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Rock My Resume: James Deimer
September 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm #140812
I would like my resume to be reviewed for content – and making BEST use of my professional attributes and linking them to the employer need. The Government Resume Template on USAJOBS is standard – but I also include a Professional Profile and a Cover Letter when submitting my application & resume.
I am currently employed as a GS-0201-12 Human Resources Specialist (Classification) at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I have just started submitting my application and resume to recent annoucements.
The main issue I am encountering is competing with others who either have held a higher grade before or have more experience than I do.
I have recently applied to: Assistant Human Resources Officer – Job Annoucement Number: FG-11-528182-KA
September 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm #140823
Also – I have begun to make myself visible on some of the Social Networking Sites – just google James Deimer for my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, or twitter.com/jamesdeimer…
October 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm #140821
James, thanks for participating in Rock Your Resume. Your back ground, experiences, and veterans status should make you a very competitive candidate for positions in the federal government; or out of the government for that matter.
I’m only going to talk about your USAJobs resume because I am not a fan of the “professional resume” you uploaded. To me, “resumes” like that are more akin to an advertisement than an effective presentation of your abilities and accomplishments. This may stem from my belief that the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview for a job and my lack of experience in the marketing/fashion world too, where “head shots” are the norm. Others will disagree with me, I’m sure. In fact, I would appreciate the chance to be convinced otherwise.
One thing you could do with your USAJobs resume that could help a lot 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.
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.”
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.
October 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm #140819
Hey James. If you can get your updated resume posted by end of the week, you’ll be in the running for “Total Resume Makeover” or the month of October. Thanks! – Andy (GovLoop Community Manager)
November 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm #140817
Just getting back to this now Paul – Thanks for the GREAT review – very thorough….
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