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The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.

8 Résumé Tips for Older Workers

October 9, 2020 by Kelli Long

8 resume tips for reducing ageism bias.

Job seekers and ageism is not a new concern. However, with an increase in job applicants for every opportunity, it is important for job seekers with significant experience to understand ageism and techniques to combat it. This starts with having a résumé that minimizes bias by de-emphasizing age.

Before we dive into the 8 résumé tips for older workers, let’s define what ageism is and how prevalent it is in the workplace.

Ageism in the workplace is the stereotyping, discrimination or prejudice against potential employees based on their age. According to an AARP survey, 76% of older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle in finding a new job.

There are many things you can do to help reduce the focus on your age. Below are 8 résumé tips for older workers that are specifically designed to minimize the focus on your age and increase the focus on your value.

1)    Truncate your experience after 10-15 years.

Only list your most recent experience with full details and dates. You can add an “Additional Education” or “Early Career” section which only includes job titles and company names, no dates, for your older experience. There is no requirement that you list every job, along with the dates of employment, on your résumé.

If you have great accomplishments from older positions that you want to highlight, add them in a “Career Highlights” or “Key Accomplishments” section. Keep the majority of the focus on recent accomplishments and only incorporate relevant and significant older accomplishments (without dates).

2)    Use an ATS friendly, yet contemporary or modern résumé format.

An ATS friendly résumé means that the artificial intelligence in an HR system can read, scan, and interpret the content on your résumé. If your résumé does not score high enough by the ATS, a human may never even see it. Avoid graphics, unusual fonts, multiple columns, etc. You should also avoid using templates unless you can confirm ATS friendliness. Many templates available online are designed for human eyes not ATS algorithms.

3)    Remove education dates if more than 5-10 years in the past.

While you may be required to disclose your graduation date(s) in an online application, you don’t have to do so on a résumé. If you don’t want to manually enter the dates when you apply online, here is a tip. Add the date(s) on your résumé and turn the font white (or whatever color the background is). The ATS will be able to read and parse the dates into the system yet the human eye will not see your date(s).

4)    Optimize your résumé with relevant keywords and accomplishments.

Include relevant words throughout your résumé. An ATS can’t score your résumé high if it can’t identify relevant content. If a skill is mentioned multiple times in a job posting, you should list it multiple times in your résumé. However, you should not copy and paste the job description into your résumé. Use your own words and experience. The need for keyword optimization is one reason it is important that you customize your résumé for every application.

5)    Use a current email address.

Some email addresses are considered less modern, such as Hotmail addresses. If you have an old email address, consider updating it. You can create a free email address specifically for your job search. This not only keeps you looking modern, but it can also help you stay organized by having all job-related content in one inbox. Use your name in part of the handle and keep it professional.

6)    Include URLs for professional social media or networking accounts on your résumé.

Some employers assume that highly experienced workers are out of touch with modern tools and trends. You can help diffuse this by adding links to your professional profile accounts, such as your blog or LinkedIn page. You should only include links to professional sites, not personal. Keep those sites and profiles up to date with valuable content. For some platforms, like LinkedIn, you will want to add a profile picture. You can use a filter to soften your profile image if you are concerned the picture will draw attention to your age.

7)    Include a relevant and impactful summary, value proposition or career profile in lieu of an objective.

Objectives are an outdated résumé trend. Focus on what you have to offer the company, not what you want from them. Modern résumés include a summary, career profile or value proposition statement instead. These statements tell a potential employer what value you have to offer them. These concise statements, typically 1-5 lines, appear at the top of your résumé under your headline and contact information.

8)    Add a technical skills section or incorporate technology references into your experience.

Demonstrate your proficiency with current technology. If you have a lot of technical skills, adding a technical skills section can be beneficial. If you only have a few technical skills, incorporate them into your job descriptions and accomplishments, or a competency section.

These résumé tips for older workers can reduce the age bias during the job application process. After all, your résumé lands the interview and your interview lands the job.

Are you looking for additional ways to move your job search forward? Subscribe to !Unstuck!, our monthly newsletter packed full of tips, market data, and industry trends for job seekers.

Résumé Writing Tips- Keep it Concise and Relevant

March 25, 2020 by Kelli Long

Keep your resume relevant and concise

According to Glassdoor and numerous other resources, hiring managers and recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a résumé. This means that your résumé needs to be concise and relevant. It needs to grab the reader’s attention quickly. For many job seekers, the hardest part of résumé writing is pairing it down. What do you include? What do you exclude? Should you omit education or experience? What accomplishments should you include?

If you are struggling with developing a concise and relevant résumé, below are some tips to help you determine what to add and what to remove!

Step one- Identify the RIGHT professional accomplishments!

Make a list of your professional accomplishments; any and all of them. Read your list at least twice. Then, highlight the accomplishments that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. Cross-reference the job posting to ensure you are actually highlighting only relevant ones. Those are the accomplishments that need to shine on your résumé (Page 1)!

Pro tips

  • Give yourself permission to delete the accomplishments you did not highlight. It does not mean they are not impressive. It does not mean you should not be proud of them. All it means is they are LESS RELEVANT to the job for which you are applying.
  • If you are struggling to come up with accomplishments, pull out previous performance reviews. They can be great resources. If you don’t have any performance reviews and you can’t think of any accomplishments, move to step two and then come back to this. The order of the steps does not matter. Completing other sections may trigger your memory so you can come back to this step later.
  • Use formatting to make these accomplishments stand out in your résumé. Depending on how many accomplishments you have, you may include them in one section or under each relevant job.
    • If you have an “Accomplishments” section as a separate category, put it on page 1 and list three or four accomplishments.
    • If you list accomplishments under each job, use formatting to draw attention to them and aim for three or four accomplishments under each job.

Step two- List your experience and responsibilities!

Make a list of your primary duties for each job. For each duty listed, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Why did I do this task?
  2. What did this task accomplish OR what was its purpose?
  3. Is this task relevant to the job or company for which I am applying?

If you answer “no” to question three, scratch through that duty. That duty provides no relevance to the job for which you are applying, which means the hiring manager is not likely to find value in it. The remaining duties are the ones you should include in your résumé. Make sure you demonstrate the value of the duty in your résumé; don’t just list tasks.

Pro tips

The above will ensure your content is relevant. You still need it to be concise and accomplishment focused. The below tips will help keep your content concise:

  • Use bullets instead of lengthy paragraphs.
  • Use formatting to highlight accomplishments and/or separate them from duties or narrative text.
  • Keep bullets and sentences to less than 25 words. Tip, if you highlight the sentence in MS Word, it will tell you how many words the sentence contains!
  • Limit each job to five sentences and/or five bullets (depending on the format of your résumé), but no more than five of each. Concise is critical!
  • Barring a few exceptions, it is appropriate to only include the most recent 10 years’ work history.

Step three- What education and training demonstrate the most value?

Make a list of your degrees, certifications, and professional training. Highlight the ones that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. Those are the ones that should be in your résumé.

Pro tips:

  • If you have an expired certification that is relevant to the job, list it but clearly note its status (expired, inactive, etc.).
  • If you list professional training, include the organization that provided the training to add validity.
  • If you completed courses yet not a degree, make this clear so there is no question of misrepresentation.
  • Remove education dates if completed more than 5-10 years ago.
  • If you have an advanced degree in which the subject area is not relevant, consider leaving off the subject area or listing the college/department area instead of the major.

Step four- What else should be included or removed?

Use the same process from the above steps to evaluate other categories on your résumé, such as Honors & Awards, Skills Tables, Competencies, etc. Make a comprehensive list and highlight the relevant content. It might be hard but LEAVE OFF THE REST. If it is not relevant, it adds minimal, if any, value to your résumé for the specific job for which you are applying (yes, you have to tweak your résumé for every unique position or category of positions).

While a one-page résumé is no longer the standard, it is still important to be concise and relevant. Few people will read a six-page résumé. Remember, a résumé is a marketing tool to get you an interview. The interview gets you the job. Your résumé is your “sales brochure”. Tell the manager what he/she NEEDS to know, not everything about you. If you were considering a landscaper to make your yard beautiful, would you hire the landscaper who brought you a brochure about his vinyl siding skills? Probably not.

Review your résumé and make sure it tells a story. Effective résumé writing showcases your value and successes. One of my favorite quotes is “demonstrative not declarative.”

YOUR RÉSUMÉ SHOULD BE DEMONSTRATIVE NOT DECLARATIVE!

For more advice on résumé writing or job search tips, follow our blog and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Need customized résumé writing help? Contact us.

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Resume Design for Automated Screening

February 1, 2019 by kgworkforce

Approximately 90% of job applicants submit their resume online, and most of those resumes are scanned by automated technology (applicant tracking systems or “ATS”). So how do you get your resume “accepted” by these screening tools instead of rejected? Follow the below tips to increase the likelihood of your resume passing the system’s check.

Customize Your Resume

Yes, this can be time consuming, but it is essential. If you want the screening tools to accept your resume as “qualified,” the tools must identify content in your resume that matches the requirements listed in the job for which you are applying. Every job is different, every company is different, so every resume should be different. Even small tweaks to keywords can make a big difference!

Focus on Your Relevant Experience

Don’t copy and past the job duties from the posting into your resume. However, make sure the requirements from the posting are included, and NOT hidden, in your resume. Focus on those relevant skills, even if that means you have to remove less relevant experience to draw attention to the relevant skills. Most importantly, make sure your relevant experience is somewhere referenced on the first page of your resume!

Incorporate Key Words

Review the job posting and make sure to use the same terminology in your resume as is used in the posting. Don’t go overboard but use the key words more than once. For example, instead of “recruiter”, use “talent acquisition specialist” or “talent manager” if that is the term used in the job posting. Instead of “business development”, use “sales” or “prospecting” if those terms are used in the job posting(s). You get the point! However, do NOT copy and paste exact verbiage from the job posting into your resume. This is a huge turn-off and even if it gets your resume through the screening tools, it won’t get past the first set of human eyes.

Review the job posting and make sure to use the same terminology in your resume as is used in the posting. Don’t go overboard but use the key words more than once. For example, instead of “recruiter”, use “talent acquisition specialist” or “talent manager” if that is the term used in the job posting. Instead of “business development”, use “sales” or “prospecting” if those terms are used in the job posting(s). You get the point! However, do NOT copy and paste exact verbiage from the job posting into your resume. This is a huge turn-off and even if it gets your resume through the screening tools, it won’t get past the first set of human eyes.

Avoid Fancy Fonts or Formats

Some fonts and formats are hard for screening technology to recognize or translate.

  • Use standard fonts, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, and Calibri
  • Use a font size no smaller than 10.5 and no larger than 12
  • Avoid multiple tables and graphics
  • Label information and resume sections with appropriate headers/notation (such as Education, Experience, Certifications, Competencies, etc.)

Include a Skills List or Competencies Section

Include a skills section or competencies section at the top of your resume. Some technology analyzes how recent experience is, so putting critical competencies at the top can help the technology identify it as more recent. Some technology only uses dates, not placement within the resume, so make sure your resume has dates and that relevant competencies and key words are included in the most recent jobs.

For more tips on resume writing, interviewing, or job searching, follow us on Social Media. Need help writing your resume, contact us at resumes@kgworkforcesolutions.com. Happy Job Hunting!

4 Tips for Writing an Effective Technical Resume

January 2, 2019 by KG Workforce Solutions

While some resume tips are applicable to every industry, Information Technology resumes present a few unique challenges. Technical resumes are typically wrought with acronyms and technical terms that can make them difficult to read and even more difficult to skim. Below are some tips to help your Technical Resume stand out and attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. 

Avoid Company or Industry Specific Terms

Avoid using terms that are specific to your past employers, industry, and projects. These terms can create unnecessary clutter on your resume and can be confusing for your audience. Use universal terms that demonstrate your experience and knowledge in a way that technical and less-technical audiences can understand, even if they are in a different industry.

Keep Your Experience Relevant

Focus your resume on the most relevant terms for the position for which you are applying. While you may have an arsenal of technical skills, recruiters and managers only care about the relevant skills to their needs. For example, if you are applying for a Web Developer position, the bulk of your resume should be focused on your Web Development experience. You don’t need a full page devoted to your Mainframe background from 20 years ago or your Retail Management experience from before your career change into IT. Similarly, if you have worn many hats at your most recent job, focus on the duties and accomplishments of that job that are relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Highlight Your Accomplishments

While many technical resumes need to include context about companies or specific projects to effectively communicate experience, the focus of the resume still needs to be on your achievements. Contextual information provided on your resume should be in brief sentences or paragraph style. Use bullets to highlight the accomplishments and list them below general information. This allows you to communicate necessary information to help the reader understand the scope of your projects or experience while keeping the accomplishments as the focal point!

Keep It Concise and Recent

Technical resumes tend to be longer than resumes in other industries. However, keep in mind that technology is changing every day. Keep your resume concise, 1-3 pages, and recent. The tools you used 15 years ago are not likely to be relevant in today’s IT market. While there are some exceptions, it is typically safe to truncate a technical resume at 10 years of experience. Remember, a resume is a marketing tool and you are not required to list every single job you have ever held. Instead, your resume should market you to a specific position!

For more tips on resume writing and job search techniques, subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media.

 Not sure if your resume is effective? Send it to us and we will provide you with a free resume review.

What is the Best Format for an Effective Resume?

by kgworkforce

There are three main resume formats that are considered standard and appropriate for most job seekers. These formats include: Chronological, Functional, and Combination formats. Deciding the best format for your situation can be a challenge. Below are some tips to help you decide the most appropriate resume format for your experience and career goals.

Chronological Resumes

The chronological format, according to Monster and most industry experts, is the most widely recognized and accepted format for resumes. Technically speaking, it should be called the Reverse Chronological Resume since it is strongly recommended to include your most recent work experience first and then work backwards.

You should use a Chronological Resume if:
  • Your most recent experience is relevant to the jobs for which you plan to apply
  • You have been successful in your career progression and have a consistent pattern of lateral or vertical career advancement
  • You have long (years) job tenure with most of your employers and have consistently remained employed over the past 5-10 years
  • You are a recent graduate with relevant education and at least a few years of work experience, internships, and/or academic projects to detail
You should NOT use a Chronological Resume if:
  •  You are seeking a career change into a new industry or skill set
  •  You have multiple gaps of employment over the past 10 years
  •  You have taken career steps backwards in the past few (3-5) years
  •  You change jobs frequently
  •  You are a recent college graduate with little or no relevant professional work history, volunteer engagements, or significant academic projects to detail

Functional Resumes

A functional resume can be challenging to create but has significant merit when well-crafted for the right candidate. Functional resumes focus on your abilities and skills more than your employment history. This enables hiring managers to quickly reference related skills that might get buried or hidden in a chronological resume.  While an employment section should still be included at the end of a functional resume, the details are typically minimal and are not the primary focus of the resume.

You should use a Functional Resume if:
  • Your most recent work is in an unrelated industry yet many of the skills you used are transferable to your desired industry or profession
  • You change jobs frequently OR you have been a career contractor and are looking to transition into permanent employment
  • You have significant gaps in employment over the past 5-10 years
  • You are reentering the workforce after significant time out of work and have some previous work experience to reference
  • You are a recent college graduate with relevant education but limited work history or internships to detail by date
You should NOT use a Functional Resume if:
  • You are seeking a complete career change in which very few of your past skills will be transferable into your desired field
  • Your most recent work is relevant, and your work history is stable
  • You are applying to higher-level positions in which a proven record of progressive responsibility needs to be obvious to a hiring manager

Combination Resumes

In some circumstances, using a blend of a chronological and functional format can be ideal. Combination formats typically consist of a career summary, education section, and competencies or skills section at the top of the resume, with employers, dates of employment, and brief descriptions of accomplishments and duties listed in reverse chronological order towards the end of the resume. The summary sections in combination resumes are typically shorter than in functional resumes, while the employment sections are slightly more detailed than in functional resumes.

You should use a Combination Resume Format if:
  • You have a stable work history and transferable skills, but are looking to change industries or professions
  • You have a diverse skill set and want to highlight your mastery in one aspect of your career, while still providing insight into your stable and progressive career background
  • You are a recent graduate with relevant education and some work history or internships to detail by date
You should not use a Combination Resume Format if:
  • Your education is the only relevant experience for the position(s) in which you are applying
  • You are staying in the same industry, have a stable work history, and have strong (obvious) qualifications for the positions in which you are applying
  • You have significant gaps in employment or change jobs frequently

More than one format may be appropriate for your situation. In such a case, you should select the format you feel will allow you to best represent yourself to a prospective employer. Ask yourself, “which format showcases your strongest attributes the most” and go with that format.

Selecting the format of your resume is only one facet of crafting an effective resume. Follow us on social media or our blog for more tips on writing an effective resume.

5 Must-Haves for Every Resume

October 10, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions

Most hiring managers and recruiters will spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a resume, largely due to the volume of resumes they receive. On average, managers and recruiters receive more than 250 resumes per job opening. So how do you craft a resume that stands out from the other 249 applicants and gets the attention of the manager or recruiter?  By treating your resume like a marketing tool and giving managers and recruiters what they want! 

Our Top 5 must-haves for any resume.

Keyword Optimization

Many resumes are never seen by a hiring manager or recruiter because they are deemed “unqualified” by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS automatically scans resumes that are submitted online and identifies keywords that are relevant and required for a specific position. It is imperative that you use the RIGHT words, and with enough frequency and variation, to get past the ATS. If your resume does not pass the ATS review, the hiring manager or recruiter will likely never look at it.

Clearly Identified Key Information

There are a few items that almost all hiring officials skim for during the initial resume review. These include dates of employment, job titles, past and current employers, your name, and your contact information. If these things are difficult to find on your resume, you can expect your resume to quickly be thrown in the trash pile.

Accomplishments

Hiring managers and recruiters want to know that you have not only performed certain duties, but that you performed them well. If your resume does not have obvious accomplishments that jump off the page, you are not likely to get much of their time. Make sure to include accomplishments, quantifiable or data-driven if possible, and not just tasks in your resume.

Readability

Resumes that contain too much information, look cluttered, and are difficult to read are not going to get a good review. Hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of resumes a day and won’t waste time on a resume that is difficult to read. Ensure adequate white space, use different font size or features to section off your resume and highlight your accomplishments, and write content in bullets instead of lengthy paragraphs.

Error Free

Even though most managers and recruiters don’t read every word of a resume, it is critical to have an error-free resume. If during a skim of your resume, a recruiter or hiring manager spots a spelling or grammar error, your resume will most likely be added to the trash pile instead of the interview pile.

Remember, a resume is a marketing tool to land you an interview. It should be unique, appropriate for its audience, and sell your best features! You only get one chance to make a good first impression and your resume is that chance when you are a job seeker.

For more tips on resume writing and job search techniques, subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media.

Are You Prepared for a New Job When Opportunity Knocks?

August 17, 2017 by KG Workforce Solutions

Opportunity can knock on your door at any time. Are you keeping your information up-to-date so you can be ready to jump into a job search or apply for an unexpected opportunity? If not, should you be?

Many people make job changes when they are not on the market or actively looking for a new position. Maybe another parent at a little league game tells you about the perfect opportunity at his company, or you stumble upon the perfect job posting while perusing your social media for the latest shoe sales. Many opportunities don’t stay open long, so even if you are not in the market for a new job, you should always be New Job Ready!

Follow these quick and easy tips to ensure that you can quickly apply to a great opportunity at any time. Don’t let the perfect job pass you by because you are not New Job Ready!

Tips to be ready for a new job in a hurry!

  • Make a note of any significant accomplishments as they happen. You can use an email folder, a notepad, or anything else you can quickly access for reference.
  • Limit controversial content on your social media so your Internet presence is ready to be seen by a potential employer at any time.
  • Have at least two professional references who are willing to speak on your behalf at any time, even with limited notice. Make sure to keep their contact information updated and handy!
  • Save an electronic version of your resume in at least two places. Make updates to your resume at least once a year to minimize the amount of time it will take you to send a resume upon request. At a minimum, update  job titles, employment dates, company names, and at least one accomplishment.

Visit the KG Blog or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for more employment related information.

10 Common Resume Mistakes and Tips on How to Avoid Them

June 9, 2017 by KG Workforce Solutions

Writing an effective resume can be a daunting task, but these tips will help you write an effective resume quickly. Remember, a resume is a marketing tool selling your professional skills.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for more employment related information.

Resume Verb Use….Not all Verbs are Created Equally in Resume Writing!

August 1, 2016 by kgworkforce

So you have finally started your job search and are diligently working on your resume.  You know your resume is more than an iteration of your employment history.  You know your resume is a marketing tool that sells you. You also know that a resume can make or break your chances of getting an interview.

So do you also know that all verbs are not created equally?  That’s right, a verb is not a verb.  To write a compelling resume, you have to write a story that demonstrates more than a list of tasks. It must reflect your accomplishments and stand apart from the hundreds of other resumes that are being reviewed.

To demonstrate this point, read the below excerpt from a resume:

  • Led a sales team that was rated number one in the company for their increased market share in Q2 for product XYZ
  • Led training sessions and helped develop team’s sales and negotiating skills
  • Managed territory routing and workload distribution
  • Responsible for ensuring quotas were met and revenue targets were achieved

What is wrong with this? Technically, nothing. The better question is “what is special about this”?  The answer, nothing!

Now read the below resume excerpt:

  • Orchestrated training in Q1 2016 that was focused on sales tactics and negotiation skills for the product XYZ team, which earned the highest market share growth for Q2 2016 out of 200 sales teams within the company
  • Engineered territory routing that balanced team workload and improved efficiency which enabled the sales team to maximize coverage and exceed revenue targets

Both excerpts say the same thing, but the second excerpt paints a picture of what the candidate did and what that resulted in for the company. Using powerful verbs and tying those verbs to a result or accomplishment is critical in writing an effective resume. If you struggle to identify meaningful verbs that allow you to connect your tasks to results, below are tips.

Common Resume Verb Substitutes

Instead of Led, try one of these verbs:

Spearheaded, Steered, Guided, Mentored, Consulted, Chaired

Instead of Created, try one of these verbs:

Engineered, Pioneered, Assembled, Orchestrated, Synthesized, Established, Prototyped

Struggling to find words that demonstrate an accomplishment? Try one of these verbs:

Standardized, Enhanced, Regulated, Accelerated, Awarded, Earned, Boosted, Attained, Energized, Capitalized

Not sure how to demonstrate your effective communications skills without saying “effective communicator”?  Try incorporating one of these verbs:

Corresponded, Collaborated, Campaigned, Presented, Illustrated, Influenced, Authored, Publicized

There are endless powerful words that can be used to reflect your skills and experience. In addition to the suggested verbs above, don’t forget that there are many other verbs not listed in this article. Know how to find them? Use a thesaurus. One of the most underutilized tools in resume writing is the thesaurus.  Most resumes are written using a data processing software with a built-in thesaurus.

After each bullet on your resume, ask yourself “why did I do this” or “what was the result of this”. This will help you draw accomplishments out of your tasks so you can create a story with your resume and not just a list of tasks.

Follow us on Twitter @kgworksoln every Tuesday for more resume tips and every Wednesday for interview tips. Ready to start interviewing and understanding how to answer tough interview questions, such as What is Your Greatest Weakness? You can also check us out on LinkedIn for even more tips on your job search.

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