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Career Coach Hosts Resume Workshop

Mar 30, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
By Jennifer Russo, Contributing Writer

As COVID continues to take its toll on the economy many people suddenly now find themselves looking for new work opportunities. Whether the result of job cuts or the desire to be employed by a company that is more flexible with work-from-home options, building or updating a resume that is noticeable has become critical.  

Deborah Raymond, owner of Career-Creations, with over 15 years of experience in career coaching and development, recently offered a virtual resume workshop to Bellingham residents as part of the Friends of the Library program. Her expertise in helping job seekers to create resumes that are thorough, readable and relevant was much appreciated by the group of attendees.

She began by emphasizing that the purpose of a resume is not to get you a job, but to get you the opportunity for an interview. She went over the types of resumes as well as the different format options and explained the differences between a chronological resume and a functional resume, which could be used for different purposes. She gave guidance on the “anatomy of a resume,” better known as the content that should be included.

A good resume should include your basic contact information and a job title or brief statement of what you do.  This replaces the objective statement many of us have become accustomed to leading with. For example, instead of saying something like “Engineer looking for a job to leverage my skills in…,” it may state simply “Technical Engineer.” The second piece is the professional profile, better known as a career summary or career highlight section. This is where you would detail major accomplishments, such as “Implemented an award-winning training program that was widely adopted by employees across the company” or “increased sales by 30%.” Then you would detail your unique skills. Deborah encouraged looking at the job description of the job one is applying for and looking for matches as well as including a mix of hard skills and soft skills in this section.

She gave some excellent tips on listing previous work experience, including making sure to use action items that are in the correct and consistent tense. If you are detailing what you do in a job you are still in, use present tense. If it is a past job, use past tense. Using third-person language and sentence fragments was also recommended. She also detailed what is known as the PAR model, where for each bullet you would include a problem that existed, the action you took, and the result of that action.  She emphasized the importance of using quantifying details and showing how your efforts benefited the company. Work experience should be listed from most recent first, and all bullets under that should be listed according to relevance for the job you are applying for. Additionally, anything that is more than 15 years old or not relevant should be removed.

Following this section should be an Education section, with the most recent degree or certificate listed first. Deborah also highlighted that it would be best not to include dates if the accreditation was achieved 10-15 years ago; the focus should be on skills and not age. After this section, she recommended including any volunteer work, board memberships or special interests outside of work, since these things may spark a connection or icebreaker with a potential employer.

Also very important is that aside from the actual content, resumes almost always go through some kind of Human Resources software, which filters out resumes that don’t seem to match the job description. Also, if a resume is not formatted properly, there is a chance it will never be seen by the hiring manager.  It is important to follow certain guidelines, such as not using a template, not using tables, not including a header and footer, and refraining from text boxes. It is also important to use one font style throughout (Calibri or Cambia are preferred) in 10-11 size, and to spellcheck the document for any errors.

If interested in a personal career coaching session, Deborah can be reached at [email protected]

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