source url Resume Writing Tips 

The overall purpose of your resume is to highlight your accomplishments and qualifications to a potential employer. You want your resume to paint a clear picture of how your unique skill-set can benefit their company and the particular position you are interested in. 

No matter how well written and organized it is, a resume will not get you a job by itself. However, a well-crafted resume will attract the attention of the hiring manager and give you a clear advantage when vying for a phone or in-person interview. To help you along the way, we've included a few guidelines to use as you write or update your technical resume. 

go site Structure your resume for impact and clarity. 

Your resume will serve as a potential employer's first example of your communication and organizational skills. For this reason, the information you present must be logically structured and clearly written. One of the most common and acceptable ways to organize a technical resume is as follows: 

source url 1. Name and Contact Information: This information, which includes your full name, address, phone number and email address, should be centered in bold type at the top of the first page. 

2. Objective: This is a brief statement about how you could use your skills to successfully fulfill the roles and responsibilities related to the job. 

3. Skills Summary: This brief summary area is used to catch the eye of a potential employer. It highlights important experiences and areas of expertise (i.e. hardware, software, languages, databases, operating systems, web tools, etc.) from your current and past jobs. List only areas you are proficient in, and leave out tools/environments you do not want to continue working in. 

follow site 4. Employment History: Starting with the most recent, this section describes work experiences from the past 15 years. It should include the dates of employment, the job title, company name and brief, bulleted descriptions of your role and responsibilities for each job included. 

5. Education and Certifications: This section includes the name, city and state of all colleges, universities and technical institutions you've attended, your degree, certification or field of study and your grade point average (if applicable). You can also include any training courses, seminars and workshops you've completed in this section. 6. Achievements: This section should contain a short list of achievements and awards related to your career and education. 

Even if you list your technical skills in a summary section, research has shown that hiring managers for technical positions want to know which skills you used for each job you've had. Make sure to include that specific information in your Employment History. 

If you worked in a temporary or contract positions, note that in your Employment History to avoid the impression that you change jobs relatively quickly. 

follow Keep it concise. 

Employers have lots to do, so don't make the mistake of asking them to read through an unnecessarily long resume. A long, wordy resume will put off someone who is already short on time. Resumes should be one page, if possible, and two if absolutely necessary to describe relevant work experience. A two-page resume is no advantage if it's full of information that isn't reasonably applicable to the position you're applying for. Use the space only if you need it to fully disclose your accomplishments. 

go to site Choose your words carefully. 

Your use of language is extremely important; you need to sell yourself to an employer quickly and efficiently. Address your potential employer's needs with a clearly written, compelling resume. 

  • Avoid large paragraphs (over six or seven lines) as resumes are often scanned by hiring managers. If you provide small, digestible pieces of information, you stand a better chance of having your resume actually read.
  • Use action verbs such as "developed," "managed" and "designed" to emphasize your accomplishments.
  • Don't use declarative sentences like "I developed the..." or "I assisted in..."; leave out the "I."
  • Avoid passive constructions, such as "was responsible for managing." It's not only more efficient to say "Managed," it's stronger and more active.

Make the most of your experience. 

Potential employers need to know what you have accomplished to have an idea of what you can do for them. 

  • Don't be vague. Describe things that can be measured objectively. Telling someone that you "improved warehouse efficiency" doesn't say much. Telling them that you "cut requisition costs by 20%, saving the company $3800 for the fiscal year" does. Employers will feel more comfortable hiring you if they can verify your accomplishments.
  • Be honest. There is a difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. A falsified resume can be easily spotted by an employer (if not immediately, then during the interview process). If it doesn't prevent you from getting the job, it can cost you the job later on.

Don't neglect appearance. 

Your resume is the first impression you'll make on a potential employer, and a successful resume depends on more than what you say. Before you finalize your resume, make sure you: 

  • Check it for proper grammar and correct spelling evidence of good communication skills and attention to detail. Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than submitting a resume filled with easily preventable mistakes.
  • Make your resume is easy on the eyes. Use normal margins (1" on the top and bottom, 1.25" on the sides) and don't cram your text onto the page. Allow for some breathing room between the different sections. Avoid unusual or exotic font styles; use simple fonts with a professional look.


Tuesday, 09 August 2011 23:36

Recruit the Right Blend of Talent

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Recruit the Right Blend of Talent by Peter Weddle
Victory in the War for Talent is generally defined as the recruitment of more "A" level performers than the competition. Organizations that employ the lion's share of such individuals have higher levels of productivity and innovation and greater sales and profits than do other organizations. Or, do they?

Research suggests that there are actually two kinds of superior performers:

  • The "A" level person is the best he or she can be in their profession, craft or trade. They are motivated by the external recognition and rewards that come from their outsized contribution to an organization.
  • The "B" level person is every bit as good a performer as the "A' level person, but he or she is motivated by what one writer called "mental chocolate" - the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from doing a job well.

    Historically, organizations have chased the "A" level performer and put up with their sometimes less than collegial behavior because they were thought to be the sole key to organizational success. Today, however, employers are finding that a blend of "A" and "B" level performers provides the best (and most durable) results.

    How do you recruit such a blend?

    Focus on what they have in common. As different as they are, both "A" and "B" level performers have one very important similarity. Neither thinks of him or herself as a job seeker. Ever. Even when they are actively in transition, they see themselves engaged in a search for something other than a job. What they want - what is most likely to motivate a response whenever they are contacted by a recruiter - is a career advancement opportunity.

    The Career Advancement Value Proposition

    From an "A" and "B" level performer's perspective, a career advancement opportunity has several critical elements. It is a position that will:

  • challenge them to test the limits of their skills and knowledge;
  • allow them to gain expertise and experience they value;
  • enable them to achieve continued success in work they find meaningful;
  • expose them to peers who will encourage and support their best work;
  • employ them in an organization that will respect and reward their contribution.

    While a career advancement opportunity can be described in the conventional terminology of job postings, doing so places an organization at a significant disadvantage in the competition for top talent. Let's face it, requirements and responsibilities are words only an employer could love. Worse, they force prospects to translate the employer's information into terms that have meaning and importance for them. And, frankly, a lot of "A" and "B" level performers simply can't be bothered; they have too many other opportunities being offered to them by other recruiters.

    A better way to communicate the value proposition of a career advancement opportunity, therefore, is to address the five questions every "A" and "B" level performer wants answered about an opening.

    Those questions are:

  • What will I get to do?
  • What will I get to learn?
  • What will I get to accomplish?
  • Whom will I get to work with?
  • How will I be recognized and rewarded for my work?

    Whether you're posting on a job board or a social media site, on your own corporate career site or in a print publication, the key to success is to describe your openings as career advancement opportunities. Provide the information that "A" and "B" level performers want to know, and you'll recruit the blend of talent your organization needs to succeed.

    Thanks for reading,
    Peter Weddle
    Visit me at

    P.S. Please tell your coworkers and friends about WEDDLE's Newsletter. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.

Tuesday, 09 August 2011 23:19

Red Shirt Relationships

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Red Shirt Relationships by Peter Weddle

The art of social recruiting involves the development of two kinds of candidate relationships. The first - blink relationships - establish trust and familiarity in the blink of an eye. They are the foundation for success in filling current openings. (They were discussed in an earlier column.) The second - red shirt relationships - build trust and familiarity more slowly. They are the key to establishing an effective pipeline of talent for an organization's future openings.

We typically source dozens and sometimes hundreds of prospects to fill a single job. Many of those who aren't selected for the position would be excellent candidates for later openings. For others, the timing or opportunity wasn't right, but at some point, it could conceivably be. Rather than sever these connections and waste the effort that was invested in creating them, a growing number of employers are now leveraging them into enduring relationships.

The term of art for this activity, of course, is the formation of a talent pipeline. There is, however, considerable misunderstanding about just what that phrase means. A pipeline is not a warmed over resume database. It is also not the archive of candidate communications in an applicant tracking system. A talent pipeline is a network of prequalified candidates who feel an affinity for a specific employer.

Such pipelines are notoriously hard to sustain. Estimates of candidate attrition from pipelines range from 25 to more than 50 percent annually. When that kind of seepage happens, what you have isn't a pipeline at all. It's a talent hose, and the workforce you're watering is your competitor's.

Why is pipeline attrition such a problem? Because the affinity candidates feel for an employer is insufficient or missing altogether. They don't know enough about the employer to be interested or they don't believe the employer will respect and support them or both.

Red shirt relationships are the single best way to overcome this lack of familiarity and trust. In sports, a red shirt player is one who is part of a team, but not yet actively participating with it in competition. In other words, they are talent in waiting.

Similarly, red shirt relationships encourage candidates to:

  • see themselves as a member of an employer's select team - they aren't employees, but they are regarded and treated as valued prospects; and

  • believe they can advance their career by working for the employer - the right opportunity may not yet have arrived, but the possibility that it will is real.

These relationships optimize the effectiveness of a talent pipeline. They draw candidates in by promoting viral marketing among those already in the pipeline, and they retain the allegiance of those candidates by providing a uniquely engaging experience. As a result, they give an employer a strong bench of talent, and that cuts both the cost and time to fill its openings.

The Best Practices of Red Shirt Relationship Building

The key to any relationship is good communication. In the case of red shirt relationships, this communication is achieved by messaging like a mentor. To build enduring familiarity and trust, you must be in contact with your pipeline regularly and in a way that signals your support for their success.

Regular communications must be frequent enough to ensure that candidates recognize your organization as a legitimate correspondent, but not so frequent as to be seen as spam. In today's overcrowded messaging environment, the optimum frequency seems to be biweekly. In addition, your communications should always arrive from the same address and always be laid out in the same format.

The content of these communications must acknowledge the different perspective of talent in red shirt relationships. Unlike active job seekers, they aren't searching for immediate employment, but are instead looking for ways to advance their career. While advancement may involve a job change at some point, it is more frequently the result of knowledge acquisition. For that reason, you should send three messages containing career-related information for every one message that describes a specific job opening.

What information are candidates most likely to consider helpful to their career advancement?

They want to know what it's like to work for your employer and what kind of people will be their peers. A career advancement opportunity is as much the result of the culture and values of an organization as it is about the job itself.

They want to learn as much as they can about their profession, craft or trade and the industry in which they work. Career advancement is possible only if they understand the true status of their field and the organizations for which they work.

Developing red shirt relationships - the foundation for an effective talent pipeline - is clearly not a trivial undertaking. It requires a considerable investment of time and effort and can't, therefore, simply be sandwiched into recruiters' already busy days. To be successful, begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself what resources you must commit in order to develop an enduring affinity with the talent that everybody else wants.

Thanks for reading,
Peter Weddle
Visit me at

P.S. Please tell your coworkers and friends about WEDDLE's Newsletter. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.

Bring More Than Your Lunch to Work

But, here's the rub. In today's constantly changing global economy, talent quickly grows out of date. Superior can become mediocre in the blink of an eye. So, employers not only want to hire talent, they want that talent to prove they will stay that way. Employers are looking for people who are committed to refreshing their capacity for excellence all of the time.

So, what should you do?

Reframe yourself as a "person of talent" by behaving that way. Show employers that you recognize both the power and the fragility of talent.

How? By taking the following four steps:

First, give yourself a candid personal performance review. Have you been performing at your peak on-the-job or have you been coasting? Is your resume filled with accomplishments and achievements or does it describe someone who does enough to get by and no more?

Second, pinpoint the gaps. Determine which of your skills and areas of knowledge are in need of upgrading. If you believe you're at the state-of-the-art in your field, look for ancillary skills and knowledge that would enable you to use your core expertise in a greater range of work situations.

Third, go back to school right now. Even as you're looking for a job. Enroll in a training program or academic course and get to work on upgrading your talent. Yes, that's an onerous undertaking when you're in transition, but think of it as an investment, a down payment on your future.

Fourth, strut your stuff. You're a person of talent but it's up to you to make sure employers understand that. Add your ongoing development to your resume so employers see you as someone who respects their talent and accepts personal responsibility for continuously refreshing it.

Many of us now find ourselves shackled by discouragement in today's unforgiving job market. Employers don't seem to recognize or value our abilities, leaving us unsure of how to break out of our situation. Happily, however, there is a way to escape our predicament, and we don't have to rely on the government or the global economy to pull it off.

Regardless of our line of work, we can reset ourselves as persons of talent. We can shuck off our second class status by practicing perfection. We can claim our right to first class treatment by being the best we can be. Admittedly, that's easier said than done, but the prospects for success are real. Why? Because every one of us has the latent power and promise of excellence within us. All we have to do is bring it to work with us every single day.

Thanks for reading,

Peter Weddle

© Copyright 2011 WEDDLE's LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Peter is a recruiter, HR consultant and business CEO turned author and commentator. He has authored or edited over two dozen employment-related books, including his latest, Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System. Peter's columns on recruitment and job search appear in the Wall Street Journal, The National Business Employment Weekly,, and many others. For more information, please visit his website.

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