Friday, August 22, 2008

5 Ways to Get Your Résumé Noticed By Mark Lowery

© DiversityInc 2007 ® All rights reserved.
Ten to 15 seconds. That's how much time a hiring manager or the first person reading your résumé is likely to devote to it. In that short period of time, that person will likely decide whether your résumé is worth passing along or if it should be deleted from the inbox. What's on your résumé, what's not on it, and its overall presentation may seal your fate. Should you mention diversity-related experiences? Would you, for example, want to mention that you are a member of the National Council of La Raza or the National Urban League? Would this benefit or hurt you? Here are some tips to help get your résumé noticed: 1. Highlight diversity connections Millette Granville, a diversity-recruiting strategist at Wachovia, No. 11 on The 2007 DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list, says the interview is really the best forum for job seekers to highlight diversity-related experiences, skills and other factors that a prospective employer would consider a value-add to their organization. Including information about your diversity or your commitment to diversity in your résumé can't hurt, as it will only increase your chances of identifying the type of employer that truly supports and embraces diversity. "Job seekers should pride themselves in sharing information about their diverse affiliations and community involvement with potential employers. Sharing this information helps to demonstrate leadership and a commitment to the communities in which they live," Granville says. 2. Make it 21st-century-employer-friendly Jaclyn Kokores, manager of client services at Valerie Frederickson & Company, an HR consulting firm in Menlo Park, Calif., suggests writing your résumé in both MS Word format and HTML format. She says you should use the MS Word version for print and e-mail, and HTML when posting online. "Forget PDF versions-these files are bulky and difficult to read," she says. 3. Use action verbs C. Trent Perry, president and founder of CTP Enterprises in Atlanta, a career-management-services company, says your résumé should include action words such as "saved," "reorganized," and "improved." Kokores agrees. "Both employers and search engines scan documents for key words and phrases that describe a candidate's skills and abilities. Don't worry about repetition as long as it is not gratuitous," Kokores says. She suggests starting sentences or bullets with words such as founded, designed, organized, completed, implemented, created or built. 4. Gear it toward future career goals To move your career to the next level, your résumé should read like an argument with supportive evidence. "I am good at X because I have experience in Y and Z," Kokores says. She suggests breaking your résumé into two parts-skills and experience-with the skills part at the top. "The experiences section (Y and Z) should back this up. By writing the skills section first, and then tailoring the experiences to this, a candidate can build a résumé that is focused on what they want to do," Kokores says. Perry suggests "spinning" or highlighting the part of your experience that fits with the qualifications of the job you're seeking. "It's a sales process," he says. "You have to have a marketing strategy to continue growing in your career." 5. Eliminate needless items Employers don't want to have to take the time to pick through the fluff to find the true value of a résumé. What can go? Start with bullets that don't identify the direct impact you made for the company. Also get rid of months. Instead, just provide the years you were at each job. And eliminate the "References available upon request." "Everyone has them and all employers know to ask when the time is right," Kokores says. Instead, choose a spot or two to include items that demonstrate your ability

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