The system that we use at IowaWORKS-Southern Iowa to create resumes is called Focus Career. We’ve covered the steps to create a resume in this program, but once the program is finished, there are still several cosmetic repairs that are necessary to complete a resume that should be submitted to employers. So let’s focus on fixing what Focus Career often doesn’t –
1. Runaway Caps Lock
Consistency of appearance is an important tip on resumes. If you are telling the employer you pay attention to detail, you don’t want to then provide a resume with inconsistent details. Don’t leave things in all caps. It doesn’t look professional, especially when some things are and some things aren’t in caps. There’s a quick trick to this, on the Home Row of the Microsoft Word Ribbon is a Change Case button. Highlight the text you want to change and change to appropriate capitalization.
2. Header Troubles
The header is the most basic part of a resume, but it’s also the most important to get right because you won’t get a job if the employer doesn’t reach you. Let’s look at a standard resume header from Focus Career, and then fix it –
- Pick ONE phone number, the one that is best to reach you. Don’t make an employer choose the number they have to use.
- Delete the word describing the phone after the number.
- Delete the last four numbers of your zip code. They’re unnecessary and oftentimes just a string of zeroes.
- Format the text away from capital letters like we just talked about.
3. A Summary That Sells
The summary that the computer generates for you is from information you’ve given the system, which means it’s information that is ALREADY ON YOUR RESUME. Don’t use the summary that the system writes; prepare a resume like we already talked about in this post.
4. Your Job Description vs. The Wizard
The best aspect of Focus Career may be The Wizard, which helps generate lengthy job descriptions by completing a short questionnaire. However your resume could be using two job descriptions, one created by you during your registration and one created by The Wizard when polishing. Make sure the two are compatible. The Wizard uses third-person, past-tense phrases like “Washed dishes”; never “I wash dishes”. You don’t want employers thinking two people wrote your resume, so make it sound consistent from one voice to the next.
Check out the example above. The first sentence is what was typed into the registration, briefly giving a required job description. The next sentences are the Wizard’s prepared notes. In this situation, the best course would be to delete the first bullet point, because the information in that sentence is already covered by the wizard. You can also change the sentence to fit the Wizard format.
5. Duplicated/Exaggerated Skill Set
The skills section at the bottom of the Focus Career Resume is there for online application systems to find extra keywords. This can be good, but if you’re going to use the section make sure to consider that you want a human to read it. Delete duplicate skills, skills that are unnecessary to list, or any that the computer assigned you by mistake.
From the example above: Delete cash handling and leave cashier because cash handling is assumed of a cashier, and delete both office skills highlighted because they aren’t specific.