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Tips for writing professional resumes.

What is Resume Strategy Planning?

What is resume strategy planning and is it really necessary? I mean, it’s easy enough to find free resume templates on the internet, and it’s easy to fill them in with your work history and educational background. So, that’s it, right? Your resume is done. You’ve written it yourself, there’s no need to consult a professional resume writer when doing it yourself is this simple. At first glance, it looks professional enough. Now it’s time to start sending it out.

Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass. You’ve sent out that resume to 100s of employers, applying to every job you are even remotely qualified for. Still nothing. No interviews. No job offers. Nothing.

So, what went wrong? Your resume strategy was lacking. Your only plan was to fill out a basic template you found for free online. This is the same strategy that thousands of other applicants also used. the end result is that you don’t stand out to a hiring manager. At all.

What is Resume Strategy Planning?Resume Strategy Planning

Resume strategy planning is the process of finding job postings you are interested in, determining whether or not you are qualified for those jobs, and then, if you’re highly qualified, tailoring your resume to set you apart as an ideal candidate. This involves much more than using a free resume template and filling it in. Like any piece of writing, your resume needs a strategy. Remember in elementary school when you were first learning how to write? Your teacher probably told you that your writing always needs to be focused. Sentences need to be complete thoughts, paragraphs need to focus on a main idea, essays need to have a consistent theme throughout, etc. Resume writing is no different.

When we work on writing resumes for our clients, we use a unique resume strategy planning process that ensures your resume sets you apart from other job candidates. A resume strategy helps us focus your resume on the specific job you are most interested in and best qualified for. How do we do this? Before we begin writing, we ask questions about your work history. Not basic questions, but questions that will help us understand in-depth details about what you have done and how your past experience relates to the job you are currently seeking. The questions we ask help us quantify what you have done so that it makes a strong impression on hiring managers. We ask questions about things you might not have even realized are relevant to your current job search.

Why is Resume Strategy Planning Important?

When you skip the strategy planning process, you end up with a generic, often boring and unimpressive resume. Hiring managers only interview the candidates that most closely fit the requirements they are looking for. Going through the planning process before writing your resume helps identify all of your experience and accomplishments that are going to stand out the most to the person hiring for the job that you want.

Do All Professional Resume Writing Companies Do This?

No. Unfortunately, many don’t. Often, even professional resume companies don’t want to take the time to complete the resume strategy planning process before writing your resume. Spending more time working with the client means they ultimately make less money. It can be tempting to skip it, but when it is done properly, it can significantly reduce the time you spend searching for a new job and applying to jobs that aren’t even interested in calling you in for an interview.

If you’re ready for a resume that sets you apart from the competition, let us know, we’re ready to help!

Do I Really Need A Cover Letter?

One question that I am often asked is, “Do I really need a cover letter?” The question stems from the assumption that a cover letter isn’t going to be read, or that a resume covers all of the necessary information. The short answer to the question is: Yes, you need one.Cover Letter

Why Do I Need A Cover Letter?

Obviously, the follow-up question is: “Why?” Your resume clearly outlines your work history, highlights your relevant experience, and demonstrates the value you can bring to a potential employer. So, what more could a hiring manager want? What makes that additional document so important? Well, first of all, it shows that you are serious about wanting the job. It lets a hiring manager know that you want the job badly enough to write a letter that might not even be read. It demonstrates that you understand the importance of professionalism.

Part of making a good first impression is following established rules of etiquette, even if those rules seem antiquated. Submitting a cover letter with your resume is part of following those rules. So, it is necessary because it is expected. It also lets you connect with the hiring manager in a way that goes beyond the cut-and-dry format of your resume. It lets you present yourself as an actual human being, not just a “job candidate.”

You can use your cover letter to reiterate why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It gives you a chance to explain gaps in your employment, or make connections between your job history and your target job that might not be obvious. Ultimately, it can help set you apart from all of the other job candidates.

Cover Letter Best Practices

In order to make the most of your cover letter, there are some best practices to follow. First, make sure your cover letter is not too long. The ideal length depends on the job you are seeking, but always keep it under a page. If you are submitting it via email, send it as the body of the email, not as an attachment (attachment letters won’t be read). Don’t use a generic letter to apply to several jobs–customize it for each job posting. Personalize it when you can by including the name of the hiring manager. If you don’t have this information, call to get it unless the posting specifically says not to call.

If you need help creating an effective cover letter, let us help! Our resume packages all include a cover letter, or you can purchase one separately.

Military to Civilian Resume Writing: How to Overcome the Biggest Challenges

Creating an effective military to civilian resume is filled with a host of unique challenges. We can help. Here are some tips to help make sure your military to civilian resume will help you get a new job.military to civilian resume

Military to Civilian Resumes Need to Use Civilian Language

The military essentially has its own language. The same is true of civilian employers. So, if you want your resume to impress a civilian hiring manager, it needs to be written in a way that makes sense to them. Start by spelling out all acronyms (or, leaving them out altogether if possible). Try to think back to your days before joining the military. Remember all of the words and phrases that seemed confusing when you first joined? Leave them out of your resume.

Show Your Value

When you describe your experience, think about it in terms of the value you provided. There are some things that are valuable both in the military and civilian world. For instance, did you find a way to increase efficiency and cut costs? If so, make sure to highlight that because those are things that are valuable to civilian employers. Did you improve the effectiveness of a process or procedure? That’s valuable too. While the specific details of what you did might not translate well into civilian terms, the underlying value often does. So, make sure the focus is on that underlying value.

Find Common Ground

Military personnel, in general, often have a wealth of soft skills that are highly desirable to civilian companies. Strong work ethic, leadership skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure are all valuable traits. The trick is to show these on your resume rather than just listing them. Adding soft skills to a skills list or core competencies section is not recommended, but demonstrating them is. In your experience section, give clear examples of how you used these skills in your daily activities.

Resume writing can be overwhelming for anyone, and it can be especially daunting when trying to shift from a military career to a civilian one. At Loud Resumes, we have experience creating effective military to civilian resumes. We would love to help you make the transition as smooth as possible. We offer a 10% discount to all those who have served in the military (use discount code: Military2018). If you are a disabled/recently separated vet, contact us for an additional discount.

The Secret to Targeting Your Resume

At Loud Resumes, we create resumes that help you get more interviews and job offers, but how do we achieve that?

Targeting Your ResumeWe specifically target every part of your resume to the job you are seeking. Targeting your resume, along with making sure that your experience is value-based, and there are no grammatical errors or typos on your resume, results in you getting more interviews and offers. It sounds simple enough, but the process of targeting your resume is actually fairly complex. Here’s a breakdown of what the process looks like:

1. Targeting Your Resume by Analyzing the Job Posting

Before even thinking about starting the resume writing process, we analyze the job posting. We scour it for keywords and evaluate what is most important to this employer. What are they looking for in their ideal employee? Which skills and experience will impress them the most? What are their company values?

2. Evaluating Your Experience

After carefully analyzing the job posting to determine what the ideal candidate for this job looks like, we then evaluate your experience. We look at your job history to identify the experience that most closely matches what the company wants. We also note any education or special training that you have that will impress a hiring manager.

Once we have made our initial evaluation, we create a list of questions for you to answer to help us match your experience as closely as possible to the job posting. We also ask questions to help you identify any underlying value in things you have done in your previous positions. This step is crucial. We aren’t interested in just re-wording your previous resume for you, our goal is to elevate you to ideal candidate status for the job you are most interested in. This takes time and effort, but it is always worth it.

3. The Summary Statement

After gathering all of the preliminary information, it’s time to begin targeting your resume. The first thing a hiring manager sees at the top of your resume is the summary statement. This is the place to introduce yourself and highlight your most relevant skills and experience. The goal is to convince them in one short paragraph that you are someone they want to get to know better. We don’t use “fluff” or “filler,” but instead we focus on concrete “selling points” that make you stand out.

4. Core Competencies

The core competencies section gives the opportunity to list keywords found directly in the job posting. This helps your resume get through ATS scans and it makes it easy for a hiring manager to see that you have the key points they are looking for. We don’t just throw a list of keywords randomly onto your resume, but instead, target them to the position. This goes beyond just using the right words, we also focus on listing them in the most effective order possible.

5. Targeting Your Resume Experience

In the pre-writing process, we evaluated your experience and identified all of the value that you brought to your previous employers. Now it is time to show that experience in a way that positions you as an ideal candidate. Based on the job posting, we decide what order to list the bullet points under each position you have held. This allows us to make sure that a hiring manager sees the experience that is most important and impressive. It highlights the qualifications you have for this new position and shows your value as an employee.

Along with highlighting the most sought-after experience that you have, we also minimize anything that could hinder your chances of being interviewed. We eliminate as many reasons as possible for a hiring manager NOT to interview or hire you.

6. Education and Professional Development

This section of your resume might seem pretty straight-forward, and compared to some of the other sections, it is. But, sometimes it can be targeted towards a specific job posting. We take the time to clearly present your relevant credentials and training.

7. Technology Skills

Sometimes there are technical skills that are particularly sought after in the job posting. We make sure that, if you have those skills, they are clearly seen on your resume. We also make sure that irrelevant skills are removed. There is no need to take up valuable space on your resume with information that won’t help you get the job.

8. Professional Affiliations

Professional groups that you belong to can also help increase your appeal to a hiring manager, so we list your relevant affiliations next. Sometimes we include details about your specific activities in these groups if they bring added value that could help you get the job.

9. Volunteerism

Including a section on your resume to describe your volunteer activities is not always necessary, but if space allows, it can be valuable. If you have volunteer experience that is specifically related to the job you are seeking, then it is a good idea to include it. Unrelated volunteer experience can also be included to show the type of person you are.

10. Proofreading and Editing

The final step to create your resume is editing and proofreading. We go back and read what we have written, comparing it to the target job posting. When we read your resume, we should see a picture of that ideal candidate we described when we analyzed the job posting. We make sure that everything is targeted as closely as possible. This also gives us the opportunity to check for any grammatical or typing errors so that your resume is error-free.

Targeting Your ResumeThe final product is a resume that presents you as an ideal candidate for the exact job that the hiring manager is trying to fill. This makes you memorable and desirable. It makes the hiring manager want to meet you. This is how we get our clients more interviews and job offers. Your resume is more than just a history of your work experience, it is a chance for you to make a first impression on a hiring manager who is looking for someone just like you. Targeting your resume makes all the difference. Let us help you target your resume!

Why is it So Hard to Write a Resume?

Writing a resume doesn’t sound that hard. After all, you know your job better than anyone. You know how valuable you have been as an employee. You are confident in your skills and abilities. So, why is it so hard to write a resume?writing a resume

Bragging Doesn’t Always Come Naturally.

Even though you know you have always done a good job and been a valuable employee, it can be hard to convey that in your resume. Bragging has a negative connotation, so many people are reluctant to “brag” about themselves. It can help to not think of it as bragging. You aren’t trying to show how great you are while making other people feel bad about themselves. That attitude is generally at the heart of bragging, which is why the negative connotation exists. But, when describing your positive qualities on your resume, your goal isn’t to put others down. So, in this case, this type of “bragging” isn’t a bad thing. You are simply trying to show a hiring manager the value that you have brought to previous employers to demonstrate the value you can bring to a new company or organization. Don’t be afraid to clearly show your value.

Describing Work Experience Seems Boring.

You might feel like your job was not very exciting. It might seem hard to describe it in a way that anyone else would care about. Keep in mind that whatever your job duties were, someone was paying you to do them. This means that what you were doing was valuable to them. Describe your job duties in terms of the value it brought to the company. Did you work as a cashier? In doing so, you were building valuable customer relationships. Did you work in the IT department? Your job helped keep critical systems up and running so that the business could keep functioning. Were you a nurse? You provided quality patient care. Think about your job in terms of the value you brought and describe it in those terms. When you do this, your job (whatever it may have been) is no longer boring, but important.

When thinking about the value you brought, also think about the details of what you did. Adding details that help you show what you did in concrete terms makes your experience more interesting and more impressive. Don’t be vague. Ask yourself, “How much?” “How many?” “How often?” and write about your experience in those terms.

Writing Isn’t Easy.

Writing doesn’t come easy for everyone. Grammar rules are confusing. Spelling is hard (even with spellcheck!) and you feel like everything you write sounds terrible. If the only thing keeping you from being confident in writing a resume is your lack of writing abilities, ask for help. Have a friend or family member proofread your resume for you. This can help minimize the problems with the mechanics of your writing.

Does writing your own resume still sound like a difficult and daunting task? Let us help. Our professional resume writers know how to highlight your value as an employee and we have the writing prowess to make you sound like the perfect candidate. We have a resume package that is perfect for your needs.

Resume Return On Investment

What does return on investment have to do with your resume? Well, a lot actually. First, there is the expectation that your resume will do something for you. The time and effort (and money, if you use a professional resume service) spent on creating your resume needs to result in a new job. A new job that offers more satisfaction, or freedom, or money, is worth the investment. Return On Investment

You Are Asking A Hiring Manager to Invest In You

When hiring managers view resumes, they planning on investing in a new employee, and they are hoping for a high return on investment. After all, the company invests thousands of dollars into hiring a single new employee. Consider the cost of hiring for a moment. It goes way beyond the salary and benefits package. There is also the cost of recruiting which includes money spent on advertising the position and time spent on reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, drug screenings, background checks, and any pre-employment assessments that need to be completed.

And, that’s not all. After hiring someone, there are the costs of workplace integration to consider: a computer with all the necessary software installed on it, a company cell phone, travel costs, the office space where the employee will work, etc. Once a new employee is in place, it still often takes months for their productivity levels to be on par with the salary they are earning. A new employee typically has to work for a company more than six months for the company to break even on their investment.

Your Resume is a Selling Tool

Your resume is your chance to make a first impression with a hiring manager. In a matter of seconds, someone decides whether or not they want to meet you. With a single glance at that piece of paper, you either capture the attention needed to get your foot in the door, or you don’t. It’s that simple. The difference between getting an interview or not starts with a thin piece of paper.

That thin piece of paper has the power to speak volumes about you. It is your first chance to show that you are a low-risk, high-yielding investment opportunity. In six seconds or less, you need the hiring manager to want to meet you. With so much riding on your resume, spending money on a professionally written resume is worth it. Spending $300 to make sure your resumes says, “I’m the perfect person for this job!” yields a high return on investment.

Which resume package will you invest in?

5 Benefits of Hiring Professional Resume Writer

Professional Resume Writer

Hiring a professional resume writer might seem like a big expense, but the rewards are worth it (and, in many cases, it’s a tax write off).

Professional Resume Writers Write Resume For a Living

This might seem like a “no-brainer” kind of statement, but think about it for a moment. If you want someone to fix your pipes, you hire a plumber because that’s what they do for a living. The same thing goes when you want someone to prepare your taxes, or fix the wiring in your house. You hire a professional who has spent years learning how to do what they do, and who spends every day using those skills. You hire these people because they know more about their trade than you do.

In many cases, professional resume writers know more about writing resumes than most people. It is their business to know the current industry standards. They know which formats look professional and make it through applicant tracking system (ATS) scans. They know how to help you get hired faster.

So, let’s take a look at the benefits that these writers provide:

Job Search Expertise

Professional resume writers help you identify jobs that you are well-qualified related to your career interests. Many job seekers often take the approach of applying for “every job under the sun.” Casting a wide net may seem like a good idea, but, as with many things in life, quality matters more than quantity in your job search. The first step is to find the right job postings. It always helps to have someone with a fresh perspective look at your qualifications and compare them to your target job to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for failure by applying to jobs you are significantly under-qualified for.

Identifying Your Greatest Value

Resume writers help uncover your true value as an employee so that it can shine through on your resume. They go over your experience with a fine-toothed comb and ask probing questions about things you have done. This process helps identify your accomplishments, even when you’re not in an “accomplishment-driven” field like sales. Finding the key contributions you have made in your previous jobs makes it possible to highlight them properly on your resume.

Targeting Your Resume to the Job Description

Professional resume writers are masters at targeting your resume so that it is not overlooked by hiring managers. They help position you as a top candidate by highlighting your most relevant experience and accomplishments. They will make sure that every detail of your resume is focused on the goal.

Eliminating “Red Flags”

Resume writers know what to include and what NOT to include on your resume. They are aware of all of the “red flags” that cause hiring managers to pass over job candidates. They know how to minimize the damage of things like job hopping and employment gaps while highlighting your value as an employee.

Writing Expertise

Often, how you say something is just as important as what you say. Professional resume writers, first and foremost, are professional writers. Writing is what they do for a living, so they know how to make your job history come alive. They also stay current with industry standards and ensure that your resume is as professional as possible. Error-free writing is essential if you want to be taken seriously by a hiring manager, so they proofread all of your documents for you. That means you can send your resume out with complete confidence.

Are you ready to hire a professional resume writer to help you get more interviews? Check out the resume packages we have available, or email us with any questions you have about the process!

How to Make A Career Shift

You’re in a career that just isn’t for you and you’re looking for a change, but you don’t know where to begin. Sound familiar?

 

Making a Career ShiftShifting careers can be tricky business. Where do you begin looking? How do you find jobs you’re qualified for in a new field or industry? Can any of the skills and experience you gained in previous positions help you in a new career? Trying to find answers to all of those questions can be overwhelming. But, don’t worry, here’s a guide to help you move forward.

Identify transferable skills…

First, begin by assessing your transferable skills. How do you identify your transferable skills? Start by looking at your job experience. Make a list of the duties and responsibilities that you have had in each job you have held. Now ask yourself what value each of these things brought to your employer. Why were you being paid to do these things? What did they accomplish for the company or organization you worked for? For example, working as a cashier seems pretty mundane, but the value a cashier provides to their employer is in the form of customer loyalty, revenue from repeat business, and minimal revenue loss from accurately charging customers and making change. So, what skills are needed to provide this value? Customer loyalty and revenue from repeat business come from providing good customer service, and minimizing revenue loss comes from being detail-oriented, honest, and having basic math skills. When you break down your previous work experience in this way, you can start to see the underlying skills that were used. Many of those skills can be valuable in other positions as well.

Use that list of skills to help find jobs you qualify for…

After you have identified your valuable skills, make a list of careers you are interested in. Then take a look at internet job boards and find some job descriptions of positions that you might be interested in. For your first search, don’t worry too much about location, just find descriptions of jobs you think you would enjoy. After finding a couple, look at the skills and qualifications needed for these positions and compare this with the list of skills that you made earlier to determine if you are qualified. If you can give clear examples of at least 75% of the skills required in the job description, and you meet any specific qualifications listed (education, certifications, etc.) then you can apply for the job. If you don’t meet the qualifications, determine what you need to get those qualifications and then decide if it is something you want to pursue. It might mean returning to school or pursuing certifications. If this is your dream job, then taking those steps could be worth it. If you don’t have the necessary experience for those jobs you found, go back to your list of careers you are interested in and choose another area. Look for jobs in this new area and follow the same steps as before. Continue in this way until you find jobs that you are qualified for.

If there is a significant gap between the experience you have and the types of jobs you want, you may have to find some middle ground. What lower-level jobs could help you gain experience towards the career you want? Keep in mind that you may need to take an entry-level position in your new industry to start on your new career path, but if it leads you to your dream job, it is well worth it.

Are you ready to create a resume to help you make your career shift? We’re here to help!

Why Isn’t Your Resume Getting You Interviews?

 

Maybe you believe there’s nothing wrong with your resume. Maybe you’re right. If your resume is getting you the interviews and job offers for positions you actually want, then, you’re probably right.

Resume ProblemsBut, if your resume is not getting you those interviews and job offers, then odds are that there is something wrong. So, how do you begin to fix a broken resume? First, you have to recognize what’s wrong with it. There are a plethora of potential problems, but if you have already made sure you are avoiding the really obvious mistakes (unprofessional email, starting every bullet point with “responsible for”, etc.) then what else could it be?

More often than not, if you have used a professional format and there are no egregious grammar errors, your resume is being passed over because it isn’t closely aligned with the job posting or the company itself. Are you using the same resume for every job under the sun? If so, there’s your problem. While it’s great to have a base resume to work with, it is essential to tailor it specifically towards every single position to which you apply. Sometimes this means only making minor changes, while other times, it can mean nearly a complete rewrite.

Tailoring your resume to your audience (the hiring manager for a specific job posting) is essential.

OK, so how do you tailor a resume towards a specific job position? First, do some research. Read, and reread the job posting several times. As you read it, make a list of specific skills or experience that the company is looking for in their ideal job candidate. For each of those skills or areas of experience, make a list of things you have done that clearly demonstrate your skills and experience in those areas. If you find that you can’t clearly demonstrate more than half of those, you’re probably not a good candidate for the position. You’ll likely be up against candidates who are able to demonstrate their experience in most of those key areas, which greatly reduces the chances of you being called for an interview. If this was your absolute dream job, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get hired for it, but it does mean that, if you are serious about wanting it, you’ll take the time to find ways to gain the needed skills before trying to apply for it. This might mean taking a different position as a stepping-stone to your dream job, or it could mean going back to school.

Once you have established that you really are applying for a position that you are highly qualified for, you need to present your experience in a way that makes this clear to the hiring manager. Take that list that you made earlier describing precisely how you meet the qualifications and make sure that these points are on your resume. When you are arranging the bullet points on your resume describing each position you have held, make sure that the ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for are listed first. This brings them to the attention of the hiring manager.

Think about what is most important to the hiring manager.

Now it is time to write your summary statement. Before beginning, do some research into the company as a whole. This will help you set the tone of the summary statement (and your cover letter). In your summary statement, highlight the qualifications that you have that are most desired by the company in the position you are seeking.

Under your summary statement, include a core competencies section. List the keywords from the job description that match experience that you have. Place the most important keywords first so that hiring managers can easily find them. Make sure that the keywords you list here are clearly demonstrated in the experience section of your resume; otherwise, this section is a waste of space and is seen as “fluff” by hiring managers.

We use this procedure for every resume we write and it greatly increases the number of interviews and job offers received. Want to know how your resume stacks up against the competition? Send it over for a free resume review!

What Went Wrong on Dazzlecloud’s Resume?

Colorful is not the way to go…

Dazzlecloud’s resume told the hiring manager that she was conceited, wasteful, and cared only about her wants rather than the company’s needs. How could this have been avoided? The first mistake that Dazzlecloud made was using a colorful resume template. While a little color can sometimes be a good thing, large, colorful headers aren’t the way to go, especially if the hiring manager is going to be the one who prints it off. Choose a template that is professional and easy to read, rather than one that looks like it is trying too hard to draw attention. (Dazzlecloud also chose to center everything on her resume, which meant that she had bullet points all over the place, leaving her resume looking unprofessional and hard to read.)

Objective statements are a thing of the past…

The next major problem with Dazzlecloud’s resume was the use of an objective statement. Objective statements are a thing of the past because they focus solely on what the job candidate wants rather than showing what the job candidate has to offer the company. Use a summary statement instead. This gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself while highlighting the value you can bring to the position and to the company.

Longer isn’t better…

Finally, make sure that your resume is an appropriate length. Generally speaking, longer isn’t better. For a student or recent graduate with only a couple of years of work experience, keep it to a single page. If you have been working for more than five years AND have enough relevant experience to justify using two pages, then use two pages. Don’t feel the need to include every detail of every job you’ve ever held–focus on only including the experience that shows how you can be a valuable employee to this company in this role (this means tailoring your resume to each position you apply for).

Want to know what your resume is saying about you? Send it over and we’ll review it for free.