Resume Tips - How to create a CV that says you're worthy
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:11
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
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Apr 10, 2004

Even though the following tips do not pertain 100% to our profession, some of them are still great. Hopefully they will be helpful to you.
Monika

A Resume That Shows Them the Super-You

Landing a great job demands more than just one skimpy page of self-documentation. Here's how to create a CV that says you're truly worthy of the corner office.
By Brian Caulfield, John Kador, April 2004 Issue

If the last time you retooled your resume was back in the days before you reached the airy heights of senior management, you've got some work ahead of you. Chances are, everything you know about resume writing is wrong. Cramming all your personal information onto a single page or listing "objectives" may work for grad students looking for their first real jobs, but not for seasoned veterans. "There are a lot of people giving advice on resumes who have no appreciation for the senior-level world," says Scott Gordon, a partner at leading executive-search firm Spencer Stuart. "Most of what's written is aimed at the beginner. Not the executive who's been out there for 20 years."

So do on your resume as you do in business: Target the audience. For instance, if a company in your sights uses Six Sigma and you're more familiar with TQM, just mention that you're conversant in quality-management techniques. Provide useful performance numbers, specific solutions to your potential employer's weaknesses, how you might help bump up the stock price -- anything that shows you're tailor-made for the job. "I've seen resumes that list all the accomplishments but provide no context," Gordon says. "For senior executives, that's death."


To help your resume leap from the stack, Gordon and other experts offer these tips.


Go long. Brevity is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Potential employers want to know all about the companies you've worked for, how many people you managed, what special recognition you received, and how your experience meshes with their needs. Headhunters and human resources execs don't flinch at the sight of a 15-page ode to oneself. "In executive search, the more detail, the better," Gordon says. "It's absurd for someone with a 20-year career to attempt to limit a resume to two pages."


Use numbers. Figures tell compelling stories. How many more clients came into the fold while you were at your last job? How much did your former company's stock price rise, and how did you specifically contribute to that? "Explain how you grew revenues from X to Y," Gordon says.


Solve problems. Putting together a brief but competent business plan for your potential employer is as much a qualification as where you last worked. Squirt in suggestions that might streamline operations or boost productivity. Outline how you'd overhaul a struggling department. "Recognize the challenges that the manager you'll be working for faces," says Nick Corcodilos, a former Silicon Valley headhunter. "Describe how you'll do the work. Estimate what profits you can bring."


Selectively withhold information. Making claims that you can't substantiate is, of course, sheer idiocy: According to the Society for Human Resource Management, more and more companies now thoroughly check job candidates' backgrounds. But what if you're applying for a position at a petroleum company and don't care to share the fact that you worked for an environmental watchdog organization right out of college? Leave it off. "During the hiring process, companies omit many things that make them look bad," says John Sullivan, a human resources professor at San Francisco State University. "So I see nothing wrong with an applicant omitting nonmaterial facts that don't add to the marketing function of a resume." Of course, Sullivan says, you should consider showing your full hand once you get the job.


Location, location, location. According to Sullivan, people look for highlights down the left side of a page. "Put an important piece of information on the right and it gets lost," he says.


Be easy to find. List all your phone numbers and e-mail addresses so an enthusiastic human resources executive can easily contact you. "Everyone just puts a home address and number," Gordon says. "But employers and recruiters work daytime hours. Do you really want to play phone tag on something this important?"


www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/0,17863,603106,00.html

[Edited at 2004-04-10 21:23]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Thanks, Monika Apr 10, 2004

Monika Coulson wrote:

Go long. Brevity is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Potential employers want to know all about the companies you've worked for, how many people you managed, what special recognition you received, and how your experience meshes with their needs. Headhunters and human resources execs don't flinch at the sight of a 15-page ode to oneself. "In executive search, the more detail, the better," Gordon says. "It's absurd for someone with a 20-year career to attempt to limit a resume to two pages."


Mmmmm... I remember my first job, when the boss (a much-published expert) asked me to please run down to the binder's and have his CV bookbound for him... all 65 pages. It did come in handy, too, as he had interviewers popping in on him at the least convenient moments.


Solve problems. Putting together a brief but competent business plan for your potential employer is as much a qualification as where you last worked. Squirt in suggestions that might streamline operations or boost productivity. Outline how you'd overhaul a struggling department. "Recognize the challenges that the manager you'll be working for faces," says Nick Corcodilos, a former Silicon Valley headhunter. "Describe how you'll do the work. Estimate what profits you can bring."


Probably what a translator has to know off-the-cuff is how long it will take him to do the work in question. Statements like "I can tell when I'm halfway through" are definitely a turn-off. A safe forecast isn't that hard.


Be easy to find. List all your phone numbers and e-mail addresses so an enthusiastic human resources executive can easily contact you. "Everyone just puts a home address and number," Gordon says. "But employers and recruiters work daytime hours. Do you really want to play phone tag on something this important?"


I'll level with you guys - as a moderator, I get asked from time to time about "who's good at...?" And sometimes all the handle I have is your profiles (NO, I'm not about to start a CV collection, so please stick to the profiles - uploading a CV there isn't exactly an invitation to breach of privacy). AND DO keep it updated. Things that already have happened: subject had no contact telephone number, subject had closed the e-mail address he had put in his CV, etc.. A mobile definitely inspires confidence...



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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 10:11
English to Russian
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A beep from a devil's advocate Apr 11, 2004

Great tips, no kidding. Thank you, Monika.

Still, I would avoid overflow an all senses and make sure it looks feasible to finish reading before the end of the business day and sounds realistic in terms of applicant's ability to achieve it all in one lifetime:-)

[Edited at 2004-04-11 16:48]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
Dutch to English
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Apr 11, 2004



[Edited at 2004-06-13 15:22]


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aneta_xh  Identity Verified
English to Albanian
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Some of the tips are good, but not all Apr 11, 2004

Go long. Brevity is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Potential employers want to know all about the companies you've worked for, how many people you managed, what special recognition you received, and how your experience meshes with their needs. Headhunters and human resources execs don't flinch at the sight of a 15-page ode to oneself. "In executive search, the more detail, the better," Gordon says. "It's absurd for someone with a 20-year career to attempt to limit a resume to two pages."


I do not think this part of the tips is for freelancers. Due to our specific work, we are involved in many, many projects, so it would be impossible to mention all of them in a resume.

The other tips are good. Thanks Monika.

Best, Ani


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:11
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
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TOPIC STARTER
Some of the above tips can still be used Apr 12, 2004

aneta_xh wrote:
I do not think this part of the tips is for freelancers. Due to our specific work, we are involved in many, many projects, so it would be impossible to mention all of them in a resume.

The other tips are good. Thanks Monika.

Best, Ani


Thank you Ani. I know that not everything said in this article can be applied in our case. That is why I said previously:
Even though the following tips do not pertain 100% to our profession, some of them are still great.


Some of the above tips can still be used IMO.
Have a nice one everyone.
Monika


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:11
English to German
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Create a profile rather than a CV Apr 12, 2004

Hi all,
Maybe it's because of the specific focus of our business, but I'm sceptical whether a CV is the best way to market your services. Some basic information about yourself is important, of course, but frankly, where someone went to school or non-related jobs are irrelevant (at least to me...) as far as freelance services are concerned.

A selection of aspects that I find helpful in deciding whether I should follow up an unsolicited application received:

Relevance - demonstrate why your services are relevant to what we do. Now obviously, this requires some prior research, but it's likely to improve your "hit rate". I have simply given up answering most of the people trying to offer their specialisation in fields that aren't even remotely related to our focus. The same applies to mass mailings - the classic being: "Dear (followed by the company name)". Straight to the bin, I'm afraid...

Correctness - this may sound petty, but an application containing errors doesn't exactly conjure a professional image. Applying in German (in my example) only makes sense if it's flawless.

Professional appearance - the application as well as any backing material (attachments, websites, ProZ.com profiles) should demonstrate a professional attitude.

In summary, the main purpose of an application is to answer why an outsourcer should make the effort of adding you to their network.

Hope this helps...
Ralf


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Humour rather? Apr 13, 2004

Monika Coulson wrote:
Landing a great job demands more than just one skimpy page of self-documentation. ... To help your resume leap from the stack, Gordon and other experts offer these tips.


Surely this should be listed in the humour forum?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Comments... Apr 13, 2004

Monika Coulson wrote:
Potential employers want to know all about the companies you've worked for, how many people you managed, what special recognition you received, and how your experience meshes with their needs.


Human resourcers often sit with hundreds of applications. They can't and won't wade through everything. Even if long CVs are read, they are read in a hurry.

Explain how you grew revenues from X to Y," Gordon says.


Revenues tend to grow by themselves. Pinning down the cause for this growth to a number of steps specifically taken by the candidate will necessarily be an exercise in generalisation. Generalisation is the death knell of a CV.

Selectively withhold information ...


Rather say "Mention only what is relevant". The current heading makes it sound like withholding information is good per se.

Put an important piece of information on the right and it gets lost.


True in a sense, but many CV formats have item headings on the left and data on the right. If it's obvious that the data is on the right, it won't get lost.

My2c.


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