Help! My Resume Has Fallen and It Can’t Get UP!

Recently a reader asked me to give her feedback on her resume. Rather than charge her for a resume redo, I made a few suggestions that she could implement herself to develop a winning resume.

Some of the suggestions included pumping up her Highlights and Qualifications section by really homing in on her strengths. Another suggestion was to use stronger action words in describing her duties and responsibilities in each of her positions.

The idea was that she could incorporate these changes herself at no cost and end up with a winning resume. Her challenge was that she really didn’t know how to identify her strengths or how to find the appropriate action words to describe her job tasks.

So, for any of you facing the same challenge, here are a few easy tips to get you on your way. Don’t spend the money on a resume re-do unless you really, really can’t do it yourself.

1) Read this past “Ask Wendy” article as well as the articles linked in at the bottom of the article: http://genplus.blogspot.com/2006/02/ask-wendy.html

2) If you are having trouble identifying your strengths, ask your friends, family and co-workers if you have them, what THEY see as your strengths. Use those as your starting point.

3) There are MANY lists of action words to be found just by a simple search on the internet. Google the term “Action Words” and you’ll come up with a slew of sites, such as: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/pw/p_skilist.html; or http://www.placementmanual.com/resume/resume-02.html

4) If you need action words specific to your job responsibilities, do a more specific search. If you Google “action words, administrative resume” and you’ll come up with sites like:
http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/resources/resume_actionwords.htm

5) Need some sample resumes to use as your own template? No need to reinvent the wheel. About.com always has a wealth of information for you. Go to:
http://jobsearch.about.com/od/sampleresumes/a/sampleresume2.htm for oodles and oodles of resume templates and sample resumes. Or Google “sample resume” and you’ll be amazed at some of the resources you can find.

4 thoughts on “Help! My Resume Has Fallen and It Can’t Get UP!

  1. Hi Wendy!

    You have lots of great information here (and in the “Ask Wendy” post you link to). I would add that in some communities, people can find local networking groups that offer resume critiques and other forms of job search assistance. As well, there is the opportunity to … well… network!

    Networking is critical in job search. In a study done by one outplacement firm, about 65% of clients landed their next job through networking.

    Even with all the no-cost support available, it can still be advantageous to hire a professional to obtain expert guidance on career and life planning and change.

  2. Wendy,

    Just a correction on my previous comment, the resume builder is actually from the CareerInfoNet.org website, but appears as an external link on the Finding A Job Page on USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal. Just thought I’d clear that up for your readers!

    Regards,
    Aurelio
    The Senior Surfer

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