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Rock My Resume: Dale Rupright
December 2, 2011 at 5:39 am #146885
Why do you want your resume reviewed? I’m really interested in the position of Analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This position just opened and I want to apply quickly. I really just want my resume to be the best it can be!
What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)? I recently retired from the Air Force after 26 years, and I’m seeking my first civilian gig.
Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)? I have applied to several jobs on USAJOBS, but I haven’t made it to a hiring manager yet. I’m waiting to hear back on two of my applications now. The Federal Reserve Bank has their own job board and they appear to prefer the normal two-page resume.
What’s the main issue you’re encountering? No issues…However, I’m concerned that I’m not translating my military experience properly, and therefore I’m not illustrating how much value I can bring to the organization.
Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for? Here is the link:
January 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm #146888
Dale, thanks for participating in Rock Your Resume.
You have a ton of great experience and I’m a bit surprised you haven’t received any call-backs from employers. However, I do think there might be a couple things we can do to up your odds.
First, of all, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you were taking advantage of your veterans benefits. I assume you are eligible to receive at least the 5 point veteran’s preference in the application process. If you are not taking advantage of that, you should!
I also noticed that you are finishing you MPA degree at the moment. There are several great student programs in which you can participate that would give you entrée to the federal government. I just released a new book with Kathryn Troutman that has a lot of great information valuable to students and veterans. If you don’t want to get a copy of it (the kindle version should be live soon), maybe ask the career director at Park University if they have a copy you could look at. You can find The Student’s Federal Career Guide at http://tinyurl.com/6rbpmtc
And if Park University doesn’t have a career services office, shame on them!
As for your resume, one thing that may be causing problems for some employers is the functional style you use. Although I think that can be a very powerful way to present your experiences and accomplishments, many employers don’t like it simply because they are not used to it. Often, employers wonder what you may be trying to hide by not organizing your resume chronologically or they may just be confused by the layout.
Whatever, the reason, I think you could easily take what you have now and switch it to a modified chronological resume.
Before I go through that process, though, it would be a good idea for you to drop the format you use now as well as using Tables. Although it does look clean, there is a lot of wasted space on your resume.
I made a number of changes to your resume and started reformatting it according to the modified chronological was I will go through below. You can see that I changed a lot around and just put bullet points under certain experiences without knowing if that is where they belong. You can update and change the rest of your resume to fit.
First of all, there is the summary of your resume.
I’m not a big fan of listing all the skills you have at the beginning. Instead, you should be building those skills into the bullet points you have later in your resume. The Summary section of your resume is your opportunity to create a lens through which employers will read your resume. Give them something direct and to the point that will focus their attention on what it is they are about to read. Here is a good example:
“Program analyst with three years of project experience working on teams implementing community development programs, grant writing, and data analysis. Business and organizational development expert with first-hand experience of the Congressional appropriations process and knowledge of effective strategic management practices.”
Modified Chronological Format
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 below, which is how I organized your resume. Because you only have two pages to work with for the Federal Reserve, you may want to stick to the first way of doing this kind of resume.
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.
Avoid using verbs like conduct, perform, administer, support, assist, maintain, or the really old and tired phrase “responsibilities included.” 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.
Whenever you find it hard to avoid starting your bullet points with “Assisted” or “Helped,” break down what you did into manageable parts that you can describe. Everything you do relates to a skill set that an employer will find useful as long as you present it as such.
Finally, 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.”
Again, though, you probably will not have enough space to do this on your resume. Therefore, it would be a good idea to include these accomplishments in each bullet point, which you have done already.
Writing to the employer
Keep in mind that an employer will only give your resume 6-9 seconds for an initial review. You need to make an impact IMMEDIATELY. And if a computer is scanning your resume for key words, then you need to know what those are.
The position description is the employers way of saying “we have a problem.” You need to tell them that you are the solution to that problem and you MUST do it in their language. In other words, you need to translate your resume into their language using their exact words to describe what you have done and, most importantly, what you have accomplished. This will not be hard for you, because you already have a ton of great information in your resume. All you need to do is modify your resume to fit what the employer wants.
I hope all this is useful. Good luck with your search and keep me posted on how things are going.
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