Resume Tips – Skills Listing, Awards, Volunteering?

As you know, we took the Labor Day weekend off from posting. Oh, you didn’t notice? Well, hopefully we’ll become more intriguing to you so you might actually miss us. 🙂 Back to your resume, after getting your CONTACT INFO updated and in good form, and listing your EXPERIENCE and EDUCATION, we most often have our candidates wrap up their “story” by sharing key SKILLS, AWARDS (and/or achievements), and appropriate VOLUNTEER SERVICE.

How much should I list? What things should I share? How much space can I take up? Well, as we have mentioned, we recommend a 2 page resume when needed (1 page for less experience). Once you have listed your critical info (Contact, Experience and Education), if you have room left on your second page, you can add as much as you want – but don’t go over unless the info you are sharing is critical to telling your story. What constitutes critical info? Information about you that will cause a recruiter or prospective employer want to call you to ask you more about it. It can be helpful to ask yourself, “Does what I want to list have anything to do with the skills, experience or traits that were included in the job post?”. If so, then consider listing. But for most candidates, when listing skills, we recommend including things that are considered current technology (such as MS Office – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Listing a skill for a technology that is no longer active will have little to no value, and can often make the candidate look “out of date”. For an administrative candidate, adding that you can type (and at any speed unless its very high like 70 wpm or higher) is not necessary. Nor is listing of phone systems, fax machines, etc. If you have specific industry knowledge, most of the time you will have already shared that during your Experience section, but there can be value in highlighting it again in your Skills section if it is something you should emphasize for a particular position which requires that skill. Key thought on skills listing is to share what makes you stand out from the rest or that is directly related to a position for which you are applying. You can also list soft skills in this section but keep this thought in mind – soft skills are often subjective and we ALL think we are great communicators, team players, detail oriented and the like. But, if you don’t have proof of this to share should they ask you about it (real life work experiences that testify to your brilliance in that “skill”) then don’t list it. Recruiters take most of the soft skills listed, all self professed, as fluff. Don’t waste the space and don’t risk turning off a recruiter.

As for AWARDS, we recommend any relevant (there is that word again) awards or certificates of achievement that you have received but only go back about 10 years unless you have received the same kind of award on an regular basis for more than 10 years. When it comes to this section, things like perfect attendance in Sunday School, being the first to earn your Girl/Boy/Scout sewing badge in 4th grade and being employee of the month in a company with 2 employees should all be left unstated. If the interviewer leads the conversation to a place where a sewing badge is going to be a plus, feel free to share that verbally, but not on paper. Remember, your resume is usually your First Impression and you can’t take back awkward sharing.

One last section that is now common place on many resumes is VOLUNTEER SERVICE. And if you have zero volunteer service to your community, you should think about getting some. More and more companies are focused on corporate social responsibility and they want to bring people on board who have demonstrated they share their same values. However, if all you did was babysit for free when you were 17, that probably is not going to carry enough weight to warrant extending the length of your resume. Do list board service of any kind, especially any that is recent. It is also good to list service as a general volunteer service from the last decade, but service hours earned in high school is only relevant if you have just completed our education and have little work experience.

This is more than enough to help you determine what to add, why to add it, when to add it, and how much to add. But if you have specific questions and are truly stumped on what to do, you can always reach out to one of the ADEETA Team Members and we’ll be happy to help you flush out what might be in your best interest.

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