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Rock My Resume: Brandis O'Neal
June 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm #133825
I have been a management analyst for 2 years at the National Institutes of Health working on the operational side of the agency. Eventually (1-2 years), I would like to move to the program side of an HHS agency as a program analyst. I would like by resume to reviewed for pointers and general feedback. Here is a link to a type of a job I would like to move to if I complete a graduate certificate in Health IT.
Thanks for any advice and input.
July 7, 2011 at 1:14 am #133828
Overall a good resume that showcases activities and accomplishments well. Only a few tweaks are needed to make this resume even more effective.
My comments will be broken down into two parts: presentation and content.
I’m probably about to say things you’ve heard before, but I do think it is in your best interest to keep you resume simple and not use any color. Although I understand the reason for using different colors is to stand out, I think this makes you stick out for the wrong reasons.
My guess is that most applicants use the resume builder in USAJobs instead of handing, mailing, or faxing hardcopies, which means no color at all. If you are uploading your resume to USAJobs though, definitely stop using color. And if you can, don’t use tables in Microsoft Word especially if you are sending a word document to someone electronically—they can see the outlines of the table.
A few other structural thoughts:
- I like the Profile section of your resume—just make sure it “gels” with everything in your resume and that it is an expanded version of the your cover letter’s thesis. Everything should focus on the brand of YOU.
- It would be good to use a serif font (times or palatino are preferable, because they aren’t as wide as garamond) instead of a sans serif font that you use now. Serif fonts are easier to read.
- For federal resumes, I say use 1” margins because length is not as much of an issue with these as it is for non-federal resumes. If possible, try not to have a page break fall in the middle of a bullet point or even to break up an organization, but that’s often unavoidable.
- Margins: it appears that you are wasting a lot of space at the top and bottom of your pages. That could be because you are using a table to organize everything. Also, your header and footer are really wide too.
- For your page numbers, I think it a good idea to put your name and email and/or phone number at the top of every page in case they are separate.
I looked over the position you sent and noticed that much of what the position asks for is not mentioned often or in an obvious way. I like to use Wordles (http://www.wordle.net) as a way to show what employers are asking for and to show what the resume says.
The white wordle (Brandis Job Wordle) was created from the Duties section of the USAJob and the black wordle (Brandis Resume Wordle) was created from just the responsibilities section of your NIH entry. The bigger the words are in each wordle, the more often they are used in the selected text. Obviously, these words are taken out of context but it gives you an idea of what the employer wants and what you are giving them. There are some similarities between the two, but you will see that some of your larger words either don’t appear in the job description or are much smaller.
I really like the way you have your experiences broken down by responsibilities and accomplishments. However, it would be good to focus MUCH more on what the employer wants in terms of how you present what they are looking for. Instead of splitting each description by responsibilities and accomplishments, why not create skill-based bullet points?
For example, using the job you sent as an example, “Evaluate” and “Analyze” are skills that come up a few times. Unfortunately, the first time “evaluate” or a version of it doesn’t appear until page 4. If the employer doesn’t see what they want almost immediately, they will move on. To help with this, you could create a bullet point that focuses on evaluation skills under every position, like this:
- Evaluation and Analysis – Assessing risk levels, conducting internal audits, maintaining internal delegations of authority, implementing controls, and reporting activities for the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act requirements. Study and evaluate internal business practices and processes through surveys for travel and purchasing to identify inconsistencies and inefficiencies, and recommend improvements.
This is sometimes referred to as a "modified chronological format" or “outline” format. Each description has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement. You don’t want to have massive bullet points for every skill set, just those that highlight those things that mean the most to the employer. And you can still keep the accomplishments section too.
Finally, avoid using verbs like conduct, perform, administer, support, assist, or maintain. Those are really passive verbs and don’t give you nearly as much credit as you deserve. Try to start each bullet point with an action verb that is the exact same word as you found in the job description.
Hope this helps.
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