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Rock my Resume: Thomas Pope
October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm #143490
Thomas Elliott PopeParticipant
- Why do you want your resume reviewed? I am looking to land my first position with a government agency. I would like help rebranding my professional background. I have been in management and customer service for the past 10 years with an emphasis on sales.
- What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)? I am currently employed but looking for a job closer to home with more stability.
- Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)? I have applied to well over 75 goverment positions and have not had 1 interview.
- What’s the main issue you’re encountering? I am having problems getting past the initial screenings. I unfortunately do not have any government contacts in my area.
- Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for? Below is a position I have already applied for. I am having a real problem searching for local positions with the changes made to USA Jobs…..https://my.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/2367492
I really appreciate any input and would appreciate any pointers as to where I should be networking. I currently live in Shepherdstown WV…..I am open to commuting to DC, MD or VA to get my foot in the door.
November 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm #143503
Thanks, Thomas, You’re in the queue for review – likely in December.
December 4, 2011 at 3:11 am #143500
Thank you for participating in the Rock Your Résumé program! I’m honored to review your résumé and hope my suggestions will help you improve your résumé so you can land your dream job!
I’m going to address your answers you submitted below:
***Why do you want your resume reviewed? I am looking to land my first position with a government agency. I would like help rebranding my professional background. I have been in management and customer service for the past 10 years with an emphasis on sales.
For the announcement you posted, showcase your training and management skills with much less emphasis on the sales. Demonstrate your ability to develop curriculum, conducting needs assessments, compliance with policies, making recommendations on process improvements, and saving $.
***Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)? I have applied to well over 75 government positions and have not had 1 interview.
Have you targeted each application/resume to the job announcement? If you are not doing this, you will not get past the applicant tracking system. As you will see on page 1 of your résumé with my track changes, those are the sections that need to be added and modified for each job announcement.
One way to tell if you are qualified for the position is to break out the paragraphs of information on the announcement and analyze it sentence by sentence. Can you write about an accomplishment for each one or an experience?
The initial screening is the applicant tracking system, i.e., the Résumé Builder. It is critical that you align your resume toward the job announcement. You listed and mentioned you have management and training skills. Those need to be showcased for this job announcement.
Keep networking on GovLoop! Join groups that interest you. I tried to also find you on LinkedIn.com and do not see you there. That is also another great place to network. (Remember, it is not a job board, it is a networking tool.) There are a lot of government groups there as well. Get active in social media. Create a professional presence on GovLoop, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook—and utilize the apps BeKnown, BranchOut, and CareerFriend to accelerate your job search. Networking is important, but create your stellar career communications and profiles before you start networking.
Federal résumés require a lot of details such as the names of your supervisors, whether or not they can be contacted, their phone number, the number of hours you worked per week, salary, GPA, related coursework, and number of semester hours. Don’t forget to add all that information in where appropriate. Your salary and GPA information doesn’t need to be on the one you post to this group. You could add in some color in the headings and a page border and add a conservative amount of graphic lines to modernize it a bit. You could even color the page a soft color to help make it stand out. You can also use a text box to make your core competencies stand out. There are a lot of ways to make your “resume” stand out, along with targeting the job announcement.
Some of my successful strategies follow:
The headline, profile summary, and first two “sections” on the traditional résumé are the most critical in terms of capturing and keeping the attention of the reader. Does your résumé pass the 5-second skim test? When creating a traditional résumé using a Word document, it is important to address the needs of the employer—quickly! Leave off the old fashioned, generic “objective” and replace it with KEYwords specific to the job that will QUICKLY capture the reader’s (employer’s) attention.
Think of those first few seconds like reading the title to a book. Will the “title” of your book compel the reader to open the book and read your story? If your headline (brand) and the first one-third of the page (before the first fold) are visually appealing, compelling, and addresses the needs of the employer, it should capture his/her attention. Then, if it flows with qualifications and telling your story, it will be easy to keep his/her attention because you have attracted their interest. Now they will want to know more about you and what you can do to solve their problems and address their needs. If you combine your branding elements with qualifications and tell a story, this approach will get you much further…faster…in the hiring process.
Begin with your headline, then a brief 3 to 4-line profile summary, incorporating keywords. Create the Qualifications Summary to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and abilities—qualifications. Then craft the Core Competencies section using keywords from the announcement along with your expertise and skills.
There are three purposes for the Qualifications Summary and Core Competencies sections on the résumé (and you can use different titles if necessary):
1. Aligning you/your résumé with the job announcement—branding and outlining qualifications.
2. Keyword optimizing—copying these sections into the online résumé builders.
3. Most important, when you interview for the position—you and the hiring official will have great talking points that are specific to the job announcement!
As you know, résumés are very subjective. Ask 5 people to review your résumé and you will get 10 opinions. However, I am sharing what has been working for me and my clients for 23 years. I “data mine” the announcement to obtain keywords and qualifications, then relate your experience, knowledge, and skills to create your brand and story. You can use http://www.Wordle.net to help data mine if you are not familiar with identifying keywords and qualifications. It is a great tool. Just copy and paste the duties and qualifications sections, or even the whole announcement, into Wordle.net and it will do some of the work for you. It will help to identify the keywords used throughout the announcement. Use those often and relate your experiences to those keywords in your résumé.
To continue sharing what has been working for me and my clients, I create a “job search toolkit.” One of the elements to the toolkit is creating the résumé in three formats. I create a .doc, .txt, and pdf. Each has their strategic purpose. I recommend formatting the .doc file using enhancements such as some color, bold, small caps, centering, bullets, perhaps a drop cap, text box, and possibly a table or graph, depending on the situation, to name a few.
After I complete the final version of the résumé in Word, I create the other two versions—a .txt and a .pdf. Bullets and symbols do not transfer well to online résumé builders so when I create the text file, I replace the “?” and any other symbols with a keyboard symbol such as an asterisk (*). I also use all caps to bring attention to only the keywords and phrases used in the job announcement. This is the version that is copied and pasted into the résumé builder. I clean up the file then it is ready to be copied into the résumé builder, section by section. You can use the .pdf for uploading into the saved documents area on the builder. That way, if the recruiter wants to download it, they will see the nicely formatted version, which can make all the difference.
Another use for the .pdf version, and most important, take several prints with you to give to the interviewer(s). This is one way you can set yourself/résumé apart from all the résumés that look alike—possibly word processor-based templates, or the plain text versions. Be sure to leave the nicely formatted prints with the interviewers and human resources personnel. It will make a big impact when they are choosing who to hire as well.
The changes to your résumé are suggestions on how I would initially recommend enhancing your résumé based on the job announcement you submitted. NOTE: If I were developing your résumé, I would ensure that I knew your skill level with regard to “exceptional, outstanding, expertise, articulate, etc.” to be sure they were not overstated, or understated, then write accordingly. I would also analyze (or create) your brand and communicate it electronically and on paper after interviewing you. I believe this will be a good start in educating you on how to make your resume aligned to the announcement and how to stand out.
One of the most overlooked elements to a successful job search is not notifying your references you are actively looking for a new position. References can make or break a deal for you. Choose them wisely. Be sure your references get a copy of your résumé. Be sure to alert them to your situation and your goals. Prepare them for the phone call from the employer. Let them know what you are applying for and remind them of your specific experience that relates to the job announcement, if necessary. Be sure to give the employer a phone number that is the best number to reach your references. It sounds like this would be easy, but I have had clients that did not do this before consulting with me and it resulted in no job offer.
Your references play a critical role in helping you stand out. If you are on LinkedIn, ask your references to write a recommendation for you. This exercise will help prepare them for what they would like to convey to the employer about you. This also helps you to know what your reference would say about you and your work ethic.
I wish you much success in pursuing your new career!
December 13, 2011 at 5:04 am #143498
Hey Thomas – Can you make the changes to your resume and re-post here for others to see the makeover? Thanks – Andy (GovLoop Community Manager)
July 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm #143495
Thomas Elliott PopeParticipant
I finally took the time to adjust/tailor my resume…..please let me know what you all think! Thank you very much for your help and sorry it took me a while to adjust.
July 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm #143493
Wow, Thomas! This looks awesome. Thanks so much for sharing it. I’m tagging it so others in our RYR community can check it out. Good luck with the job search!
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