Archive for the ‘Resumes/CVs’ Category

Current Employment Trends

Monday, August 27th, 2007

There was an interesting piece on Good Morning America today, also online as Which Job Search Trends Help, and Which Ones Hurt?”. Since I basically agree with what they said, I thought I”d point it out. 😉

Video Resumes, while trendy, are an idea whose time is not yet here. They are exceptionally hard to do well, as the tons of poor quality videos on YouTube proves. Furthermore, they open a company to charges of selecting applicants based on looks, race, etc. instead of qualifications. Unless you are applying in a field where presenting yourself well on video is a key part of the job, you’re much better off focusing on qualifications and a traditional paper resume.

From the other side, videos produced by companies to recruit people are a much better idea. Companies can generally afford high quality productions that really let candidates see what it’s like to work there, and attract the type of people they want to hire. Candidates can make a much more informed decision before applying, and go into the interview really knowing what they’re going to get into.

The article also discusses several other ways to stand out – using odd sized business cards, printing your resume on strange paper, sending gifts to recruiters, etc. In most cases, these are a bad idea. Yes, you may be remembered, but not how you would like to be remembered. You want to impress a potential employer with your qualifications and professionalism, not some odd gimick. Spend your time instead figuring out what you do well, what you really want to do, and where will let you do that. It will take the same amount of time as thinking up trendy gimicks, but you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Tips for Cover Letters

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

There are few hard and fast rules about writing resumes, but one rul is you always send a cover letter with the resume. The cover letter is where you point out how perfectly your qualifications match their needs. The only purpose of the cover letter is to get the hiring manager to read your resume.

Barbara Safani has some great Tips on Cover Letters that can help you get yours noticed. While implementing all of them may be a bit much for a scientific position, several of them are right on the mark.

Career Prospectus – A Forward-Looking Document

Friday, April 27th, 2007

I received an interesting document the other day – a career prospectus.

The prospectus listed the objective of this person’s job search, qualifications, personal attributes – all things that might be found on a resume. However, it also included attributes of target companies, geographical preferences, contacts needed (job titles), and industries and companies of possible interest.

Knowing exactly what he was looking for made it much easier to help him, and I was able to provide him with multiple leads. I’m sure writing it also helped him focus his search, and figure out what he was really looking for. As he said, a resume is a backward looking document, and at this point he needs to be looking forward.

Something to think about as you plan your own career transition…..

Publication List

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Everyone knows they should include a list of their publications and presentations as part of their resume, or as an addendum if it’s too long, right? The 3rd edition of the ACS Style Guide was just published, and includes proper formats for citing such references. If you don’t have a copy of this excellent resource,
Nan Butkovich of Penn State University has published a Quick Guide to Citations Using the 3rd Edition of the ACS Style Guide. Quite handy!

On Being a Perfect Match

Monday, February 26th, 2007

You’ve often heard that just sending your resume in to a big company through their online job site is a waste of time, right? Well, here’s proof. reports on a study where researchers took a job opening and wrote 100 resumes specifically for that position. They then added 10% more information, and submitted them. Only 12% were picked up by the system as qualified.

Therefore, even if you are perfect for an advertised job, and your perfect resume shows that, there is still a greater than 90% chance that their automated system will NOT select your resume for further consideration.

Applying online

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

I talk to a lot of job seekers. When I ask how their job search is going, they tell me about all the online boards they have been submitting their resume to. Very few of them are researching companies, talking to people, or doing anything more than pressing “Submit”.


Jim Durbin, a recruiter and consultant here in St Louis wrote a great article called Are you really going to apply online? that explains better than I could what really happens when you submit your resume to one of these job boards. Well worth reading!

How to write a perfect resume – Don’t!

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Dave Jensen just published an interesting article entitled Resume Rocket Science that talks about why you shouldn’t bother to write a perfect resume, based on his interviews with hiring managers, recruiters, and more in January 2007. Some of the tidbits I found interesting:

For someone leaving a post-doc and going into industry, 3 pages (including publications) is about right.
Some companies can’t contact you at work, so include your home contact information.
A summary of your qualifications is preferable to an objective statement describing what you want.

And of course my favorite point, that you can get by with a non-perfect resume if you do a lot of networking, but a “perfect” resume and no networking will most likely leave you unemployed.

I sent in a resume – now what?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Very often, job seekers send a resume to a company and never hear back. To them, it apears to have gone into a black hole. In the ideal situation, the candidate will have made contact with the hiring manager before sending the resume, and can contact them after sending it to follow up on the status of their application. If not, and you have sent the resume through normal channels, use the opportunity to find out who’s in charge of that area, then call and tell them you have applied through normal channels, but are very interested in the position and would love to discuss their needs and your qualifications.

Calling early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, and you are more likely to find them in and answering their own phone.

For more tips, see How to Follow Up With a Hiring Manager .

Returning to Traditional Employment

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

For those who have been in a nontraditional career, especially running their own business, it can be hard to return to the corporate world. A recent article in the Wall Stree Journal gives good advice on Returning to the Corporate Fold After a Stint As Your Own Boss.

When is Job Security a bad thing?

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

When you start looking for a new position, and have had only one employer – this is seen as a lack of breadth by many employers. What can you do?

Five Tips for Resumes When You Can List Only One Employer (Wall Street Journal article)