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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stop saying that! The top 10 things not to say on your resume! No, really!

We - resume writers - used to use the term "boilerplate" when it came to these adjectives and phrases people would pepper their resumes with. Trust me, hold the pepper. Boilerplate means "formulaic or hackneyed language". You could also say they're cliche, blasé, and or buzzwords. Don't tell me it's just your schtick. Stick your schtick, already. Your resume is not the place for these terms! It is best to 

let your achievements do the talking!

Example: don't say that you're a team player if you point out that in your list of achievements you were a team member in a really important project - it's obvious you were a team player or you wouldn't be mentioning it! There's on!

1. Hard working - Make a great resume, and anyone reading your resume will know that you are hard worker. Get good references, and they'll know you're a hard worker. Complete projects on time, mention the projects, tell 'em how you finished ahead of schedule, and - say it with me - they'll know you're a hard worker! 

 2. Self-starting - If you have been in a position in which you are basically a whole department or have supervised at least one other employee - even a part'-timer - you're a self starter. OR! If you handle projects regularly, and with little or no aid, you're a self starter...mention the projects and chuck the boilerplate terms! 

3. Team player - Don't say that you're a team player if you point out that in your list of achievements you were a team member in a really important project - it's obvious you were a team player or you wouldn't be mentioning it! 

4. Highly qualified - Mention your qualifications, even inflate them a bit, we all do it - and they'll know you are qualified. Or, even better, how about applying for a job you're qualified for, with the right list of qualifications, and then, you guessed it, they'll know you are highly qualified! By the way, don't just mention your qualifications - qualify them by listing your greatest achievements! 

5. Dynamic - Show how you're dynamic - for example, you handled many different aspects of a tough project, coordinating performers, caterers, logistics, etc. See how dynamic you were?!

6. Problem solver - Show how you solved problems over the years in your work or your volunteerism. 

7. Reliable - Leave it up to your references to illustrate how reliable you are. What is more, if you finish projects on time or ahead or time - guess what? - you're reliable!

8. Familiar with... - Say instead 'how' familiar you are with a software package, or a process. List years used and in what capacity. For example, if you've been a computer user since you were 8, it doesn't really count until you use a computer for work. Thus, say something like, expert computer user, 8 yrs professional computer use. I'm familiar with tae kwan do after watching some vids on it, but I can't really do it.

9. Flexible - Ok, yoga-tard, show how you were flexible, or actually be flexible and let your references do the talking. Flexibility on your resume can be illustrated thus: Handled large scale project while also completing regular duties, and met all deadline. 

10. People person - If you've been in customer service since you graduated high school, you're probably a people person. If people skills are needed for the job you are applying for, highlight some good examples: handled customer complaints; increased staff morale with Holy Smoke It's Friday in-house program; stuff like that.  Seeing "people person" on a resume makes me gag, then laugh, then gag again...sorry, but it's true.

Overall, boilerplate lines have been overdone - so stop doing it - you'll make more space for the things that matter. You've only got so much space to shine, so let's focus on the best you have to offer and can the canned terms!

Now...wanna see some great Resume and CV samples?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Free Writing Help!

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to write a great Personal Essay

A Personal Essay, sometimes called a Letter of Intent, Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement or Autobiographical Statement, are typically around 300-600 words, depending upon the level of education you are applying for. Pay close attention to school requirements! These essays are highly necessary as they provide a glimpse into your life. Oftentimes a Cover Letter is needed, too, describing the essay you are sending and provide any other information that indicates why you are qualified for the school/program you are applying for. Be sure to include your e-mail address and a day and evening phone number.

Formatting specifications

These are essential!

- 1" margin on all sides
- Put your name, address, phone number, e-mail and other particulars, single-spaced in the upper-left-hand corner
- The rest of your cover letter and statement need to be double-spaced
- Do not indent paragraphs! This is basically a business letter!
- On the 2nd page, use a "slug", which is usually your last name in the top-left-hand corner; no need to number your pages, though
- If you mention people's names in the letter, verify they still work at the places you are referencing!
- Just because your statement is personal, doesn't mean it shouldn't be accurate! Be careful! You just might get interviewed/caught!
- Don't fax or e-mail your statement unless you have permission from the school or if the guidelines say that it is acceptable

Sunday, March 10, 2013

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