Monday, September 30, 2013

Content to Include When Writing Resume

One Page Resume Tips

When a summary is requested, your Resume template should frame a snapshot of your skills and achievements, and quickly tell the reader why you are right for the job. Be sure to include:

Contact Details
  • Name
  • Address
  • Home number
  • Mobile number
  • Email address

A Section Highlighting Key Skills—In this section, summarize achievements relevant to the role. Make sure to describe the positive and quantifiable difference you made for your employer(s). Focus on those skills and attributes that best prove your merit for the job opening.

Use of Section Headings—Check out single page Resume samples for category titles that work for you, but choose a Resume format that keeps headings to minimum—two or three. Some examples of headings:
  • Key Achievements
  • Qualifications
  • Career or Experience Summary
  • Career Goal
  • Career History

Two Page Resume Tips

Writing Resume that are two pages in length should include the above items, plus added detail.
Key Achievements—Succinctly describe ways in which your actions made your company more profitable, efficient, visible, successful and so on. Give concrete examples.

Relevant Skills and Competencies—Give examples that prove you can execute the role.

Qualifications—Include qualifications that relate to the position, such as an MBA in Marketing for a Marketing Director position. Totally unrelated qualifications can be distracting.

Career or Experience Summary—This is a four-to-eight line synopsis of your career to date, and typically excludes employer-specific information. It should describe your career path in a way that demonstrates your fit for the job opening.

Career Goal—Consider including this in your Resume if the position is more than a step up from your current role, or you are changing career direction. Mention educational programs and special training you have undertaken to support your aspirations.

Career History—Begin this section with your current or most recent job and work backwards. Name your employer and describe the nature and size of the business (not all organizations are universally known). Provide your job title and what your position entailed, focusing on what your accomplishments gained for the company. The more you can quantify your achievements, the better!

Leave out information irrelevant to the job you are seeking.

Education—Include college and post-graduate education, honors, and relevant academic and business-related programs.

Professional Affiliations and Honors—Include all memberships as well as industry achievements and awards.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tips for Getting your First Resume on the Right Path

Entering the professional world is intimidating! You are about to get a taste of the real world and begin job searching. And part of it also means you are about to craft your very first resume!

Panicking, are you? Well…The first resume is always the hardest to write! There’s typically just not much that you can put out there. The real challenge is selling your work experience when you have no experience at all! So how do you do it? And how do you identify your marketable assets and present them in a way that makes you look like an ideal candidate?

Read on for some important rules to ensure your first resume measures up:

It’s never too easy to start from scratch!

Everyone starts out with zero experience! You might flounder and falter at the outset but eventually you’ll come up with a resume that will act as your career launch pad! But before you start penning down your resume, you need to keep some essential principles in mind. Be honest, confident, crisp and clear. Never try to trick, copy paste, over-commit, be verbose or sound unprofessional. Understand that your resume does not have to narrate the history of your life. It has to simply showcase your capabilities to potential employers, and tell them what value you can deliver.

Start with the layout:

Search for a resume template online that you find most appealing. Avoid anything that is too fancy or complex. Start with your contact details- your address, mobile number and email address. Get yourself a new email address if your current one sounds too personal or unprofessional. Also make sure that you are reachable on all these addresses at all times. Your resume should be in a font that is easy to read, such as Ariel, Times New Roman or Verdana. Capital letters or bold texts for headings are more effective.

Make a combination resume:

Instead of creating a conventional chronological résumé, think of a combination résumé. This format lets you highlight your professional skills by assembling them near the top of your document. For instance, you can have a segment titled “Computer Skills” or one called “Voluntary Experience.” Don’t limit yourself to skills you’ve honed through regular jobs only. The ones you’ve gained through volunteer work, internships or social committees can be just as significant.

A brief and arresting summary:

The true purpose of your résumé is to market you! So you have to package it effectively and merchandise the product to attract the right audience. For the main body of your resume, write a short and crisp profile that best describes your skills and accomplishments and gives employers a “snapshot” of the kind of career you’re aiming for. Start with the details of any formal work experience that you already have, beginning with the latest. Show company names, your job titles and include internships, significant summer jobs, voluntary work or other experiences that might have added to your skills. Use bullets instead of paragraphs as they are easier to read. But add things only which are relevant, don’t make them up to pad your resume. It’s ok to have no work experience at all. In a situation like this, choose activities where you’ve played a pivotal role or have demonstrated growth. Remember- employers prefer quality, not quantity!

Enrich with the right keywords:

In times when companies are using keywords screening software to filter through piles of resumes, if yours doesn’t have the right blend of job-specific keywords, it might stay buried in the digital dungeon or the rejected pile even if you’re totally qualified for the job. So cull out jargons or buzzwords that are unique to the job and industry you are applying for. Pay close attention to words that specify skills, experience, academic qualifications or any unique expertise that the position requires. You can add to your list by visiting industry trend websites.


Mention your educational qualifications at the end. Give the dates, the names of the schools or colleges and the qualifications. Mention your grades where you did exceptionally well or projects that might be significant to any future jobs. Current and probable studies are also worth citing.


The final touches:

Your resume is your ticket to the professional world so it’s absolutely vital to get it right. Apart from proofreading it several times before submitting it, ask a few reliable friends, mentors or family members to re-examine it for errors. Also ask for feedback on the layout and content. After all, most of have them might have written résumés and their advice could actually help you turn yours into a great one.

For a first timer, no one will expect you to have a fully packed resume with loads of impressive experience yet. You will one day, but for the time being, just keep it simple and honest.

Facts About Resume Formats

A successful Resume is one that lands you the interview. While there is no standard Resume template, there are strategies to employ when writing a Resume.

A professional Resume must convey the positive difference you will make for each employer you approach. That requires customizing your Resume template to suit every opportunity that comes your way. By thoroughly researching the company, and by paying attention to key words in the job description, you will get a good sense of the company’s “pain points.” Use this knowledge to your advantage! Make sure your achievements show how you successfully handled similar situations.

The decision to hire is a ‘buying’ decision on the part of an employer and your Resume is their first impression of you. Present yourself in a thoughtful, straightforward, easy-to-understand way. Look neat and organized. If this is challenging for you, seek design and writing help for a good Resume format. Sample Resume can be easily researched.

General Tips

Often, the first person to see a Resume uses a list of criteria to screen it ‘out’ rather than ‘in’. So, make sure your Resume reflects the job description well.

A Resume is generally a door opener but can also be an effective follow-up tool after meeting someone.

Some interviewers use Resume as a guide for asking questions. It is acceptable to keep your Resume in front of you, but refer to it only when you need to.

Content Dos

DO use keywords found in the position requirements.
DO show how your skills and achievements made a difference.
DO use numbers and percentages to show measurable successes wherever possible.
DO illustrate how past employers were better off because of your contributions.
DO send a hard copy as well as a digital version.
DO use a simple design with clear headings.
DO use a universal typeface, such as Arial.
DO use good quality white paper.
DO feature specific and quantifiable achievements rather than duties and responsibilities.
DO use verbs such as created, enhanced, saved, launched, negotiated.
DO be concise.
DO list your work history and educational details starting with the most recent.
DO check and recheck for spelling and grammatical errors.
DO leave out irrelevant or negative information.

Content Don'ts

DO NOT send poor quality photocopies.
DO NOT exaggerate or misrepresent your accomplishments.
DO NOT claim complete responsibility for achievements.
DO NOT write a novel.
DO NOT use casual abbreviations, overly descriptive language or jargon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If you Want a Job, Get Planning

Get Rolling in Six Simple Steps

Dreamfedjob Tip: Reach your career goals faster by following these six steps
A good career planning process starts with an Action Plan. Commit it to writing and do not forget to include deadlines—you will reach your career goals faster.
  1. Engage in goal setting
    Exactly what are your career goals? Detail your short-term goals, and give consideration to mid and-long-term goals.
  2. Identify missing skills needed for your career goals
    Once you have established goals, know the competencies required to achieve them. List the skills you need for your career planning and development in order of importance.
  3. Prioritize what matters most
    If your list of essential skills is a long one, divide it into “digestible” segments and start with what is most critical.
  4. Plan to succeed
    At this stage, plan for the resources you will need to successfully execute your career plan.
  5. Record and review
    As you progress, record your achievements and share your successes. Also, periodically review your overall Action Plan to make sure it is still tracking with your interests and goals.
  6. Stay flexible
    Life happens! If you are temporarily derailed, get back on plan as soon as possible. Or, if opportunities arise that change your career planning, do not fret. Your Action Plan can be adjusted.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Do YOU know what YOU want to do when YOU grow up?

Actively Seek Answers

Dreamfedjob Tip: Begin your career review by looking inward, but also seek additional perspectives
An exploration of your career options begins by learning certain key facts—about yourself and about the workplace. Look inward, but also seek additional perspectives by speaking with others. Both approaches can help you focus on what really matters to you.

  • Career Aspirations—What are your short and long-term career goals? Can they be achieved in your current organisation? If so, what should your career plan look like to attain them?
  • Strengths and Weaknesses—Seek honest feedback. Where can you improve? Do your skills mesh with your career goals? How do superiors view your potential? Can you point to concrete achievements? What is missing?
  • Personal Values—No career planning process is complete without knowing your preference for a company’s culture, including their work/life balance. How much personal time do you require at your stage of life? If having time for life outside of work is a priority, make sure it is possible.
  • Your Current Position—Evaluate your feelings about your present career. Are you where you want to be? Is it rewarding? If it is unsatisfying, or disrupting your career development, find a safe venue to vent negative emotions so you can set some new goals in a positive frame of mind.
  • Options Outside of the Business—Have you thought about career options outside of working for the government? What does the wider labor market look like? Which sectors are hiring?
  • Getting Ahead—Do you need ideas to raise your profile at work? Do key players know of your worth? If advancing on the job is impractical, you may have to consider a new career choice.
  • Look Before You Leap—Know the pros and cons of the choices you make. Before you start your journey, understand why you want to reach your destination, what it takes to get there, and what to expect once you arrive.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Career Planning

Cultivate a Conversation

Dreamfedjob Tip: Seek input and advice continuously and create opportunities to do so
When planning your career, seek input and advice from multiple quarters. While research and formal job reviews are helpful, informal explorations of career options work too.

Seek career advice continuously, and create opportunities to do so.

  • Spontaneous talks with friends and work colleagues can shed light on your special skills and strongest talents. Hearing where you really shine can also open your mind to different and new career goals.
  • When scheduling a formal career review, leave at least an hour for career planning and goal setting. An advance email or phone conversation briefly outlining proposed talking points helps longer meetings stay on track.
  • Make the best use of career planning sessions by arriving prepared. Gather and study information on topics you wish to cover before you get there.
  • Actively engage your social network for more casual career counseling. Maintain contacts with people connected to your career choices. You will gain a wealth of firsthand knowledge about your areas of interest, as well as potential opportunities.
  • Before you enroll in training and development programs, speak with “graduates” of these offerings to hear their thoughts.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bad News for Anyone Looking for a Government Job

Budget cuts from sequestration will force agencies to trim 100,000 federal jobs over the next year, according to a report published Tuesday by banking firm Goldman Sachs.
Federal employment has already fallen by 71,000 jobs over the last year, according to the report. It assumes that Congress will not reverse sequestration budget cuts. The job loss numbers, taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, include the Postal Service as well as part-time and seasonal federal jobs.

Even though the economy continues to improve, federal employment will continue to drop because agencies largely avoided permanently cutting their workforces until now and will have to make permanent job cuts over the next year, according to the report.

“Many federal agencies have employed temporary strategies to adjust to sequestration this year, such as employee furloughs and deferral of maintenance and training, with the hope that sequestration would ultimately be reversed,” the report said.

The workforce will continue to decline at a smaller rate after the next year, according to the report.
“If sequestration continues, more permanent adjustments will become necessary and agencies may be more willing to undertake them if Congress declines once again to reverse the cuts,” the report said.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Planning your Retirement from your Federal Job

After years of hard work, you are looking forward to retirement. Choosing when to retire is an important decision and involves a number of issues you may want to consider in your retirement planning. The more you know before you start making decisions,the better off you will be in retirement.

Retirement Saving Plans

Your employer’s retirement savings plan is an essential part of your future financial security. If you have a 401(k) or other retirement savings plan at work, sign up and contribute all you can. If your employer also contributes to the plan, sometimes as a matching contribution, fi nd out how much
the employer match is and how much you need to contribute to get all of it. As noted in the timeline, at age 50, you can begin making catch-up contributions to save even more for retirement. Don’t touch your retirement savings. The longer you leave the money there, the more time it has to grow. If you take money out too early, before age 59½, not only do you lose principal and interest but you may have to pay a tax penalty. At age 70½, you will need to start taking a certain amount out, called a minimum required distribution, or risk paying a penalty.

It is also important to understand how your plan works and what benefi ts you will receive. Learn about the different features or provisions of your plan. Ask your plan administrator, human resource offi ce, or employer for information. Also learn about the rights and responsibilities you have under the federal law that governs your plan, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

While you are working, take a look at how much you have saved for retirement, how much you might receive in Social Security benefi ts, and what other assets you have. Also, look at your current expenses and think about what they will be in retirement. For instance, your work-related costs will likely go down, while health care costs likely will increase. Starting now can help you make changes while there is time before you retire to make up any savings gap or adjust your goals. Also remember to check your plans at least once a year to see if you need to make changes to stay on track to a secure retirement.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Looking for a job? Start here...

So, you’re looking for a job and you don’t have a plan. This is really the first step in your job search. You need to start with a plan. You’ve heard the quote, “Plan your work and then work your plan.” Okay, so how do you get started? Here are 6 simple steps to help you get started – but prepare yourself because looking for a job is a full-time job:

1. Determine the Goal – Are you looking for a job, a career, or a calling? Are you staying in the same industry? In the same function? What are your values and interests in looking for your next role? Do you want to be leading teams? Do you want the ability to let your creative side come through in your work? Is it important for you to manage people? What are your motivated skills? Your key strengths? You need to have clearly defined career goals before conducting your job search. You need to understand how your skills and experience can serve another company. You need to be clear in your own mind what is the goal? This will help to build your self-awareness and your self-confidence.

2. Develop Your Power Stories – You need to have strong power stories for your resume, interviewing, networking, and any other methods of exposing yourself. So think about your accomplishments, and make sure you have quantifiable measured results. Here are some examples: “Doubled revenue” or “Increased market share by 5%” or “Increased speed to market by 15%.” If you think long and hard enough, you should be able to come up with at least a few examples of this for yourself. This may take time but its necessary and will pay off in the end. If you are just out of school, then think about results in your undergraduate program, graduate program, or internships. These are key in marketing yourself, so be sure to keep track of metrics in all of your future jobs if you haven’t been very good at this in the past. In terms of structuring these stories, always start with the result first, and then the action. In most instances you won’t include the “story” of how or what you did or the problem that prompted the action until you get into your interviews.

3. Develop Your Marketing Materials – You need to be prepared with materials to market yourself. These will come in the form of either physical material (marketing collateral) or simply verbal preparation. Here’s a list of some of the essentials: Personal Brand Statement (what makes you unique), 30 second commercial, 4-5 minute “Tell me about yourself,” business cards, professional/job search specific email, Linkedin profile, Facebook profile, resume, electronic resume (, one-page networking bio, one-page recruiter bio, cover letter, and thank you notes. You may also want to develop a special report and/or proposals.

4. Determine Your Marketing Strategy – Now you should be ready to start exposing yourself. How do you plan to market yourself? What is your strategy to reach your potential new employer? You should be planning most of these and as such each one should have a clear strategy: Online/Social Media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and VisualCV), Networking (online groups; Professional Associations; Executive Recruiter Networking Groups, past co-workers, friends), Direct Mail campaign (what will you send to your target companies), Informational interviews, and recruiters. Remember, around 80% of job opportunities are not publicly posted (for higher level positions), so you need to get your materials in front of your target – even if they’re not posting a job opportunity. Some companies don’t know that they need you, that is, until you prove it to them!

5. Develop Your Target Company List – So where do you want to work? Who do you want to target? Now that you know what industry and your geographic locations, think about the size of company. Are you more comfortable in a smaller, entrepreneurial company where you can wear many hats? Or do you prefer large, global organizations? You need to do your research and decide which companies you want to target. This is very important because you’ll want to have a list for your networking bio. This is just one way you will get contacts at your target companies. Go to your local library and ask the librarian for help. You can do most of the research from home once you know what you’re doing. You will use databases like Reference USA or OneSource to find companies in your target industries; ProQuest to search online journals and magazines for articles; Hoover’s, Mergent, or Yahoo Finance for financial information. You will want to research the industry, competitors and the company. Put the essential information on one page as a summary for easy reference. The goal is to have a target company list of at least 50 companies. Once you have your list prioritize the list into A, B, C, and practice companies. Start with your practice companies until you get more polished in your responses and your questions.

6. Develop Your Action Plan – Now you are somewhat prepared and practicing will get you ready for your target list. So get online and post your resume on all the job search sites including Monster, Career Builder, The Ladders (assuming you qualify), and a multitude of others. Start calling your network and let them know your conducting a job search. Ask for feedback on your resume and your 30 second commercial. This will give you plenty of opportunity to practice. Ask them if they have any contacts at your target companies. Get on Linkedin and connect to everyone you know and everyone you connect with while networking. Develop relationships with recruiters when you get referrals. Help recruiters with their needs and they will be more apt to help you. Developing relationships with people you meet networking will take time and effort but they are worth it. Keep up with your networks, even after you land. Help as many people as you can, in any way you can. It may not be the same people that help you but that’s okay. Set up daily searches on,, as well as Monster and Career Builder. Search and read blogs online that help you with more specifics and different elements of your job search.

I hope these 6 steps will help to get you started and provide an overview of how to prepare. Continue reading this blog for more details on these steps and much more great information. Please add your thoughts on these steps or ask questions as needed. We want to interact with you and help in whatever way we can. Happy hunting!