Are you having a tough time getting your resume to look good? It isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially when you want to make yours perfect enough to get you an interview.
Taking a look at resume examples is a good way to get ideas for your own resume. Here is a selection of great resume examples which will give you some ideas you can use to create your own resume.
When reviewing examples, pick and choose from among the different templates and styles to create documents that work well for your background and skills. Do be sure to customize your resume, so it is specifically targeted to each job you apply to. You can add a headline and/or a profile to help it stand out from the crowd. Here's how to add a headline to your resume and what to include in a resume profile.
I was talking to a hiring manager the other day who told me that applicants have 10 seconds to get his attention. He gets 400 - 500 applications for each open position, and he reviews them all because he's not a big fan of the software his company uses to screen applications.
He says if you don't show him specifically what you can do for him in the first paragraph of your cover letter, you're not going to get an interview. If you don't write a cover letter you probably won't be considered for the job.
You could be an excellent candidate, but if he can't figure it out at a glance you're out of the applicant pool. He's not concerned about missing a candidate or two because there are so many applicants for each position there are plenty of others. I've spoken to hiring managers with a similar philosophy - it's up to you to show them why you are interview worthy.
How can you do that? The most important thing you can do is to take the time to target your cover letter and your resume to the job for which you're applying.
It may sound like a tough hiring policy. However, hiring managers don't have a lot of time to figure out who is good and who is not. It's up to you to do the work to show that you're a qualified candidate.
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The first sentence or two of your cover letter are the most important ones. You need to get the hiring manager's attention and start the process of explaining why you should be selected for an interview.
When you're not sure how to get started, review these examples of cover letter opening sentences. However, do make sure you tailor your introductory paragraph, and the rest of your cover letter, to your personal circumstances and the job for which you are applying.
Also, choose a type of cover letter that reflects how you are applying for the job or the type of job search assistance you are requesting. Review these examples of each type of cover letter and advice and tips on how to choose the best format for your letters.
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There is some debate about whether you need a cover letter, or not, when you apply for jobs. There are also varied opinions on how long a cover letter should be.
The Saddleback College Resume Survey reports that more than half (53%) of employers responded that a cover letter is required, while nearly 30% had no preference.
As far as how long your cover letter should be, shorter is better. Almost 70% of employers wanted a cover letter of less than a full page and almost 25% said the shorter the better.
Here are the preferences for cover letter length from the employers who responsed to the survey:
- Full page - 12.6%
- 1/2 page - 43.7%
- No preference 19.5%
- The shorter the better! 24.1%
It doesn't take much time to send a thank you note or thank you email message after an in-person job interview or a phone interview. Regardless of how you interview, sending a thank you letter is a good way to reiterate your interest in the job and to remind the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position.
It's also a good idea to thank everyone who helped with your job search, as well as to thank those who help you at work. Thank you notes, in addition to showing your appreciation, are great networking tools. Here's information on thank you letters, including who you should thank and the best way to thank them.
If you're not sure how to say thank you, review sample thank you letters to get ideas and suggestions for your own letters and email messages.
Photo Copyright Carlos Arranz
One of the most frequently asked job interview questions is: Tell me about yourself. Even though it seems like an open ended question, be careful responding.
It's important to not start rambling and tell the interviewer your life history and the details of every job you ever had and what you did at them. There is a such a thing as too much information when you're interviewing and this is a time when it can be easy to share personal information that's not relevant.
Focus your response so it geared to the job you're interviewing for and why you have the experience and skills to do it. Keep it professional, not personal.
Here are tips and advice on responding when an interviewer asks you to tell me about yourself.
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How long should your resume be? The answer is that the length of your resume depends - on how much experience you have and what level candidate you are. If you're an entry level candidate less is more and a page should be plenty. For more experienced candidates it's fine to have a longer resume.
Here are tips and advice on resume length for entry-level, mid-level, and senior level candidates for employment.
On a related note, how about your cover letter? Here's advice on how long a cover letter should be.
One of the smartest things you can do before a job interview is to review answers to the most common interview questions because there is a good chance that you will be asked at least some of the questions on the list.
The better prepared you are to answer, the better chance you have of getting a call for a second interview. So take the time, in advance, to review the interview questions you will probably be asked. Take a look, at well, at sample answers for these questions, then tailor your responses to fit your experience and skills and the job you're applying for.
Job Interview Questions
- Job Interview Questions and Answers
- Behavioral Interview Questions
- Phone Interview Questions
- Tough Interview Questions
- Types of Interview Questions
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Sometimes, it's the little things that can send your resume into the reject pile, without it even getting a close look. Naming your resume "resume" can send it to the trash faster than you can blink. So can forgetting to write in proper sentences.
At Software Advice, the company sorts through about 150 candidates for each hire they make. Only about twelve of those 150 candidates get to a first-round phone interview. Many of them are rejected for little, and sometimes silly, things like how you name or save your resume, that are still enough to knock the resume out of contention.
Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice, shares his tips on how to name your resume, how to write your letters and resume, and how to save your resume.
Don't name your resume, "resume." About a third of applicants name their resume document, "resume.doc." "Resume" may make sense on your computer, where you know it's your resume. However, on my computer, it's one of many, many resumes with the same name. By using such a generic file name, the applicant misses a great opportunity to brand themselves (e.g. "John Doe - Quota Crusher"). If you're qualified enough to sell or market for us, you won't miss the opportunity to at least use your name in the file name.
Don't use all lowercase. i'm not sure where this trend originated. is it some text messaging thing? it's so easy to capitalize properly on a keyboard. how much time is this really saving you? to me, it screams out, "hi. i'm lazy. my pinkies are really heavy and I'd rather not move them to shift. when i start working for you, i'll look for other ways to be lazy. i'll also rebel against authority figures like you, just like i'm rebelling against the english teachers that dedicated their lives to helping me become literate."
Proofread your resume. It's unbelievable the number of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes I see in resumes. Again, this is a blaring clue telling the hiring manager that you don't check your work and you don't pay attention to detail.
PDF your resume. Not everyone uses the same operating system and word processor that you do. I use a Mac. I don't have Word - don't want it. My ATS can't handle .docx files. A lot of the resumes I see come through horribly garbled. So much for that nice formatting you did (Did you?). PDF, or portable document format, is a simple solution.
Here's how to get your resume into the hands of the hiring manager, plus more tips on what not to do when you're applying for jobs from Don Fornes.
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Saying thank you for a job interview or thanking someone who has introduced you to a connection, helped boost your career or grow your business not only shows your appreciation.
Thank you notes and email messages also help build new relationships and cement existing ones. It's always a good idea to say thank you - whenever and to whomever you can.
When you're not sure what to write, here's an A - Z list of thank you letter examples for a variety of work, employment, job search, business and career situations. There are also all-purpose thank you note examples appropriate for any occasion.
Use these examples of thank you letters, thank you notes, and thank you messages to get ideas for your own personal and professional correspondence.
Photo Copyright Carlos Arranz
When it comes to choosing a resume format, one size doesn't fit all. There are several different types of resumes and there really isn't one best resume format, but resumes with a profile and/or a headline are the ones that are going to get noticed.
Depending on your personal circumstances, choose a chronological, a functional, or a combination resume, and, regardless of which type of resume you choose, be sure it is a customized resume - specific to the job you are interested in.
Generic resumes don't work anymore. Instead, your resume needs to clearly show the employer why you should be selected for an interview. How you name your file is important, too. Here's how to select a resume file name.
The format you send your resume in will depend on what the employer requests. You may be asked to send a PDF or a Word Document. Here's how to save your resume and how to send it to an employer.
Here's more advice on how to write a resume including choosing a type of resume, using resume templates, resume writing tips, and where to get help with resume writing.
Ask Alison: How Long Should My Resume Be?
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Are you using LinkedIn to job search? Would you like to get your career on the fast track? LinkedIn is the top site for professional networking, and it's full of tools to help you make connections and find your next job.
When you're using LinkedIn, the details matter. Your profile needs to be perfect, you need to be well connected with people who can help your job search and refer you for employment. It works both ways though. The best way to use LinkedIn is to give to get. Write a recommendation, endorse a colleague or forward an introduction. The more you help your connections, the more likely they will be to help you.
If you're currently employed, it's important to be careful on LinkedIn. If you don't want your boss to know that you're seeking employment, you can hide your activity. You should also be cautious about who you let know that you're job searching.
Even if you're using LinkedIn already, it's a good idea to give your profile a makeover every now and then. It also makes sense to keep connecting, even if you're not actively job searching. The stronger your presence on LinkedIn, the better shape you'll be in for your next job search.
Here are the top 10 tips for using LinkedIn for job searching, including step by step instructions for using LinkedIn's features and tools.
Friday is always "thank you note Friday" for me. I try to take a few minutes each week to say thank you to those who have been especially helpful to me, both professionally and personally.
I like to show my appreciation and people like knowing they are appreciated - especially when they receive a real, old-fashioned, thank you note in the mail. It means that the sender actually took the time to write, in ink, to address an envelope, stick on a stamp, and mail the note.
It's really important to say thank you after a job interview. Sending a thank you letter is a good way to reiterate your interest in the job and to remind the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position.
It's also a good idea to thank everyone who helped with your job search, as well as to thank those who help you at work. Thank you notes, in addition to showing your appreciation, are great networking tools. Here's information on thank you letters including who to thank and how to say thank you.
If you're not sure what to say, review sample thank you letters to get ideas and suggestions for your own letters and email messages.
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Update April 18, 2014: Congress will be back in session on April 28. Hopefully, there will be action to renew federal unemployment benefits when they return.
Update April 14, 2014: The Senate has passed legislation (HR 3979) to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension of federal jobless benefits retroactive to December 28.
In addition, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced a House companion bill (H.R.4415) which is identical to the Senate legislation in the hopes of expediting a vote. there are also reports of tying the extension to a jobs bill, which would help in getting it passed. However, the House has adjourned until Monday April 28, 2014, so there will be no action on renewing EUC until after recess.
Please note that the legislation simply extends the federal EUC benefits that were in place last year through May 31, 2014. Unemployed workers whose EUC benefits were cut off on December 28 and those who have lost state benefits since then will be eligible if it's passed. It does not provide any extra tiers of benefits or provide benefits for those who had already run out of unemployment. If passed, it would end EUC on May 31.
Check back frequently for updates. I will post as soon as there is more news and details of the legislation.
Resources for Unemployed Workers
- Where to Get Help When Unemployment Runs Out
- Companies Hiring Unemployed Workers
- Top 10 Job Search Tips for Unemployed Workers
Important: Some states have advised claimants to continue filing, others say they will file for you if EUC is extended, and others won't let you file. Your state unemployment office may provide notification saying no further extension benefits can be paid. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a chance of benefits being continued for 2014. Check your State Unemployment Office for details.
More News & Information: I will post updates as soon as there is more news on what will be happening with unemployment. Also, follow me on Twitter, add me to your Google+ Circles and like About Job Search on Facebook for more news and information.
Update March 29, 2014: The Senate voted (65 - 34) on Thursday to move legislation to restore federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013 forward. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension retroactive to December 28 and has bipartisan support - 10 Republican Senators voted for the legislation.
Update March 12, 2014: Democrats have filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives. If a majority of the Representatives sign it, the House will be forced to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote. However, in order to get enough signatures the petition would need Republican support. An absolute majority (218 signatures) is required for a vote. Here's a current tally of the signatures.
There is pending legislation in the Senate to continue federal extended unemployment compensation benefits for the more than 2 million workers who have run out of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013.
Update March 21, 2104: The Senate will be working on legislation to renew unemployment next week. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) said this week "Since December, Senator Reed and I have been working to get these vital benefits to the millions of unemployed Americans who need them. It is extremely disappointing that, no matter what solution is reached, there is some excuse to deny these much-needed benefits. I look forward to passing this proposal out of the Senate next week, and stand ready to help the Speaker, as well as any organization or any individual necessary, in order to make this extension a reality."
Update March 17, 2014: Both the Senate and the House are recessed until Monday, March 24th. So, there will be no Congressional action on renewing unemployment benefits until they return.
Update March 13, 2014: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has announced a bipartisan agreement to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension retroactive to December 28. The proposal is fully funded. It would eliminate unemployment benefits to individuals earning more than $1 million in the preceding year. It also includes provisions that would provided enhanced, personalized assessments and referral to unemployment services.
Update March 7, 2014: Republican Senators have introduced legislation (S. 2097) that would extend unemployment insurance benefits for the more than 2 million workers who have run out of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired in December. If passed, the legislation would extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for five months, allowing for retroactive benefits.
Update March 4, 2014: Legislation which would extend federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits which expired at the end of December, 2013 for six months was filed today. The legislation (S. 2077, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014) is for a 6 month retroactive extension that would restore unemployment benefits for the 2 million unemployed workers who have run out. News reports indicate there may be a vote next week.
Important: Unemployment benefits vary from state to state, so check your State Unemployment Office website for details on who qualifies for extended benefits and when and how benefits will be paid or check this list of state unemployment extension websites to go directly to the information for your location.
Once you have decided to resign from your job, there's no point in criticizing your company, your boss, your co-workers, the job or anything else. Even if you hated your boss, hated the job, and can't wait to get out of there, don't burn your bridges. You might need a reference in the future and you don't want to give anyone any ammunition to use against you. Save your parting shots and keep your feelings to yourself.
Instead, write a formal resignation letter, so it can be placed in your employment file. Keep your resignation letter simple and short. Don't go into too much detail about why you are quitting and what you are doing next. Your letter shouldn't be negative or nasty - it honestly isn't worth venting.
When you're not sure what to write, review sample resignation letters to get some ideas. You can use them to create your own personalized resignation letter. On a related note, email isn't really the best way to resign, but if you're working remotely or you don't have the courage to resign in person, here's how to send an email resignation message.
Here's more advice on how to resign gracefully and how to resign on good terms.
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