Written and Interviewed by: Debbie Stokes
Getting a job these days is a struggle for some, not because of a lack of jobs available but because there is so much competition.
There are more and more college graduates, to their surprise, who find themselves competing for lower level positions upon graduation. Often, they are being told they lack the skills and experience needed, although they have gone to school for four years to get a degree in that field.
Then there are those who haven’t gone to college but are looking for jobs, and find themselves competing against college graduates, retirees, and more experienced workers for the same job.
It’s no wonder people get discouraged. But the key to standing out among the pack is submitting a fantastic resume that reflects what the job is seeking.
With that said, I have invited Racquel Rogers of Latte Resume Consulting to talk about the do’s and don’ts to resume writing and how you can stand out from the rest.
Racquel was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and a graduate of Liberty University with a Master’s degree in Human Services with a minor in Business. Currently, she is pursuing Ph.D. studies at Liberty University.
Racquel is the co-author of The Mental Cost of Entrepreneurship book, which was released in July 2019. She has been featured on iHeart Media’s – Girls You Got This and Guys You Do Too. In addition, she has been featured on EnSoul Media, Empowerher It’s A Movement, SwagHer Magazine, and much more.
When she is not working on her goals, she enjoys visiting museums, reading, family-time, and performing at her local theater. A fun fact about her is that she performed in the Dreamgirls play production in North Carolina in September 2018.
1) Why is it important to have a good resume?
It is important to have a good resume because it’s the first glimpse the employer gets to see of you. A good resume allows the employer to match their needs with your talents.
2) Why are some resumes overlooked? What is the #1 red flag that a resume will immediately get trashed without being looked at?
Some resumes are overlooked because of the lack of structure, keywords do not match the company needs, or it shows you’re currently not working. These are just a few issues.
However, the number #1 red flag reason resumes get “trashed” is — the job duties. If your job duties are poorly written on your resume, this lets the employer know that you probably wouldn’t be able to explain your prior work history in person.
3) What are some do’s and don’ts to writing an effective resume?
A few do’s regarding your resume are:
- Be consistent with your resume font and style.
- Write your resume based off of the job description needs (your resume should be updated for every job applied for).
- Create an elevator pitch (the objective) that shows what you accomplished and where you are wanting to go career-wise.
A few don’ts regarding your resume are:
- Do not include you address. (This is private information. You may put city, state, and zip code).
- Do not use personal pronouns (it’s wordy).
- Do not use the same action words more than twice (you can use a thesaurus to find other words to explain your duties).
4) What’s the best way to get HR’s attention at first sight?
The best way to get HR’s attention is to dress for the job. First impressions are everything. Another tip is be yourself. Authenticity wins every time.
5) How far back should you go with listing job experiences?
As long as the position you’ve worked is relevant to the job you’re applying for, you can add it. However, it’s best to not go past 10 years.
6) How should you handle listing a job if you were fired, should you omit it?
Remember your resume showcases your talents so include it. However, your application will ask the reason for separation and there you can include it, and if you get called for an interview, you can explain it in more depth.
7) Is there a preferred font you should use?
With resumes, it’s best to not get too creative. I recommend using a 12 font, Times New Roman typeface, and Bold lettering when necessary (for example, the subheadings).
8) What are some common errors you find?
Many of the common errors found are misspelled words, dates incompatible with application, and the education listed at the beginning of the resume (Education should be near the end).
9) What’s the best way for a person who has been out of the job market for many years to explain their absence from the workforce?
The best way is to be honest on why you were away from the job market. However, highlight any volunteer work, trainings (at a career center or library, etc.) you’ve attended, or any social activities you’ve attended that would be relevant to the position for which you are applying.
10) What’s the best way for a retired or older person, ex-criminal, or ex-drug user to be hired using a resume to re-enter the workforce?
Your resume should be written as a skill set. Meaning you would highlight specific skills you’ve obtained throughout your life.
11) Is it necessary to include references (personal & work) on your resume?
No, please do not include references on your resume. The people you have chosen to comment on your work ethic should be protected. If the employer is interested in you, they will ask for this information.
12) Should a cover letter be included? What are some things necessary to state in the letter?
I always recommend having a cover letter. The cover letter is there to introduce you to the employer. I call it the “hand-shake.” A few things it should discuss is why you’re seeking the position, what you can give to the company, and your goals.
13) How important is it to tailor each resume for the specific job for which you are applying?
Every position you apply to should be resume specific. Every job description is unique so your resume should follow the same path as well.
14) Would you always recommend a resume service?
I always recommend having someone to look over your resume before submitting. Whether it’s a job or career you’re applying to, it’s best practice to have a second set of eyes to review it.
15) Tell us the name of your business and about your services.
My company, Latte Resume Consulting (LRC), is a full-service career preparation company that completes the tasks to accomplish the ultimate career goal. We write resumes, offer mock interviewing, complete and submit job applications, create and manage career profiles, provide career empowerment, write career and personal biographies, facilitate workshops on the resume and interviewing process, assist with job evaluations, help new entrepreneurs with their startup, and provide talent acquisition services to corporate companies.
What makes LRC unique is that it not only focuses on helping people to acquire mid/senior-level positions and salaries above the national average, but we encourage others to go after the careers they really want.
16) What is your contact information for people to reach you?
Career-seekers, new entrepreneurs, and small/mid-sized businesses can connect with me by going to:
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