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When it Comes to Your Résumé, Focus is Key

One of my clients is currently in staffing, has a payroll background and wants me to tweak her résumé for a job in HR. I asked her to send me a sample HR job, so I can begin the work. She told me that I must use the résumé I have on file. That résumé is all about payroll.

It occurred to me that many people are not aware that a one-size-fits-all résumé, especially if one is applying to a variety of positions even within the same industry, just does not work. As accomplished and qualified as you may be, if your résumé lacks focus and does not address the employer’s needs, it will be tossed in ‘File 13’, which is the garbage bin. You can have one résumé as your master, but be prepared to tweak it for each position.

To begin writing or reformatting your résumé, dissect the job posting to see exactly what the employer is asking for. Think of your experience and see how closely it aligns with the requirements of the job. Do not include any information that does not relate to the position. Then, take your time to reflect on the challenges you faced in each situation, the actions you took, and the outcomes or results of your actions. This process allows you to show your accomplishments, gives an idea of your potential, and let the employer know that you understand their needs, and if given the opportunity, you can replicate youre successes, and even exceed their expectations.

If you would like to give your résumé a better chance of being plucked from the pile, make sure it’s focused and answers the employer’s WIIFM question: What’s in it for me? I tell my clients from time to time that if the employer asks for apples in thejob posting, give them apples, not bananas, oranges and grapes, unless these will enhance their chances of being called for an interview. When it comes to your résumé, focus is key.

If you require help with this very important job search document, don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance. Consider it an investment, not a cost.

A Career Coaching Moment: Make 2010 Your Best Year Yet!

Usually at the start of a new year, many people make resolutions, and with all good intentions, but sadly, 97% of those who do so, never follow through. The reason for this is a lack of commitment and determination. It’s sounds great when they say it aloud “I am going to lose weight this year”, or “This is the year I will get the promotion I’ve always wanted”,  or  “This is the year I will write my book”, but that’s as far as it goes. Not a lot of thought goes into how’s it’s going to happen; what steps come first; who will hold them accountable, or what do they have to give up?

What side of the equation are you on? The 97% who don’t or the 3% who do? If you are one of the 97%, now is a good time to reflect on what may have prevented you from following through in the past, and commit to doing things differently this year.

As you move forward to making 2010 your best year yet, remind yourself each step of the way that “successful people always do what unsuccessful people do not. Be the change you want to see!

Keep coming back to this blog for information on our Road Map to Career Success – 2010 Challenge.

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part II

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor SmartMoney.com

Today’s tip is the second in the series for moms who are returning to work:

Tip #2: Fill in the gaps. You can fill the gaps by reflecting on some of the activities you were involved in while you were off. Focus on the challenges you faced, actions you took and the results those actions.  Think of your multi-tasking and organizational abilities, or your people and project management skills when you led the delegation that met with corporate sponsors for the Girl Guides. Think of how you may have sharpened your Excel skills when you created a budget to manage the household finances. These might not have been paid activities, but you were certainly honing in on your skills.

The next tip in the series will be Tip #3: Choosing the Right Résumé Format.