half-truth.

Of course, you don’t want to say that you developed the intricate phone system yourself because that would be an outright lie. So what’s a happy medium? Tell them that you "managed an average of 50 calls per day, successfully routing them to the appropriate party via the company’s complex phone system." Do you see how that works? You were much more specific about what you did and were able to tell the truth, making your accomplishment much more impressive without having to lie.

Use Your Cover Letter to Back You Up
If you feel that you simply do not have enough experience to make a hard sell in your resume without exaggerating, use your cover letter as a way to tell your stories in detail.

Since resumes only leave room for one- and two-liners, they can feel restrictive. By using your cover letter to better describe your experience, you can help to make up for what your resume lacks.

You don’t want to get into the habit of stretching the truth in your job applications. One little "white lie" can come back to bite you in a big way. Instead, find ways to creatively tell the truth about your accomplishments. No matter how small you think they are, they are yours and you should be proud of them.

Monroe County Dept. of Human Services Job Search Companion June 2011

.doc vs .pdf – What Resume Format Do HR Departments & Recruiters Prefer?

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 9:55 am

An interesting article at . I would have thought that PDF files would be preferred, but Lou has discovered that MicroSoft Word doc files (but not docx files) are actually preferred. This article brings up some interesting points.

Resume Websites

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 9:48 am


Over 200 free resume examples covering multiple industries, job positions and career levels from entry level to professional, up to management and executives. Try the Free Online Resume Builderclip_image002 or use our resume template samples to quickly create a professional resume.

Also view our various career letters including cover letter examples, thank you letters, follow up letters and recommendation letters. Cover letter samples are available for a variety of careers using different styles and formats.


WorkBloom features over 300 professionally-written resume samples.  They are categorized by industry.  The resume examples on WorkBloom feature a wide range of layouts, formats and writing styles, each unique to the resume writer that wrote the resume.

November 30, 2011

Breaking the Résumé Rules

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 3:17 pm

If you’ve read books on résumé writing, you might be confused by all the rules.

With the economy in the toilet these days, the last worry you need is whether you have the correct indent template or that you aren’t using this year’s approved action verbs. It’s imperative that you deliver the right content to push a hiring manager’s buttons now.

Forget the "rules." Here are the critical points you must address in your résumé:

Answer the employer’s most important question

Most rules fail to address the critical question: WIIFM, or "What’s in it for me?" This is the employer’s primary question in a tough economy. If your initial paragraph doesn’t immediately answer this question, your résumé won’t last 20 seconds with the person who’s reading it.

A résumé is a selling document. Unfortunately, judging from the advice I’ve heard and the "professionally written" résumés I’ve read, it’s obvious that many résumé "experts" have never sold a product or service in their careers. If they had, they would realize now, more than ever, that it’s about money not mission statements.

For this reason the opening statement on your résumé must develop the reader’s immediate interest and entice them to learn more about you. Drop the long-winded paragraphs filled with "results oriented" and "proven track record" clichés. Instead, address the specific benefits you bring to them. In today’s recession, that means a short personal brand statement that clearly summarizes who you are, your biggest strength and the primary benefit you bring to an employer.

Prove it

In the past you could sell yourself by promoting your skills and length of service in a profession or job. Those days are gone. Today, you must sell results. When you sell your skills, you’re selling a commodity. It’s likely hundreds (if not thousands) of other job seekers have your same or better skills. Here’s the problem: when you sell skills, you’ve reduced yourself to a commodity and commodities always sell for the lowest price.

So get yourself out of that commodity game.

Today, you need to sell results by speaking the employer’s language, which is "return on investment" or ROI. If you can’t do that, you can’t answer their question, and you’ve lost their interest. They will move on to the next résumé.
List specific, measurable results of activities performed for your employer or client. Place these activities in their own section under your personal brand statement. This strengthens the statement with measurable evidence including examples of problems that you’ve solved.

Don’t tell too much

Employers are typically going to look for the top three to five candidates. They’ll weed out large numbers of résumés in the initial process, looking for an easy way to eliminate you. Don’t give them a reason by telling too much, confusing them or taking them off track. These are called "screenouts." Yet I still see résumés that were written heeding the advice of "experts" to include too much information.

Here’s the point: Your résumé is not a dossier. It’s a sales document. Your résumé’s only purpose is to get the reader to pick up the phone to call you. You’re only applying for one job title. If the résumé doesn’t clearly explain why you’re the best project manager, executive assistant or purchasing agent, then get rid of the information or minimize it because it doesn’t belong there.

MONROE COUNTY DHS Weekly Employment Bulletin September 26, 2011

October 26, 2011

50 Tips To Get Your Resume Read

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 12:11 pm

How do you make sure your resume gets read when there are so many competing for attention? This article is by an experienced team that has seen thousands of resumes. They know what works…and what doesn’t. Fifty of their top resume tips are described in this blog article at

October 24, 2011

10 useless résumé words (and 10 eye-catching ones)

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 2:02 pm

Generic hyperbole belongs on cereal boxes, not on résumés. If it does not pass the ‘So what, anybody can make that claim’ test, leave it off.

Instead of being another candidate professing to be a "hard worker," revitalize your application with a little seek-and-replace exercise. Scan your résumé for empty, overused words such as the following:

1. Outstanding          6. Excellent

2. Effective               7. Driven

3. Strong                  8. Motivated

4. Exceptional           9. Seasoned

5. Good                   10. Energetic

Watch out for words that are unsupported claims of greatness. If you call yourself an ‘excellent manager,’ how do we know?"

The nouns following those subjective adjectives can be equally meaningless. Anyone who has ever had a co-worker can claim to be a "team player." Do not say you’re a ‘good communicator’ or have ‘excellent communication skills.’ Who doesn’t have these?

A better route to take is describing accomplishments and letting the hirer make his own judgment. Give specific (preferably quantifiable) accounts of what you’ve done that makes you an "outstanding salesperson." Likewise, peruse performance reviews for quotable material from supervisors that demonstrates why they consider you a "strong leader." Listing awards or other forms of recognition also can be used as support.

Some words should be avoided because they convey traits that employers consider standard for anybody who wants to be hired. "You’re motivated? Hope so. A good worker? So happy to hear that; I didn’t want to hire a bad worker. Don’t take up precious résumé space with unnecessary items.

Also on the "don’t" side: Words that seek to overcome what you might think are your shortcomings. "Using ‘seasoned’ for ‘over 50’ or ‘energetic’ for ‘inexperienced’ looks like spin and smells like spin. Keep the focus on what makes you right for the job.

On the flipside, certain words can make hiring managers do a double-take. Light up their eyes with these 10 words:

1. Created                 6. Researched

2. Increased              7. Accomplished

3. Reduced                8. Won

4. Improved               9. On-time

5. Developed            10. Under-budget

We suggest that résumé writers include action words to describe their jobs. Verbs project the image of someone who has the background and initiative to get things done. Employers can clearly comprehend what you’ve accomplished in the past and can use that as a basis for envisioning future success with their company. Think about it: If you were hiring, would you rather take on someone who calls himself a "productive manager" or somebody who states that at his last job he "increased company profit by 3 percent," "reduced employee turnover in his department to the best level in five years," and "improved brand awareness by implementing a new social media strategy"?

Lastly, it can be beneficial to use verbs and nouns that are common to your specific industry. This shows your familiarity with the language of your field and optimizes the chances of getting past an automatic scan for keywords. But remember, too, that all companies tend to speak a universal language: money. Terms such as ‘on-time’ and ‘under-budget’ are often good. Hiring managers want to know you can get things done with minimum fuss. Tell them what makes you the most profitable choice for the job and employers will tell you the best word of all — "hired."

June 13, 2011

How to decode employment ad phrases

Filed under: Applying for a Job, Resume Writing — Larry @ 11:28 am

Contrary to many job seekers’ fears, employment ads are more likely to be wish lists than demands. But reading these ads, it’s often hard to tell what these companies are actually wishing for. It’s a good idea to decode confusing phrases before you apply, so you’ll avoid wasting time on jobs out of your reach, and not overlook that perfect fit position.

Experience required, or preferred?

  • Experience preferred: The company hopes you have done most of the tasks in the job description. If you haven’t you won’t automatically be disqualified.
  • Experience required: You should have done most of the tasks of the job advertised. However, the exact amount of experience they want is sometimes negotiable. And remember that your experience can be in a particular field or position, or you might have more general experience or transferable skills that you can apply to the specific job advertised.
  • Will train: It’s fine if you don’t have direct experience. In some cases — rare, but it happens — companies want people without experience, so they won’t have to unlearn the ways of a previous employer.

Senior-, junior- or entry-level?

Entry-level jobs require the least experience and are open to candidates just out of school. You should have a few years of experience for a junior-level position, and you must be highly proficient with more than five years of experience, generally, for a senior-level role.

Sometimes the level is implied but not stated in the title itself. For example, "senior administrative assistant" (senior) will require more experience than "administrative assistant," (junior) which will require more experience than "receptionist" (entry level).

Also consider the size of the company. A senior position in a large firm may require decades of experience; in a small company a few years may be adequate.

Knowledge and proficiency

  • Working knowledge of: This means that you should be familiar with the topic, tool, technique or software, but it’s not necessary that you’ve used them.
  • Proficient in: You have handled certain tasks and tools in the past, but may not know the finer points. If you have a year of hands-on experience, that should be enough.
  • Command of: You are so experienced with a task, skill or software that you could teach others how it works.

Personal qualities

Phrases that seem like meaningless jargon are actually ways of finding intangible personal qualities. Some examples:

  • Highly motivated: They want to be sure you have passion and commitment for the job and you’re not applying just for a paycheck.
  • Team player and/or good interpersonal skills: They want to know if you work well with others, even if your job requires working independently. Being able to collaborate when necessary is important for most jobs.
  • Works well under pressure: They want to make sure you won’t flip out if your deadline is pushed up a day or two.
  • Thinks outside of the box: They want you to have some original and innovative ideas. Then again, they don’t want a loose cannon; teamwork almost always takes precedence over genius, no matter what the want ads say.

Be specific in your own résumé.

As confusing as want ads can be for job candidates, résumés can be just as confusing for employers, according to Hassan Akmal, director of career services for DeVry University in Sherman Oaks, Palmdale and Oxnard, California. Akmal recommends working with a counselor who will help you use the terms correctly on your résumé. "You don’t want to mislead a hiring manager by inflating your skills. For example, don’t say you are experienced in a language when you only know a few words."

Should you apply?

Most career counselors recommend applying even when you don’t fit all the criteria. "With so many applicants today, if a company demands a certain number of years of experience, they will find many [candidates] to choose from, but sometimes they will choose a candidate with less experience who shines in other ways," Akmal says.

Jenna Gausman, a career counselor at Santa Monica College, says it’s okay to apply for a position that is one step higher or one step lower than your level of experience. "You never know if the organization might just have the opportunity to bring someone up to speed if you don’t have all the experience they want. Putting time into a really good cover letter as to why you are ready for the next step will help the candidate land an interview."

from MONROE COUNTY DHS Weekly Employment Bulletin – 13June2011

May 5, 2011

The Importance of Résumé Keywords

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 7:59 am

Years ago, when résumés were still sent to employers by mail, job seekers hoped things like a high-quality paper stock and unique, professional formatting would catch the eye of an employer. These days, things are a little different.

First of all, it’s rare that employers even accept paper résumés anymore — the snail mail method of sending in a résumé is basically obsolete. Second, and more importantly, it’s not even the employer’s eye job seekers should hope to catch anymore — more likely, they’re trying to get noticed by an Applicant Tracking System (essentially a résumé search engine), now commonly used by employers to pre-screen résumés and separate the qualified candidates from unqualified ones.

This digitized version of candidate screening brings with it a whole new set of résumé rules. No longer are human resources managers scouring résumés looking for intriguing phrases on luxurious linen paper. Now, résumés are downloaded into a database and digitally searched for specific keywords. If your résumé doesn’t contain the keywords the employer is looking for, consider yourself overlooked.

So how can you ensure that your résumé makes it past square one? Below are a few things that every job seeker should know about résumé keywords:

1. Include words from the job description
More than likely, many of the keywords résumé databases will be searching for are the functions that are listed in the job description. For example, if you’re looking for a bookkeeping position, and the job description calls for someone with experience managing accounts receivable, bank reconciliations and payroll, then all of those words should appear in your résumé.

An even better way to make sure you include relevant keywords, is to look at various job postings for positions similar to the one you’re applying for, advises Laura Smith-Proulx, a certified professional résumé writer and author of "Solving Your Toughest Résumé Challenges."

"To maximize your résumé’s effectiveness, I recommend looking in detail at several job descriptions (not just one) that represent your ideal role. For example, an operations manager might find productivity, Six Sigma, process improvement, and sales operations in most job postings for a position at their level. Job hunters can also search through LinkedIn profiles of other professionals in their field to gather even more keywords," she says.

2. Always assume your résumé will be scanned by an applicant tracking system
Companies both large and small are using keyword-search software in their hiring processes these days, so it’s important to make sure you always send out a search-ready résumé.

"While applicant tracking systems are more common in large corporations, due to the volume of résumés received and the impossibility of reviewing them all manually, some smaller companies may also have installed these systems to help with hiring," Smith-Proulx says. "My point is that you’ll never know if your résumé actually needs to pass a keyword scan — so it should be ready for this step!"

3. Don’t just add a list of keywords
While adding a "skills" section to your résumé is the easy way to make sure keywords are included, a list is usually not enough to get noticed by the search engine.

"Be sure that this common suite of keywords is used in your résumé, but not merely in a list," Smith-Proulx says. "Many ATS systems look for the frequency of keywords that are sprinkled throughout the text of a résumé, rather than listed by themselves. Therefore, ‘Leveraged Six Sigma principles to improve productivity’ or ‘Led process improvement project that resulted in 23 percent gain in sales operations efficiency’ will not only impress the human reader, but fulfill the keyword requirements at the same time."

Lastly, says Proulx, be sure that your résumé doesn’t completely abandon the qualities it takes to attract the human eye as well. "Like any other marketing effort, a job search is most effective when you plan to address the needs of all audiences you might encounter.

Your chances of being selected for an interview are much higher when your résumé satisfies both audiences — automated and human."

From MONROE COUNTY DHS Weekly Employment Bulletin – 25Oct2010

April 26, 2011

Submitting your R?sum? On-Line?

Filed under: Resume Writing — Larry @ 10:48 am

Warning! Be aware that, when pasting your resume to an employer’s website in text format, symbols are converted to question marks. As seen in the title, résumé (the correct spelling for the word) will become r?sum?. This also is true for other symbols, like bullets, as well.

If the employer’s job application website does not allow you to upload a Word or pdf version of your resume, then do the following to ensure that your resume does not look ‘questionable’:

1. Save your document as an ASCII text file (usually will have a .txt extension)

2. Use line breaks with a line length of 60 characters

3. Get rid of any bold, italic or underline formatting

4. Change double quotes to single quotes

5. Get rid of any non-ASCII symbols (e.g., bullets; ASCII symbols such as $ and % are OK to use)

6. Use a fixed-width font like Courier

7. Use spaces instead of tabs

8. Left justify the text

For further information on this, see

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