“It’s not fair to compare one artist to another because they all come with their own sort of elements to the picnic, you know.” - Annie Lennox
Life is not fair, it’s a given. Some people were born poor while other people were born rich. But even if this is the case, why does some successful people rooted from humble beginnings? Why does some poor people built better careers than the ones who were born from a rich family?
In her TED Talk, Regina Hartley–the VP of Human Resources at UPS–named the two types of people (applicants) as “The Silver Spoon” and “The Scrapper”.
Regina Hartley’s TED Talk
According to her, the Silver Spoon is the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success while the Scrapper is the applicant who had to fight against tremendous odds to get the qualifications and get to the same point.
In her TED Talk, she strengthened her point that those who don’t always look good on resume may be just the person best to hire.
What’s your key takeaway from her TED Talk
If you are the hiring manager, who would you choose? Regina Hartley says — hire the scrapper — the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose. Choose the one with the imperfect resume.
If you are an applicant, instead of complaining about your situation, believe in yourself. Believe that you can get the job. And how will you do that? Prove to the hiring officer that you are the best one for the job. Be proud to be a scrapper.
Who is Regina Hartley?
She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HRCI. Throughout her 25-year UPS career – working in talent acquisition, succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and communications – Regina Hartley has seen how, given the opportunity, people with passion and purpose will astound you. Today, Hartley is a human resources director for UPS Information Services, and makes human connections with employees immersed in technology.
About TED Talk
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world
If you are in the point of looking for a job, you need to write your qualifications in a paper for hiring officers to see. And there are many ways to do it, you can create a bio-data, generic resume or you can create a professional resume.
Among these three choices, creating a professional resume will help you get the attention of hiring officers. But the question is, “Do you know how to create a professional resume?” or at least “Have you seen one”? It is a mystery to most job seekers what a professional resume is, especially to those who are new in job search.
What a Professional Resume is Not
Bio-data. A professional resume is not a bio-data. Even though both are used for applications, resumes usually do not have personal information. Why? Because it encourages discrimination. Professional resumes focus on qualifications and relate why the applicant is the best candidate for the job. The exemption is if you are applying for a job from other countries where you need to include your personal information because of the country’s resume standard. In this case, applicants should use “curriculum vitae” instead.
Job history. Many applicants think that a professional resume is just a list of their previous jobs. This is not true, although resumes should have previous jobs, it will destroy the applicant’s chance in getting the job if he/she will not include relevant accomplishments and qualifications relevant for the position applied for.
Generic. A professional resume differs from a generic resume. A generic resume is a single resume used to apply for different positions. Although this is convenient, this is not effective. In the current state of competitive applications, if you use the same resume for all of the job you are applying for, you will engage yourself in a longer job hunt.
Curriculum Vitae. This is a matter of standard in your country. Australia, India and South Africa use the term resume and curriculum vitae interchangeably; but in the United States and in the Philippines, resume differs from curriculum vitae (CV). Curriculum vitae is a latin term meaning “course of life” and is usually longer than a professional resume. Academic positions and positions that involve significant research usually require curriculum vitae while non-academic and corporate positions are fine with resume. To give you a much deeper comparison between the two, here is a face-off between Curriculum Vitae and Resume.
Marketing tool. Your resume is the best marketing tool you will ever have. It is an advertising and marketing campaign designed to sell one thing—YOU.
Concise. A professional resume is concise. It means that it should contain all the necessary information using the least number of words.
Clutter-free. A professional resume is free from clutter. Your resume will reflect your quality of work so never allow a typo or a grammatical error in your resume.
Targeted. A resume is professional if it is tailored for a specific job. You must know that different job requires different skills.
Appropriate. A resume is professional if it is appropriate for the industry and the position applied for. It should be designed and formatted wherein the position applied for is importantly considered.
On my earlier blog post, I have written that using an objective for a resume is no longer working. I also pointed out that instead of an objective statement, you should write a Qualifications Summary. A qualifications summary is a 3-5 statement summarizing your most applicable experience and qualifications. It is the bulleted sentences found at the top of a resume stating the candidate’s best achievements and qualifications.
Now, the question is, how do you write a qualifications summary? In this blog post I will give you the step-by-step process in writing and perfecting your qualifications summary.
Who Should a Write a Qualifications Summary?
First, who should write a qualifications summary? Well the answer is anyone. Every applicant can write a qualifications summary. But the ones who can write best qualifications are those who have related skills or experiences on the job they are applying.
Recent college graduates who were active at school are also best to write qualifications summary because they have the so-called “transferrable skills”. According to Martin Yate in his Knock ‘em Dead series, “Transferrable skills are set of skills that underlies the applicant’s ability to execute the technical skills of the job effectively, whatever that job might be.”
How to Write a Qualifications Summary
Qualifications Summary are sometimes written as Summary of Qualifications, Career Summary, Professional Profile or Career Profile but they all pertain to the same goal — summarizing the applicant’s skills and experience.
1. Make sure you know the exact position that you want. Be specific and use the industry standard. For example if you are looking for a job in Sales, you might be tempted to use Product Specialist or Property Specialist but the industry standard is Sales Representative, so stick to it.
2. List your Qualifications. I suggest take a 10-15 minute dedicated time in this step. Select your level below and start writing your answer to the questions that follow.
A. Entry-Level / Recent Graduates
What knowledge/subject areas did you focus learning at school?
What special skills did you know while you were studying? It could be a computer skill, writing skill or skills you learned from your school activities.
What do you enjoy doing? List your hobbies — the things you usually do on your free time.
Did you receive awards at school? These could be awards from academics or contests conducted inside or outside your school.
Did you work part-time to support your studies? Write the things that make you stand-out as an entry-level candidate.
Were you a scholar or a Dean’s Lister?
What personal or professional traits do you possess that makes you employable? These are professional values that you can serve to your future employers.
B. Professional, Mid-Career and Executive Level
How long have you been working in the industry? You can use your number of year experience in the industry as your top qualification. (Considering it is the same industry you are applying.)
List out the experiences and knowledge you have about the job.
List all the accomplishments that you made in your past jobs — accomplishments that saved the company time, money and effort.
What makes you the best candidate for the position?
Do you know some foreign languages?
3. Collect job posts. Look for job posts online for the position you are seeking. (Note: Location does not matter here. That means you can use job post from other countries.) What we are searching here are “keywords”. I would suggest you look at Monster, GlassDoor or Indeed. Collect at least 6 job posts, save it in Microsoft Word or print it out.
4. Extract the keywords recurring in the job posts. Here’s an example of a sales job post with keywords highlighted.
5. Select your most relevant qualifications. Now that you have the keywords taken from the job posts, choose from your written qualifications the most compatible skills for the job you are targeting. You can use Forbes’s CEASE technique:
Characteristics: 2-3 personal/professional traits that make you a good fit for the job and the company
Experience: Number of years you’ve worked in the industry or other experience that makes you qualified for the position
Achievements: 2-3 things you have a strong track record in accomplishing for previous employers
Skills: 2-3 high value abilities you’ve demonstrated that are relevant to the position in question
Expertise: Relevant education, certification, or special experience that other job candidates might not have
6. Perfect your qualifications.
Put the action words at the beginning of each qualification. (e.g. Awarded Top in Sales for the year 2016)
Avoid personal pronouns such as I or My and be sure to ask someone to proofread your resume.
Incorporate the supporting information throughout your resume. You can create a Core Competencies, Technical Skills and Foreign Languages section where you can further the information that you have written in your Qualifications Summary.
Qualifications Summary Examples
Here are some great qualifications summary that you can use as guide:
Sales and marketing professional offering more than 10 years of solid experience, with the past 6 years in the software solutions industry. Utilized consultative selling techniques throughout complex and multiple-level sales processes. Consistently exceeded sales quota, developed interactive business relationships with senior executives, created and implemented persuasive account strategies for a competitive marketplace, and effectively sold customized computer products and services. Computer skills include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and ACT!.
Accountant with more than 20 years of Finance and Accounting experience. Expertise in preparing financial statements, monitoring daily cash transactions, developing annual budgets, and recording all financial activity for small to medium-sized businesses. Recruited and cultivated a first-rate team of financial support professionals. Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a strong background in Finance and Accounting methodologies and practices.
Customer Service Representative
Experienced in general office principles, practices, and procedures. Proficient in MS Office: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access. Detail oriented, proficient organizer with the ability to delegate and train others. Knowledge of diverse cultures. Team player with emphasis on quality.
Management professional with 12 years’ experience in the automobile dealership industry, including general management, finance and production management, and general sales management. Background includes establishment of programs to increase sales, improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer relations. Secure a higher penetration for finance products, including warranties, credit life, disability, and finance interest rates. Earned a master’s degree in finance.
Graphic Designer with 13 years of experience in graphic design and developing web sites.
Extensive experience in developing for traditional and new media using a mix of traditional design techniques and computer aided techniques.
Supervised creative path of client projects.
Proven success in web site design including concept development, designing, and coding.
Accomplished in all aspects of print design.
Self-confident nursing professional offering exceptional planning, prioritizing and goal-setting abilities to achieve the best patient outcome. Plan and implement nursing care and patient education for patients and caregivers. Professional and articulate - skilled interacting with physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Conscientious application of hospital policies and procedures; keep needs of patients foremost in mind. Capable of working under pressure in fast-paced environments and managing multiple and diverse tasks simultaneously.
Recent college graduate — Summa Cum Laude.
Organized, efficient, and precise with strong communication and liaison skills.
Skilled in planning and execution of special projects during time-critical environments.
Decisive and direct, yet flexible in responding to constantly changing assignments.
Enthusiastic, creative and willing to assume increased responsibility. High initiative with strong self-management skills.
“To be able to apply my knowledge and skills that I gained from my chosen field and fulfill the job that is appropriate for me.”
Are you familiar with that statement? You probably are because that is an objective that a typical Filipino job seeker would write in his/her resume. Well who are we to blame them? English teachers taught their students to write an objective for resumes. English teachers even have a notion that whoever writes the best resume objective gets the highest grade. But that should be corrected today—applicants must know better.
When I was still a Secretary in a manufacturing company in 2014, I found out that 7 out of 10 Filipino applicants applying to our office would submit a generic resume with objectives copied from the internet. I was so sad because they don’t give an effort in writing their resume and I am so worried that this must be the standard of Resume writing in the Philippines. If you are an applicant reading this, please do not commit the mistakes that they did.
But before we dig deeper from the problem and find a solution, let us define first what resume objective is. According to Money-Zine.com, a resume objective refers to a section of a resume that tells the hiring company why the applicant is seeking employment.
The objective you used to put at the top of your resume no longer works. Resume writing has changed and if you don’t keep up, you are preparing to look incompetent in front of the hiring officer. Here are the reasons why:
At that stage, recruiters have no interest in what you want. They are just after with what you can do for them.
You are wasting a very important space in your resume. Your resume is a very important marketing tool and every space in it is very important for you and your future, treat it like one.
It will not improve your resume’s chance of getting pulled from an online resume database. You must know that resume databases pull resumes like searching a term in Google search bar. This means that your resume should contain ‘keywords’ that hiring officers are searching—resume objectives do not have keywords.
Instead of writing a generic resume with the best resume objective you can find in the internet or brainstorming for your best resume objective, try these tricks:
1. Write the specific position you are applying for at the top of your resume. This technique saves the time of the hiring officer because with one glance they will know what position you are applying for.
2. Perfect your Qualifications/ Career Summary or Performance Profile. State your qualifications or strengths in response to the stated job post requirements with recurring keywords you will find in job posts for the position.
Is there a right or wrong resume format? If there is, then what is the correct format of a resume? Does it have to be simple, easy to read, or professional enough to get the attention of the hiring manager?
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, resume expert, agrees that resume writing has changed in the past 10 years. But there is one thing in resume writing that remain unchanged—the 3 resume types by format: Chronological, Functional and Combination Resume.
As you step up to your career ladder, it is necessary for you to know how to layout your qualifications and experience in response to a job post. And resume formatting will help you do that. So, after assessing your level and choosing the appropriate design for your resume, you have to select what format is best for you.
Chronological or Reverse Chronological format is the most traditional and most commonly used resume format in the Philippines. This format gained its name from the word chronological which means “arranged in the order of time”. In this format, professional experience or work history is written in order (i.e. starting from the most recent job to the applicant’s oldest jobs.) Work experience is described in detail by highlighting dates of employment, places of employment, and job titles.
Use this format if:
- You are a candidate with a conservative career: legal, accounting, and banking.
- You are a candidate who wants to highlight progressive growth in a single company.
- You have minimal or you don’t have employment gaps.
- You are applying for a similar or more advanced position in the same field.
- You want to highlight stability, consistency, growth, and development in your career.
- Your most recent position is the one most likely to impress prospective employers.
- You stayed in the same field and plan to remain in the same field.
Who should not use this format:
- People with lots of job gaps
- Folks just entering the work force
- People making a career change
- Enables an employer to determine, at a glance, where and when you’ve worked and what you accomplished at each job.
- Most common and widely accepted format.
- Provides the employer with a clear sense of your career progress.
- Limited work experience and employment gaps are obvious.
- Could reveal a history of changing jobs frequently.
- Could reveal if you were in the same job too long or have held the same type of job too long.
- Does not highlight skills and accomplishments as much as it highlights work history.
- Contact Information
- Qualifications Summary
- Professional Experience
- Awards, Honors and Additional Information (Optional)
2. Functional Format
The functional format is sometimes referred to as “Skills-Based Format”. It is the complete opposite of chronological format because it has a little or no emphasis on employment history, rather it focuses on qualifications, skills and achievements. The functional format allows you to prioritize your experience and accomplishments according to their impact and significance, rather than chronology.
Use this format if:
- You have gained significant experience outside your career path.
- You are a professional with gaps in employment, returning to the workforce or switching careers.
- You have changed jobs frequently in the past few years.
- You have gaps in your employment history.
- You have limited work experience in your job target.
- You are changing careers.
- You are a business owner looking to transition to working full time (e.g. as a construction project manager)
- You have extensive time gaps throughout the resume.
- You have extremely poor employment record.
- Highlights accomplishments, skills, and experience that are most relevant to the position.
- Takes focus off gaps or inconsistencies in your work history.
- Draws from a range of paid and non-paid experiences.
- Experience is not directly tied to specific job titles and dates of employment which can lead employers to suspect you’re trying to hide something.
- Does not emphasize promotions and career growth.
- Makes it difficult for hiring managers to tell exactly what the candidate did in each job.
- Functional resumes can send up a red flag (in a white collar job).
- Qualifications Summary
- Experience or Skills as they relate to the position
- Technical Information
- Awards and Honors
- Additional information related to targeted job
3. Combination Format
Combination format (also known as Chrono-functional or Hybrid format) is the most modern type of resume by format because it combines the nature of chronological and functional format in one resume. What it does is it takes the most effective and beneficial nature of each of the two types and mix it up to make the best resume format possible.
Combination format is becoming the resume of choice of hiring managers because it offers the best of both worlds. The combined format includes the traditional experience section of a chronological resume as well as the skills and accomplishments sections of a functional resume. This format is the most flexible, allowing you to highlight those sections of your resume that are most relevant for the position you are applying.
Use this format if you:
- Are a senior-level professional or executive and have significant accomplishments.
- Want to highlight your relevant abilities during a career transition.
- Are targeting your resume to fit specific job requirements while displaying the continuity of your career history.
- Want to emphasize skills and abilities you have not used in recent jobs.
- Have been freelancing, consulting, or performing temporary work.
- Highlights your primary skills and accomplishments at the top of your resume.
- Format can be arranged to emphasize either skills and abilities or work history, whichever is most appropriate for your career objective.
- Groups qualifications into categories that relate directly to your career objective.
- Resume could become longer than necessary and may lose the employer’s interest.
- Resume may contain redundant information or lack of focus.
Now that you know the three resume types by format, you can format your resume in response to a specific job post. Together with your knowledge on resume design and resume level, you are ready for creating your best resume.