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Top 10 “Best of” Articles

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Top 10 “Best of” Articles: The Complete Collection of Professional Résumé Writing Trade Secrets to Transform Your Résumé into a Results-Generating, Job-Winning Promotion by: Michelle Dumas

Copyright © 2007-2008 by Michelle Dumas All rights reserved.

Distinctive Career Services, LLC www.DistinctiveDocuments.com www.100kCareerMarketing.com (800) 644-9694

Limits of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty The author and publisher of this book and accompanying materials have used their best efforts in preparing this program. The author and publisher makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this book. The author and published disclaim any expressed or implied warranties or fitness for any particular purpose. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. This manual contains material protected under international and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Table of Contents: Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………......................………2 About the Author………………………………………………………………………………......……3 The Articles 1. Résumé Writing Solutions for Your Challenging Career History …………...................……4 2. Is Your Résumé A Lie? …………………………………………………...............................7 3. How-to Write a Compelling Résumé That Gets Results.........................................................9 4. Avoiding Age Bias on Your Résumé: 7 Top Résumé Writing Do's and Don'ts……………11 5. How to Write Your Résumé and Market Yourself for an International Assignment.............13 6. Top Tips for Incorporating Your Personal Brand in Your Job Search...................................16 7. The Crucial First Step in Résumé Writing: Establishing Your Focus....................................18 8. How to Format Your Résumé for Internet Job Searching.……………………….................20 9. Accomplishments - The Foundation of an Effective Résumé................................................25 10. 5 Résumé Writing Myths That You Must Know.................................................................29

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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~ About The Author ~ A leading expert on career marketing strategy, Michelle Dumas is a professional résumé writer and career coach with multiple certifications. Michelle is the founder and executive director of Distinctive Career Services, LLC. She works with clients worldwide, delivering powerful, results-generating career marketing tools, resources, and strategies. During the past decade-plus, Michelle has worked with thousands of professionals, managers, and executives, providing them with everything they need to open the right doors, achieve competitive advantage in the job market, and win jobs that are more personally, professionally, and financially rewarding. Michelle is the author of Secrets of a Successful Job Search: 7 Simple Steps to Land the Job You Want in Half the Time (www.job-search-secrets.com) and of 101 Before-andAfter Résumé Examples (www.before-and-after-resumes.com) . She has also contributed to more than ten additional top-selling books on résumé writing and job searching topics. For more articles, tips, and other free resources or to learn more about working with Michelle or Distinctive Career Services, LLC, visit www.DistinctiveDocuments.com or www.100kCareerMarketing.com .

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Résumé Writing Solutions for Your Challenging Career History Do you have a completely unblemished work history? Was writing your résumé a breeze because you are perfectly qualified with a model career and educational background? Or, do you find yourself struggling to prepare your résumé…struggling because of some glitch or problem in your background that you don't know quite how to overcome in your résumé? • • • • • • •

Maybe you are too old...or too young... Maybe you have an obvious gap in your work history... Maybe you have changed employers too many times... Maybe you are a new graduate with little-to-no relevant experience... Maybe you are an executive who needs to explain what appears to be a demotion... Maybe you are returning to the workforce after taking some time off... Maybe you are trying to change careers and your past experience doesn't relate...

Don't feel alone! It is the extraordinarily rare job searcher who doesn't struggle with how to deal with some problem on their résumé. As a professional résumé writer I have worked with thousands and thousands of clients, and while every single one of those clients is unique, they all have one thing in common: they have a problem that they need me to solve for them. How do I do it? The truth is that the solution is often as unique as the individual client. But, to develop those solutions, there are six steps that I carefully think through prior to tackling any new project for a client. As you work on developing or refining your own résumé -- as you try to come up with ways to transform YOUR troubled work history into a job-winning résumé -- it may be helpful for you to work through the same six steps. Step #1 - Know your goal What is your current career goal? What profession? What industry? What professional level? Knowing your objective and your goals for a job search is the foundation of not just your résumé, but of your entire job search. Unless you know where you are going, you will have no idea what the focus of your résumé must be and you won't even have a clue how to begin writing it. Don't expect a busy employer to figure it out for you. Your résumé must have a precise focus and it must convey that focus in five seconds or less. If it doesn't, it will be discarded. It is that simple. Step #2 - Know your audience Now that you know your goal, you are in a position to begin thinking about the recipients of your résumé. What are the expectations and requirements of a candidate for the job you are targeting? What are the problems that a person in your ideal position is likely to be faced with?

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Remember (speaking of problems) that the person doing the hiring has problems that they are hoping their new-hire will solve. What are those problems? Do they need to increase sales? Reduce costs? Increase productivity? Improve efficiency? If you clearly identify the problems of your target audience, you can construct an entire résumé focused on how you are the ideal candidate to solve them. Do that effectively and whatever issue you are dealing with in your troubled work history will suddenly become a non-issue. An employee is an investment, and if you can create a résumé that proves you will produce a better RETURN on that investment than the next guy (even the one with the squeaky clean work history), doors will swing open to you. Step #3 - Know your competition Who is your competition in the job market? What qualifications might they have that you don't have? What qualifications might you have that they don't have? For most situations, I'm not referring to specific individuals. Obviously you wouldn't want to violate the privacy of any specific person competing for the same type of job. But, there is definite value in trying to define your competition in generalities. What types of qualifications does the typical candidate have for the job you are targeting? Knowing your competition is a key part of Step #4... Step #4 - Clearly identify the problem(s) Okay. Now that you know where you are going, know what your audience is seeking, and know what your competition brings to the table, you are ready to fully define the problem or problems that your résumé must overcome. Some of those problems might be obvious. Work-history gaps, concerns about age discrimination, and multiple job changes are among the most common. But, having worked your way through the prior three steps, you may have identified others. Are there key qualifications you are lacking? Educational requirements that you don't quite meet? Ways that your experience doesn't quite stand up to your competition? Whatever those problems might be, make sure you define them. In the next step, we will begin to solve them. Step #5 - Be willing to throw the rules out the window and think outside the box Now, take everything you have ever read or learned about résumé writing and forget it. Well, maybe not everything, but at this point you definitely do need to begin thinking creatively and strategically. Remember that a résumé is essentially an advertisement - a marketing piece - a personal sales pitch. Résumés are NOT autobiographies! They are personal marketing documents meant to sell you as the ideal candidate for a particular position. Everything about the content, the structure, and the design of your résumé should be strategically and selectively included, excluded, highlighted, or de-emphasized. Always be absolutely and meticulously honest, but be willing to think outside the box and present your background in a format and structure that will be most flattering to you in relation to the career goal you are targeting. Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Do you want to be one of a kind? Or do you want to be one of many? Your résumé is meant to make you stand out and shine. You will NOT achieve this by following some rigid template and structure that doesn't have the flexibility to showcase your unique qualifications. Step #6 - Reframe, reposition, reformat, and redesign It is really all about how you frame and position your experience, your achievements, your educational background, and any other qualifications. Once you get to this step, you are ready to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and begin writing your résumé. Take what you know about the expectations and the desires of your target audience, combine this with your understanding of the competition and the problems you defined in Step #4, and start writing your résumé. Perhaps you are making a career change into a completely new profession. Much of your past experience is transferable, but this might not be immediately obvious to the résumé recipient. How can you "reframe" your past experience to selectively emphasize the transferable skills and de-emphasize those that will no longer be relevant? Is there a qualification you are lacking for the position you are targeting? Perhaps some other experience you have had has helped you to develop this qualification in a non-traditional way. How can you "reposition" that experience to illustrate the qualification in question? Maybe you are returning to a career path that you veered away from ten years ago. Your recent experience is not as relevant as your past experience. What opportunities do you have to "reformat" your résumé to bring the older skills to the forefront? Or maybe you have a couple of big gaps in your work history. Can you think of a way to "redesign" your résumé to take the visual emphasis off of the chronology/dates of your experience and place it instead on your achievements and results? So, what problems does your résumé need to solve? What issues must you face to transform your troubled work history into a job-winning résumé? As you get started, remember, it is words on a piece of paper. It is easy to edit and move things around. Don't be afraid to experiment (just do it BEFORE you use it in the job market!). If you aren't sure what the best solution is, create several versions and ask your friends and family for feedback before choosing the one you use in your search. And, if you get stuck, that is what professional résumé writers are here for! We can often provide solutions that you would never have thought of on your own.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Is Your Résumé a Lie? Lying on your résumé can be tempting. Perhaps you know, without any doubt, that you have the skills and abilities an employer is looking for. You just don't have the degree. So, you are considering exaggerating the semester of coursework you took 15 years ago, into a degree. Is lying too strong of a word? Perhaps you are more comfortable saying that you embellished your résumé, stretched the truth, or slightly overstated your qualifications. Are those phrases more comfortable for you? After all, doesn't everyone do a little "polishing" or "padding" of their qualifications to make themselves look better on a résumé? Unfortunately, if you believe the above, your perception is partially true. Surveys indicate that lying on résumés does appear to be on the rise. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than 60% of all HR professionals report finding inaccuracies on the résumés that come across their desks. An inaccuracy may not necessarily be a lie. But, an inaccuracy is enough to call your character into question and be the cause of you losing a job offer that you were in the running for, or to be dismissed from a job that you are already in. That's right. Call it what you may - a lie, an inaccuracy, or an embellishment - exaggerating or inflating your qualifications on your résumé can bring an otherwise successful career to a halt. If you have any doubt of this, all you have to do is look to the news where there have been several high-profile cases over the last couple of years, of individuals losing their jobs after a lie on their résumé was detected. The sad part is, as most professional résumé writers and career coaches will tell you, that the lies and embellishments are simply not necessary. If well crafted, your résumé will highlight your true accomplishments, qualifications, and talents and will downplay any potential weaknesses. Your résumé will remain absolutely truthful while still portraying you as a competitive candidate for the jobs you are targeting. Do you have problem areas or potential weaknesses that you are concerned about how to handle on your résumé? The first steps are to recognize those weaknesses and problems for what they are and then to set them aside for a moment, while you take a bigger-picture look at your professional background. Your résumé is a marketing document, and as in all marketing and advertising, your goal is to emphasize and promote your skills, talents, strengths, and potential value add in relation to your job target. Many times, the solution to dealing with a potential weakness is all in how you structure and format your résumé. Think of your résumé as being structured similar to a pyramid. The most important and relevant information that you want to emphasize should be presented at the peak of the pyramid - at the beginning of the résumé. The information that you want to de-emphasize and downplay should be at the bottom of the pyramid - at the end of the résumé. You should also consider the design of your résumé. By thinking creatively and strategically about the way you format your résumé and apply various design elements (such as underlining, bolding, or white space), you can draw the readers' eyes to the data and elements that you want to emphasize, while the negatives fade almost unnoticed into the background. You must be honest on your résumé, but there is no reason that you must or should emphasize the problem areas!

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Maybe you don't have the exact experience that an employer is seeking, but you do have experience that shows how you have used these skills in another context. Reframing experience to bring transferable skills to the forefront of your résumé in a way that will be understandable to a future employer is a smart move. Likewise, being selective about what you include in your résumé is also smart, as well as being ethical. Always think in terms of relevance and impact. Don't confuse your reader with irrelevant experience, qualifications that are not a match for your focus, out-of-date experience, or achievements that don't support your value proposition. Your résumé is a marketing piece - an advertisement - it is not an autobiography. You don't need to and shouldn't try to include everything. Most importantly, you should take a close look at the experience you do have and the very real contributions that you made for your past employers. It is very important to place the emphasis of your résumé on achievements, quantifying results whenever possible. Document the ways in which your work have benefited your employers, ideally presenting the challenges, the actions, and the results of each situation. Through past achievements and results, you demonstrate your future potential and value. Always remember, you won't get hired for what you KNOW how to do, you will get hired for what you DO with what you KNOW how to do. At the root, every single job is designed to solve a problem, save money, make money, or improve efficiency. Use past examples to clearly demonstrate that you have the proven ability to accomplish these goals for your future employers, and you WILL be called for an interview regardless of any possible weaknesses. The consequences of lying on your résumé just aren't worth it! Companies are growing increasingly savvy to this problem and even if your lies aren't immediately detected, you will be found out eventually through background checks. But with an honest assessment of what you bring to the table, lying on your résumé is simply not necessary. You can let the truth shine through! By following the steps outlined in this article, and thinking creatively about ethical strategies you can use to promote your strengths while downplaying your weaknesses, you will find that it is possible to be absolutely truthful will still presenting as a top candidate. And, if you need help, don't hesitate to call on a professional résumé writer. Your career may depend on it!

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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How-to Write a Compelling Résumé That Gets Results The stakes have been raised in the job search. Employers and recruiters receive a deluge of résumés every day and in response to every job opening. The online résumé databases are packed full with tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of résumés! How will you ensure that your résumé will make the cut and that you will capture attention and get the call for an interview? Here are a few crucial tips that are absolutely essential to the creation of a compelling résumé in such competitive times. Tip #1: It isn't about you, it's about the employer. Yes, I know it is a résumé and I know that the traditional foundation of a résumé is a listing of your employment and educational history. But guess what? Your résumé ISN'T about you. Very few of the actual recipients of your résumé actually care where you went to school, where you worked ten years ago, and what training classes you completed last year. The simple truth is that the ONLY reason these facts are useful at all are because they give important clues as to the value you have to offer to your next employer. Keep this truth in mind as your write your résumé. Yes, you should still include the traditional elements of a résumé, but that should be secondary. Your focus and emphasis should be on creating content that is employer-centered and focused on how you have the unique and superior ability to meet their needs and solve their problems. Present your facts within this context. Tip #2: Employers don't care about what you know how to do. They care about what you DO with what you know how to do. Qualifications are the baseline for a position, but they don't distinguish you from your competitors in the job market, and they certainly don't sell. On the other hand, achievements do sell, but results sell even better. Just telling the reader that you have achievements and accomplishments isn't very effective unless you present them in terms of the results and benefits they have produced for past employers. Continually ask yourself "so what?" in terms of your achievement. What did you improve, save, increase, enhance, etc? What impact did the work you do have on the companies? While numbers are always best, even if you are unable to quantify achievements, the emphasis should still be on the results and benefits of your work. For the maximum impact, accomplishments should be presented as concise "success studies" complete with challenge faced, action taken, immediate result, and strategic importance. The reason is simple: what you know how to do (your qualifications, knowledge, and skills) are of absolutely no value unless you know how to put them into practice for the benefit of the organization. Show that you do. Prove impact! Tip #3: Illustrate passion. Don't be afraid to show yourself! Infuse your résumé with your personality and your authentic passion. Forget the self-promotion, the clichés, and the jargon. You want to let the facts speak for themselves, but you want to do so in a way that tells the reader about your personality. Yes, the return on investment (ROI) that an employer reaps from hiring you is paramount, but of almost equal importance in the hiring decision will be the chemistry and the fit. Forget the bland, self-effacing, autobiographical style of résumé writing that you may have been taught in college. Let your personality and your authentic personal brand shine through, and illustrate your passion for your job target with succinct success stories that demonstrate to the reader your unique value. By doing so, you will attract the right opportunities - the ones for which you are the perfect fit and for which the corporate culture is a perfect fit for you. Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Tip #4: Rip your résumé in half. Go ahead. Do it. Print a copy of your résumé and then take the first page and rip it in half. Now throw away the bottom half and concentrate on the top half. This is the most important section of your résumé. This top half of your résumé must be absolutely compelling. It must seize the reader's attention and draw them in with content that leaves absolutely no doubt that you are the perfect candidate to fulfill their needs and solve their problems. With just a five-second glance at this section, the reader should come away with a crystal clear understanding of your focus and exactly how you would fit in their organization; they must come away with an accurate perception of your brand and the unique promise of value that differentiates you from your peers and competitors. And remember, you must not only tell the reader about your value proposition. You must show them with examples of past accomplishments. I said it before and I'll say it again. Prove value! Prove impact! In short, within moments of picking up your résumé and without looking any further than the beginning of the first page, the recipient of your résumé must come away with the perception of a dynamic, result-proven individual. And, of equal importance, of a professional who has clear career direction, and more importantly, who understands the parameters and challenges of the position and exactly how she will add unique value and a superior return on investment in relation to those challenges. It is a tall order, but with clear, succinct, brand-driven and results-focused writing it is absolutely possible to achieve all of these goals.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Avoiding Age Bias on Your Résumé: 7 Top Résumé Writing Do's and Don'ts Are you a seasoned professional nearing retirement age but eager to continue working? Whether you simply WANT TO continue working because you find it personally rewarding, or whether you HAVE TO continue working for financial reasons, finding yourself suddenly thrust into the job market can be scary. Combine that with concerns that age bias may either extend or completely stall your job search, and it can be downright anxiety-provoking. Sadly, age discrimination is a real issue that many older workers must overcome. However, if you actually get a 'foot in the door,' winning the opportunity to "sell" yourself in person during an interview, your chances are much better to successfully overcome the bias. The problem, of course, is your résumé. If you are an older worker, you may have 25, 30, 35 or even more years of employment experience, and college degrees earned several decades ago. One swift glance through your résumé and your age is obvious. You are concerned--rightfully so--that your résumé is holding you back and preventing you from receiving calls for face-to-face interviews. Are their any solutions to this dilemma? Absolutely! Here are the seven most crucial do's and don'ts to keep in mind as you write your résumé. DO trim your résumé back to the most recent 10, 15, or 20 years. Your résumé is a marketing document. It is NOT an autobiography. Readers want to know what you have done recently to add value in the companies you have been associated with. Skills, experiences, and achievements from 25 or 30 years ago or more are almost certainly irrelevant at this point. But, if those early experiences are still relevant, you do have options... DON'T be afraid to mention early experience that is still relevant. Just don't mention the dates associated with it. You might choose to highlight the undated achievements or qualifications in the summary profile section of your résumé. Or, another effective strategy is to summarize that experience at the end of your résumé. Your description should be concise. Just one or two sentences that begin with the words "Additional experience includes..." will usually suffice. DO be creative and strategic in how you list employment dates on your résumé. Don't feel locked in by the traditional way of including dates. For example, I recently worked with an executive candidate who had three years with his current employer but more than 35 years of progression with his last employer. Traditionally, on a résumé, you would show the total span of years with each company and then the dates in each position (illustrating progression). But this method clearly wouldn't work for this client because he began working for that last employer sometime in the mid 1960s - a date that we did not want to include on the résumé. So instead, we left off the total dates with each company and just listed dates in each position, going back approximately 15-20 years. Like this: Employer 1, location Current position (20xx - Present) Employer 2, location Position a (20xx - 20xx) Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Position b (19xx - 20xx) Position c (19xx - 19xx) Position d (19xx - 19xx) ** Additional experience includes... DON'T leave dates of education off of your résumé unless you have a good strategic reason to do so. One of the most common errors that I see are dates of education left off the résumé when they should not be left off. For example, if you earned your degree 15 years ago and began working in your current career track the same year, you will actually raise questions about your age by not including your degree dates. The dates on your degree tend to close the "loop" and eliminate age-related questions in the mind of the résumé recipient. But if you leave the dates off, the recipient will assume you are hiding your age and are older than your work experience indicates. On the other hand, if you have shortened your résumé to the most recent 10, 15, or 20 years, and your most recent degree was earned earlier than a year or two before that cut off point, it is probably in your best interest to leave the dates off the résumé. DO be proud of your age and the associated experience and perspective that you bring to your employers. Even though--in most cases--you should not emphasize and draw attention to your age, do recognize that you bring to the workplace a value offering unmatched by your younger competitors in the job market. Your self-assurance and confidence will come across in your résumé and during interviews. DON'T forget to fill your résumé with achievements and results that illustrate your personal brand and the unique promise of value that you bring to the workplace. Position yourself for the position. Demonstrate through past accomplishments that you are the perfect candidate for the job. When your résumé is filled with achievements that illustrate you will deliver a strong return on an employer's investment in hiring you, your age will NOT even be an issue. DO create a résumé that showcases achievements that illustrate the traits most valued in older workers - your credibility, your depth and breadth of experience, your judgment and decision-making abilities, your range of professional contacts, your work ethic and reliability, your emotional stability, and your commitment to company goals. Subtly, in your résumé and cover letter, touch on achievements that illustrate a high energy level, strong technical skills, and adaptability to change.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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How to Write Your Résumé and Market Yourself for an International Assignment Do you dream about working abroad? Do your short or long-term career goals include an international assignment? Maybe you want to practice your ability to speak multiple languages. Perhaps you completed coursework or a degree in international business. Or maybe you just want to broaden your corporate qualifications with a more global perspective and multicultural experience. With an increasingly diverse workforce and global economy, international business experience -whether that involves frequent international business trips, short-term overseas assignments, or longerterm relocation to foreign locations -- can certainly be valuable as a building block for your entire career. With more and more multinational firms transferring employees between global locations, your chances of winning a coveted overseas assignment have never been better. But, how do you market yourself for these positions? As with most job searches, one of your first steps will be to develop your portfolio of personal marketing documents. In other words, you must prepare your résumé/CV and job search letters. Do the terms résumé and CV (curriculum vitae) confuse you? The first thing to understand is that different countries use different terms to describe what is essentially the same type of document. In fact, in international circles, the terms "résumé" and "CV" are often used interchangeably. But, to complicate the issue, depending on the country you are applying to, the requirements of what to include in your résumé/CV and in what format to include it may be very different. For example, in the U.S. you should never include a photograph of yourself in your résumé (unless you are a model or an actor/actress). Likewise, you should not include any information about your birthday, marital status, family status, or other similar personal details. In fact, if you do include photos or personal data, most U.S. employers will simply discard your résumé rather than risk a potential discrimination lawsuit. On the other hand, personal photographs and data are expected and often required on CVs meant for European or Asian employers. In U.S., Canadian, and some other job markets your work experience should be included in reverse chronological order (most recent to oldest). In many other job markets around the world, your experience should be listed in straight chronological order (oldest to most recent). Clearly, it is crucial that you be aware of the requirements and expectations of the job market you are applying in. You must take the time to research and learn these differences before preparing or adapting your résumé for international employers. In some cases, when you are applying to the overseas location of a multinational company, the decision-makers for the position will be of a nationality other than the location in which you are applying. For example, you may be targeting a position in Hong Kong, and know that the person making the decisions for that position is an American expatriate. In this case, you may want to submit a résumé written in the U.S. style which will be more familiar to the decision-maker. Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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At Distinctive Career Services, our expertise is in creating résumés in the U.S. style. However, our client base is worldwide and our résumés have been used successfully by people all over the globe seeking international assignments based in the U.S. or targeting positions worldwide when they have determined that the U.S.-style is most appropriate. The lesson: do your research and know your audience, then tailor your approach to the expectations of the audience. Regardless of the job you are targeting, and what country that job is in, if your goal is to go global you definitely want to emphasize and highlight your international travel and multicultural experiences, your foreign language abilities, and any coursework you have completed that is relevant to international business. You can weave all of this into the body of your résumé/CV and may even create a separate section to call it out in greater detail. Finally, above all, be open-minded and flexible. Your eagerness to learn and your adaptability are key predictors of how successful you will be on international assignment. So, don't be afraid to ask questions and adapt to new ways of doing things. Your international job search is not the time to hold tight to your own cultural preferences. Be flexible! If you don't know what is expected or required of job candidates in a particular company or foreign location, ask! Then adapt your approach. Here is a checklist to help you prepare your international career marketing portfolio: _____The content and format of my résumé/CV has been modified to conform to the requirements of the international job market I am targeting. _____The content and format of my résumé/CV has been modified to conform to the expectations of the decision-maker for the position I am targeting. _____I have paid particular attention to requirements regarding photographs and personal data and have adapted my résumé/CV accordingly. _____My résumé/CV has been translated into another language if necessary and has been reviewed by a native speaker of that language. _____My résumé/CV emphasizes and includes information about all of my previous multicultural and international business experience and qualifications. _____My résumé includes a thorough listing of my foreign language abilities. _____My résumé/CV includes detailed descriptions of my education and training (educational requirements and degrees vary around the world, so it is often helpful to describe your degrees in terms of their local equivalent). _____The design of my résumé/CV had been modified to fit on the paper size that is the standard in the international location I am applying in. _____My résumé/CV has been proofed and is completely free of errors.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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_____My résumé/CV uses simple fonts and a classic, easy-to-read design. _____The electronic files of my résumé/CV are prepared in standard formats, including Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, and plain text ASCII. _____I have researched and scrupulously followed any guidelines for submission of my résumé/CV as described by the company I am applying to. _____I have sent my résumé/CV and job search letter by email when an email address is available, but have followed up with a hard copy by regular postal mail.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Top Tips for Incorporating Your Personal Brand in Your Job Search When you think about your next career move, how would things be different for you if you were HUNTED rather than being the HUNTER? Personal branding (the process of clarifying and communicating what makes you and your unique value proposition different and special) allows you to make a name for yourself. It differentiates you from your peers and helps to position you as a leader in your field – as a specialist and an authority who knows how to do a job and fill a particular niche in the workplace better than anyone else. Rather than finding yourself constantly pursuing jobs opportunities that never quite pan out, sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, and having doors stay locked shut to you, imagine what a positive and secure feeling it would be to have employers and recruiters actually seek YOU out. With some time and effort put into identifying and communicating YOUR personal brand as it relates to your career, this is one of the key benefits you will enjoy. If you are a professional engaged in a serious job search, it would be almost impossible to escape the issue of personal branding. Everyone is talking about it! Personal branding can make an incredible positive impact on not only your current job search, but on the success and progression of your entire career. But, just because everyone is talking about it, doesn't mean that everyone is making use of the knowledge. Through personal branding, there is still an incredible opportunity for the forward-thinking professional to position themselves heads and shoulders above their peers and competitors in the job market. It is not difficult to be convinced that personal branding is the wave of the future when it comes to the professional job search. But once you are convinced, and once you have put the effort into clarifying YOUR personal brand, how do you make that leap to incorporating that brand into your job search? Is there such a thing as a brand-driven job search? How exactly do you promote your personal brand in the job market? Here are 5 tips for incorporating your brand throughout your résumé, your cover letters, and your entire career marketing portfolio. Tip #1 - Branding provides your résumé and other career marketing documents with instant, precisionlike focus that positions you as the ideal candidate for the specific type of opportunity that interests you. An unfocused résumé is boring and ineffective. An unfocused résumé wastes your readers' time and will land in the circular file. A properly branded résumé is, by definition, focused, and addresses not only your unique value proposition, but it does so in a way that addresses the concerns of your target audience. Tip #2 - Use your personal brand profile and personal brand statement to project a cohesive brand image and value proposition across your résumé, cover letters, and all your documents. In my work, I have the opportunity to review a lot of résumés, letters, biographies and other documents that my clients and prospective clients have tried to write for themselves. This tip relates to one of the most common mistakes that I see. Too many people try to be too many things to too many people. Their career marketing portfolios (résumés, cover letters, biographies, etc.) are a hodge-podge of documents written over a number of years and added onto randomly whenever the need arises for an updated Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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résumé. Certainly across the portfolio, and sometimes even within the same document, I find multiple design and content styles, as well as disconnected and outdated messages. When you brand your job search documents you immediately correct this problem. Tip #3 - During the first review, résumés are scanned for mere seconds in a process that is meant to do nothing more than filter out unqualified candidates. Clearly and succinctly incorporating your personal brand statement into the profile or summary section of your résumé is a way to ensure that your résumé will stand out and get attention. One way to accomplish this is with a headline statement followed by a sub-headline that promotes your value proposition. If you aren't familiar with this style, take a look at the many sample résumés on the Distinctive Documents website. Tip #4 - Personal branding gives you a way to truly let your personality shine through and to establish an emotional connection with your audience. It can be tough to make this connection in your résumé, but your cover letters and your narrative biography are great opportunities to promote soft skills and weave in examples of key brand attributes. In a very real sense, personal branding requires that you be courageous about really "owning" yourself and acknowledging yourself for the strengths and value you bring to the table. Let your personality come across in your letters and in your biography. Don't be afraid to make a connection by accentuating your strengths and value proposition as they relate to your audience. This is a great way to establish rapport and trust with your reader even before you have the chance to speak by phone. Tip #5 - Keep in mind that one of your primary goals in branding your job search documents is to paint a compelling portrait of your unique value proposition. To do this, you will need to structure your résumé so that it promotes your key skills, qualifications, experiences, and achievements in a way that is both convincing and compelling and clearly illustrates to the reader that you can meet their needs and help them to achieve their goals, all the while adding value to their organization and delivering a strong return on their investment in hiring you. This is a lot to accomplish in a single résumé! One of the most effective ways to do this is to focus the chronology of your work history on achievements and results. Write your achievements so that they tell a succinct story of the challenges and problems you have faced, the actions you took to meet those challenges, and then the results and benefits of those actions - the actual return on investment of your actions. Writing your professional chronology in this way will engage the reader, supporting your brand and helping them to envision how you will add value in the future to their organization.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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The Crucial First Step in Résumé Writing: Establishing Your Focus OBJECTIVE: A professional position with opportunities for advancement that will allow me to use the full range of my qualifications. Wow! Could you imagine an objective that could be any less specific? But, as a professional résumé writer, I can tell you that such a nebulous, non-specific résumé objective is more common than it is not. This is one of the most frequent mistakes that I see people make on their résumé. Let me ask you: If you don’t know what you want and where you are going, what makes you think a busy employer will take the time to figure it out for you? Very frankly, they won’t and they shouldn’t! While I hear it every day, I still cringe when I pick up the phone and prospective clients tell me that they "just want to find a job – any job.” Using this hit-or-miss, anything-will-do strategy, even if by some stroke of luck you land a position, the job you land would very likely be one that you would be miserable in! You may have the ability to do the job, but it wouldn’t be in line with your interests, your values, and your passions. When individuals come to me and are not able to express a focus, I tell them very frankly that until they are able to articulate a clear career target, hiring a professional résumé writer will be a waste of their time and money. If I am unable to assist them in narrowing down a focus, I will refer them to a career counselor and suggest that they spend some time defining a focus and setting career goals before we work together on the résumé. And yet, so many people TRY to write a résumé without a clear focus. Are YOU guilty of this? Do you have a résumé? If so, what I would like to request is that you pull it out and take a look at it with a fresh eye – try to look at it objectively as someone receiving it for the first time might look at it. Is your career focus immediately clear? Within seconds – because that is REALLY all you have – will the recipient come away with an understanding of your job target –of the level and type of position you are seeking – and of exactly where you would fit in their organization and add value? Be honest with yourself? This is really important! If you have trouble being objective, it may help to ask a friend or acquaintance for their impressions after a 10 second scan. Assuming that you do need to refine the focus of your résumé – as most people do – you may be wondering just how to do that. Is an objective statement the best way to focus your résumé? In the past you were probably taught that objective statements were an essential part of the résumé. Happily, this is no longer true. Today, profile or summary sections are used to set the tone and focus for most résumés. Why? Well, think about it: objectives tell the reader what you WANT from them. Profiles or summary sections tell the reader what you OFFER them. This is a subtle but really important difference.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Your résumé needs to be employer-centered and focused on how you will meet the employer’s needs, solve their problems, and add value to their organizations. Your résumé must be focused, but the more modern way of doing this than an objective statement, is to create a headline statement that is incorporated as part of your summary or profile. Are you having trouble envisioning what a headline statement is? Or, even what a résumé profile or summary is? There are dozens and dozens of examples for you to review in the résumé samples section of the Distinctive Documents website. The best job target, of course, is the well-defined one. At the very least, you should be able to articulate and succinctly state the job function that you want to perform and the professional level you are targeting. But even these two criteria are quite broad. To be really effective you should pair those criteria with one or more criteria. For example, other criteria might include the industry you plan to target, the company size or type you are interested in, or maybe the type of product or service developed or sold by the company. You’ll be using all of this information to create a really strong and focused headline statement and summary profile. But don’t stop there. Your résumé is a marketing document! It is not an autobiography. Your résumé is, at its very core, an advertisement of the specific benefits you have to offer in relation to a specific type of position. Every word and element in your résumé should serve a purpose and should support your job target. If irrelevant or extraneous data that does not support and promote your job target is left in your résumé, you will dilute your focus and will almost certainly confuse the reader. Don’t let that happen and don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to include everything about yourself in your résumé. Once you know your focus, carefully review the body of your résumé and eliminate or reframe everything that doesn’t serve your job target. And, here is another really key tip: Remember that you are writing to the future in your résumé, not about the past. Your résumé content should be guided by who you want to be and how you want to be perceived. You need to know your goals and write from those perspectives. If you are involved in a career transition, you need to be absolutely honest and truthful while re-evaluating, re-weighting, and reframing past experience to bring the transferable qualifications to the forefront. A well-defined target will guide you in your entire job search – in how you prioritize your skills and past experience as a focus for your résumé and other job search documents, the people that you contact and network with, and the companies that you research and ultimately apply to. So, go ahead. Take some time right now – today – to make certain that your résumé is clearly, accurately, and immediately conveying your focus and your job target to the reader. This simple step will dramatically enhance your résumé and the results it generates. And, as always, don't hesitate to ask for professional résumé writing help if you need it.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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How to Format Your Résumé for Internet Job Searching Email résumés...Web résumés...HTML résumés...Scannable résumés... Keyword résumés...Text résumés...ASCII résumés...PDF résumés...Word résumés...Traditional résumés... A résumé is a résumé, right? But then, what are all these different types of résumés you keep hearing about? If you are confused and not quite sure what is being referred to when you hear all these different names for résumés, you are certainly not alone! Over the past decade, the most common résumé-related questions asked by job hunters have progressively shifted. While still of major importance, the majority of queries are no longer about functional versus chronological résumé styles, whether to keep or remove experience from twenty-five years ago, or whether to include dates of education. With the advent and subsequent explosive increase in the use of the Internet during the job search, questions have turned overwhelmingly to issues of electronic résumé creation and transmission.    

What are the different types of electronic résumés? What are the differences between an e-mail résumé, a scannable résumé, and a web résumé? How do I know which résumé format to use? How do I format my electronic résumé to ensure that the recipient can read it?

No wonder there is so much confusion! In just a few short years, there has been a complete revolution in the tools and techniques of job hunting. As applicant tracking technologies have come into common use among headhunter firms, large corporations, and even mid-size and small businesses, recommended résumé formats and methods of transmission have rapidly evolved with the advancing technologies. Further complicating things, have been the increasing availability of personal web space for online résumé portfolios and biographies. What does this mean for today's job hunter? While the Internet has opened unprecedented doors of opportunity in the job search process, for those who have not taken the time to learn and apply the rules it can mean disaster! While few job hunters have time to spend months studying the most recent technologies and recommendations for the creation of electronic résumés, before venturing onto the Internet with your résumé it is critical that you take the time to learn and understand a few simple concepts. Knowing your audience and the formats most acceptable by those audiences are essential pieces of knowledge for the Internet job hunter. The human reader - The traditional, printed, hard copy résumé (yes, it does still have a primary place in job hunting!) is created to attract the human eye and attention. With the advantages of word processing applications, sophisticated formatting is possible and should be applied strategically to create eye-appeal and draw the readers' attention to key qualifications. The computer reader - The electronic or computer-optimized résumé is designed, first and foremost, to be readable by the computer. There are several types of electronic résumés, but the common element of all is the ability to be searched by keyword. Of course, once your résumé has been tagged as matching

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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a keyword search, it will be reviewed by a human. So compelling, easy-to-read content is just as important in the electronic résumé as in the traditional résumé. Miss these points and the effects could be devastating...you might send out hundreds of résumés only to sit at home and wonder why nobody, not even one company or headhunter, has called you for an interview. There are fundamental formatting differences between traditional and electronic résumés. If you do not understand these differences, your résumé will make it into very few - if any - résumé databases. RÉSUMÉ FORMATS What are the differences between keyword, scannable, web, traditional, and text résumés? Traditional résumés are designed, as already noted, to compel the human reader, through persuasive language and design, to take further action and call you for an interview. Layout and page design are critical and should be planned strategically to draw the eye to areas of emphasis. The most effective traditional résumés are focused on achievements and written in powerful, active language that captures and holds the attention of the reader. Scannable résumés -- also a printed, hardcopy format -- are designed primarily for accurate scanning into a computer. Captured as an image, scannable résumés are fed through OCR (optical character recognition) software that reads and extracts the text. The extracted text is databased for storage and later recalled by keyword from an applicant tracking system. Scannable résumés are very rarely requested any more. If you are asked for a scannable résumé, the most efficient option is to email the requestor your plain ASCII text résumé (described next). Text résumés (also referred to as ASCII résumés) are just what the name implies, an ASCII-formatted version of either your traditional or scannable résumé. Text résumés are universally readable on all computer systems and platforms and are the preferred format when you are emailing your résumé. An ASCII résumé received in email can be entered directly into an applicant tracking system without the added step of needing to scan it. Entry into the system is fast, easy, and accurate and so many employers and recruiters prefer this format. The phrase "keyword résumé," as it was first used, referred most often to either a scannable or text résumé that incorporated a focus on nouns and phrases that employers were likely to use when searching for an applicant. Sometimes the keyword résumé had a section at the beginning or end that listed the keywords separated by commas or periods. Today, there is no need to maintain both a keyword and a non-keyword résumé. Keywords have become such an essential element in résumés that you should ensure that every version of your résumé, whether meant for the human or the computer reader, incorporates the keywords most important in your field or industry. Still confused? My recommendation is to simply maintain two separate versions of your résumé: Traditional résumé - If you wish to send a hardcopy, paper version of your résumé you should send your traditional résumé. Traditional résumés are most often stored on your computer as a computer file and printed on an as-needed basis. For example, you will want to print at least several copies of your résumé to carry with you and hand out at interviews. You may also be asked to send your traditional Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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résumé via email to a recruiter or employer. In these cases, you should have your traditional résumé saved in the two most commonly asked for file formats: MS Word and Adobe PDF. You can then attach the requested file or files to an email message and send it to the requestor to be printed on the receiving end. By far, you'll find that the most requested format for your traditional résumé is MS Word. If you comply with the request, be aware that your formatting may be incompatible with the recipient's system. While usually still readable, fonts and bullet sizes and styles may be different from what you intended. These problems can be minimized, although not always eliminated, by embedding the fonts into the document. This is a simple process, and the MS Word help files will guide you through it. You should also take care, while writing and designing your résumé, to use design elements that are default and standard on most systems. For example, it is not wise to use a fancy, custom font on your résumé that you know will be emailed. Default fonts such as Garamond, Helvetica, Book Antiqua, or Verdana are better choices. To eliminate issues with compatibility, if the recipient has the free Adobe Reader installed, Adobe PDF is the best format in which to send your traditional résumé. The PDF version of your résumé will appear on the recipient's system precisely the way it appeared on your system. For this reason, if given the choice of sending an MS Word file and Adobe PDF file, always opt for Adobe PDF. However, many recruiters and employers still prefer the MS Word file format, because this is the format they are most familiar with. ASCII text résumé - If you conduct any portion of your job search on the Internet, ASCII-formatted résumés are critically important tools. Always have an up-to-date ASCII text version of your résumé on your computer. This is the fastest way to contact potential employers and to apply for jobs advertised online. You must also have a text version of your résumé if you wish to post in online résumé databanks. As previously noted, employers rarely request scannable résumés anymore. If they utilize an applicant tracking system, they will likely request that your résumé be e-mailed, either as ASCII text or as an attachment. E-mail allows the recipient to enter your résumé directly into the database, eliminating the extra steps of scanning and OCR. How do you use these file formats and transit them to recipients via email? My recommendation is to actually attach the MS Word or Adobe PDF file to the email in its native file format. Then, ALSO copy and paste the text of your ASCII text résumé into the body of your email (where you would normally type a message), along with a letter of introduction or other note explaining why you are sending the résumé. A final type of electronic résumé is the web résumé, also known as the online résumé. Created using HTML, your web résumé may be uploaded to space provided by a web-hosting provider. Eliminating the compatibility problems associated with word-processed résumés sent as e-mail attachments, web résumés offer the advantage of maintaining layout and design on the systems of anyone with a web browser. Available for viewing around the clock, conveying a technology-savvy image, and allowing the ability to add supporting content to your résumé (effectively creating an online portfolio promoting your qualifications), web résumés are becoming a progressively important tool in the job search. The creation of a web résumé or résumé portfolio is far beyond the scope of this article, but if web résumés Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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are an electronic format that interest you, be aware that many service providers have begun offering web résumé design and hosting at affordable prices. PREPARING INTERNET RÉSUMÉS What do I need to know about writing keyword résumés? Remember - it is absolutely essential that you create résumé content that is keyword rich regardless of the file format. It is not necessary that you maintain a separate keyword version of your résumé. ALL résumés must include a heavy emphasis on keywords. Keywords are generally defined as nouns or phrases that an employer will use when searching for an applicant with your skill set. To maximize the recall of your résumé in a search, you will want to use as many keywords in your résumé as possible. 1. Keywords should focus on technical and professional areas of expertise, industry-related jargon, and your work history. Also, include the names of associations and organizations of which you are a member. 2. Whenever possible, use synonyms of keywords in different parts of your résumé and if you use initials for a term in one section, spell the term out in another. 3. Always be specific. For example, while it may be fine to include the phrase "computer literate," you will also want to list the specific software that you are proficient in using. This is one of the most common areas of confusion, so I'll state it once again...the content of a keyword résumé does not need to differ from the content of your traditional résumé. With careful attention to rhythm and flow, it is possible to prepare a résumé that is keyword optimized, but that also includes the powerful, compelling, active language of a traditional résumé. Not only will this simplify your résumé preparation, but it will ensure that the content of all versions of your résumé will be optimized for both the computer and the human reader. Furthermore, if you incorporate a professional summary and bulleted list of qualifications in the text of your résumé, there is little if any need to prepare a separate keyword summary. Unfortunately, it is impossible to recommend a specific list of the best keywords to use in your résumé, as the "best" keywords are different for every individual and depend mainly on your unique career objective and background. What is certain, however, is that a well-prepared keyword résumé is so critical to your success in a job market that largely relies on electronic applicant tracking systems, if you have any doubts at all you should consult with a professional résumé writer. How do I prepare an ASCII text version of my résumé? Preparing the all-important ASCII text version of your résumé is not difficult, but it does require a learning curve. Once converted to ASCII format, you will be able to email your résumé in response to an ad or paste it directly into web-based forms and submit it to Internet résumé databanks. The specific directions will vary depending on the software you have installed on your computer. But, in general, to prepare your ASCII résumés properly, follow these simple steps:

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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1. Using your word processing program, open your word-processed résumé and use the "Save As" function to save a copy as a "Text Only" or "ASCII (DOS)" document. Title your document with an easily distinguishable name; perhaps "résumé_internet.txt" 2. Close your word processing program and re-open the ASCII file. You will not be able to see your changes until you have done this. Note that it has been stripped of virtually all original formatting. 3. Go through your new ASCII document line-by-line. Align all text flush to the left-hand margin. 4. Remove all "centering," "right hand margin," and "justification" alignments. 5. Although you should no longer see them, if visible, remove all graphics, artwork, and special character formatting. 6. Remove all tab characters. 7. Remove all columns. 8. Replace bullets with a simple ASCII asterisk (*). 9. Carefully check the spelling and the accuracy of your data. 10. If you wish, use ASCII characters to enhance the appearance of your résumé. Asterisks, plus signs, or other keyboard characters can be used to create visual lines that separate sections of your résumé and make it easier to read. The above steps convert your résumé to ASCII without line breaks. When pasted into a web-based form or email message, your résumé will automatically wrap to the size of the window. Your new ASCII résumé will be universally readable, no matter what computer system the recipient uses. It will also be easy to manipulate for entry into applicant tracking databases, eliminating the inherent difficulties of scanning and converting your paper résumé with OCR systems. There is no denying that the Internet has caused what was once a straightforward process to become complex and confusing to many job hunters. Yet, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Like never before, as a job seeker you have immediate access to announcements and advertisements of openings around the globe. You have the ability to conduct detailed research on companies of interest. And you have unprecedented opportunity to cost effectively promote your qualifications to hundreds or even thousands of hiring authorities of just a tiny fraction of the cost of doing so through traditional methods. While the new skills you must learn may seem daunting at first, by understanding the concepts and creating your electronic résumés, you are well on your way to an efficient, effective Internet job search.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Accomplishments - The Foundation of an Effective Résumé In a job search, your first introduction to an employer is almost always your résumé. As such, it is absolutely essential that your résumé immediately capture the attention of your reader. But how do you do that? When your résumé is sitting on a desk with 475 other résumés, how do you ensure that your résumé rises to the top, making the cut to be placed in the “keeper” file rather than the circular file? More importantly, how do you ensure that your résumé compels the recipient to actually pick up the phone and call you for an interview (which is the true measure of an effective résumé)? The solution, of course, is to remember that your résumé is a marketing document. It is NOT an autobiography. Your résumé is an advertisement—an advertisement that is selling YOU as the ideal solution to an employer’s problems. To achieve this, your résumé must present your key skills, qualifications, experiences, and accomplishments in a way that is both convincing and compelling. Your résumé must be written to clearly illustrate to the reader that you can meet their needs and help them to achieve their goals, all the while adding value to their organization and delivering a strong return on their investment in hiring you. One of the most common résumé writing mistakes is the development of a responsibilities-focused résumé. Job descriptions simply don’t distinguish you from anyone else that does the same or a similar job as you. A résumé focused on responsibilities and job descriptions illustrates to the reader how you are ordinary. Instead, your goal is to show the reader how you are EXTRAordinary. To do that, your résumé must be focused on achievements and results. Achievement-focused résumés engage readers, essentially painting a picture of how you have added value in the past and thus, helping the reader to envision how you will add value in the future to their organization. By creating the achievementfocused résumé, you illustrate your business savvy, your understanding of the bottom line, and your track record for contributing to it. But, for many people, writing an achievement-focused résumé is easier said than done. Are you like so many other people who have trouble identifying exactly what their achievements in the workplace have been? Maybe you have even worried that you don’t have any accomplishments of note to include in your résumé. Let me put your mind at ease right now. This simply isn’t true! Every single person has value to add and unique contributions to make. In my résumé writing practice I work with hundreds of people every year – thousands over the course of the past decade-plus. Every single one of my clients has proven to be incredibly accomplished, but when they first came to me, the vast majority of them had trouble identifying their specific achievements and value-add. To help them, we undergo an intensive information-gathering process that includes both intake worksheets and telephone consultation. At the end, they are often amazed at the many ways we have uncovered in which they have added value in the workplace. My clients leave not only with an achievement-focused résumé that provides them with extraordinary competitive advantage in the job market, but with a new sense of confidence that comes with the ability to articulate the past results and benefits they have produced for employers, as well as the potential they have to add similar value in the future.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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Rewriting your résumé to emphasize achievements and results is almost always the single most impactful improvement you can make. If your résumé isn’t generating results, rewriting it to emphasize the past challenges you have faced, the actions you have taken to meet those challenges, and the benefits of those actions, will likely have a dramatic positive impact on your job search results. If you, like so many others, are struggling to identify and communicate your achievements, the following 50 questions -- questions used with my own clients in my résumé writing practice -- will help. 1. What is special about the way you do your job? 2. What do you do in a different way or better than other people in the same position as you? 3. What does your employer like about you and/or praise you for? 4. Were there particular areas in which your employer thought you were outstanding? 5. Were you given any special honors, recognition, or awards? What did you do to earn it? 6. What positive things do your performance appraisals have to say about you? 7. When you were hired, was there a lot of competition for the position? Why were you selected? 8. In what ways is each of your past employers better off for having had you work for them? 9. Does your company set goals or objectives for you and have you met or exceeded them? Explain. 10. Have you met any particularly hard-to-accomplish goals? How did you accomplish this? 11. Were you hired to meet a particular challenge or solve a particular problem? What was it, what have you done to meet those expectations, and what have been the outcomes? 12. What was the biggest problem or challenge you were faced with in each position? Did you solve the problem or meet the challenge? How and what were the results? 13. Did you ever have to overcome any adversity or ambiguity to accomplish something important to the company? Explain. How did you do it and what were the results? 14. Have you ever made any suggestions that were implemented? What was the result? 15. What have you done that was innovative? What was the result? 16. Have you helped to influence change in your company? In what way? What was the result? 17. Have you been given any special assignments? Why and what were they? 18. Have you helped your employer increase sales? By what percentage or amount? Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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19. Have you helped streamline operations in any way? In what way and what was the result? 20. Did you generate new business? By what percentage or amount? 21. Did you bring in new clients? By what percentage or number? 22. Did you build partnerships or affiliations with new organizations? What have been the results? 23. Have you led your company into expanded markets? By what percentage and how did this impact sales? 24. Have you opened new markets for your company? What was the impact? 25. Did you save your company money? How much and under what circumstances? 26. Have you ever developed a new system or process? Was it implemented? If so, what were the results? 27. Did you improve customer relationships in some way? Under what circumstances and what were the results? 28. Have you done anything to increase efficiency? How did you do it and what were the results? 29. Did you meet a particularly aggressive or important deadline? If so, what difference did this make to your company? 30. Have you ever developed procedures to speed repetitive tasks? What were the results? 31. Did you bring a project in under budget? How? How was the money you saved used? 32. Have you ever recommended a new product or program that was implemented? What was the result? 33. Have you ever helped launch a new product or program? What were the results? 34. Have you ever made recommendations to improve a product or program? What were the results? 35. Have you taken the lead on any projects or special initiatives? How successful was the effort? 36. Have you ever taken on any new responsibilities that weren't part of your job? Did you ask for the new responsibilities or were they assigned to you? Why were you selected? 37. What have you done to increase productivity? By what percentage or amount? 38. Have you improved communications in your company? In what way, with whom, and what was the outcome? Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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39. Have you ever done anything to increase profits? How did you do it and by how much? 40. Have you helped your employer cut costs in any way? How did you do it and by how much? 41. Have you helped your company grow business in any way? How did you do it, by how much, and what was the result? 42. Were you involved in any negotiations? What was your role? How did this benefit the company? 43. Have you done anything to help control costs? What did you do? What was the impact? 44. Did your work or the results you produced stand out in some way as better than your predecessor? Explain. 45. Did you do something to correct inconsistencies or errors? What was the problem? What did you do? What was the result? 46. Did you accomplish something special for a customer? How was this important for your customer? How was this important for your employer? 47. Do you have a strong record of on-time completion of projects? Explain. How has this benefited your employer? 48. Have you ever done anything to increase cash flow? What did you do? What was the result? 49. Have you led or served on teams whose work had a major impact on the company? Explain. What was the benefit to the company? What was your role on the team? 50. Did you foresee any problems and proactively implement solutions to avert the problem? Explain.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


Top 10 “Best of” Articles

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5 Résumé Writing Myths That You Must Know 1) Myth: Résumés should be only one, or at the most, two pages. In most cases, this is true. It is the rare reviewer of résumés who, when being completely honest, will tell you that he or she spends more than a few seconds in the first review of a résumé. Unless your résumé captures immediate attention through an eye-appealing design and succinct, compelling language, your résumé will be screened out after just 15 seconds. With this reality in mind, imagine the thoughts of the reviewer when he or she receives a four- or five-page résumé, with another 100 résumés waiting for review right behind it. Clearly, the odds of your résumé capturing attention and being read increase when the length is limited to one or two pages. Are there exceptions to this rule? Absolutely! While it is true that with each additional page you reduce your chances of your résumé being read thoroughly, for many executives, contract workers, consultants, and technical professionals it is unrealistic and nearly impossible to compress years of experience into one or two pages. When attempted, important achievements are left out to make room for a full chronology of the career history and education. What is left is a boring listing of companies, positions, and dates that are virtually guaranteed to turn off the reader and land your résumé in the circular file. A better strategy is to write your résumé with exactly as much detail and description as is needed to persuasively convince the reader that you are the ideal candidate to solve his or her problems - to compel the reader to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. While this is sometimes a difficult balance to strike, you should review and edit your résumé with a very discriminating eye toward reducing unnecessary wordiness. Every word in your résumé should have a purpose. Items that can be presented as a list - continuing education courses, technical summaries, associations and memberships, etc. - can often be included in an addendum to the résumé that may or may not be used as appropriate. Within the résumé, use succinct, dynamic, action-oriented language to convey your ability to add value to the reader's company and you will capture and hold attention through three or even more pages. 2) Myth: All résumés should include a clearly stated objective. It is essential that your résumé is audience-focused - it must succinctly communicate that you understand the employer's needs and that you are uniquely qualified to meet those needs. While the use of an objective is a controversial issue, at its basis, an objective tells the reader what you want from him or her (focused on YOUR needs rather than the employers'). A popular and often more effective alternative to the objective, the qualifications summary, allows you to establish focus for the résumé while summarizing the key qualifications and value you offer the employer. This is a subtle but critical difference - one that may weigh heavily in opening the door to an interview. While an objective is both appropriate and effective in some cases, for example, career changers or new graduates with little or no work experience in the targeted field, experiment with the qualifications summary as a strong alternative.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com


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3) Myth: Résumés should thoroughly describe the responsibilities of each position. The absolute most important element of your résumé is your value proposition. Your unique ability to solve business problems, meet challenging goals, and produce desired results should be the focus of your qualifications summary (see above) and this focus should be supported by proof throughout your career. How better to do this than through achievement-oriented, results-focused descriptions of your career history? While employers and recruiters will want to know the scope of your position (number of direct reports, amounts of budgets managed, areas of management authority, etc.) this is most effectively communicated within the context of the challenges you faced, the actions you took, and the results of your actions. "Responsibilities" only tell the reader what you were supposed to do, not what you actually did do. Use powerful, active language to concisely tell the reader the "story" behind your most recent or relevant positions. By documenting your consistent ability to produce results and solve problems you will demonstrate your ability to produce similar results in the future. 4) Myth: Résumés should include only the last ten years of experience. Content of your résumé should be strategically selected to support your focus and value proposition. While it is true that readers of your résumé will be most interested in your most recent experience, there is often value in including experience further back in your history. Perhaps your early career includes work for well-known, prestigious companies. Perhaps you want to document the full scope of your cross-industry experience, much of which occurred in your early career. Perhaps you believe some valuable networking opportunities may come out of your experience 15 or 20 years ago. Or perhaps your most impressive accomplishments were in a position you held 12 years ago. In any case, if your career history is lengthy, it will be apparent to the reader that your career did not suddenly materialize ten years ago, so there is little harm and many benefits to summarizing this early experience. Of course, this does not mean that you must give equal page weight to your early career. If you feel early dates will be used to screen you out, subtly leave them out of your early career summary. If some early career positions have more strategic relevance than others, give them more emphasis in your summary. Think carefully about the content of your résumé. If there is solid reasoning behind your desire to present early experience, than do so. 5) Myth: Résumés should include personal information, to indicate the many dimensions to your life and interests. There is no way to predict the personal biases of the individuals who will read your résumé. The first and primary way that an employer uses a résumé is to screen candidates out; don't give them any reason! Professional memberships and related volunteer work should often be included but religious affiliations, family status, social club memberships, and hobbies have no place on a résumé. The only exception to this is when you are preparing a résumé specifically written to appeal to a single individual who you are absolutely certain would be fascinated in your piloting license or passion for golf. Even then, be careful; you never know where your résumé will be passed. However, if you are certain that your personal information will help you to break the ice and build rapport, you may have a valid reason for including it.

Copyright © 2007-2008, Michelle Dumas. All rights reserved. www.DistinctiveDocuments.com  www.100kCareerMarketing.com

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