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My resume is to “Midwestern,” I’ve heard…
September 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm #141979
- Why do you want your resume reviewed? I was told by a very reliable source that I am too shy in my resume, but that it’s not my fault because I am from Minnesota. Apparently, I need more assertive language. I’m sure I haven’t accomplished that satisfactorily yet.
- What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)? Just started job searching/networking in D.C. two weeks ago. Moved from Minneapolis after graduate school and summer research.
- Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)? Submitted 30 resumes, had an interview, half a dozen info interviews, met a bunch of people in the industries I am interested in.
- What’s the main issue you’re encountering? People I meet with seem to think I will not have problems finding a meaningful position, I just need to keep networking and meeting people/volunteering and being visible.
- Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for?
October 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm #141992
Hey Andrew – With the USAJOBS revamp, do you happen to have a link to a new job that you could share here?
October 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm #141989
I have attached a job posting.
October 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm #141986
Andy, Thanks for uploading your resume to Rock Your Resume.
I apologize that it taken me a while to get you my thoughts and suggestions.
I agree with many of the people you have met with that your experiences make you a strong candidate for positions in the federal government. I also agree that you are being too “shy” on your resume; an unfortunate side effect of growing up in Minnesota maybe? I grew up there too.
To start, I’m going to suggest that, if you haven’t already, you should use the USAJobs resume builder to create your resume. Although many federal employers may not like the USAJobs resume style, they are used to it and will recognize it immediately.
The other thing that will help your presentation is to use a “modified chronological” format. This is a hybrid version of the functional and chronological that is organized in reverse chronological order, but has subsections focused on the skills sets the employer has said they need.
Each description, then, has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement. For example, a recent client of mine was applying to a position at a university that had a number of distinctive requirements. He had a number of shorter bullet points that weren’t cohesive or understandable, so I suggested something like this:
- Recruitment and Marketing ‑ Develop employer outreach strategy and marketing plan, requiring relationship and network building in all sectors and publication of the first brochure sent to over 5,000 contacts around the world. The number of employers holding on-campus recruiting events almost doubled in this timeframe and the number of employers participating in the annual Employer Site Visit program increased 50%.
- Communications – Customize and administer, in conjunction with director, the web-based career management system, which gives student and alumni 24-hour access to job and internship announcements, an event calendar, employer contacts, and career-related documents.
- Project Evaluation ‑ Create and administer electronic surveys and evaluations for students and alumni in order to organize relevant and timely workshops, seminars, and career fairs. Attendance at events increased over the past four years including twice as many employers participating in the Elliott School career fair from 35 (2001) to 74 (2005).
- Training ‑ Advise students and alumni on career plans, job search strategy, organizational research, professional development opportunities, resume writing, informational interviewing, salary negotiation, and networking techniques. Review 200-250 resumes and cover letters per year.
(When using the USAJobs resume building, you won’t be able to bold anything. So for all the bolded words above, you can use all caps. In fact, any key words you use should be in all caps, even if it is in the middle of a bullet point.)
That kind of bullet point pulls together the skill sets he used (developing, implementing, creating), what/who/how/why he did these things, and his accomplishments. And it focuses the employer’s attention on those skills sets the employ said it needed. It also gives much more context to the employer and the sense that my student’s work had a much broader impact.
You don’t want to have massive bullet points for every skill set, just those that highlight the things that mean the most to the employer.
Another way of laying this out is to have several bullet points under one sub heading like:
Strategic Planning and Policy Development
- Develop strategic plan for new one-person career development office, monitor program budget, and serve on Executive Committee for school that has grown by 80% in 3 years.
- Identify career development needs of 450 MPA, MPP, and PhD students, implement appropriate programs and services, and offer support to 3200 alumni. Approximately 95% of all alumni are employed six months after graduation.
- Establish systems to ensure seamless coordination with Student Disability Services, Counseling Services, and International Services Office to help clients with special physical, mental, emotional, and legal needs.
- Evaluate financial aid process for graduate students and collaborate with upper management to review and develop process to decrease waiting time to receive confirmation with purpose of increasing student recruitment and retention.
- Assess personnel needs of school according to mission and present reclassifications and proposals for new staff members to director and faculty.
Along with this structure, I find it useful to write these using a “project management” mindset. In other words, your bullet points should not be brief descriptions of individual activities, but they should show that you were involved in a much larger project.
Also, you need to look at your descriptions from the perspective of the person reading your resume and ask yourself these questions: “So what? Is this what I need?” Most of what you have written now would not give them what they need.
It is important that the last sub-section of every position description be a “Key Accomplishments” section. Federal HR professionals like to see a section that highlights you key accomplishments for every position. These accomplishments can be awards, recognitions, commendations, and even a retelling of those things your mentioned in the sub-sections above the Key Accomplishments. It is a good idea to flesh-out those key accomplishments from your bullet points, because they may have been buried in the project management style of writing.
For example, the second bullet point above, under Strategic Planning and Policy Development mentions an accomplishment, but it is slightly buried. Therefore, one of the bullet points under Key Accomplishments could be “95% of recent graduates successfully found professional positions six months after graduation, the highest historical success rate.”
Of course, this means that every organization you describe will take up a lot of space. I am not an advocate for writing long federal resumes just to get as much information onto the page as possible. I do believe, however, it is very important to give the employer all the information you can that directly relates to their needs. The more you can do that, the more likely it is you will be moved forward in the process, even if your federal resume is 5+ pages.
I’m not sure some of your sections are as strong as they could be. For example, I’m not sure “Creative Arts Research” is appropriate for most federal jobs. The USAJobs resume builder gives you only one section in which you can really customize the information complete, which is the “Additional Information” section. Otherwise, it confines you to specific sections like Professional Experiences, etc.
Much of what you have your resume is professional experience, but it appears in odd places. For example, you did two stints with the U.S. Census Bureau in MN. Why don’t those appear in the Professional Experiences section?
Finally, it appears that you have included many of the words and terms from the ESA position in your resume. To determine that, I pasted the paragraph on page 3 of the document you uploaded on the major duties of this position into http://www.wordle.net. It showed me that the main words in that brief description appear in your resume. However, it is really hard to find them. I think the resume format I described above will help with that. The wordle output is attached.
October 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm #141984
My goodness, that is terrific! Thanks so much for your advice. This is incredibly helpful,
October 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm #141982
Hey Andy – Once you make the changes, can you re-post here for others to see? Also, we pick the best “Resume Makeover” and feature it to improve your visibility among recruiters. The sooner, the better! Thanks!
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