Resume Suggestions

Collins & Associates strives to provide the highest level of service possible to our clients by matching them with professionals who meet their strict qualifications, needs and desires.

Having been in the recruiting industry since 1984, we have developed a highly effective system that works exceptionally well, to help our candidates find positions. Since a resume is such a brief picture of your skills and experience, it is essential that the most important information be seen by a potential employer.

In order that we may provide a better level of service to you, we are forwarding you a list of Resume Suggestions that have worked for our candidates in the past. Feel free to utilize any of the suggestions we have provided. Clearly these ideas and the accompanying resume sample items are not to be used verbatim, but as a guide for creating your resume. Please be assured that your resume, or any other information you supply to us, will be held in the strictest confidence. Your information will never leave our office without your knowledge and approval.

1. Don't Make Your Objective Statement Too Flowery Or Too General.

Many candidates lose their readers in the beginning. Statements like "A challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement" are overused, too general and waste valuable space. If you're on a career track, replace the objective with a tagline stating what you do or your expertise.

You might choose to include a summary section instead that makes an initial hard sell.

Candidates who have done their homework will know the skills and competencies important to the position. The summary should demonstrate the skill level and experiences directly related to the position being sought.

To create a high-impact summary statement, peruse job openings to determine what's important to employers. Next, write a list of your matching skills, experience and education. Incorporate these points into your summary

2. Don't Be Too Focused On Job Duties.

Your resume should not be a boring listing of job duties and responsibilities. Explain your accomplishments and how you achieved them, providing specific examples. When developing your achievements, ask yourself:

How did you perform the job better than others?
What were the problems or challenges faced?
How did you overcome them?
What were the results?
How did the company benefit from your performance?
Did you receive any awards, special recognition or promotions as a result?

The answers to these questions are best laid out as bullet points rather than long paragraphs for easier reading. You don't want to bury important information in the resume.

3. Make Sure the Information You Include Is Accurate And Complete.

Candidates often get caught up in selling their accomplishments and neglect to state the industry and /or product they are skilled in. Be sure that this is clearly stated if it is not readily apparent.

Double check to ensure previous employment information is listed clearly and is complete and accurate, including dates and locations. Do not put any misleading statements on your resume, especially regarding education, employment dates and position titles. Most employers check this information.

Always check to make sure you have your correct address, telephone number and e-mail address on your resume. One transposed number can cost you the interview.

4. Resume Length And Format.

Many people try to squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they've heard resumes shouldn't be longer. By doing this, job seekers may delete impressive achievements. There are also candidates who ramble on about irrelevant or redundant experiences. There is no rule about appropriate resume length.

When writing your resume, ask yourself, "Will this statement help me land an interview?" Every word should sell you; so only include information that elicits a "yes."

Remember that most resumes are e-mailed as Word documents. Unless the employer specifically requests otherwise, they should not be sent as anything else including PDF, ZIP, web pages, faxes and mail. Don't use too much formatting, (boxes, templates, tables, headers and footers, etc.), as they don't translate into most database programs.

Make sure that the font type being used is a business standard (i.e., Times New Roman or Arial) and your resume style is professional.

5. Don't Use Personal Pronouns And Articles.

A resume is a form of business communication, so it should be concise and written in a telegraphic style. There should be no mentions of "I" or "me," and only minimal use of articles.

For example: I developed a new product that added $2 million in sales and increased the market segment's gross margin by 12 percent, should be changed to: Developed new product that added $2 million in sales and increased market segment's gross margin by 12 percent.

6. Don't List Irrelevant Or Personal Information.

Many people include their interests, but they should only include those relating to the job. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski instructor, he should list cross-country skiing as a hobby.

Personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight, normally should not be on the resume unless you're an entertainment professional or a job seeker outside the US.

You should not attach pictures, graphics or URL links unless they directly relate to the position you are applying for (i.e., Web Designer, Graphic Artist). Also, make sure that the e-mail address you are using reads professionally.

7. Don't Use a Functional Resume When You Have a Good Career History.

It is irksome for hiring managers not to see the career progression and the impact made at each position. Unless you have a unique situation, such as virtually no work history or excessive job-hopping, avoid the functional format.

The modified chronological format is often the most effective. Here's the basic layout:

Header (name, address, email address, phone number)
Lead with a strong summary (see item #2) detailing the scope of your experience and areas of proficiency
Reverse chronological employment history emphasizing achievements in the past 10 to 15 years.
Education (New grads may put this at the top.)

8. Always Include Keywords.

With so many companies using technology to store resumes, the only hope a job seeker has of being found is to include relevant keywords sprinkled throughout the resume. Determine keywords by reading job descriptions that interest you and include them in your resume, as well as industry keywords that show your skills and relate to specific experiences and job duties. Don't, however, include a "keywords section".

9. Don't Use the Phrase "References Available".

Employers know you have professional references.

When you begin your job search, make sure your references are up to date and that they are aware you are searching. An outdated phone number or a reference that won't return phone calls does not leave a positive impression on a busy potential employer.

10. Correct Your Typos.

One typographical or grammatical error can land your resume in the garbage. Do more than simply run a spell-check tool. Proofread and show your resume to several friends to have them proofread it as well. This document is a reflection of you and your written communications skills; it should be perfect.

Resume Suggestions Document
Resume Template Document

Grand Rapids ph:616-977-5726 fax:616-977-5728 Kalamazoo ph:269-372-4300 fax:269-372-3921