Thursday, July 3, 2014

Professionalism 101 - Resumes and CVs by TWU Career Services

Professionalism can be tricky to grasp and to understand all of the requirements for resumes, CVs and interviews. That is why we collaborated with TWU Career Services to gain a better understanding of professionalism. This two part series will first address resumes and CVs and the second part will address interviews. Let's get started on landing that perfect job. 

Resume Tips: 

  • Did you know that you only have about 7 seconds to persuade a perspective employer to consider your cover letter and resume more closely? Grab their attention right away by providing clear, specific information about yourself as you relate to the position.
  • Your resume needs to be tailored to each particular situation that you are using it for: job, internship, volunteer experience, graduate school, scholarship, etc. This means that you will need to “tweak” your resume each time you submit it.Your resume should be a summary of your accomplishments, and it should highlight the skills that you enjoy using.
  • Your resume needs to focus on what you can offer the employer.
  • Consider the individuals who will be reading your resume. Are they getting to know you as someone who might resonate with their position and with the needs that they have for their organization?
  • Avoid generic phrases on your resume, and provide more specific information about who you are in relation to the job. For example, an applicant may state that he/she has strong presentation skills. A more competitive way to showcase your presentation skills would be to say something like, “Strong presentation skills. Regularly present to groups of 50 or more on topics related to mental health issues in young adults, focusing particularly on depression and suicide prevention.” This allows an employer to know more about your presentation skills and to see that you do speak often in front of groups for a particular purpose.
  • Keep your resume to 1-2 pages, and include your name on all pages.
  • Do not include personal information on your resume (married, have several children, like to gamble at the races on the weekend, etc.,).
  • Do not rely on spell check. 

Common Mistakes on Resumes:
  • Too long – keep it to two pages, maximum.
  • Typographical/grammatical/spelling errors – ALWAYS proofread your resume, and have at least one other person review it for any errors. One of any of these errors could remove you from consideration.
  • Hard to read/Using a template – create your own information without using a template, and make the visual flow attractive and easy for an employer to view your information.
  • Too verbose – display your information in a concise format, and use bulleted phrases as opposed to paragraphs of text.
  • Too brief – employers will only be able to learn about you based on what you include on your resume. You must tell them enough information so that they can understand who you are as you relate to their open position.
  • Irrelevant Information – Focus on the position and what you can bring to that position. Don’t list a lot of unnecessary information.
  • Obviously generic – Don’t just state that you have “Excellent communication skills”. Show how your excellent communication skills relate to the particular position and would benefit the employer.

CV Q & A: What is the difference between a resume and a CV?
The primary differences between a resume and CV are the length, what is included (content), and what each is used for (purpose). A resume is a brief highlight of your job-related qualifications; a CV is a more detailed synopsis. Therefore, a resume is usually shorter than a CV. While a resume is brief and concise - no more than a page or two, a CV is longer (at least two pages or more). A resume is a one or two page summary of your education, experience, skills and accomplishments. A CV includes a summary of your educational and academic background as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and other information.

When should I use a resume vs. a CV?
A CV is used primarily when applying for academic, research, scientific, and overseas positions; whereas a resume is used primarily when applying for health, educational, social services, artistic, computing and business-related positions.

CV Tips:

  • Tailor your CV to the position that you are applying for.
  • Include a Cover Letter with your CV.
  • Have it critiqued to ensure that it is error free.
  • When applicable, print it on resume paper.
  • Do not use a template.

Common mistakes found on a CV:

  • Not tailoring the CV to the position - It may sound like a time-consuming process, but making the effort to tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each particular job that you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of securing an interview.
  • Using one standard objective for all positions applied to – Just as your qualifications should be tailored on your CV, so should your Objective.
  • Grammatical errors and misspelled words – Having errors and mistakes on your CV give employers a bad impression of you. Employers do not want to hire someone who has these types of errors on their CV because it gives the impression that you will make these same types of mistakes if hired. Give a good first impression by having an error-free CV.
  • Listing over 10 years of experience – Highlight relevant, recent experience on your CV. Experience beyond 10 years, especially if it is not related to the job, will be irrelevant to potential employers.
  • Highlighting duties instead of achievements – Including achievements or accomplishments help you to better market and sell yourself to potential employers, which is very important in today’s competitive job market.
  • Poor formatting/design – Your CV should be neat, clear, and easy to read. Recruiters spend between 10 -30 seconds scanning your CV; so, an easy to read document will help to ensure that they can find the information they need.
  • Using a template – Develop your own unique format to sell your information on your CV, rather than using a template that others may also use.
TWU Career Services Staff

How Can I Get Help With My Resume/CV?
The TWU Career Services Department can review your resume or CV and make suggestions that can help you strengthen them and make them more competitive. If you would like some feedback on your resume or CV, please call the Career Services Department at 940-898-2950 to schedule an appointment.

What Services Does Your Department Provide for Resumes/CV’s?
The Career Services Department offers the following services

  • Individual resume/CV critiques
  • Seminar/Workshop on resume/CV design
  • Classroom presentations on resume/CV design
  • Job Search Handbook – has information on how to create a resume and CV, resources and material for resume/CV design, and sample resumes
  • Career Library – has several books on how to create a resume and CV
This post was provided by the TWU Career Services.

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