Today I went to the Career Center to take a “Resume Workshop”.
It was nice to have someone on hand to ask questions about how to word things but over all it seemed aimed at people who didn’t have a computer or know what a resume was. That’s not to say it was a waste of time. Even if you have researched and dug out all the finer points, it never hurts to have someone who doesn’t know you, look over your resume.
They used a program called WinWay Resume Deluxe. It’s basically a resume and cover letter template program, you just fill in your info, choose some formatting and it spits out a resume. You can then export it to Word or PDF format, where you can tweak it to the style you like. I think the main point of the workshop was just to help people get their info into the program. They had us export our new resumes to floppy disks. I haven’t had to use one of those in YEARS, it’s almost funny. When I got home I had to use a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of my floppy drive so it could read the disk.
Now before you run out an buy WinWay. I’d say you could do all that with Open Office or Word, using free on-line example resumes and cover letters for templates. But to each their own. I didn’t get to play around with it much in “class” but it did have some interview videos with advice. However it looked like it only covered 5 questions.
One thing that I was surprised about was the lack of E-Resumes. In this day and age more and more places demand that you apply on-line. Take Kum-n-Go for example, they do not use paper applications anymore.
For those that don’t know what an E-Resume is, it’s basically your resume in a plain, scannable, text format. Something that a computer program can read easily and enter into a database. Hopefully with everything in the right place. I’ve had some experience with computer scanned documents, it’s not always pretty.
Even places that still take paper applications might end up using a computer to scan them into a database. Companies like 3M take applications only once a year, at least in this area. They get thousands in just a few days. I doubt any HR person wants to slog through that much paper on their desk.
I did get a few good tips I hadn’t thought about, for example:
Work history, only include the last 10 years. If you have worked for 20, 30 even 40 years, they don’t care, plus it shows your age. But don’t throw out your old info either, if you’ve done something that applies to the company or position, list it under “Other Experience”.
Another tip to think about was the Objective. I did come up with a rough draft of one but I think everyone in there didn’t really have an answer to that question. The advice we got after discussing our “Objectives” was that we were all focused on ourselves, not the company we were applying to. Everyone talked about what they wanted, not what they offered to the company.
Another question was about references, to include or not? Well the point was raised, time is money, so if you can make it easier for the employer to check your references, why not.
The last bit of advice was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, you’ll need to tweak your resume for every single job you apply to. That can be a huge pain in the butt. Now if you are going for a set field, tweaking may not be needed. But if you’re like me, doing the “career change-up” pitch, you might have to.