Resurrecting the Perfect Resume, Part Two

Are you in denial about the lifelessness of your resume? If you are reasonably qualified for the type of work you seek, yet your resume is consistently failing to win you interviews, then you need to face the reality that your beloved document is dead. Try these professional resume writing techniques to resurrect your resume and your job search today:

Problem #3: Resume Is Blind

In your eagerness to cut your job search work load have you reduced your objective statement to something grandiose and vague, something that you hope speaks to every employer but which, in fact, communicates to none? A resume with no focus is blind; without a clear focus in your resume an employer cannot perceive what you’re offering them; without a concisely stated vision in your resume an employer cannot grasp the big picture of how you fit into their organization. Solution#3: Give Your Resume Vision So Employers Can See You

Craft a creative career summary statement. A career summary statement is just that – a summary or profile of your career to date. Remember that your “career” includes all the paid and unpaid things you’ve done and that even if you don’t value this experience, an employer will. Claim your career focus in your summary, then in 2-3 sentences profile your most relevant skills and experience.
Describe your creative gifts in terms that relate to the employer’s needs. Whatever your specific creative gifts (and you do have them), describe them in the body of your resume. Use adjectives and nouns to describe yourself in your summary, mini job descriptions or success stories.
Match your resume’s layout, font style, graphics and paper to your career goal. If you are seeking work in a conservative industry like banking or insurance, then choose a traditional layout, a formal-looking font, few graphics and conservative white, beige or gray paper.
If you are looking for work in a highly creative industry like advertising or graphic arts, then choose a creative or functional resume layout, an unusual but readable font, creative graphics and expressive textured paper, perhaps with a colorful border around the edge.
How do you know what is right for you and your preferred industry? Conduct informational interviews with hiring professionals in that field and ask them what fits and what does not.
Use your resume to hint at your responses to interview questions. If you’re like most job seekers, you hate having to prepare answers for interviewing questions. A resume acts like a template for your interviews, so if you consider the typical questions you will be asked and succinctly weave bits of your responses into your resumes, you will be leading the interviewer in the direction you choose.
Use your resume’s content to design a powerful cover letter to match. Do not send resumes without cover letters! Do not take shortcuts with cover letters! Do not send the same generic cover letter to every employer you contact! Doing so will guarantee you failure. If you prefer success you will have to work for it, but it will pay off.
Select the 3-5 most critical points you made in your resume and restate them in the second paragraph of your personalized cover letter. Weave some of the same adjectives and nouns you used in your resume into your cover letter.
Problem #4: Resume Has No Personality One of the greatest weaknesses of most resumes is an almost total lack of personality. You are selling you, not a piece of wood! Nothing adds life to a lifeless document like uniqueness, so talk about yours. Solution #4: Give Your Resume Personality To Attract Employers To You
Draw attention to your uniqueness. Consider carefully the 5-7 adjectives or descriptive phrases that best describe you, your qualifications, your values and your personality and weave them into your career summary, your success stories and your cover letter.
Take those same 5-7 adjectives and identify other words that mean the same thing. Use your second set of adjectives and phrases and use them to describe yourself in interviews.
Express who you really are, not who you think you should be. Select graphics, font style and paper that express your essence as well as they match the industry you hope to join. Know what makes you you and describe it in writing for your resume/cover letter and express it verbally for interviews.
Stress your people skills. Interpersonal skills are critical for many jobs; possessing them can be your ticket to great opportunities, but you must a.) honestly possess them; b.) know how/when to use them; c.) be willing to learn what you don’t know; and d.) be prepared to demonstrate your skills in your resumes, cover letters and interviews.
Be personal and warm rather than impersonal and objective. There is a difference between being personal and intimate in writing and conversation; strive for the former, yet avoid the latter.
Read company literature and web sites and quote their own words back to them as you use their words to demonstrate the match between you. Use quotes from other sources as appropriate.
Be quotable. Let your research show: Let your reader know that you know something about their organization and its needs.
Consider your personal style as a job seeker and as a professional. Do you know that how you job search conveys to an employer how you will perform on the job?
Reflect on your personality and work-related values and design a job search and work style that expresses them. Make sure all your written materials, thank you letters included, convey that style.
Dead resumes create lifeless results! Work is too important in life to allow your search for it to drain you. Resurrect your resume with these simple solutions and you will revitalize your job search and your work life.

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Writing A Federal Resume

Applying for a federal job may seem a bit intimidating, due to the long list of special requirements regarding your application. One of the requirements is a resume in a certain format, known as a federal resume.

What is a Federal Resume?

A federal resume is simply a resume that is formatted to meet the needs of federal job openings. When applying for a federal job, more information is required than when applying for a job in the private sector. The federal resume is formatted in such a way as to highlight this specialized information.

Pre-printed application forms are also sometimes used when applying for a federal job. Although the SF-171 is generally considered an outdated form, some employers may still request it. The most commonly used form is the OF-612. A federal resume contains all of the same information as these forms, but presents your application in a more attractive format and allows you more freedom to articulate your skills. Be sure to read the job vacancy announcement carefully, as it may specify which format applicants are to use.

Federal resumes are formatted chronologically, with the most recent instances given first. Whenever possible, the wording in your resume should reflect the wording in the job announcement. Due to the specific information required when applying for a federal job, a federal resume is longer and more detailed than a basic resume, covering up to the past ten years and achieving as many as five pages in length.

Seven Subjects Your Federal Resume Must Cover

One of the major differences between a federal resume and a resume written for a job opening in the private sector is that the formatting of the latter is extremely flexible, allowing whole sections to be added or left out. When applying for a federal job, however, a resume must contain specific information if the applicant is to be considered for the job. A resume that lacks the required information or formatting will be automatically disqualified.

Personal Information

Just like a regular resume, a federal resume lists the applicant’s personal information at the top of the first page. Both day and evening contact numbers should be included, as well as your name and address.

In addition to the typical contact information, however, a federal resume requires more specific information, such as your social security number and your country of citizenship. If you have been honorably discharged from the military, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference, which should be listed next. Finally, the federal resume must contain information on your federal status, such as the highest federal civilian grade you have held, and your reinstatement eligibility.

Job Information

Below your personal information, the federal resume must list identifying information about the job you are applying for, including the title, series, grade, and job announcement number.

Summary of Experience

The first section of the federal resume summarizes your experience. This is your chance to be a little creative and make your application stand out from all the others. How you summarize your experience can impact how the employer interprets the rest of your resume, so choose your words carefully!

Professional Accomplishments

The next section of the federal resume lists the positions you have held chronologically, with the most recent listed first. Just as in other sections, the federal resume requires more details about previously held positions than a basic resume. In addition to the information you would provide in a regular resume – such as the employer’s name (in bold), address, position, and dates the position was held – each entry will need to include your supervisor’s name and contact information, whether you consent to your supervisor being contacted, your salary at the position, and the average number of hours you worked each week.

After this information, a federal resume should follow with a brief summary of the job, followed by the duties you performed at the position. For each position, an employer expects to see between four and eight duties listed in a bulleted format, with each bullet being approximately four to six lines long. Due to these expectations of length, the Professional Accomplishments section of a federal resume is considerably longer than the corresponding section in a basic resume.


The education section of a federal resume should list your degrees in chronological order, with the most recent appearing first. Each listing should contain the year the degree was received, the type of degree, the name of the school, and the city, state, and zip code where the school is located. Read the job announcement carefully to determine if you should include your college transcript with your application package.


As in previous sections, training programs you have undergone should be listed in chronological order, with the most recent appearing first. Include the year you completed the program and the program title, as well as any additional information – such as the school’s name and hours completed – you can provide.

Other Qualifications

The format for a federal resume allows the applicant to include additional sections in order to list other qualifications he or she might have. If you include any of the following sections, remember to organize the qualifications in each section in chronological order, with the most recent listed first.

Awards – Include the year and a brief description of each professional award you have received.
Certifications – Include the year and a brief description of each certification or license that you currently hold. Do not list expired certifications or licenses.
Publications – List the publications you have contributed to, using a standard bibliography format such as MLA.
Presentations – List the title of each presentation you have contributed to, who you made the presentation to, where the presentation was made, and the year it was made.
Putting Together the Federal Application
As you can see, writing a federal resume is more time-consuming than it is difficult, as it generally requires that you add more detail to every section of your resume. However, the finished result is well worth the extra effort, as it is much more attractive – not to mention a much more professional representation of yourself – than simply filling out a federal application form.

As you put together your federal application, you may have some questions about whether you need to use a federal application form or a federal resume, or what KSA statements to include with your application. Thoroughly reading and reviewing the job announcement will allow you to tailor your application to the requirements and job description, ensuring that your application meets the employer’s needs and increasing your chances of being selected for the position.

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What You Need To Know About Cover Letters And Resumes

Before an applicant can be considered for a job interview, the individual must first submit a cover letter and resume to the prospective company. Writing this letter and a resume is a critical life long skill that must be developed over time.

Cover Letter

It is the first page of a resume. As the name suggests, it is a brief introduction of oneself. A balance between personal and professional content is the key to a well-composed cover letter. It is recommended that it does not exceed more than one page or 4 paragraphs. It is crucial to keep in mind that a recruiter may go through hundreds of resumes on a daily basis. Therefore, keeping the content short, simple and direct is the best way to go about writing it.


A resume starts where a cover letter ends. The content found in a resume is a detailed description of an individual’s work experience, educational background, academic achievements, extracurricular activities and awards (if applicable). While it is important to be as detailed as possible, many people make the mistake of writing a lengthy resume. Regardless of the amount of work experience, a resume should only be 2-3 pages long. It is vital to keep the most important information such as contact and work experience in the first page. Other details such as skills and seminars, which support your credibility as a possible employee, should be placed in the last page.


Both documents are submitted together for a reason. A recruiter should be able to read through your cover letter and fill in the missing gaps of information with the details from your resume. This is one way a recruiter will be able to spot inconsistency.

Side by side, a cover letter and resume should fit together seamlessly. In order to achieve this, one must avoid repeating details that can found in both documents. Next, write the contents of the cover letter in chronological order, similar to a timeline. This is the same order your resume should be written. Start with the most current or latest work experience, followed by your employment prior to that and so on. This order should also be used for the other parts of the resume.

To conclude, it is essential to spend the same amount of time and effort when writing a cover letter and resume. Keep in mind this could be your only chance to make a significant first impression towards a potential employer.

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