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Rock my Resume – Joe M.
September 21, 2011 at 3:12 am #141840
- Why do you want your resume reviewed?
In the hopes that someone will see it and contact me
Receive feedback on how to improve it.
- What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)?
Looking for work
- Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)?
Applied for jobs and submitting resumes
- What’s the main issue you’re encountering?
I either get to the 2nd interview or no response, for NGO/NPO positions
As far as Gov jobs, I applied a lot when I recently got back from Peace Corps and got one interview but have not been actively applying recently.
People look at my resume and think that I might find the job I’m applying to as boring or don’t understand what I have done in past positions.
When I apply to private for profit organizations people look at my resume and have certain perceptions.
People don’t understand where I am from/live.
- Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for?
I am applying to NGO and NPO positions that are 2-3yrs of experience.
I’d be interested in working at HUD, DOE, Peace Corps, etc.
November 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm #141850
Hey Joe – You’re in the queue for review. We need a specific job announcement if you have one. That’s the key ingredient to the review. Thanks! – Andy (GovLoop Community Manager)
November 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm #141848
Field Communications Officer, Latin America
Location: Colombia or Peru Salary Range: Grade 23 Exempt/Non-Exempt: Exempt Benefits: An excellent benefit package is offered Employment Type: Full Time Department: International Programs Description: The Field Communications Officer (FCO) creates, leads and implements the communications strategy and production for his/her region, aimed primarily at producing communication pieces to inform and engage U.S. Lutherans and New Business Development audiences. The FCO functions are divided between (listed in priority order): 1) production of print, web content, video and photographs about LWR’s work in the region for use with US Lutherans, NBD/IPD audiences and other stakeholders. Ideally, these communication products strategically engage and integrate LWR’s overseas work with the interests and priorities of US Lutherans; 2) development of strategies and products to increase LWR’s brand, visibility and profile within the Region in ways that support LWR’s resource mobilization strategies, and; 3) training and support to LWR staff and partners regarding communications and media training and strategies. Duties: 1. Lead design and implementation of communication and media plans for the assigned region. Travel throughout the assigned region to gather stories, photos, videos and data regarding LWR’s work, partners and communities and produce a wide range of written and visual information regarding programs and issues affecting LWR and our partner communities.
2. Serve as lead developer and writer of region’s content for LWR website, ensuring current and accurate program information and feature stories and accurate use of statistics. Contribute to LWR’s social media presence by blogging and providing Facebook and Twitter updates from the region.
3. Work with regional staff and other stakeholders to sharpen and increase LWR’s profile and position within the assigned region, producing material and products for use with related new business development and communications/media relations needs.
4. Incorporate emphasis on appropriate branding in regional trainings and meetings; ensure that LWR staff who are interviewed or photographed have access to appropriate LWR-branded wear, and, where feasible, that appropriate signage is visible on program vehicles, buildings, and items to be distributed.
5. Work with regional staff to organize the production and distribution of field visibility items and correct use of LWR and donor logos.
6. Provide support and training to field staff and partners to improve their communications work
7. Design and provide on-the-ground support for delegations of LWR Leadership Team and/or board members, key LWR donors, other U.S. Lutheran visitors or guests from U.S. Lutheran or secular media.
8. In conjunction with HQ communications staff, coordinate visits of videographers and/or photographers to the region as needed.
9. Explore and develop opportunities for U.S. constituents to contribute volunteer service to LWR projects in the region .Facilitate connections between LWR projects in the region and U.S. Lutheran congregations through project sponsorship opportunities.
10. Coordinate with IPD staff in developing policy analysis and/or position statements on key issues regarding LWR’s work in the assigned region and on issues affecting communities with whom we work.
11. Serve as media spokesperson in assigned region, in close coordination with the Director of Creative Services and/or VP, External Relations. Seek out and develop relationships with U.S. journalists covering the region and with local media outlets.
12. If travel is required – Familiarity and compliance with LWR’s safety and security procedures and protocol’s.
Qualifications: 1. Deep commitment to LWR’s core values and ability to model those values in relationships with colleagues and partners.
2. Bachelor’s degree or higher in communications, journalism, marketing or related field.
3. At least five (5) years’ experience in communications, media/public relations, journalism or related field
4. Excellent verbal, writing and editing skills; Experience with web-based communications and social media; Experience with photography and/or web-based video
5. Ability to research, analyze and interpret complex international relief and development issues and write clean, concise and compelling copy for a U.S. constituency. Strong copy-editing and proofreading skills and attention to detail.
6. Overseas field experience strongly preferred, especially in developing country settings. Understanding of relief and development issues essential.
7. Strong public speaking and representational skills.
8. Great interpersonal skills, ability to effectively and seamlessly represent LWR in a positive way and ability to be both a team leader and a team player and to work with people of varied backgrounds. Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team. Excellent interpersonal skills, particularly in cross-cultural settings.
9. Demonstrated ability to plan, organize and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously, take initiative, set and meet deadlines, and follow through on projects with minimal supervision.
10. Highly proficient in using Microsoft Office applications.
11. Ability to travel extensively, both within the assigned(often under challenging environments)and occasionally back to the U.S.
12. Experience with faith-based organizations and/or US Lutheran structures highly desirable
13. Fluency in the English and Spanish languages required.
November 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm #141846
Post: Logistics Officer
Excellent career development opportunity emphasizing management and leadership skills
Nonprofit / International Development
Logistics (prior experience not required – we are seeking a good business mind)
One Acre Fund
Major East African city (Nairobi preferred), with travel to other cities and our rural operations
English required, French desirable
Most of the world’s poor are farmers, representing the largest and most uniform group of poor people in the world. One Acre Fund is a start-up NGO in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi that is innovating a new way of helping farm families to achieve their full potential. Instead of giving handouts, One Acre invests in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. We provide farmers with a “market bundle” that includes education, finance, seed and fertilizer, and market access. Our program is proven impactful – every year, we weigh thousands of harvests and measure more than 100% average gain in farm income per acre. We have laser-like focus on generating better lives for the people that we serve.
We are growing quickly. In five years, we have grown to serve 65,000 farm families with more than 500 full-time field staff. In three more years, we will at least quadruple in size, while adding several new countries. Our approach has won widespread validation, winning grants from the highly competitive Echoing Green and Skoll Foundations, and the global Financial Times/ IFC award for “basic needs financing” in 2010 and 2011. Website: http://www.oneacrefund.org
We are seeking a logistics officer who can manage all of our strategic purchases in East Africa. Our organization buys a lot of physical goods in several countries – these purchases are of high strategic importance, and we invest significant time and energy into these purchases. The logistics officer will be responsible for:
- Understanding our core business and needs: We want to find a colleague who is humble, has a “can-do” attitude, and is able to listen to our field operations and understand their needs.
- Innovating new purchases: We spend a lot of time investigating new kinds of things that we can buy. Oftentimes, these purchases unlock new strategic avenues for us to generate impact. Examples:
- Plastic dosing scoops – we recently custom-manufactured scoops that deliver a precise, 2.4g dose of fertilizer to a planting hole. This involved working with a plastics manufacturer and then field-testing the scoop in the field with actual farmers.
- Packaging for chlorine – we recently worked with a plastics manufacturer to innovate a new bottle for holding water purification chlorine, which could save us more than 50% on this item.
- Marketing signs – we recently discovered a new kind of marketing sign that is durable in the field, bright, etc.
- Building relationships with fertilizer and seed suppliers: We are still a small business in the grand scheme of things, but we are growing. This year we will spend about $5m USD on seed and fertilizer – but we will grow 20-30x in the coming eight years. We are seeking someone who will build and maintain relationships with a dozen different seed and fertilizer suppliers, and work together with them to save us millions of dollars on purchases.
- Research: This position will involve investing significant time and energy into research. Understanding fertilizer markets for example, requires cultivating key contacts who can feed data to us, and doing significant independent research into worldwide cost drivers. For various products, we also want to trace the supply chain back to original manufacturers in China for example.
- Transportation: It is not easy to get dozens of tractor-trailer-loads of items all over East Africa, across borders, etc.
Career Growth and Development
One Acre Fund invests in building management and leadership skills. We provide constant, actionable feedback delivered through weekly mentorship and through regular career reviews. We also have regular one-on-one meetings, where we listen to and discuss career goals, and work collaboratively to craft roles that each person can be passionate about. Because of our rapid growth, we constantly have new high-level roles opening up and opportunities in many functions and countries. This results in fast career growth for our staff.
We are seeking exceptional professionals with 2 to 5+ years of work experience, and a demonstrated long-term passion for international development. They will serve in a career-track position that combines both field and management experience.
We are looking for truly extraordinary candidates that will help take our organization to the next levels of impact and scale. This is not a short stint in Africa – this is a competitive posting for a career-track role. Only 3% of applicants make it to a phone screen. Therefore, please only apply if you fit these criteria:
- Strong work experiences. Examples include a demanding professional work experience, or successful entrepreneurial experience (e.g. starting a field program in a developing country, leading a conference, starting a business, solid Peace Corps accomplishments).
- Leadership experience at work, or outside of work.
- Top-performing undergraduate background (include GPA and test scores on your resume).
- Prior logistics experience is ideal (e.g. fertilizer purchasing experience), but mostly we are looking for someone with a strong business mind, who has a passion for operations and logistics. This job will involve a broad variety of duties, and so our ideal profile is a smart generalist.
- Humility and personal stability. We have a fantastic and likeable team. We are looking for passionate professionals that combine strong leadership skills with good humor, patience, and a humble approach to service
- A willingness to commit to living in East Africa for at least two years – this is a long-term, career-track role. The ideal candidate will have at least one year demonstrated experience working in the developing world, although this is not a strict requirement.
- Language: English required in Kenya, and French required in Rwanda and Burundi. French-speakers are particularly encouraged to apply.
- Ability to cook/laugh/extraordinary patience – all desirable.
Preferred Start Date: Flexible
Compensation: Starts very modest. However, this is a career-track role with fast raises for performance, paying a meaningful salary for long-term placement in developing nations.
Benefits: Health cover, immunizations, flight, room and board. 2 annual home flights provided.
Career Development: Quarterly management consulting-style career reviews, and constant feedback. Your manager will invest significant time in your career development.
Sponsor International Candidates: Yes
December 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm #141843
Thanks for participating in the Rock Your Resume program. I apologize for taking so long to respond to you post. I hope you are having a terrific holiday season.
You have a lot of great experience and your current resume does a decent job of showing the basics of what you bring to the table. However, I think there are a few things we can do to make it really effective and to highlight those things that federal employers will find most attractive.
BTW, everything I discuss below, and more, is discussed in greater detail in my new book the 2nd edition of the Student’s Federal Career Guide located at http://www.amazon.com/Students-Federal-Career-Guide-2nd/dp/0982419058/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324572910&sr=8-2. The kindle version should be available soon too. There are a ton of great tips and suggestions for everyone in it. Check it out!
As you can see, I made a few suggested changes to your resume in the attached document. I started reformatting on the first pageBefore I explain a few other things I think are very important, I have one a few details to go through.
- Be consistent with everything. Your education section has the institution listed second while your experiences have the organization listed first and the dates are in the wrong place.
- Your name doesn’t need to be so large. Most employers can read it at 11 pt as well as they can at 20pt, but at 11pt, it doesn’t take up as much space.
- Margins for your resume should not be smaller than 7/10 of an inch or bigger than 1 inch. (I set your margins in the attached document to 1 inch on all sides).
A good mantra to follow is “Keep It Simple Silly” or KISS. If you find yourself taking a long time to format and write your resume, you are probably working too hard. If your resume uses simple formatting and concise writing, it will be easier for you to write and, more importantly, easier for the employer to read.
Now to the more important stuff:
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.
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.”
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.
Most of your bullet points are good, but I think you may benefit from combining a number of them into descriptions that show that you had an impact on a larger project.
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, all of 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.
The last things I want to mention are your Training & Certifications and Studies Completed in Latin America with Prescott College. The Training section is good, but is buried on your resume. My suggestion here is to treat it as a Professional Experience and put it in that section. There is nothing wrong with doing that as long as you make it relevant to the position at hand.
For the Studies Completed section: again this is important information, but it is presented in an inefficient way. These were studies you did as part of your work at Prescott. Therefore, either list them under Prescott or create a section titled “Publications.” These publications would fit well in a “Key Accomplishments” section under Prescott and could be listed like this:
Completed the following studies:
- Analyzed the effects of alternative development models in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela, and their ability to reduce poverty (June-August 2006)
- Explored how the effects of Latin America movements and how they influence regional geo-politics (January 2006)
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