Monthly Archives: March 2011

Resume Organization

By:  John Holmgren

Below is the organization method I use to write resumes.  They vary a bit, but not very much.  This layout is time tested.  I know it is effective.  Keep everything as simple and easy to read as possible.  However, keep in mind that the words you use are critical.

Header information: standard name, address, phone, email data.

Objective: your career goal as it relates to this specific job. No more that eight words.

Summary: five or six bullets that emphasize your skills relevant to this job.

Work Experience: list organizations from most recent to oldest

name of company / organization, location, dates employed

description of company purpose, size, area covered, number of employees

your title: if several positions, list dates in job in chronological order

bullet entries of your accomplishments, promotions, awards

Education: highest college degree first then subsequent education; don’t list GPA

unless exceptional; include awards, dean’s list, scholarships

Include vocational schooling; include any certifications; include special skills like

foreign language fluency, industry specific software, pilot’s license

Professional / Trade Affiliations: include any organization of whom you are a member

whose focus is relevant to your job search; include officer positions and awards

Do not include references on your resume.  It will only irritate your references.  You will

know when the time is right to offer them.

Include keywords for both human and computer scanning.  For keyword ideas, first

use words from the organization’s job description.  Then go to their web site for more

words they use.  For online assistance, go to:

Unless you are an academic where advanced degrees are crucial or you have just

graduated, put your educational history at the end of the resume.

Cheers, John

Outbound Networking – creating a net of contacts that can help you find work

By:  John Holmgren

“MAN!  I have to have a job!  Someone said that Networking helps.  I’ll try it.”

Networking is critical!  Statistics show 70%+ of the best jobs come from word-of-mouth recommendation: In other words, networking.  Friends help friends.

However, when thinking about networking, most folks will tell a few people they think won’t tell anyone that they are looking for work!

You need a job. Contact fellow workers, managers, teachers, friends, bankers.  Don’t be shy.

It’s all math. The bigger your network, the better your chance of finding employment.

Ask EVERYONE you talk with for an additional contact.

An unsolicited resume seldom works.  Why?

You’re hiring.  Would you interview a recommended candidate or a total stranger?

There’s a stack of resumes.  You stand out by being the recommended candidate!

It is THE way your resume gets on top of the stack.

Focus on target industries where you want to work.  Who do you know in those industries, even vaguely?  Networking is contacting someone who knows someone.


  • Business & trade organizations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Charities & social service organizations; Jaycees, Rotary,
  • Clubs & associations
  • Former company alumni associations
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Friends, family, former employers, fellow workers
  • Labor Unions
  • Networking groups in your community or industry
  • Newspapers, industry journals, web pages for news and leads
  • Online organization searching; online contacts
  • Outplacement services
  • Professional associations like National Association of CPAs,
  • Recruiters; employment agencies; executive search consultants
  • Religious organizations
  • Schools: colleges & universities; special education; alumni placement offices; adult & continuing; business & vocational; industrial / technical / trade; medical
  • Senators, Representatives, Mayors
  • Social networking: Facebook; LinkedIn; Twitter; become an “expert”
  • State Employment Security
  • Target company web sites
  • Temporary job agencies; many full time jobs begin there
  • Unemployed support groups local and on-line
  • Veteran & military organizations

Good luck and Cheers, John

How to Measure Your Achievements

By: Joyce Lain Kennedy, Tribune Media Services

Dear Joyce: You advise readers to “quantity” on their resume what they do.  I’m a call center employee working from home. I can’t quantify.  I answer customers’ questions and resolve their issues. Now what? — M.T.

Actually, you may be able to state impressive measurable performance indicators. Don’t say your job is to answer customer calls, take information, type into a computer and send e-files to a distribution center.  Your reason for being is to answer customer questions and resolve issues. How many customers are satisfied each day because you answered their questions?  How many issues do you resolve daily?

Almost everyone can quantify their work using direct output measurement. Examples are: sales per month; number of people protected with flue shots; number of invoices processed for company revenue; percentage of expenses cut this year over last; number of accounting statements issued on time.

If you simply cannot find a direct measure, use indirect measures: as a plant worker, mention your rate of attendance and punctuality (97 percent attendance, 99 percent on time); as an administrative assistant, you completed clerical projects 100 percent on deadline.

A manager has more leeway to discuss cost-benefit ratios as performance indicators. A recruiter, for example, could calculate performance by dividing recruiting costs by the number of employees hired.

If getting a raise, rather than a resume, is your aim and you can’t come up with quantifiers, create your own measurement graphic. Show a spectrum of skills, starting with those you had when you started and skills you have now. An upward line shows how far you’ve progressed.

Measurements are persuasive in both job search and seeking reward for your good work.

Don’t Exaggerate or Lie About Your Employment History

By:  John Holmgen   

Be honest and forthright in your resume and job application information.

We all have our human flaws and we all need to feel important.

Why would we not make our jobs more significant they really were?

That means exaggerating your job and what you accomplished.

Do not get into flights of fancy about your experience.  Potential employers hire you for what your accomplishments can do for them.

In the real job market, however, potential employers check references.

Anything other than the unvarnished truth will bite you.

If your employment history is a straight line record of accomplishment, great!  Lucky, or talented, you.

However, that’s not typical of most people.  Most change jobs for perceived alternative opportunities.  Sometime, too frequently.

Face up to your real, objective employment record.  It’s probably not as pretty as you’d like.  But get it out on the table and emphasize the skills you can bring to the organization. It is absolutely the best thing you can do.

I’ve written elsewhere about not being excessively modest, either.  Just stick to the truth and underline your accomplishments.

If you, as most have, a blemish in your background history, it is WAY better that you make that known than to have it discovered later in a background check.

Note: Keep this in mind.  When I was hiring people, I felt that if the candidate had 75 – 80% of the skills necessary for success and a stable employment record, there would be a job offer.

Cheers, John