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So you want a fresh resume…. where to start?

In the 10 years I’ve been in staffing, I’ve looked at 3 million resumes (give or take a few 100,000). I’m excited to share some expert advice on making your resume excellent.

First at foremost, tailor your resume to align with the job you want, while keeping in mind that formatting, organization, and readability are important as well. Take a long look at the job description for the role you have in mind. What key words and ideas jump out at you? What have you accomplished in your career that makes you an awesome fit for the position? Do you have the software/technical skills reflected in your resume that are required? Your resume should reflect all of these things.

The closer your resume matches up with the job description, the more compelling it will be for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager to follow up with you. It may be easy to assume that having a certain job title means you have a specific kind of experience, but you need to spell things out for someone like a recruiter who might have many candidates in front of them with the same job title. If you are applying for a role that requires certain experiences, and you have that experience – add a specific section with examples of those.

LENGTH: Stick to a one-page resume if you have less than five years of experience, and expand into two pages if you’re more seasoned.

FORMATTING:

  • Stick with standard fonts like Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman or Calibri. They’re easy on the eyes
  • Choose size 11 or 12 font – making the font smaller to fit everything on one page is not ideal – it needs to be legible
  • Avoid script fonts. Use italics, bolding and caps sparingly
  • “Creative” formatting like using heavy graphics or running text diagonally across the page is never a good idea – sometimes your resume only gets a quick glance, make it count!

STRUCTURE:

  • Header: Your name, email address, phone number, city, state and zip code should be clearly listed at the top of the page. No need to share your street address.
  • Summary: A well-written Summary sets the stage for the rest of your resume. Five to seven sentences are ideal. Speak to your years of experience, area of specialization, and industries in which you’ve worked.  Do you have an advanced degree? Do you have staff management experience? Are you a strong project manager? Have you worked for a big name company or client? What are your technical or software skills?  Look at that job description again – and format each summary to each specific role you are applying for. What can you call attention to on a high-level to matches the things that the description calls for?
  • Tools/Skills: After your summary, make a quick list of the programs and skills in your toolkit – leading with those called for in the job description. Whether you’re a marketing analyst well-versed in Adobe Analytics and SQL or a designer skilled at using Adobe Creative Cloud, call attention to your familiarity with the required and nice-to-have tools.
  • Professional Experience:
    – List your experience chronologically, with your most recent job listed first.
    – If you have been working for an agency or freelancing, include the names/industries of your top clients. Unless your company is a house-hold name, include a one line description about your company. Are they national or global? This helps put your experience into context.
    – Lead with your company, title, start and end dates including months, not just the year.
    – When describing your role, think about the job description again. Lead with information that ties back to the job you’re applying to. More than just a list of tasks, speak to your measurable accomplishments. How have you impacted the bottom line?
    – Format these points in a bulleted list, rather than a big block of text.

EDUCATION: If you are early in your career (less than three years out of school), consider floating your Education as the first item on your resume. If not, the Education section should be toward the end. Include the name of your school, the degree earned, and your graduation date.

THINGS TO LEAVE OFF:

  • “References available upon request.” This is assumed.
  • Personal interests can be appealing to potential hiring managers, but avoid anything that is polarizing such as religious affiliations.

For feedback on your resume and a hand with your job search, get in touch with a real-life smartie today!

Find a job in Chicago >
Find a job in Grand Rapids >
Find a job in Seattle >

 

from the desk of Amy Porter, Sr. Creative Consultant in Chicago

What recruiters want you to know

Do you ever feel like applying for full-time jobs is a full-time job in itself? You know the drill – shotgun your resume out to 50-100 online postings. Maybe you even read some of the descriptions. If lightning strikes, you’ll snag 2-3 HR phone interviews. With any luck, you may even hear back from one of them within a month, but maybe not, and that’s what you’re used to.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had someone in your corner who really took the time to get to know you? Who brought relevant jobs to your attention and made sure that your resume was on the right hiring manager’s desk at the right time?

That’s where we come in!

The creative consultants at smartdept recruit exclusively on creative roles in Chicago, Seattle and Grand Rapids. Meeting with the right recruiter can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial relationships you make in your career.

How can you make the most of the relationship?

  • Come prepared with your resume and portfolio, and be open to suggestions. Our recruiters have seen it all. They are experts in the creative space – and they know what their clients are looking for. If they have a suggestion on how to better your digital portfolio or resume, take it! If the smartie you meet with, doesn’t have much feedback on your resume, ask for it!
  • Be transparent and honest, always. We promise to be sincere and match you with not just any role, but the right role. In return, if you have other irons in the fire, if contracts aren’t what you’re comfortable with, we need to know! We build relationships with people and it’s our expertise. It is vital that we keep both our clients and our candidates on the same page.
  • Explain when you’re feeling unsure. There are a lot of murky waters to navigate here, and we’re here to help. Are you looking at multiple offers? Great! Talking out all of the options with your recruiters is the best way to weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity.

What can you expect when you meet with a smartie?

  • We will never force a job onto a candidate.
  • Honest and valuable insight into job opportunities – if we have something that sounds great to you, but we know from our relationship that it isn’t the best fit whether that means the culture, growth trajectory, or work style isn’t aligning – we are going to be honest with you.
  • Consistent communication and a smooth timeline (most of the time) – unlike those online applications you’re applying to day after day, we are going to keep you up to speed. If you’ve been disqualified from the role, we don’t leave you hanging. And if we are waiting on our client to review your application, you will know. We do our best to keep the process as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

So what do our services cost you, the job seeker? Nothing.

It will require your time, your engagement and a little bit of trust. smartdept. inc. is a free resource to our job seeking candidates. Now what are you waiting for – get in touch with a real-life smartie today!

Find a job in Chicago >
Find a job in Grand Rapids >
Find a job in Seattle >

 

from the desk of Hannah Staal, Creative Consultant in Grand Rapids

9 Dynamic Digital Resumes That Stand Out From the Crowd

Everyone is looking for a way to make their resume stand out in today’s job market. One way to do that is by giving your resume some visual appeal. Well-designed resumes with color and images can attract attention over those with plain old text.

That’s not to say everyone should add pictures to their resume. A graphical layout might not be for everyone, nor appropriate for every profession and industry. And if you don’t have an artist’s eye (or a favor to call in to a graphic designer), attempting something like this might not work out to your advantage.

But if you know what you’re doing, and need a little inspiration, here are 10 digital resumes with some very cool visuals.

Read the full article here! (via mashable.com)

How to Decide on Resume Length

“How long should my resume be?” is one of the most commonly asked questions about resumes. Not too long ago, job seekers were told that a resume should never exceed one page. Those who broke this golden rule were destined for the circular file.

Times have changed, and so has the criteria for resume length. The new guideline is: A resume should be long enough to entice hiring managers to call you for job interviews. That may sound vague, but there is no hard-and-fast length rule that works for everyone. Factors to consider include career objective, occupation, industry, years of experience, number of employers, scope of accomplishments and education/training.

Read the full article here! (www.monster.com)

Letters of Recommendation

(about.com) – What job seekers and employees need to know about references, including information on reference and recommendation letters, sample letters of recommendation and reference lists, how to ask for a reference, and how to use references. There is also information on what reference checkers can ask about you and what previous employers can disclose.

Read the full article here!

Revamp Your Resume

(Alison Doyle on About.com) – This is a good time of year, and you should do it at least annually, to check and revamp your resume. It’s important to take the time to write a resume that reflects why you’re a top tier candidate who should be selected for an interview. That means your position descriptions should be as quantified as possible – numbers, percentages, achievements – concrete evidence of what you have accomplished.

Read the full article here!

LinkedIn Reveals the 10 Most Overused Job-Hunter Buzzwords

(mashable.com) – LinkedIn has just posted the 10 most overused, tired and trite buzzwords that get slapped onto resumes and professional profiles around the U.S. and 11 other countries. According to our LinkedIn profiles, a great many of us tend to describe ourselves as motivated team players with extensive experience. Ironically, “innovative” is the second-most clichéd word found in LinkedIn profiles. You’d think we’d be able to be more innovative with our vocabularies, no?

Read full article here!

Get Creative with Your Resume

(Cameron Chapman on instantshift.com) – With the current economy, it’s important for job-seekers to stand out if they want to land a job, whether that’s in the corporate world or a freelance gig. The good news is that if you’re a creative-type, there’s a ton you can do with your resume that will set you apart.

The key in creating a great resume is to make it unique. Your resume should reflect you: your skills, your personality, and your experience. Combining those in a way that will catch the eye of whoever is in charge of hiring is what this article will teach you!

Read the full article here!

‘I swear you’re the only one!’ Or, The Importance of Customizing Submissions

So the tedium of the job hunt is getting you down. It seems like you’ve applied to a billion places, and no one is getting back to you. You’re frustrated and all you want is an ice cream sandwich.

I understand your pain.

But let’s look at one huge thing you can be doing to better your chances.

So here’s the set-up question:

Is it better to:

A) Send out a billion resumes that all say the same thing,
Or
B) Five that are customized?

If you chose B), DING DING DING! Correct! Go get yourself that ice cream sandwich as a reward!

Potential employers get frustrated when they get materials that are either obviously generic, or (even worse) have someone else’s name on them. As an internal staffing professional, I saw a lot of ‘em. Google, Apple, Yahoo!, you name it. What did I do with those resumes and cover letters? Tossed them!

Employers want to feel special. When applying for specific positions, be sure to send a resume that has an applicable objective, as well as a resume that high-lights your skill sets that will be most valuable to that particular job. Being a jack-of-all-trades is a fantastic thing—it means you have a lot of doors open to you. However, if someone is looking for a print packaging designer, chances are they don’t really care that you were a camp counselor at Little Champs Baseball Camp and know how to make balloon animals. Focus on your packaging design skills, including brands you worked on and programs you use to design.

And double-y goes for your cover letter. Try and limit it to one page, high-lighting those awesome things about yourself that make you perfect for the job. Address the needs and wants specified in the posting, and how your skills will benefit the company. And the cover letter is the place you can let a little personality shine through (here’s the place to mention your mad balloon-animal-making skills.) Mention accomplishments that you want to highlight in your resume, such as measurable profits, gains, awards, or accolades.

Indeed, personalizing your documents can be time consuming, but trust me: it’s worth it!

Top 10 Resume Blunders

Resume. That one word causes a lot of different emotions in different people. Fear, loathing, despair…love?

Yeah, that’s right. Love. I love reading and writing resumes. Formatting, editing, tweaking, creating, I love it all.

However, I’ve come to realize that I’m an anomaly, and most people really despise putting this stuff together. I was perusing the interwebs the other day while trying to help a friend put a resume together, and came across a fantastic article, Avoid These 10 Resume Mistakes, written by professional resume-writer, Dr. Katharine Hansen.

http://www.quintcareers.com/resume_mistakes.html

I strongly encourage anyone who’s updating their resume to take a peek, consider the list, and revisit their work. Happy writing!

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