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Women in the Workplace: Writing a Great Resume Increases Your Opportunities

Don’t miss out on Susan Landon’s advice and tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace! Overcome bragging and accomplishment angst. Go for it!

How to write a great resume

How to write a great resume

By Susan Landon

Everyone knows that, once you’ve decided to look for a new job and have an idea of what you want to do, the first step is writing a great resume.  No one thinks this is a fun and easy task, but for women in the workplace, writing a great resume, can be harder than it is for men.

Women in the workplace have accomplish a lot. Why is it hard to write a great resume?

Writing a Great Resume Increases Your Opportunities, then why is it so hard to write a great resume?

But why is this?  Women in the workplace have accomplished as much (or more!) than their male counterparts, so why would it be so hard to write a great resume?  It comes down to our orientation as women – those messages we have heard since we were young.  And this is especially true for Latinas, as Mariela Dabbah explains in her book Find Your Inner Red Shoe: Step Into Your Own Style of Success. Most of us have been taught that it’s good to be humble, that we shouldn’t brag or talk about how great we are, that we should share credit for any successes. But listening to these messages makes it very hard to write a great resume.

Writing a great resume tip:Ask a friend who knows you well to help you think of all the terrific things you've done

Writing a great resume tip: Ask a friend who knows you well to help you think of all the terrific things you’ve done

So what to do?  It starts with being aware that this may be what’s stopping you.  Think about whether these messages, or others that are similar, were ingrained in you from childhood. And if they were, then you must consciously try to ignore them, at least for a while so you can write a great resume.  Try to put any humble thoughts out of your mind and brag, brag, brag.  Ask a friend who knows you well to help you think of all the terrific things you have done.  And banish from your mind thoughts like, “It wasn’t really that great,” “I only played a small role,” and “Others did more than I did.”  When you’re trying to write a great resume, it’s no time to put yourself down or share the glory.

Once you’re in the right mindset, it becomes much easier to identify the accomplishments you want to highlight, which is the most important thing for women who want to write a great resume.

Tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace

But no blog post about writing a great resume would be complete without a few guidelines on format.  So here they are:

  • Tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace: Include quantifiable accomplishments

    Tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace: Include quantifiable accomplishments

    Don’t try to squeeze everything on one page by using a tiny font and eliminating margins.  Leave white space for ease of reading and to enable the reader to write comments.

  • On the other hand, don’t go over two pages.  Resume readers spend only six to ten seconds on a resume.  (Yes, I said, “seconds”). Don’t minimize your chances by writing a novella.
  • Unless your company is super well known (like Google, Apple, or Disney), include a short description of the company, including revenues, so your reader can put you in context (E.g.: $800 million, publicly traded manufacturer of office furniture).
  • For women in the workplace is key to brag about their accomplishments

    For women in the workplace is key to brag about their accomplishments

    Include specific, quantifiable accomplishments.  How many people were on the team you led?  How much revenue did your program generate?  Etc.

  • Include keywords, so your resume has a greater chance of being selected by the program reviewing resumes.  Find the keywords on the job description, and be sure to sprinkle them liberally throughout your resume.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread.  And then proofread again.  And have one or two trusted friends proofread also.  This is the document that represents you to a prospective employer.  There is no room for misspellings or grammar and punctuation mistakes.  If English isn’t your first language, then make sure that someone who speaks English as their first language does the review.  This applies even if you think your English is prefect.

If you follow these format tips, and you put yourself in a frame of mind to brag and be proud of your accomplishments, you will very soon have a great resume that will help you land the job you deserve.  Let me know if you have any questions or concerns I can address, and good luck on your search!

Susan Landon, Managing Partner New York, Alexander Hughes Executive Search Consultants

How to Write a Killer Resume: Avoid 6 Common Mistakes

How to Write a Killer Resume: Avoid 6 Common MistakesIf you are looking for a job or to advance in your career your resume represents you. That means, it is your one chance to get your foot in the door. So when it’s filled with errors or difficult to read, you can bet the person reviewing it will quickly toss it out.

Although it often feels like you are overlooked for job opportunities, in many situations the truth may be that you haven’t yet learned how to write a killer resume. By avoiding some common mistakes and writing an error-free resume, you give a potential employer no excuse for turning you away when your qualifications meet or exceed their requirements.

Having spoken with a large amount of hiring managers and from looking at a significant number of resumes myself, I’ve seen many mistakes that could immediately eliminate you from the applicant pool. Fortunately, many of these mistakes are easily remedied.

Common Resume Blunders:

  • Spelling and Grammatical Errors—Whether you are applying for an administrative job or a high paying executive position, employers want to know that you take the time to hand over quality work. Think of your resume as your very first work product. Your computer’s spell-check function won’t always catch improper word usage (to, too, two) or capitalization mistakes. Read through the resume from beginning to end several times to ensure you catch these little errors that can make a big difference in whether or not you hear back from a company.
  • Putting Oldest Job First—Never put your oldest job at the top of your employment history. Employers want to see your most recent or present job first. Remember, the resume is supposed to impress them, and your most recent job likely required a higher skill level and more experience than your first. This is also meant to make it easier to find your most recent experience at a glance.
  • Task Listing Rather Than Achievement Listing—Sure, your new boss will want to know that you managed inventory, but they also want to know that you were able to reduce the inventory by 5% by improving certain processes. Anytime you can list an achievement rather than a task that you performed—do it. Keep in mind that you are trying to sell the value add that you bring to the table. Anyone can be in charge of customer service, but only you can increase customer retention (by 25% every year for the past 4 years in a row).
  • Highlighting The Wrong Experiences—Getting college credits is a good way to further show you value education and are interested in expanding your knowledge and your potential for career advancement; but highlighting that you received credits at a junior college and didn’t quite get that associate’s degree you were after, however, might not be a wise choice for your resume. In this case, you may be better off listing classes you completed that are specifically related to the job for which you are applying. No reason to highlight where you went or how many total credits you earned, unless you received a degree.

Focus on the important stuff: those things you completed, pertinent experience, and skills that have a direct bearing on the job you are seeking. Missing Information—It’s crucial that you always keep your resume updated. If you’re promoted, add that as soon as possible. Change your address on the header if you move and always keep your best references handy. You never know when the next opportunity will arise and you want to be prepared. For additional tips on keeping your resume up to date with all of the pertinent information, check out this post from ResumeEdge.

  • Cramming It All On One Page—You may have been able to fit all of your experience on a single page back when you were fresh out of college, but as you advance in your career and your life, your experience will expand so it is okay to add an additional page to your resume. Don’t try to fit all of your information in a single page, as your resume will end up looking uninviting to the reader.

Perhaps the final tip in creating a solid resume is: Have at least one other person read over your resume. Choose someone whose professionalism and career you respect, someone who would likely know some things about great resume writing. Reviewing a resume takes very little time and can be done over coffee. Remember, this resume is your first impression; make it impeccable.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.