4 Reasons to Make a Resume with Google

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I recently had the opportunity to attend Googlefest, a half-day training in Council Bluffs hosted by Google to discuss the programs and opportunities of using their products.  After that training I took the time to play with the apps and found a few reasons to use Google Docs when creating a resume.

Reason 1: Free!

Google Docs is free and available to anyone with a Google account and internet access.  Docs is Google’s answer to Microsoft Word and you can create similar files with both programs.  The advantage for Google is that though some computers don’t come with Microsoft Word, all you need to reach Docs is an internet connection.

Reason 2: Good Templates

Like in Word you can find quick templates that can be used as a starting point for building your own resume.  There are four resume templates available on the main screen with Google Docs, but a quick google search turned up this list of templates.  The four main templates all present a simple format that’s clean, easy to follow, and has little pops of color for design.  They’re customizable so you can take the basics of the template and move things around.  There aren’t as many options as Microsoft Word offers, but with some tweaks you can create a resume that looks as good as any Microsoft template.

Reason 3: Automatic Saving

The next two points are probably the strongest in Google’s Favor.  Your Google resume is being constantly backed up in an easy to find location: Google Drive.  Drive is another free application from Google that you have with a Google account.  It’s cloud-based data storage that will hold onto your files and save them as you update them.  If your computer crashes mid-resume writing, you can sign back on and pick up where you left off.

Reason 4: Your Resume is Always Available

This is the biggest perk – you don’t need a Flash Drive and you don’t need an email address to hold onto the file, it’ll be available to you as long as you want it on Google Drive.  Just go to Drive, login, and download your resume.  Drive is also available as an app for phones to keep the files on your smart phone if you’re applying that way.

Google Docs isn’t necessarily the best way to create a resume from scratch, but its ease of use and accessibility across computers make it a program worth trying out for any job seeker.

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Listing Jobs On Your Resume

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The resume’s primary purpose is to sell you, the job candidate, as the best contender for an open position.  If you have some work history, the bulk of your resume will be taken up with your experience.  Let’s talk about which jobs to list, how to list them, and how to describe them.

Format Your Job Titles

The average HR Representative isn’t spending much time on the first resume review.  They will want to know if you have the required experience, where you’ve worked, and how long you’ve done the work.  With that in mind, make your job titles easy to find by using Bold, Italics, or Underlines.  Something like –p

 

The Job Title and Company Name is in bold, the dates are set to the side in italics, and all of this information is one size larger than the accompanying description text.  Make sure to repeat this format each time down the

No Jobs More Than Ten Years Old

The first thing to consider on listing jobs is how much they will sell you as a candidate for the position.  With changes in the workplace, experience from more than ten years ago may not be that relevant to what the jobs require now.  Second, though age discrimination is against the law and should not happen, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t ever happen.  Don’t allow your resume to tag you as “old” before you get a face to face meeting.

The exception to the rule is if the job requires experience that you haven’t had in more than ten years.  For example if you apply to a position that requires you to have worked in concrete and you last did that fifteen years ago, list the position on your resume.  In this situation you can either list only the job that is of importance, or you can list every job from the required experience through your current job, using short descriptions for jobs that are less relevant.

Use Bullet Points

Underneath your job titles you will list what your job duties were at each position.  The job description section should also be easy to read.  Bullet points make the experience more convenient for the eyes to follow and direct the reader to the important keywords.  Use third-person, past-tense format for these statements, i.e. “Communicated needs effectively within team and to customers.”  Don’t use the words I or Me.

Tune Your Work Experience

To tune your resume means to customize your resume specific to the position you’re applying for.  The easiest way to tune a resume is to get the Job Description from the job listing and take keywords from that and put directly into your work history.  If a job description says they need a good communicator, show times in your work history to identify how you’ve communicated with coworkers or the public in the past.

Five Focus Career Resume Fixes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Using Keywords To Get the Job

The Handshake

Have you heard the expression “Like two ships passing in the night”?  It’s describing two people briefly meeting and then moving on without having continued contact, like when two ships pass each other in the night, flash their lights at each other, and move on.  Sometimes that’s how the job application process feels.  You learn a little bit about a job, you shoot them your resume, and they send you a message thanking you for your interest.  So what happened?  How did you and this job pass by each other without interest?  There is any number of possible answers, but one common reason is that your resume or online application did not feature the keywords necessary for the job to know just how well you matched up.

Once upon a time, the resume was a test of your vocabulary, the number of syllables used to describe your skills was a key to getting the job.  That was a time when a person, not a computer program, read resumes.  An online application rarely goes directly to human resources, it goes into a system that parses the resume for the information an employer wants.  While stretching your verbs, nouns and adjectives seems like a great resume strategy, it can be counter-productive because computers are looking for the exact word on the job description.  The computers don’t parse for contextual clues.  The computer may not know that joint effort is another phrase for teamwork, and it’s not going to consult the dictionary.  It is going to award you no points for teamwork and move on.

Where do you find the exact words the company wants you to use?  The Job Description!  Let’s go to a random job description right now –

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What keywords did you find?

I’d start with a list of these –

  • professional
  • self-starter
  • team
  • self-motivated
  • leadership
  • Sales
  • Associate’s/Bachelor’s Degree if you have it.

Put these keywords into your job descriptions.  The first rule of the resume is do not lie, so don’t manufacture a sales history if you don’t have one.  This job description gives plenty of chances to talk about transferable skills like teamwork, leadership, and self-motivation.  Practically every job requires self-motivation, but the computer won’t give you credit for it until you use the word!  Search for these skills in every job description to get quick and easy points.

If you want to make an impression when you’re applying for a job, the best way to do so is to tell the company all of the ways that you’re exactly like the person they want.  Don’t be the ship in the night that is glanced over while moving in opposite directions, be the candidate that they want to know more about.

Focus Career: Finishing The Resume

We blogged previously about how to use the Wizard to build your Work History. With that blog we wanted to focus on how to build the bulk of your resume, your employment experience.  But that’s just the start of the customizable options in the Focus Career screens, so let’s talk about the other tabs in our Focus Career Resume Builder to create a complete resume in about an hour!

So we’re starting off by logging into an account on IowaJobs.org and clicking “Update Resume”.  If you’ve already zoomed through a resume to get to the job searching, you’ll need to click on View/Update in the top corner.  The first page after your Work Experience is detailing Contact Information. Ordinarily this information is going to already be in our system in CAPITAL LETTERS. This doesn’t look professional so change it to lower-case. List one phone number that works and a professional email address. If you don’t have a professional email address, use one you have but make sure not to send out a resume with an email address that is unprofessional.

The next page will detail your Education.  This one can cause some troubles because of the required information.  You’ll notice there are six questions that have to be answered: School Status and Education Level are pretty self-explanatory after you click on the arrow and get some suggestions.  The Degree you’ll want to list will be your most recently earned degree.  This may be a High School Diploma, an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, or any other subject.  Major goes in the second box, for High School grads I suggest “General Studies”, but use whatever.  I’d recommend deleting this on the finished resume, because high school grads don’t have majors.  Then type in the name of your school you got this degree from.  If you’re partially through a program, don’t include that in this section, as you only want completed programs.  Then answer the country and state you received this.  You also must list if you have a Driver’s License and what type of license it is.  On this page you can also list additional Licenses/Certifications if you know the name, month/year they were given, and the licensing organization.  For instance an NCRC Certificate could be one listed; any additional languages you speak with English, and any extra job skills you want to add.

 

The next section asks you for a Resume Summary. I’m going to refer you back to our post on Resume Summaries as the standard method. Do not use the resume summary the computer generates for you, because despite being an excellent program for building out a resume, the system lacks the ability to create an exceptional summary.

The next section is Options. I usually recommend people pass through this section without additional information because the system will ask you to put in all information, which runs the risk of making things inconsistent between the way you write and the way the computer writes.

After Options comes Profile. In this section you can answer the questions with a red star to the best of your ability. This information is not for employers.

One more tab to cover before our resume is ready for review and that’s the Preferences tab. You should want to make your resume searchable so that you can get information about jobs that best fit you. Write in any number for preferred wage, though keep in mind that you won’t get information about jobs that you price yourself out of. You have to answer the work week and shift availability question, remember that the more open your options the more information you’re going to get in your search. Finally check the Search By Zip Code button and pick “Choice 1”, then select the distance you’re willing to travel for work. Lastly enter the zip code for the city you live in, answer if you’re willing to relocate for a job, and click Save and Continue.

That’ll take you to the completed Focus Career Resume, which will also need some changes, but we’ll get to that soon.