Isabel: You’ve been searching through the job listings and you’ve found the perfect job. All you can think about is how much you really want it. But before you hurry to send off your resume, take some time to let the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission help you create a winning resume. A resume may be the first impression an employer has of you and may be the deciding factor in whether you land an interview. Joining us we have an OESC Career Counselor who specializes in helping job seekers create professional resumes. Hello, Michael. Michael: Hi, Isabel. I’m glad to be here. A resume is your own personal document that outlines your past work experiences, education, and achievements. Here are some simple but professional tips that can make all the difference in a resume: Always start with basic contact information listed at the top of your resume in an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman or Arial. The contact information should include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Make sure your e-mail address and voice mail message are professional. Isabel: If you don’t have an e-mail address, there are lots of free e-mail providers that you can sign up for, such as Google or Yahoo. What is the next step, Michael? Michael: You have the option of whether or not to include an objective. While it’s important for your resume to include a clear career goal, you don’t have to convey it through a standard Objective statement as you see here on John’s resume: Isabel: “Seeking an Administrative Assistant position with a company that will allow me to fully utilize my communication, organizational, and problem solving skills.” Michael: Instead, you may choose to incorporate your career goals into a Qualifications Summary. Here’s an example of a Qualifications summary from Mary Ann’s resume: Isabel: “Professional with over six years of experience in industrial engineering analyzing, criticizing, generating solutions and implementing agreed upon solutions to improve productivity for various manufacturing processes. Industrial Engineer with the following experience: material flow analysis, machine cycle analysis, predetermined motion time systems and ergonomics.” Michael: The Qualifications Summary effectively highlights your skills and future career objectives. The Objective or Qualifications Summary should be followed by a keyword listing of your skills most relevant to the position, usually in a bulleted format. Isabel: Keywords not only make it easier for an employer to quickly review your resume but also make your resume searchable by some forms of technology. Michael: Many large employers that receive high volumes of resumes for certain positions may use optical scanners to identify keywords applicable to the open position. This helps them quickly eliminate resumes that do not meet their minimum qualifications. Isabel: So what are those keywords and how do you decide which ones to use? Michael: Every industry has different keywords. Keywords tend to be the “hard” skills, industry-specific qualifications, and job-specific terms employers look for in a job candidate. A great place to find resume keywords is to review 5-10 employment ads with similar job titles in your field and see which words are repeatedly mentioned. Isabel: Examples of common keywords include “project management,” “customer retention,” “performance and productivity improvement,” and “administrative support.” Another great way to find industry-related keywords is to search various sites on the internet. We offer an online resume builder that allows you to select preloaded keywords related to your work. Michael: Another important professional tip: remember to use proper formatting. Typically, an employer only spends 10 to 15 seconds glancing at resumes for potential job candidates. A polished resume increases the likelihood an employer will take a second look. Your resume should be long enough to encourage hiring managers to call you for a job interview, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to resume length. Factors to consider include career objective, occupation, industry, years of experience, number of employers, scope of accomplishments, education and training. Isabel: Consider a one-page resume if you have less than ten years of experience, you’re pursuing a radical career change and your experience isn’t relevant to your new goal. You’ve held one or two positions with one employer. Consider a two-page resume if you have ten or more years of experience related to your goal, your field requires technical or engineering skills, and you need space to list and prove your technical knowledge. Michael: Our next professional tip – choose the style of organization that suits the information contained in your resume. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may choose a chronological, functional, or combination resume. Isabel: Chronological resumes are best suited for entry-level job seekers or those who have stayed in the same field. A chronological resume starts by listing out your work history, beginning with your most recent position first and continuing in reverse chronological order. Michael: To supplement each position listed, key accomplishments and qualifications are included to give potential employers a sense of the kind of work you’ve done in the past and what you are capable of doing. An Education section follows, including where and when you attended school, degrees, certifications, or licenses earned, your majors and minors, and any honors or awards received. Isabel: For recent graduates, list education first, then experience. In addition, you will typically also include a skills section including such things as computer skills, laboratory skills or languages spoken. Michael: Next, let’s look at the functional resume, most suited for people with varied work experiences and accomplishments or those wishing to change careers. Isabel: A functional resume focuses more on the skills you have acquired rather than a listing of positions you have held. Functional resumes usually highlight a few key areas of experience and list responsibilities and accomplishments for each experience area. These skill areas should be specific and targeted to the jobs you are applying for and reference how and in what context skills were used. Michael: Now, for the combination resume. A combination resume blends features from both the chronological and functional resumes. Your skill areas with accomplishments are listed first, followed by a work history section in reverse-chronological order. The work history section should only include your job titles held, name and location of the companies, and your dates of employment. You do not need to list what you did at each job, because that information is already included in your professional skills section. Isabel: Now that we have discussed what should be included and how to format your resume, let’s take a look at some common resume errors you might not know you are making. Michael: If you’re using a general resume to apply for multiple jobs, you’re probably ignoring an employer’s specific needs. Study job descriptions and evaluate the organization’s websites to identify their values. When your skills, accomplishments, and interests overlap with theirs, highlight them on your resume. Isabel: Your resume should be about what you can offer the hiring employer not about your past. Avoid words or acronyms that may only be associated with a specific profession or industry. They may not mean anything to your targeted audience. For example, C-P-U is an acronym that means Central Processing Unit and only those in computer technology may understand what the acronym refers to. Ask someone you know to read your resume. If that person can’t explain each bullet point to you, edit it so your accomplishments stand out. Isabel: It is important to use active language that demonstrates your contribution to the achievements listed in your resume. Michael: Use action verbs to demonstrate your role in each success. Search your resume for the words “by,” “was,” and “were”, then look for more active ways to describe each of those accomplishments. For example, replacing, “I was the Scheduler,” with “Created and supervised schedule for 20-person staff” paints a better picture of your abilities. Isabel: Here are some last minute tips before you send your resume off. Your resume should be easy to read with no errors. Don’t let your hard work be overshadowed by an avoidable typo. Michael: Avoid the use of personal pronouns – like I, my and we – and avoid slang at all times. Isabel: Don’t include personal information such as marital status, number of children, race or ethnicity, age or gender. Michael: Don’t include your hobbies or interests unless they specifically relate to the position you are applying for. Isabel: If you would like to learn more about the services we offer to help you improve your resume skills, contact your local Workforce Oklahoma Center at 1-888-980-9675. Michael: Or visit www.oesc.ok.gov for additional resources. Isabel: We wish you the best of luck on your job search. Thank you for watching.