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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Resume Writing Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:22 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Just as resumes have undergone a dramatic revolution over the past 25 years, so have thank-you letters.  Twenty-five years ago, a resume was a really just a formality – generally a single sheet of paper that briefly listed a candidate’s overall work experience and academic credentials.  As the employment market changed, expanded, diversified and became increasingly competitive, so did resumes.  Today, they are powerful marketing tools designed to “sell” a candidate’s skills, qualifications, accomplishments and career successes to give a job seeker a “competitive distinction” over other candidates.

    The same is true for cover letters.  They have evolved from transmittal letters (”Here’s my resume.”) to cover letters (”Here’s my resume, this is why I’m interested in your company and here are a few highlights of my career.”) to marketing communications (”Here’s my resume, some of my most notable achievements and, most importantly, the value I bring to your organization.”)  Powerful cover letters now integrate the same concepts as powerful resumes.  They are designed to “sell” a candidate and give that individual “competitive distinction.”

    Now, as professional resume writers, career coaches, counselors and others in our community, you need to take those same concepts – sales and competitive distinction – and integrate them into the thank-you letters you prepare for your clients.  Consider thank-you letters to be “second-tier” marketing communications.  Your client has already used his “first-tier” marketing communications (resume and cover letter) to get in the door for an interview.  He feels confident, was able to easily establish rapport with the interviewer, and is anxiously awaiting an invitation for a second interview or, perhaps, an offer.  He’s excited; you’re excited for him.  But, you both know there is competition for the position.  What can you do for the client to give him a competitive advantage over the other candidates?

    The answer is the thank-you letter – the letter you write for your client that acknowledges the time and consideration of the hiring manager, thanks him, and further expresses your client’s interest in the position.  Unfortunately, most (not all) of the other candidates will be doing exactly the same thing.

    After the interview is no time to stop selling.  In fact, it is precisely the right time to continue selling – your clients’ unique skills, qualifications, accomplishments, credentials and more.

    To ensure that your thank-you letters – and YOUR CLIENTS – stand out from the competition, use your letters as marketing communications to further sell your clients into a position.  This can be easily accomplished by highlighting any of the following that may be appropriate to a particular client and the specific interview situation:

    • If the hiring company shared some of their challenges with your client, relate how the client’s experience is tied directly to their current challenges and current needs.  Suppose they’re in the midst of a turnaround and market repositioning initiative.  Share your client’s past experiences in change management, reorganization and company revitalization, his achievements in reversing losses and delivering solid profit margins, his successes in productivity and quality improvement, and all the other things your client accomplished to facilitate successful turnarounds and improved financial performance.
    • If the hiring company shared a major problem that they were currently working to resolve, highlight how your client solved that same (or similar) problem before.  Imagine that the company is having to compete in a marketplace that they once owned.  Two years ago there was no competition.  Today, six companies are now competing for the same customer base.  Write a thank-you letter that shares your client’s past achievements in strengthening market position, expanding customer bases and outperforming competitors.
    • If the hiring company communicated an objection to hiring your client (a reason why they were concerned about hiring him or her), respond to it in the thank-you letter.  For example, let’s say that they were concerned that your client had never worked in Los Angeles, and therefore does not have any professional contacts in the area.  Use the thank-you letter to demonstrate that your client previously entered new markets and immediately developed strong networks.  That’s one of the reasons your client has been so successful in his previous positions.
    • Suppose there was something really important about your client’s experiences or qualifications that he forgot to mention during the interview.  The thank-you letter is precisely the tool to communicate those achievements, experiences, project highlights and qualifications.  Give the hiring committee the “ammo” they need to make the right hiring decision – YOUR CLIENT!
    • If there were no challenges, no problems, no objections and nothing that your client forget to mention during the interview, then use the thank-you letter to further highlight that individual’s specific accomplishments as they relate directly to the company and the position for which he is applying.  It may be that those items were discussed during the interview.  Use the thank-you letter to further expand on them and link them directly to the hiring company’s operations, current needs and future goals.

    Using thank-you letters as a “second-tier” marketing tools often dictates that letters be longer than one page.  Fine!  There are no rules to writing thank-you letters that dictate that they must be one-page long.  The only thing that should dictate their length is the amount of valuable information you want to include.  If the company has already extended your client the opportunity for an interview, they’re already interested and will, in most cases, carefully read any and all material the client forwards to them – including a powerful, well-worded, sales-directed and competitive thank-you letter.

    Here’s an example:

    120 Port Street
    Lawrence, Iowa 55441
    (555) 382-8937

    January 17, 2003

    Steven Donovan
    PYD Technologies
    1209 Robert Trent Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Dear Steve:

    First of all, thank you. I really enjoyed our conversation yesterday and am completely enamored with the tremendous success you have brought to PYD. There are but a handful of companies like yours that have experienced such aggressive growth and can predict strong and sustained profitability over the years to come.

    I would like to be a part of the PYD team – in whatever capacity you feel most appropriate and of most value. I realize, of course, that you already have an HR Director who has successfully managed the function throughout the course of the company’s development. It is NOT my intention to compete with Leslie Ralson, but rather to complement her efforts in bringing renewed HR leadership to PYD.

    Let me take a few minutes to highlight what I consider to be my most significant assets:

    I have met the challenges of accelerated recruitment:

    • In 2001, I launched a recruitment initiative to replace 50% of the total workforce in a 900-person organization. This was accomplished within just six months and was the key driver in that company’s successful repositioning.
    • In 1997, when hired as the first-ever HR executive for a growth company, I created the entire recruitment selection and placement function. Over the next two years, I hired more than 50 employees to staff all core operating departments.
    • Between 1994 and 1996, I spearheaded the recruitment and selection of technical, professional and management personnel. This was a massive effort during which I interviewed over 300 prospective candidates throughout the U.S. and Europe.

    I have met the challenges of employee retention:

    • During my employment with Helms Financial, we were staffing at an unprecedented rate. Inherent in this situation is the need to initiate programs to ensure staff retention over long periods of time. The faster an organization grows, the more critical this focus must become. Costs associated with recruitment can be significant and must be controlled. Following implementation of a market-based research study, I was able to reduce Helms’ turnover 35%, saving over $350,000 in annual costs.

    I have met the challenges associated with international HR leadership:

    • Throughout my tenure with Laxton Data, I led the company’s international employment and employee relations functions. This was a tremendous experience that provided me with excellent qualifications in domestic and expatriate recruitment, compensation, benefits and relocation. Further, I demonstrated my proficiency in managing cross-cultural business relationships spanning the globe.

    I have met the challenges of growth and organizational change:

    • Each of the organizations in which I have been employed has faced unique operating and leadership challenges. These situations have been diverse and included high-growth ventures, turnarounds and internal reorganizations. Each has focused on improved performance and accelerated market/profit growth. To meet these challenges, I have created innovative, market-driven organizational structures integrating pioneering methodologies for competency-based recruitment and performance management.
    • Most recently, I orchestrated the workforce integration of two acquisitions into core business operations. This required a comprehensive analysis of staffing requirements, evaluation of the skills and competencies of the acquired employees, and accurate placement throughout the company. The integration was successful, and all personnel are now fully acclimated and at peak performance.

    I hope that the above information demonstrates the value I bring to PYD – today and in the future. You will also find that my abilities to lead and motivate are strong and have always been the foundation for my personal success.

    I look forward to speaking with you and scheduling an appointment to meet with Mr. Baldwin. Again, thank you for your time, your interest and your support.


    Joshua A. Viens

    Remember, you’re the job search expert, and it is your responsibility to share your expertise with your clients!  Job search DOES NOT stop with the interview, but rather continues throughout the entire process until such time as your client is sitting at his new desk in his new position.  Thank-you letters are a critical part of the process.  Use them wisely and to your clients’ advantage!

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Bottom line … the more accomplishment-driven your resume, the more effective it will be, the more interest it will generate, and the more interviews you will get. Always remember that resume writing is sales and that you’re the product. Showcase the product’s distinctive features and you’re bound to make a sale!

    Focus your resume on what you have done to improve operations, increase revenues, expand market share, strengthen profits, reduce operating costs, enhance business processes, upgrade technologies, deliver projects on-time and within budget, launch new products, build a strong workforce, and so much more. The challenge, however, is to identify those specific achievements.

    To help with that process, below is a list of 13 different professions, each with a short list of questions to ask yourself to help you articulate your specific achievements. Use this information as a guideline to help you dig deep into your career and identify what makes YOU such a good hire.

    ACCOUNTING & FINANCE – It’s all about the money!

    • Improvements in revenues, profits, ROI, EBITDA, and other financial measurements
    • Design/implementation of cost controls and quantifiable results
    • Negotiation of contracts including dollar amounts, profits, cost savings, and more
    • Implementation of automated programs, tools, and technologies to optimize business performance
    • Partner relationships with investors, pension plan administrators, board of directors, auditors, and others
    • Merger, acquisition, joint venture, and divestiture experience

    ADMINISTRATION & OFFICE MANAGEMENT – It’s all about organization and efficiency!

    • Design/implementation of streamlined work procedures and processes
    • Introduction of automated tools, programs, and systems to enhance efficiency
    • Internal and external communications responsibilities
    • Contributions to improved operations, cost reductions, and overall performance improvements
    • Personnel training and development experience, and the success of those employees
    • VIP and executive responsibilities and relationships

    CUSTOMER SERVICE – It’s all about customers, clients, patrons, and others!

    • Improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction scores
    • Top industry rankings for quality of customer service organization
    • Contributions to sales growth
    • Key account management responsibilities and results
    • Introduction of automated customer service technologies and tools
    • Reductions in customer service operating and overhead costs

    ENGINEERING – It’s all about development and improvement!

    • Engineering/design of new products and their positive financial impact on the organization
    • Engineering/design of new processes and their positive financial impact
    • Redesign of existing products and their resulting financial/market/customer impact
    • Patents awarded and/or pending
    • Integration of advanced technologies to expedite engineering and expand capabilities
    • Project planning, management, staffing, leadership, and financial success

    EXECUTIVE & GENERAL MANAGEMENT – It’s all about bottom-line performance!

    • Measurable increases in revenues, profits, EBITDA, ROI, and other financial indices
    • Leadership of/contributions to strategic planning and long-term business development
    • Leadership of/contributions to mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and business-building initiatives
    • Success in expanding into new markets, new geographic regions, new countries, and more
    • Improvements in organizational performance, infrastructure, productivity, yield, and more
    • Recruitment and leadership of successful management teams (and their contributions)

    HEALTH CARE – It’s all about quality!

    • Positive impact on quality of care and quality of patient outcomes
    • Expansion of health care services, programs, and outreach to meet patient needs
    • Development of innovative new health care delivery systems, medical procedures, and the like
    • Attainment and maintenance of stringent regulatory requirements
    • Implementation of advanced health care and health care support technologies
    • Reduction in disease incidence and overall health improvement of targeted patient base

    HUMAN RESOURCES – It’s all about the people and their impact on the organization!

    • Success in recruiting personnel and their performance within the organization
    • Improvements in traditional employee benefits and reductions in premium costs
    • Introduction of innovative employee benefits and incentives (e.g., flex time, onsite day care)
    • Expansion of HR information systems and technologies
    • Creation of expatriate recruitment, training, employee support, and related programs
    • Measurement improvements in manpower and organizational performance/productivity

    LAW – It’s all about distinction!

    • Establishing legal precedents
    • Managing prestigious cases and clients
    • Breadth of legal experience across multiple legal disciplines
    • Demonstrable expertise within one area of legal specialization
    • Success in negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, and the courtroom
    • Relationships with regulatory, legislative, judicial, and other agencies/organizations

    MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION – It’s all about yield and output!

    • Increases in production yield and output, worker productivity, and other performance measurements
    • Improvements in quality performance and award of quality certifications
    • Reductions in operating costs and overhead expenses
    • Design, set-up, and start-up of new manufacturing facilities and production lines
    • Seamless introduction of new products into existing manufacturing plants and favorable financial results
    • Implementation of new technologies, robotics, and other automated processes, systems, and equipment

    RETAIL – It’s all about product movement and sales performance!

    • Increases in revenues, profits, and market share
    • Improvements in product movement, from warehouse to retail floor to customer sale
    • Distinction for merchandise design and display (including sales results)
    • Departmental staffing and management responsibilities, and quantifiable results
    • Implementation of POS, interactive selling, online selling, and other automated retail technologies
    • Reductions in store operating costs, staffing costs, loss rates, and other expenses

    SALES & MARKETING – It’s all about capturing clients and generating profitable revenues!

    • Increases in revenues, profits, and market share
    • Individual sales and account achievements
    • Capture of new key accounts and revenue streams
    • Sales honors, awards and percentages over quota
    • Development of new territories and new markets
    • Introduction of new products and services (and results)

    TEACHING – It’s all about innovation and student/learner excellence!

    • Development of new curricula and instructional programs
    • Development of computerized and web-based programs and teaching/learning tools
    • Committee memberships, student activities, and special projects
    • Management responsibilities for programs, budgets, resources, personnel, and more
    • Experience in training and developing other teaching staff
    • Measurement of student/learner performance and achievement

    TECHNOLOGY – It’s all about technology innovation and advances!

    • Development of new technologies and their organization/operational/market impact
    • Involvement in emerging e-commerce, e-learning, Web 2.0, telecommunications, and other technologies
    • Financial benefits of technology (e.g., revenue gains, cost reductions, productivity improvements)
    • Patent awarded and/or pending
    • Success in systems migration, conversion, integration, and more
    • Domestic and international technology transfer programs and ventures

    These questions are just a sampling of the many industry-specific questions you can use to dig for information and identify great achievements. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to write a resume that is just the right mixture of responsibilities, accomplishments, and career highlights to give yourself a truly competitive advantage in today’s hiring market.

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, CCM
    Best Impression Career Services

    Most resume writers agree, one of our most challenging tasks is getting the information we need to be able to produce meaningful and compelling documents for our clients. Whether we use worksheets, telephone or in-person consultation, or a combination of both, it’s imperative that we dig out the nuggets of information that will help us package, position, and sell our client’s value.

    This challenge is more severe with some clients than with others. I have found the following strategies to be effective when working with those clients who don’t quickly grasp what I’m looking for or naturally think along the lines of “results” and “value to the employer.”

    Establish a Clear Target.

    If you don’t know what clients are seeking, you will not know what to ask them or how to position the facts you gather. Beware the client who says anything like this:

    • I’m not sure.
    • Anything, really.
    • I want to keep my options open.
    • I was hoping you could tell me that.

    Quite simply, you won’t be able to write a powerful resume for this client, and his or her job search will probably not be successful. Why set yourself up for failure?

    Instead, require your clients to tell you the type/level of job they are looking for and furnish you with a few relevant job postings. You can use this material to steer the consultation, and your clients will end up with documents that make the most of their relevant experiences and capabilities.

    Be Explicit.

    When talking with clients, tell them exactly what you’ll be looking for. Many clients like to talk in generalities, and you must bring them down to the specifics so you can gather accomplishment statements for the resume. You can prepare them by saying, “I will be looking for specific examples of things you’ve done in your career that demonstrate your skills,” but it’s quite likely you’ll have to be even more explicit than that. Here, behavioral interviewing techniques are especially helpful:

    • Tell me about a time when you managed a difficult project.
    • For the jobs you’re targeting, you will need to demonstrate that you have good customer-service skills. Describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do, and what was the outcome?
    • You’ve told me you have great negotiation skills. Tell me about a recent negotiation that was successful.

    Use Examples.

    Some people respond best when the ideal response is modeled for them, so if you want them to provide examples to you, use an example in your language to them:

    • Rather than hearing that you were very successful in that sales role, I want you to tell me that you inherited a territory that had falling sales for three years, you implemented an aggressive cold-call campaign, and you increased sales 27% the first year and 15% the second year.

    Interpret Their Remarks.

    Another good technique is to draw upon what your clients tell you and feed it back to them. After doing this a few times, you might find that your clients “get it” and start to give you detailed examples rather than generalities.

    • I’ve noticed that detail orientation has been important in all of your jobs, at the restaurant as well as in the accounting offices. Can you tell me more about some detailed projects you managed and how that helped the company?

    Inquire About Context.

    One of my favorite questions to ask clients is “What was going on?” when they took a specific job. I want to know the challenges they faced, what they were expected to do, and of course how they performed under those circumstances. With this context, I can write compelling position descriptions that focus on big-picture achievements rather than mundane day-to-day duties.

    Understand the Challenge

    Similarly, you can often write stronger accomplishment statements if you compare results to expectations. To get at this vital information, ask questions like these:

    • What were you expected to do?
    • What were the projections for that initiative?
    • Did you have a budget and timeline?
    • Did you have a quota?
    • How did you perform compared to your peers?
    • Was that a realistic expectation? If not, why not?
    • Why was that so difficult?

    Incorporate Feelings

    Some people respond well when asked questions that evoke emotions. They’ll reveal their feelings and passions in a way that points you in the direction of a key question or helps you understand what makes them great at their job. For example:

    • It sounds like you really enjoyed that job. What did you like about it?
    • What job have you loved the most, and why?
    • What in your career are you most proud of?
    • Was that difficult for you?

    Use Samples

    For some clients, an example is worth a thousand words. If they’re struggling to give you what you need, share with them some “typical” accomplishment statements for people in similar positions that you’ve culled from resumes you’ve written. Then ask, “Can we write a similar statement about you? Tell me about when that happened.”

    Ask for Endorsements

    Shy clients may feel uncomfortable talking about themselves. You might be able to get some rich content by asking them what others have said about them.

    • What did your last manager say about you?
    • How would your co-workers describe you?
    • Have you noticed any consistent trends in your performance reviews?

    Call Them On It

    In a few cases, I’ve had to take a bit of a challenging tone with clients who are simply uncooperative or unforthcoming. In these cases it’s important to use direct language so they don’t misunderstand. For example:

    • You’ve said that you’re an expert at operational efficiency, yet you haven’t been able to give me any specific examples of when you improved efficiency or how much you saved. Do you think an employer is going to believe your claims when you can’t support them with facts?

    In other cases, it might be that the client has unrealistic job targets. While I don’t want to shoot down someone’s dreams, I think it’s important that clients have a realistic expectation of success when we complete a resume project, and I won’t hesitate to say, “I’m not sure you’ll be a strong candidate for the senior-level jobs you’re targeting. Do you have a back-up plan if your efforts aren’t successful?”

    In the final resolution, we must work with the material we’re given. But it’s our job to go at it every-which-way to get rich material from clients who may not understand what we need or why we need it or don’t feel comfortable “bragging” about what they’ve done. The result of our hard work should be career marketing documents that impress employers with our clients’ capabilities, experiences, and successes. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, CCM
    Best Impression Career Services

    Remember the prediction that computers would create a paperless society? While this clearly hasn’t happened, it’s evident that computers have changed the way we work and communicate.

    Similarly, the repeated threat that “the resume is dead” has not materialized, but resumes continue to evolve in new directions to meet the needs of an evolving workforce.


    • Previously a want ad in the newspaper might draw a few dozen responses. Today, an online posting attracts hundreds, perhaps thousands of resumes.
    • At one time a name-brand education and top-drawer MBA were enough to capture attention even up through senior executive levels. Now, more workers than ever have college educations, and MBAs are increasingly commonplace.
    • It used to be that workers joined a company and stayed till retirement. Lifelong career management was not the imperative it is today.
    • A traditional paper resume was the only kind that was available. Now we have various electronic resumes, online portfolios, online job applications, and numerous other ways of making career information available to potential employers.

    As resume professionals, we need to stay on top of evolving trends. And while the traditional resume is alive and well, in today’s competitive and active employment market it’s often appropriate to recommend and prepare additional documents that go beyond the resume to make an even stronger case for our clients.

    Here are a few recent scenarios in which I have created documents other than (usually in addition to) a resume to help my clients succeed.

    Household Name

    My client had spent ten years in high-profile positions with one of the best-known companies in America. When he left the company, within days he was receiving phone calls from recruiters, competitors, and other network contacts. They all wanted to talk to him about what he could do for them, and he set up half a dozen meetings for the next couple of weeks.

    What a great position for my client to be in! He wanted a resume to bring to his meetings or send in advance. Yet, when we spoke, it didn’t seem that he would need his resume to provide details of his background – it was already well known, and he was meeting with people who knew him or knew of him. So rather than create a typical two- or three-page executive resume, I recommended and prepared a one-page “snapshot” that captured just the highlights of his career chronology, accomplishments, and education.

    To supplement the one-page resume, we created a two-page leadership addendum that provided a more in-depth look into his top four or five career achievements. He planned to use these as a leave-behind following the meetings, to give his contacts deep and memorable insights into the kinds of challenges he had faced and the results he had delivered.

    Custom Proposal

    For another client, the first document we prepared was a two-page executive resume. As she executed her search campaign, I wrote custom cover letters and follow-up letters for her. After one series of meetings, she called to discuss an approach for her scheduled next meeting, and we decided to prepare a job proposal that spelled out precisely the challenges/opportunities facing the company and her value and ability to realize them.

    Armed with this custom job proposal, she impressed the top executives with her vision and landed the job.

    High-Tech, High-Touch

    As a third example, consider my client who was a senior executive of a high-tech consumer products company. He knew his target audience of high-tech executives (and recruiters) would look online to learn about him before and during the interview process. So after creating his traditional executive resume, I wrote a one-page narrative bio and a leadership addendum and then referred him to a colleague who helped him create a complete web portfolio.

    The portfolio included all of the documents I had created, shown in their entirety or pulled apart and presented in separate sections. Yet the portfolio format also allowed room for more, different, and creative additions that together created a comprehensive picture of this particular executive – his strengths and accomplishments, leadership style, and vision for the future.

    To Infinity… and Beyond

    There is no end to the variety of documents we can create for our clients! Taking a consultative approach, we can listen, analyze, and then recommend solutions that help our clients stand out from the crowd, convey just the right information, and create the right perception for each audience.

    After all, we’ve evolved from typed CVs to powerful resume presentations. Why stop there?

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, CCM
    Best Impression Career Services

    From a number of roles and perspectives, I encounter a lot of questions about resumes. On the Alliance’s monthly ResuMentor call, from contributors to my various books, and from students of the Resume Writing Academy, I field questions every week of the year. Many of them have to do with so-called “resume rules” that have emerged over time as “the” way to do things. And questions arise when resume writers question whether those “rules” really apply.

    When I respond to these questions – regardless of the rule, the complexity of the situation, the client’s profession or level, or any other factor – the answer is always the same: “It depends. It depends on what the client wants to be and the best way to position him or her to achieve that goal.”

    The client’s current goals – not his or her experience, education, credentials, accomplishments, or any resume “rule” – must be the litmus test for every resume decision. There is never any one right answer or absolutely wrong approach. What works for one person will be entirely the wrong strategy for another person.

    Let’s look at a few examples and I think you’ll see what I mean.

    Resume “Rule”: Go back 10 or 15 years and then stop.

    • Scenario 1: Client has 10 years of relevant professional experience preceded by 5 years of unrelated, short-term, non-professional jobs. She is looking for the next step up in her professional career. Recommendation: Include only the last 10 years.
    • Scenario 2: Client has 25 years of progressive corporate experience leading to his current role as Vice President. He is looking for a President or CEO position.Recommendation: Include all of his experience, although trim the earliest positions to include just the relevant highlights.

    Resume “Rule”: Write a one-page resume for new graduates.

    • Scenario 1: Client has three highly relevant co-op jobs with measurable achievements in each; she is looking for her first professional job in a competitive technical field. She has held leadership roles in several campus organizations, won numerous service and academic awards, and has been active in professional associations and charitable endeavors. Recommendation: Limiting her to one page will shortchange her and force you to omit information that will establish her as a leader and valuable employee.
    • Scenario 2: Client returned to school to get his degree in elementary education after a 10-year career as a laboratory researcher (which he hated). Recommendation: Eliminate or just briefly list his prior career; by doing so, you can probably keep this resume to one page.

    Resume “Rule”: Write a functional resume for a career-changer.

    • Scenario 1: Client spent 20 years in accounting and finance, now wants to transition to nonprofit management.Recommendation: Use a chronological format to present him as an experienced and accomplished manager. “Mine” his corporate experience to uncover relevant examples that go beyond finance and accounting activities. Enhance the resume with volunteer leadership experience, and lead off with a strong summary that clearly conveys his value.
    • Scenario 2: Client has been a stay-at-home parent for five years and now wants to return to work, but not as a nurse (her former career); she wants to work at an organization that provides after-school and vacation activities for children. Recommendation: Use a functional format for front-and-center presentation of her relevant experiences, accomplishments, and qualifications, culled from her recent activities as well as her prior nursing career.

    Resume “Rule”: Explain gaps in employment.

    • Scenario 1: Client has a strong work history with two gaps of a year or more that occurred more than 5 years (2 jobs) ago due to extended maternity leave. She is looking for a job similar to her current position, just at a higher level and/or with a larger company. Recommendation: Don’t worry about the gaps. Uses years (not months and years) to minimize them as much as possible, but count on her strong experience and accomplishments to earn at least a phone call.
    • Scenario 2: Client has not worked for three years, after taking a buy-out and seizing the opportunity to volunteer, write, and spend time with his family. Now he wants to return to work as a senior executive for a company similar to his prior employers. Recommendation: Include at least a brief mention of a “sabbatical” and concisely explain what he’s been up to, to answer employers’ and recruiter’s first concern: What have you been doing and why haven’t you been working for the past three years?

    The above advice and discussion probably seem elementary to those of you who have been writing resumes for a long time! Yet if you are new to the field or work essentially in isolation, without the opportunity to run ideas by colleagues, you might find yourself going by the “rules” rather than assessing each situation according to your client’s scenario. I want to encourage you to break all the rules… or follow them, if that is most beneficial to your client!

  • 18 Jan 2016 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    1. Write to the future. Resume writing is not about rehashing your past history and listing what you’ve done and where. Rather, resume writing is about writing to the future, to the job that you want or the career path that you wish to pursue. This is a critical consideration throughout every phase of writing your resume and conducting your job search. Clearly define your objectives, identify the skills and qualifications you’ve gained through your past experience that support your current goals, and then focus your entire search on these elements. Don’t position yourself as someone who wants to be a sales professional; rather, position yourself as someone who is a well-qualified sales professional with excellent skills in presentations, negotiations, closings, incentive planning and more. (If you’ve worked as a military recruiter, you’ve certainly done all of these things and more!)

    2. “Re-weight” your skills and qualifications. When writing your resume, you want to bring your skills and qualifications that are most relevant to your current career objectives to the forefront and put the most emphasis on them. Consider the following example: During your 4-year tour of duty, your primary function has been as a Maintenance Mechanic with collateral responsibility for technical training. Now, at this point in your career, as you re-enter the civilian workforce, you want to work as a technical instructor. To best position yourself for such opportunities, you’ll want to “re-weight” the information you include on your resume and put greater emphasis on teaching and training than on the actual mechanic functions you performed on a daily basis.

    3. Be inclusive; not exclusive. Every time you include a military acronym or use other military jargon in your resume, you’ve given a prospective employer a reason to exclude you from consideration. Employers want to know what you can do for them in language that they will understand and appreciate. This is what the concept of transferability of skills is all about. Change the language in your resume from military to civilian so that “corporate America” can understand what you did and how it applies to them. NOTE: The only time this is not true is if you’re applying to a company or government agency that works directly with the military and is interested in a candidate with your specific qualifications. If this is the case, you want to follow the exact opposite strategy and incorporate all appropriate military language into your resume. Consider who your audience is and then determine how best to write your resume and present your skills.

    4. Sell it; don’t tell it. Resume writing is sales – pure and simple. You have a product to sell – yourself – and you must create a resume that highlights both the features (responsibilities) and benefits (achievements) of that product. To accomplish that, change your resume-writing mindset. Instead of simply telling your readers what you have done, sell them on how well you’ve done it. Consider the difference in the following two sentences. Tell: “Managed fleet of military vehicles.” Sell: “Managed fleet of military vehicles valued in excess of $225 million and achieved 100% operational readiness scores for two consecutive years.” See the difference in impact?

    5. Highlight your keywords. Keywords are a vital component to every job seeker’s successful search campaign. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of companies and recruiters use keywords as the primary vehicle to search their database of resumes. For example, a recruiter might be interested in a candidate with a strong background in supply chain management. If your background has been in logistics, you’d be an ideal candidate. However, if you haven’t included those specific words – supply chain management – in your resume, you’ll be passed over. Take the time that is necessary to learn the civilian keywords that are important to your current career goals, and then be sure to incorporate them into your resume (as long as you actually do have experience in each particular function).

    6. Create your own personal brand. The latest and greatest strategy for successful resume writing is the concept of personal branding – creating a brand that is unique to you and your specific skill sets. Here’s an example of a branding statement for a veteran with extensive experience in budgeting and financial management: “Finance Executive who has delivered double-digit gains in productivity, quality and cost reduction in operations worldwide.” By incorporating this statement at the beginning of his resume, this individual has immediately communicated who he is and the value that he brings to a prospective employer in the civilian marketplace.

    7. Make your resume inviting to read. You’ve heard it all before. Use plenty of white space on your resume, use bold and italics to highlight important information, write in short paragraphs for a “quick” read and use bullets to showcase your achievements. In addition, consider using a typestyle other than Times Roman, which is the most-widely used of all fonts. Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Garamond or any one of a number of other typestyles are clean and crisp, yet give your resume a unique appeal. These visual factors are important considerations when preparing your resume. Not only must the content of your resume be solid and clearly communicate your value to a prospective employer, the visual presentation must be sharp, professional and easy to read.

    8. Create 3 resume versions. Every savvy job seeker knows that in today’s world of electronic job search, you must have three distinct versions of your resume – Word version, ASCII text version and scannable version. You’ll use the Word version whenever you’re submitting your resume via snail mail or when submitting it as an attachment to an email message. You’ll use the ASCII text version when completing online applications or when you know the company will not open a Word attachment. And, finally, you’ll use the scannable version when instructed to do so, allowing a company or recruiter to scan your resume into their resume database.

    9. Proofread, proofread and then proofread again. When you submit a resume with errors, you’ve almost certainly eliminated yourself from consideration. Before prospective employers ever meet you, they meet a “piece of paper” (or electronic file), and that “piece of paper” demonstrates the quality of work that you produce. If you want someone to extend you the offer for an interview and then a job, you had better be sure that your resume is 100% accurate and indicative of the quality of work you will perform for that company.

    10. Use your resume wisely. Your resume can be a valuable tool throughout your entire job search. We all know that you need to have a resume to generate job interviews. That’s a given. But also consider these other uses for your resume: (1) as a tool for networking and contact development; (2) as a tool to guide your interviews; and (3) as supporting information to help you negotiate a strong compensation package. Then, be sure to update your resume once you’ve landed a new job. You never know when that next, great opportunity might appear, and you always want to be prepared with a current resume on hand.
  • 18 Jan 2016 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Ever get a document back from an editor that has tons of red or blue lines (maybe even some green ones), and have no idea how to get rid of them all, or view the document the way it’s supposed to look? This article is for you!

    Why I Love Track Changes

    Microsoft Word has a very useful feature called “Track Changes” that keeps track of changes that an editor makes to a document, and allows subsequent readers to see what changes were made. When the “Track Changes” feature is turned on, anyone who opens the document can see every change made to the original document, whether to fonts, page formats, margins, and text.

    Track Changes also has a “Comments” feature that allows explanations and suggestions to be entered in the margins of your document.

    The value of Track Changes to me as an editor is that my clients can see what I’ve changed, and I can see the changes they make. I do not then have to go through their resume word by word to see what alterations have occurred. It’s also easy to accept or reject changes, without having to change individual fonts or colors. Gone are the days of manually inserting a strikethrough to indicate a deletion!

    The Dangers of Track Changes

    Track Changes can be troublesome too. You don’t want to send a document with lots of red lines and bubbles all over it to an employer or a school (many people have embarrassing stories of doing this)! The recipient then sees all the suggestions, changes, and possibly the original language and mistakes that needed changing.

    As part of proofreading and preparing the final draft of a resume, cover letter, or essay, take the following steps to ensure that you do not inadvertently send a marked up copy to an employer:

    Directions for MS Word 2007/2010

    Review Tab

    1. Check to see if there are any comments or tracked changes in the document:
    • Go to the “Review” tab and click on the window that says “Final Showing Markup.” Go to the “Show Markup” menu and make sure there are check marks in all the boxes (otherwise you might not see the comments or formatting changes when you look at “Final Showing Markup”)

    • NOTE: If the window says “Final” and you do not see any redlines, this does not mean they are gone! Make sure you are viewing the markups before determining that your document is clean.
    1. If you do not see any changes or comments and you do not make any other changes to the document, you’re good to go.

    2. However, if you do see comments and tracked changes, you can do one of two things:
      1. Change “Final: Show Markup” to “Final” and save the final document as a PDF. This solution works if the place you’re submitting your resume accepts.pdf files.

      2. Accept all the tracked changes and delete all edits and comments (unless you only want to accept some of them, in which case see step 4). NOTE: You need to delete edits SEPARATELY from comments!

      3. Under the “Review” tab, go to “Accept” icon and accept all changes.

      4. Under the “Review” tab, go to the icon that says “Delete” (next to the “New Comment” icon, and click “Delete All Comments in Document.”
    3. If you want to accept some changes and delete others, you can accept or reject changes and comments one at a time by right clicking on them individually. You will get a drop-down menu with choices of what to do.

    4. Repeat Step 1.

    Directions for MS Word 2008 for Mac

    1. Check to see if there are any comments or tracked changes in the document:

      Go to the “View” menu and Select “Toolbars,” and within it select “Reviewing.” Go to the “Show” drop-down menu and make sure there are check marks next to the first three items shown (otherwise you might not see the comments or formatting changes when you look at “Final Showing Markup.”)

    2. If you do not see any changes or comments and you do not make any other changes to the document, you’re good to go.

    3. However, if you do see comments and tracked changes, you can do one of two things:
      1. Change “Final: Show Markup” to “Final” and save the final document as a PDF. This solution works if the place you’re submitting your resume accepts.pdf files.

      2. Accept all the tracked changes and delete all edits and comments (unless you only want to accept some of them, in which case see step 4). NOTE: You need to delete edits SEPARATELY from comments!

        Go to the drop-down menu with the green checkmark, and select “Accept All Changes in Document.”

        Go to the drop-down menu with the red X, and select “Delete All Comments in Document.”
    4. If you want to accept some changes and delete others, you can accept or reject changes and comments one at a time by clicking on the icons with the left arrow or right arrow to move to the previous or next change and then click on the drop-down menus with the green checkmark or red X to accept or reject each individually.

    5. Repeat Step 1.

    Directions for MS Word 2003

    1. Check to see if there are any comments or tracked changes in the document.
    • Go to the “View” Menu and click on the “Markup” option. This feature can be switched on or off. On the Reviewing toolbar, click Show, and then make sure that a check mark appears next to each of the following items. If a check mark does not appear next to an item, click the item to select it.
      • Comments
      • Ink Annotations (Word 2003 only)
      • Insertions and Deletions
      • Formatting
      • Reviewers (Point to Reviewers and make sure that All Reviewers is selected.)
    • When on, you will see all the comments and changes. When off, you will see the document in its final form. Note: the default setting may be set to off. Therefore, never assume your final Word document does not contain any hidden comments or changes!!
    1. Get rid of all the redlines and comments (you must delete edits and comments separately). Do this on one of two ways:
      1. Turn off the View Markup option and convert the final form of the document into a PDF. You can use a program such as Primo PDF ( http://www.primopdf.com/ ).

      2. In the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Reviewing.
    • On the Reviewing toolbar, click Next to advance from one revision or comment to the next. Click Accept Change or Reject Change/Delete Comment for each revision or comment. Repeat until all the revisions in the document have been accepted or rejected and all the comments have been deleted.


    • To accept all the changes, click the arrow next to Accept Change, and then click Accept All Changes in Document. If you know that you want to reject all the changes, click the arrow next to Reject Change/Delete Comment, and then click Reject All Changes in Document.

    • THEN, to remove ALL comments, click the arrow next to Reject Change/Delete Comment, and then click Delete All Comments in Document.

    • If you want to accept SOME changes and delete others, you can accept or reject changes and comments one at a time by right clicking on them individually. You will get a drop-down menu with choices of what to do.
    1. THREE Repeat Step 1.

    Important notes for all versions of Word:

    1. If you accept all changes before reviewing the document and there is a comment in the middle of your document like “(dates?)” then that change will be accepted and become a part of your document! Make sure you respond to all questions and make any revisions needed inside your document before accepting all changes.

    2. ALWAYS proofread your final document at least 3 times! As much as The Essay Expert and other editors attempt to ensure that your documents are perfect, final approval is ultimately your responsibility.

    3. If you don’t want all your future edits to show up as marked on your document, turn Track Changes off by clicking on it. It’s a toggled function. Click it on, click it off.

    4. Finally, when you receive an edited document, whenever possible accept or reject the changes before making your own edits! This practice will make it much easier to look at the NEW edits you have made to the document.

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