Your resume is a marketing tool that communicates all about YOU.  When it works, you win an interview!  Is your resume working for you?  Your resume doesn’t simply provide a prospective employer with your professional work history.  It speaks that you have the qualifications needed to be a complete success in the new position and career!

Your resume will and should ATTRACT the immediate attention of the hiring manager.  The reader will want to pick it up and read it top to bottom.  Their peeked interest should be stimulated and in the end, an interview will be given!

Man with magnet - Characters collection


Your resume should include:

  • Your contact information, such as; name, address, phone, email address and LinkedIn profile link
  • Career Summary
  • Professional Work History
  • Educational Background
  • Affiliations
  • Certifications
  • Awards


A hiring manager may have hundreds of dull and boring resumes to sift through.  Having said that, when something catches their eye, it must really pop out at them!  Your resume should impress within the first 5 to 8 seconds or it will not impress at all!  Employers almost always quickly scan all resumes and then grab for those that catch their eye the best.

You want to write a really effective and visually appealing resume.  When you do so, you will use powerful statements that will impress.  This is very important, and yet you don’t want to oversell!  There is a very fine line here and you will learn all about it.  Above all, you will make honest statements about yourself.  They will be strong statements and 100% true, or they will not be effective at all.


First off, who do you think you are writing this resume for?  Your prospective employer will be the one who oversees the day to day operations of the company you want to join. They are the ones who make the hiring decisions and they are entirely invested in ensuring that you are the right one for the job.  This person will care about whether or not you can do a great job for that organization and so this is the one you are writing your resume for!

You want to make certain you’re the right candidate for the position.  You want to be sure you know everything there is to know about this company.  You want to understand exactly, which qualities are needed to be the right candidate for the job.  But above all, you want to be sure you are not a good candidate for this position, but rather you are the BEST candidate for the job!




This is the time to put pen to paper and to lay out clearly what your prospective employer is looking for in an ideal candidate.  You should be able to solidify what it is that you bring to the table, even before you begin.  Write down every fine point about your career training and experiences, your unique distinctiveness, special talents, even your attitude.  What exactly is it that shows you’re most qualified for the position you’re seeking?

You will soon start to be able to connect the dots during this process.  Simple and straightforward statements will turn into sentences and sentences will turn into paragraphs.  Keep this information in a safe place.  You will use it later to be incorporated into your finished product.


The trick to an ideal resume contains powerful and assertive statements about your talents, characteristics and accomplishments.  No need to be shy.  You are going for the gold so sell yourself with all that is in you!

The next ingredient of a perfect resume will show “you know your stuff” and know it well!  This will be proven by education, experience, work history and any other relevant affiliations that shows the prospective employer that you are a person of substance and not only of design.  Keep in mind that the more standard resume will simply be a chronological account of a very boring life and most people will not give it a second glance.  Write your resume to be interesting and even impressive and watch as your phone rings for that important interview!



You should write a resume that does much more than just inform; you will write a resume that compels to action!  Your resume will become as a good bargaining tool! Your prospective employer will be interested and will stand up and take notice, and this is exactly what you want!  Ensure you’re bold about your assertive statements, but not too bold.  Leave them wanting for more.  Tease a bit with nuggets of information and let them be interested to know more.  Just as you would sell any product that you believe strongly in, you will learn to sell the product that is you! Once you have learned to do this, you will find that you will get a better response from a prospective employer than other prospects do and even those with better credentials.  It is all in how you market your product, YOU!

If you still have any questions regarding the resume process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services.  She is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe.



Hiring managers are always seeking a resume that leaps out at them.  They are looking to be impressed!  When they read your resume, they want to ensure you are the best candidate for the position.  They want to be able to do this before ever setting eyes on you!

Think it’s impossible? It’s not!

The initial step in landing your dream job is to write a perfect resume and cover letter! There probably won’t be an interview without those two career documents!  We know that your resume becomes your calling card and places you in the front when job hunting.  It’s a career document that’s a few pages, skillfully written and contains information that’s all about you and your career background.  Your resume will either place you front and center in the hiring managers hands, or it will not— there is no middle ground.





If you’re a serious job seeker, you continue to tailor your resume to the position you will be applying to.  This way you can conquer the never ending “resume” paper trail.  Your resume writing skills will become outstanding and your resume will be fine tuned. You will learn to market and sell yourself with simple and effective words.  Never again will your resume ever be placed at the bottom of any pile, but rather at the top!

For starters, you want to make a decision to abandon any former knowledge learned about the “rules” of resume writing.  People usually become stuck in “bad” writing habits.  Many job seekers have never written a resume ever in their life.  Perhaps it’s been a while since you last wrote your resume and much has been changed over the years. It should be, since the career trends change through the years.




For years, job seekers have been told that to be most effective, a resume should be only one page.  This just does not apply any longer!  Today’s resume is original and distinctive.  Aside from the most critical and key elements, a resume should reflect the individuality and need of the job seeker and not be some cookie cutter version of what is “acceptable and expected.”

Resumes and cover letters have changed dramatically, but only so far as the job seeker has the artistic expression and know-how to pull it off!  That’s the difference.  Day after day hiring managers read standard resumes.  They are required to go through each and every one!  However, which one will catch their eye?  Will it be yours?


creative resume

Correct formatting in resumes and cover letters has expanded, too.  When you consider your resume will be your own, personalized form of marketing yourself, this lends itself to all manner of uniqueness and expression.  Once more, so long as the essential elements are included in each resume and cover letter, you are at total freedom to make certain that your resume will impress the human resources representative.

But just how, exactly does one do this?  First off, let’s learn about the most basic principles involved in writing a highly effective resume.  Once you have this down, the creative juices can flow!

The most central intention in writing your resume will be to get noticed among the sea of applicants!  You want to stand out as not just a good candidate but as “THE ONE” that is perfect for the job you want!  Considering that next to your well written resume, not even one hundred other resumes will be written as well as yours, you can see the odds will be in your favor!  Your job is to write a resume that will compel to a perspective hiring manager to notice your professional career experience and credentials.  If you can master this technique, the rest will be a piece of cake!


Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 


be different - business team


Transitioning Military and Veterans have a huge range of skill sets.  They have acquired a wealth of knowledge, skills and competencies from serving our country.  The training and education that they received during their military service is transferable to those skills being sought by the companies and organizations looking to hire.  In addition to these valuable skills, the Veteran brings a unique sense of leadership and teamwork to any organization!

Veterans also understand the commitment to achieving organizational objectives and goals.  In addition, they have demonstrated the ability to work effectively and efficiently within multi-cultural environments. So when an organization hires a Veteran, they are bringing an individual on who is committed to serving both an organization and this nation through their continued service.

Prior Military personnel also have technical skills in highly sought out arenas, such as; IT, Communications, Security and Medical technology to name a few.  Many Veterans also hold the required security clearances that are needed for some government contract and Federal positions.


The typical military transition process should be started as far out as 24 to 18 months, don’t wait until you are out!  Many transitioning military don’t get the chance to start up their transition this far in advance. If given the chance to jump start the transition process, take full advantage of the time to get your ducks in a row, so you are well prepared.

Many Veterans join the service young, maybe even straight out of high school.  They may serve 20 years or more and then retire. Perhaps they haven’t served that long and had just never had to write a resume or career document ever!  So the first thing they want to do is create, update, and tailor their resume.


When they sit down to write their resume & career documents, there is so much they have achieved & accomplished while serving their country. I always suggest  to gather all your evaluation reports, service awards and letters of commendations.  Include all documents that speak about themselves all throughout their military career.


Some may already know if they want to stay in the same field and pursue opportunities within that field.  Still many Veterans may want to make a career change. Veterans need to figure out what career they want to target when they transition out of the military. It would behoove them to have a target for their job search needs. This will ensure their resume will showcase their career highlights and will make them shine in their job search. Hands down the most important thing that a Veteran can do to improve their chances are:

  1. Tailor their resume to the actual position that they are applying to. I can’t stress that enough.  One should not just have one general resume to distribute to all the jobs he/she may be applying to.
  2. I usually recommend to Veterans to think about what they have done in the past 10 to 15 yrs and have them create one master resume/career document. From that master document they will be able to take and insert the information to create a resume they tailor to each position that they are applying to.

So the easiest way I tell people to do it is to take their master document and pull apart the job announcement that they are planning to apply to.  Go through that job announcement and develop some industry keywords and phrases for that particular position, next you will include those keywords & phrases into your new resume.  The reason they need to do this is to ensure that their resume will pass through the applicant tracking system that many organizations are utilizing nowadays in order to weed out hundreds of applicants.

Many Veterans have been out of the workforce for a bit and they probably have not had the experience of getting their resume passed through a computerized applicant tracking system.  Since Veterans have been out of the job search for a few years now, they have not had to write their own resume or apply to a job before. They also may not be aware of the latest resume trends and have a tough time figuring out how to tailor a resume.



Cover Letters just like the resume should speak to the job announcement as well! This is a key piece of information that many job seekers don’t take the time to do.  What I tell my clients is to do your homework.  Find out what the hiring manager or the Human Resource managers name is.  Ensure to include their name on the cover letter and address the cover letter to that person.

This will show them that you actually took the time to do the research and learn about the organization. This is one sure fire way to stand out in your cover letter! Many job seekers utilize the generic “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”.  This may not get you noticed.  Start off your cover letter with an introduction with a few sentences and then add some bullet points to compliment your resume.

In the end, the qualities a Veteran has includes respect for others, pride, honesty and a sense of belonging, it enables Veterans to adapt into any organization. Many transitioning service members and Veterans are eager to serve. Let’s face it the military instills discipline and work ethic into them from day one!  Follow these job search tips and you will landing interviews before you know it!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 


Job Search Items to do on a Snow Day


In the Washington D.C. area four to six inches of snow fell overnight, prompting the closure of the federal government, schools and businesses.  It was the area’s first major snowfall of the season, and crews worked throughout the morning to clear roads and sidewalks.

So if you are like me and stayed inside sipping on some hot chocolate and keeping warm, why not work on some items needed for your job search! Below are a few items to work on and check off of your to do list!



Create a Cover Letter

Cover letters are an excellent opportunity to add qualifications we can’t fully clarify in our resumes.  They also assist job seekers to allow them to come across as real people to prospective employers.  Don’t just throw together a cover letter and think the hiring manager won’t read it.  You may be missing out on the chance to land the job.  In order to take advantage of a cover letter’s full potential perform the steps below.

Make sure you include a salutation in your cover letter.  The greeting you select will depend on the information you have about the organization.  Assuming you know the name of the Human Resource manager, your salutation should be listed as follows:  Dear (Mr. Smith) followed by a colon or a comma.  Ensure you address the hiring manager with their proper title (Ms. or Mr. etc.).

Let’s assume you don’t know the name of the hiring manager.  Simply put “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear (insert organization name) Team.”  Last but not least, you could address the cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern”.  However, I would not recommend utilizing this salutation.

You can first start off writing the first paragraph of your cover letter.  This is where you will state which position you’re applying for and how you heard about the job listing.  I would recommend this being about 1 to 2 sentences in length.

The second step will be to write the body paragraphs of your cover letter.  Many cover letters will have typically about 1 to 2 body paragraphs.  Keep in mind you want to keep the letter short and not take up a great deal of their time.  Ensure you answer these questions in your body paragraphs. Why do I want to work for this organization?  What work experience you have that fits the job qualifications in the job announcement? Why are you a qualified candidate for this position?

Next you will write the final paragraph of your cover letter.  In this paragraph you will wrap up your letter and how you will follow up with your application.  You want to recap in one sentence why you feel you’re a perfect fit for the position.  You will then address what you’ll do next.  If you plan to follow up with the hiring manager in a week, then input the date in your letter.  You can also just say that you look forward to discussing your qualifications further and interviewing for the position.

Always present your contact information to include email and phone number so they may reach you. In addition, state if your resume and references are attached.  Finally always thank the person for their time. Finally, you will end your cover letter with a closing statement.  “Sincerely” or “Best” are always great options.  Finish up your cover letter by typing your full name.



Create a Reference List Sheet for Job Interviews 

Job seekers shouldn’t include the standard blurb “references available upon request” on your resume.   You need to have a reference page set up ahead of time to include a list of job references.

How you organized your reference list can make a huge impact in your chances of landing the position!  When you’ve reached the point in the interview process where a hiring manager asks you for your references, you will already be prepared.

Make sure to present your information accurately and in an easy to read format.  This will ensure you have a quality reference list!  Remember, everything you say or do during your job search helps to create a lasting impression in a prospective employer’s mind.

Now I certainly hope you are enjoying your snowy days this winter.  You can’t change the weather; however you can find activities that will help with your job search!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 



There are plenty of opportunities within the federal government, but job applicants need to know the method for landing a position within the federal government is completely different than what they are used to in the private sector.  Here are some tips job seekers will need to utilize when applying for a federal position.


First time Federal job applicants receive disappointing ratings on their application, despite being highly qualified for the position.  The low rating is usually not a result of their qualifications, but of a poor application package.

Many job seekers descend into the same trap that countless first time Federal job applicant’s encounter. The applicants resume package must showcase details of their applicable experience and relate it to the position they are seeking.  Once they perform this, a high rating will result.


Your strategy should be to make qualified list most of the time!  When the Federal examiners review your resume application, they see your resume and a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for the position you are seeking. It’s the examiners job to check off each item listed under the Basic Qualification and Ranking Factors listed on each job announcement.  They will begin by taking a glance at your resume to see if your have placed those qualifications on your career documents. So it’s imperative for you to list these Knowledge, Skills and Abilities on your resume.


So even though your resume may sound great, it won’t do the job until it clearly states that you have the qualifications sought for the position. For example, let’s say the job announcement states a candidate needs to have excellent writing and editing skills.  Your resume needs to reflect that you have an expert knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Another example may be the announcement states you need to have experience in scheduling.  However your resume doesn’t state you have made travel arrangements. It’s important to list each qualification and KSA sought so as you will receive the highest rating possible. 


To ensure fairness across the board, the federal government’s hiring process is highly regulated.  When applying for a position you will encounter questions in your federal application.  Your replies to the questions have a major impact on your candidacy.

The Federal job announcements comprise of screening questions and affect how you will be evaluated. Always ensure your responses are supportive and tailored to each announcement. The reason being is that the agencies will evaluate a job seekers relevant experience based on the keywords in the job announcement to the keywords in the candidate’s application.


So to sum it up, ensure you obtain a copy of the Vacancy Announcement for each position you seek.  Ensure you meet the qualifications to the full extent and that you are able to perform the position.  In addition, identify each and every KSA and qualification being sought.  Then revise your resume and apply with confidence. Instead of being aggravated you’ll have excellent ratings, be landing on the referred list and quite possibly an excellent government job offer to think about!


If you still have any questions regarding your federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services.  She is a Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 

Job Search

Job Search Plan for 2015

Job Search
Job Search

Now that the ball has dropped, you have made your New Year resolutions in taking the next step in your career and 2015 will be the year to remember let’s get started! Assuming your goal for the New Year is to obtain a new job, you need to design and develop a plan to ensure your success.  Finding a new job takes time and the following is a course of action to prepare to land that job in the coming year. So let’s start 2015 off on the right foot and consider adding the following to your list of resolutions:


Ensure you define your goals and having a plan to reach them.  Be specific about your plan and have actionable steps.  Think back about the positions you’ve held in the past and assess your knowledge, skills and strengths.  You can’t reach the end goal if you don’t know where you’re going. Be mindful about setting weekly goals and hold yourself accountable to those goals.  Write down your plan and measure your progress.


Since it’s a new year, it’s imperative to organize your job search.  It’s important to have the appropriate tools in your job search tool box.

Let’s start with your resume.  Is it up-to-date and ready?  Have you had someone else proofread it?  Having another set of eyes is vital to ensure you have no grammatical errors or typos.  Know who you will utilize for references, and make certain you have their accurate contact information.  This will ensure you have the correct tools in your tool box and can enable you to get your foot in the door so you have an opportunity to sell yourself to the employer.


We all know this is the most significant step you can do in your job search.  Nearly 80% of positions are filled through networking than any other combined.  If you didn’t know, online job postings receive hundreds of responses.  That’s a lot of resumes! How will you stand out and be noticed?

By networking you will be able to receive an internal contact to pass your resume to the hiring manager.  When you network it assists you in building and identifying those internal contacts.  Networking involves a large amount of listening.  Meet with someone at the organization to learn more about their culture, the industry and the types of positions they offer.  Make it a goal to add 5 to 10 connections each week! It truly makes a difference.



Think about the organizations are you most interested in working for.  Which organizations are typically hiring for the roles you’re considering?  What organizations fascinate you the most? What organizations are in your area and how far is the commute?

Start devising a list and then research those organizations to learn more about them.  To direct your job search efforts utilize your list.  Next you will organize and prioritize your list based on where you have contacts and LinkedIn connections.


If you’re missing significant skills on your resume and career documents, volunteer a few hours per week to acquire them.  Many nonprofits need the assistance and are always seeking volunteers.  This would give you an opportunity to develop and enhance your skills.  Think of it as a great investment to add more skills to your resume.  Not only does this add valuable skills but it also shows your initiative.  What employer doesn’t favor an employee that takes initiative?


Be careful what you post on your social media platforms.  Many hiring managers do a search and check candidates online. Be mindful about what you post on your Face book, Instagram, Twitter pages, or any other social media pages.  Keep in mind that a potential employer may see it.  If you don’t want your grandma to see or read it, don’t post it!  Always put your best foot forward and you will have no issues!

Social Media


You shouldn’t have any grammatical errors or typos in your resume or career documents.  This is a huge mistake and shows a lack of attention to detail. This is extremely vital and can be the thing that has your resume thrown in the trash pile and not the “interview pile”.  Finally don’t brag about your attention to detail when your letter has obvious typos.


Nowadays there are hundreds of candidates for each open position, and sometimes more!  How will you differentiate yourself?  Always focus on how you can meet the employer’s needs and what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Focus on how you can assist within their organization.  What knowledge, skills and abilities do you bring to the table?  How can you make a difference within their organization?


Finally hiring managers always remember when candidates send them a thank you note.  Ensure you stand out and send them a handwritten thank you letter.  Most people value their time, so a “Thank You” for taking time out of their busy day can go far!

Now is the ideal time to revamp your approach as your pursue new career opportunities in 2015! Design a plan and implement it today and there’s a great chance you’ll be ringing in the New Year and celebrating with a new job!

Which of the above will you add to your career search strategy?

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Uncle Sam wants YOU!


Forget about what you know about creating a resume for the corporate world.  The career documents you use to apply for a federal position are unlike the civilian resumes.  Federal resumes use the same information from a corporate resume, but they go more in depth about your past career accomplishments and skills and duties. Below are some tips to set up your Federal Résumé.

1.  Candidate Information:

Ensure you provide your basic contact information to include your name, citizenship, and if you qualify for veteran’s preference based on active Duty in the Armed Forces.  Don’t leave out your availability and location preference especially if you are in the middle of your transition.

2.  Design:

A federal resume has its own unique format that differs completely from a civilian career document.  The outline format is highly recommended when writing your federal resume.

3.  Length:

Corporate resumes are generally 1 to 2 pages in length. However, your federal resume should be roughly 3 pages but no more than 5 pages in length for a position.

4.  Tweak your Resume:

Your federal resume contains detailed descriptions of your work experience or the application will most likely be rejected.  You want to ensure you list all your accomplishments in detail. You have to carefully read over the job announcement that you are applying to.  There may be specific keywords all throughout the announcement and they need to be incorporated into your federal resume.  Take the time to tweak your resume to include any keywords within the job announcement.  By doing so, it may just get your referred!

5.  Work Experience: 

Only list the positions you have held in the past ten years.  Ensure you list the employer, location, title, position start and end date and average hours you worked at each position.  There is also a section that asks to include your supervisor’s name and if you wish to utilize them as a reference.  You may also include your salary in this section as well.

6.  Tailor your resume: 

Time and time again candidates use a generic resume to apply for each position. One size typically never fits all when applying to federal positions.  If you utilize the same career documents when applying for a federal position, you will simply keep spinning your wheels.

7.  Education:

List all your College coursework and ensure to list only the degrees from an accredited university that meet the OPM’s standards.  This will ensure suitable credit for your educational background.  List the university you attended and the degree obtained or expected to receive.  You can also list your grade point average, papers you may have completed and other important projects or presentations.

8.  Get Selected: 

The biggest challenge in submitting federal resumes is being selected.  Many candidates “give up” after numerous tries to get their resume through the system.  To ensure your federal resume gets “Best Qualified” and forward on to the HR manager ensure you read the job announcement over and have completed all that was asked for the application.

9.  Additional Documents: 

Upload your required documents to be eligible and qualified.  Your required documents could include a resume, veterans’ preference documentation such as a DD-214, SF-15, SF 50 and many others.   The application may also require you to submit your transcripts and evaluations.  Make sure your application doesn’t get kicked back from lack of submitting these documents.

10.  Questionnaire: 

Most Federal job announcements have numerous multiple choice questions listed on the announcements.  When applying an applicant should initially look over and view the Occupational Questionnaire for your reference. Make sure you answer the questions to the best of your ability.  This will ensure you know if you are indeed qualified for the position prior to applying.

**Military Translation**

If you’re a Veteran transitioning into the civilian workforce this especially applies.  Look over your resume and make sure the military abbreviations and terminology are translated.  Civilian hiring managers may not understand military acronyms, ranks, jargon and other military terminology.

 If after reading this you are still unsure what to include in your federal resume.  Take advantage of the Resume Builder available on usajobs.  It will walk you through step by step to ensure not to leave out vital information for your federal application.

Uncle Sam Wants You!

If you still have any questions regarding your federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 



How to Get your Résumé Noticed

We all know there’s no such thing as a perfect resume document.  There are so many rules that even recruiters can’t agree on what you should or shouldn’t include.  However, you can follow this basic resume rule to make your resume shine and stand out! This rule is too add a core competencies portion on your resume.  By creating a core competency section on your resume, it can be an immediate way for the hiring manager to get a sense of your areas of expertise.

The core competencies piece on a resume is hugely valuable.  The reason being is it quickly gives the reader a quick checklist to aid in assessing if the candidate is a match for the position.  I would recommend you write your top core competencies and ensure to list no more than nine skills. Don’t have a lengthy list of competencies as they will overpower the reader.  In addition, the hiring manager will more likely than not read through the entire list of skills.


Now how do you choose which are your top skills? The skills you list should be based on your top skills that are relevant to your career goal.  Are you unsure of which skills are most relevant to you and your industry?  Take the time to review a few job listings in order to decide on the requirements. Next you will balance those requirements with your professional expertise.  Finally you will take that list and measure it to a list of nine core competencies.

Don’t forget as you apply to different organizations and positions, you will ensure to take the time to customize the list of core competencies in order to meet the needs of each position you apply to.

These core competencies are important since these are the words the hiring managers are looking for when they perform their search.  Pay attention to the list of core competencies you choose as your resume may be overlooked it these specific keywords are not listed on your resume.

The “prime real estate” on your resume is usually the top half of the first page of your resume. Since the majority of hiring managers typically spend 8 seconds or less scanning a resume, prior to them placing it in a “yes” or “no” pile.  The reason they take so little time in reviewing resumes is because they often have stacks of career documents to review for one position. However there is a way to make your chances of landing in the “yes” pile! Take your time in deciding what to place in your “prime real estate”.


Here is an exercise to perform and think about.  I challenge you to print your resume out and fold it in half.  Now look at the top half of your resume.  With the bottom half not showing, would a hiring manager have enough data to make an informed decision about you and your background? Where do you think you stand?  Do you think your resume will end up in the “yes” or “no” pile?  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of your career document will be overlooked.  However the content of your prime real estate could make all the difference!





How to write a Summary of Qualifications for your Resume

A summary of qualifications needs to establish a strong focus and bring interest.  It should not be wordy or have an overly descriptive passage.  On the other hand, a summary should not be full of soft skills.  What the summary should give is the main points of information pertained to the candidate.  These main points are ~ job title, experience, industry and expertise.  The summary of qualifications section of the resume is the most important part, because it gets read the most and sets the tone for the rest of the document. 

The summary may be the only piece of your resume that is fully read by the hiring manager.  This is why it’s very important to be convincing and strong. This section of the resume is where you may include characteristics which will be helpful in winning you an actual interview.

The summary is the most difficult to write and one needs to ensure its targeted and compelling to the reader.  You could think of it as an “elevator pitch”.  What is that?  If you were in an elevator with a potential employer, and you want them to hire you, you would quickly deliver your elevator pitch to convince them to hire you.

When you start the process of writing your summary, ask yourself some of these questions.  How many years of career experience do you have and in what field?  What specific work shills do you have? Ensure you pick and choose what pertains to your particular situation.  If you are a recent college grad, you may not have a lot of career experience.  If this is the case, emphasize your skills and abilities you learned while in college.


Start your summary with a short phrase to describe your profession and your work related skills. Give a synopsis of your career experience and some personal qualities that will ensure you’re an outstanding candidate for the position. When you take your time to create and write your summary well, hiring managers will want to read the rest of your career document.  Have a buddy read over your summary and make suggestions.

The purpose of the Summary of Qualifications is so that it spotlights your most career highlights and relevant skills and experience. The key thing is for your summary to give a quick overview of the value you will bring to a potential employer.

You may ask yourself, why you need a summary.  Since employers receive hundreds of resumes for each job opening, they tend to look at resumes for no more than 10 seconds.  If you take the time to write a compelling summary of qualifications, your resume will have a better chance of landing in the Yes pile.

Just keep in mind the summary of qualifications portion of your resume contains brief statements to describe why you’re the best candidate for the position.  Don’t forget to showcase and tell why you stand out from the others!









How to Set Up Your Résumé

It’s important to set up your resume and format your text and font correctly.  Your font selection won’t make or break your resume.  However, a good font can indeed help your resume look professional and clean overall.

Having a clean overall format with enough spacing between sections is imperative in resume writing. Don’t try to place as much content as you can on your resume. Often times I have seen them stuffed with as much content as humanly possible.  When it comes to one’s career documents sometimes less is better!

There is a bit of leeway when choosing your font. Assuming everything else checks with your overall career background, experience and education, a pleasant looking font certainly can’t hurt.  Helvetica is a nice clean font that’s easy on the reader’s eyes. I haven’t come across too many resumes that use it.  There are other fonts that would work nicely as well.  Book Antiqua and Calibri are great ones to try out and there is nothing wrong with Times New Roman.

Make sure you place the proper size of the font, regardless of which one you choose.  I would not suggest any smaller than 10.5 font. I’d be would not recommend going any smaller than that.  You don’t want to over stuff the resume with extra words so you will be forced to make the font smaller.


You can utilize different fonts for several parts of your career documents, but limit it to two different fonts.  Utilize the bold and italicized feature instead of shifting between the fonts.  Your header font should be a size larger, but otherwise you shouldn’t use a huge font.  When typing your resume, your text should always be in showed in black.  Many times job seekers leave the hyperlinks to their email in blue.  Just make sure you leave it a solid black color.

Your header should be centered at the top of your page and your resume should be aligned to the left margin.  When you are setting up your page it should have one inch margins with two point line spacing. When you are creating your heading ensure this section includes your contact information to include your name, address, phone number and email.

There are three main formats for creating a resume.  Depending on your career background and the type of position your targeting will determine the type of format you should utilize.

Chronological resumes are used for presenting a steady growth in a specific career sector. These formats are best when used for a job seeker applying to a position in their career field and showing increased responsibility.

Functional resumes are always focused on skills rather than work history.  These types of resumes are best used for people who have gaps in their work history.

The third resume type is a Combination resume and is basically a combination of both a chronological and functional resume.  If you have grown a particular skill set from working in a range of fields, then this is the best format for you to use.

If this is a chronological resume, your positions should be listed in a chronological format and listing your recent position first.   Ensure you include the name of the organization, its location, your job title and your duties while working there, accomplishments and the dates you were employed there. In order to showcase your position in each job, list your title first.  At any rate, be consistent in listing your job positions. Ensure you write a major career highlight with a concise description of what your accomplishment was in the position.

Next you will provide your education history.  Just like your jobs, you should list all of your education in a chronological order.  List all your college degrees or trade schools you may have completed.  If you graduated and have a degree, ensure you list the year, type and name of the degree you earned.  If you haven’t graduated yet, purely state the program and the expected graduation date.

After you’ve listed the most important information such as your career background and education, you can then list the other important fields.  Construct a section title “Skills” with a list of important special skills you may possess.

Maybe you’re bilingual and speak more than one language, place those languages here. Also make sure to note if you have an intermediate or advanced level of knowledge. Maybe you’re well versed in a particular area of work that other job seekers may not be, list it here.

This is just a general overview of how to set up your resume.  I will go in more depth at a later date on each section and how to set it up.