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resume advice

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm having a dickens of a time getting interviews, and I'm thinking maybe my resume needs punching up.

The biggest problem I'm having, I think, is the "objective" line. I mean, I can't actually state my true objective (to spend as little time at work as possible so that I am available for my child, while maintaining a suitable standard of living for us) and everything else I can come up with sounds too generic. Plus, they form an opinion of you from the objective without even looking at your qualifications, but if you don't put one in they form an opinion from that too. Anybody got any suggestions?

I'm happy to post a copy here (minus the personal contact info, just to be safe) if anybody thinks that would be helpful.
post #2 of 23
Actually I eliminated that line completely and I discuss that at the interview. It has worked for me.
post #3 of 23
Sunlion, what special skills do you have? I was wondering if you can go to the employment agency and a job counselor can help you. They are more than happy to assist you. Do you like working with children? You can work at a day care, that way when your daughter finishes school, she can come to work with you.
post #4 of 23
Sunlion, Why don't you post several lines of objectives, and we can tell you which ones impress us? Aren't you an artist? I like the words "fulfill and inspire", depending on whether you want to practice or teach. They are strong words which conjure up impressive images.
post #5 of 23
What types of jobs are you applying for? I'm going to get my resume during lunch and see if I can give you some pointers. I got a lot of calls on my resume, so I must have done something right.
post #6 of 23
Here is my Objective Statement (it took me a long time to come up with this, too!)

My objective is to work with people and a company that can benefit from my varied talents and past experiences, as well as better myself through learning and further diverse experience.
I think it is important to show the benefit that the company can get from hiring you in this statement as well as what you want. After all, you are trying to impress them not the other way around. (Feel free to use that Objective Statement if it feels right for you. Since we are in different states I don't think there's any chance of it crossing the same path!)

Some key phrases to include (especially if you are looking for any type of office job) are:

Attention to detail
Able to effectively multi-task/Multi-task oriented
Good people skills
Good/superb writted and oral communication
Flexible and adaptable
Team oriented
Organizational skills
Service oriented

One other tip - when you send out your resumes try to personalize the cover sheet/cover letter as much as possible, even if it is just with the business type. The "To Whom It May Concern" thing turns off people especially if they are getting a lot of resumes (which I'm sure they are right now).

I asked my manager if she had any tips, and vaguely described your situation. Do I remember right that you haven't worked in a while? If so, that could be why you aren't getting calls. (She said that if she sees that someone hasn't worked in a few years she just passes over the resume unless there is an explanation in the cover letter.) What she suggested is to real vaguely say something in the cover letter as to why you have been out of the workforce. (i.e. I left the workforce # years ago to raise my daughter. Since she has started school I am eager to re-enter the professional world.) Keep it positive.

I would not advocate lying because the will find out if you don't have the skills you say you do, but sell yourself! Stretch things if you have to. You obviously know how to work a computer, so highlight that you are adept at computer operation. Things like that.

Sorry for the HUGE post, but I hope this helps at least some!
post #7 of 23
Just try to keep everything positive and tell them how you would be a benefit to their company, like what qualities you would bring to the job with you, etc. Emphasize all the good qualities that you have, even if you don't think that they seem that important to you. Others may think that they are really important to the position that they are trying to fill. Good luck!
post #8 of 23
I read somewhere that an objective is not necessary if you already have experience in a field. If you already work in marketing, for example, you don't need to write that you want to work in marketing. You should highlight your experience and use action words that show what you can do for the company. Good luck.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Okay, this is the text of my resume. The objective was copied from a friend's successful resume, but I think it's wishy-washy. I just can't think of anything better. I would like something that indicates I prefer a job that isn't made up entirely of repetitive tasks (every job has some of those), and I don't actually want to say that I would get hugely bored spending 8 hours a day filing and quit within 6 months, but there you go. My biggest difficulty is that at my skill level, I'm too smart for the job and get bored bored bored and can't stand it really quickly.

Maybe I should delete the interests category and move the homeschooling up to the top of experience?

Plus, my field when I finish my degree will be human services (social work) but I'm not able to work in it until I finish the degree or I'm back in school. That means I'm looking for office work, but none of my recent jobs reflects my more responsible office positions. I went back to school, so I was working various part time jobs to meet my expenses, and that's what you see here.

\tSeeking interesting work with varied tasks and opportunity for advancement

\tReceptionist (May 1995 - September 1995)
\tMiddlekauff Ford, Plano, TX
\t• Operate switchboard
\t• Greet customers
\tTemporary Office Assistant (September 1994 - May 1995)
\tKelly Services, Richardson, TX
\t• Provide temporary office support to outside clients
\t• Operate office equipment including fax, copier, and switchboard
\t• Word processing and light data entry

\tMedical Billing, part time (May 1993 - August 1994)
\tGarland Mental Health, Everett, MA
\t• Mental health medical billing, private and HMO
\t• Set appointments and other office support
\t• Periodic research for psychiatrist

\tCounselor, part time (September 1992 - August 1994)
\tNew England Shelter, Danvers, MA
\t• Oversee homeless and dual-diagnosis clients
\t• Maintain community, including chores and interpersonal relations
\t• Dispense medications
\t• Keep appropriate records and log entries

\tSubstitute Teacher (May 1992 - August 1994)
\tCatholic Charities Day Care, Danvers, MA
\t• Substitute teacher for all ages of day care
\t• Temporary cafeteria staff
\t• General office assistant

\t• Endicott College Beverly, MA Business Administration 1982 -1983
\t• Lesley College Cambridge, MA Human Services 1990 - 1994
\t• University of Texas Richardson, TX Psychology 1994 - 1995

\tHomeschooling parent (June 1996 - present)
\t• Research current child development and educational theories
\t• Evaluate and implement cirriculum
\t• Provide enrichment activities for well-rounded development
post #10 of 23
Dear Sunlion, I know I have mentioned that I am a certified English and music teacher. First, I would always personalize the cover letter. Discover the name and title of the person who will be conducting the interview, and use both on the envelope and cover letter. On your resume, personalize the objective line for each different position. It takes only a minute to change one line.

Be consistent with job descriptions. For example, do not use "set appointments" for one position, and "cafeteria staff" in another. Obviously, one uses nouns, the other, verbs. One is a position, the other a description of that position. Use both if there is room on the resume. If not, use the title, and go into more detail in your cover letter. Make sure the tense of the verb is correct. The only job that you presently hold is teaching your child. Everything else is in the past, so use past tense.

Use euphemisms. Example: Instead of stating "Waited on tables," a waitress could use, "rendered personal service." Don't use all twenty-five cent words, but a good writer always keeps her audience in mind. You will probably be dealing with well educated people.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. Jeanie
post #11 of 23
Sunlion, I think deleting the interests would be good, and moving homeschooling up as well. Since you have worked in several offices, you could highlight the varied experience it gave you. The fact that you are homeschooling shows you are able to work independently and shows you are willing to take responsibility for a task. I agree that the objective could use some work, but I am not sure how to make it seem more powerful.
post #12 of 23

I'd lose the objective altogether. Unless you have a really specific position in mind, it seems kind of pointless.

I think I would also get rid of the first entry. You were only there a few months. I'd eliminate "part-time" from the 2 entries where you indicate that. It's unnecessary to me.

Definitely move homeschooling up to the top of experience, for 2 reasons. One, you want to give it the importance it deserves. Two, it is something you have pursued for 5+ years. A lot of your other experience has been for relatively short periods of time.

Do also add a section for any computer applications you are adept at.

Hope this helps.
post #13 of 23
My objective on my resume is:
Seeking an administrative assistant position and to utilize my awesome computer skills!

Adymarie is great on helping with resumes! She spiced up mine!
post #14 of 23

Another thing that my manager told me about was a "new" type of resume that is catching on, as in is very effective and eye catching. She called it Bullet Pointing but I don't know if that is an official name for it or not.

Basically, after your contact information and objective statement (which she did say that she does pay attention to), state ALL of the duties you have done in a bulleted list. This eliminates repetition and also makes it look like you have done a lot! You can also rearrange your job duties to highlight the ones that most suit the job you are applying for. After that, in the next section, list all of the jobs you have held with company name, position title, and time frame. Following that, list your special skills. For example, using your resume, it may look something like this:

Adrienne Sunlion
555 1st St.
Dallas, TX 55555

My objective is to work in an environment that offers varied experience and can benefit from my diverse skills as well as offering me room to grow.

Job Related Experience:

My previous experience has included the following duties:

*Operating switchboard
*Greeting customers
*Providing office support to outside customers
*Operating office equipment including fax, copier, and other basic office equipment
*Processing mental health billing for both private billings and HMOs
*Dispensing medication to patients
*Evaluate and implement curriculum in a home schooling program

Employment History:

Homeschooling parent, June 1996 to present
Receptionist, Middlekauff Ford, Plano, TX May 1995 - September 1995
(your other jobs)


(your education)


(your skills)

You get the point. And be sure to put your homeschooling as your most recent job! Obviously that one holds more responsibility than anything you could have done in the past. Also, I completely agree with Jeanie on the grammar and tense stuff. (I'm also a former English teacher ) Whatever tense you choose, you have to be consistent. You have to make them think that this is the one job you are really trying for so make the cover letter personal. Remember that these people don't know you. The only thing they have are these couple of sheets of paper. They are probably getting close to or exceeding 100 resumes for any position open. Don't give them an excuse to trash your resume.

One more thing and then I'll shut up, I promise!

I wouldn't necessarily drop the objective statement. That is one more thing to make your resume memorable. Be sure it is a complete sentence (that was the first thing I noticed). Focus on what you can bring to the company. It is a total bulls**ting statement, but it makes an impression. What your current statement says to me as a prospective employer is that you could be a demanding employee. Especially if you are looking for an office job, there isn't much opportunity for advancement and if they see that as one of your requirements they may pass you up thinking you won't really want to work there.

Sorry about the long post, again. I'm way too long winded. I hope this gives you something that will help.
post #15 of 23

You've already gotten some great advice. Jeanie has some excellent points concerning the job descriptions.

Also, check and check again to be sure that the spelling is ok (I noticed that curriculum was misspelled). Some of my friends in the science and tech fields have told me that they really don't care about the way a resume looks as long as the person has the right education and experience. But, I certainly wouldn't bet my own career on that! Anyhow, since you are looking for administrative work, I think a good resume is still important.

There are many different types of resumes out there so pick one that works for you...chronological, functional, a combination of those. Have you looked at resume examples from a university career center or a job center? I have found the examples to be very helpful. I'm looking for work too. My resume is on its second format reincarnation since I've updated it from my last job.

If you are really stuck when it comes to an objective, don't use that type of resume. You can spell out your objective in a cover letter; this way it can be job specific (tell them what they want to hear, right??).

I see that you've used some good action words (provide, operate, etc.). Use some more! Maybe you could be a bit more descriptive in some of your bullet points and use words like coordinated, created, expedited. As a receptionist when you greeted customers, did you assist them in any way? Direct them to a source of help? As a medical biller, how many records were you responsible for (it helps to use numbers in resumes...e.g., Managed billing and patient records for practice with 135 clients).

Back to the cover letter - use it to make an employer want to look at your resume twice. In general, the 1st paragraph states what you want and lets the employer know that you know something about their organization. The 2nd para states your relevant qualifications and states how your skills can benefit the employer. The 3rd para closes the letter, thanks them and offers the next step, e.g., I look forward to hearing from you...I will call on (date) to arrange a time when we can talk more about this opportunity. I have to say I haven't been brave enough to try that last one in a cover letter . And, you can add a para before the closing one to further state what you can bring to the job and maybe address the gap in your job history - to explain raising and homeschooling your daughter (which is certainly a job in and of itself).
post #16 of 23
Sunlion, I have a few other suggestions, probably not necessary, but just in case--- An acquaintance of mine, with a degree in psychology, showed me her resume on cheap, white paper, along with the pre-stamped envelope from the post office. It had red, white, and blue stipes on it. She said she didn't have time to go to an office supply store, and that many people faxed or e-mailed resumes now. Well, I donated some excellent resume paper and matching envelopes. The paper is cream in color and has a water mark. Yes, some people get jobs with faxed resumes. However, if a prospective employer receives hundreds of resumes, he simply throws away those with fingerprints, cheap paper, loud colors, misspelled words, or other obvious mistakes. If you have ever gone to a dog show you know that the animals there are of such good quality that the judge is forced to look for faults to make initial cuts. Resumes are like that. I noticed the word "curriculum" also. If I had received only ten resumes, and one of them had an obvious error, I might throw it in file 13 without noticing the person's qualities. Your resume and cover letter are your first chance of presenting yourself. A person doing office work is expected to be precise. If possible, I suggest you have an English teacher critique your resume and letter (printed on good paper) before sending them. If you call the local high school, I think you will find them cooperative. Teachers are presenting and grading these skills on a regular basis, and will make concrete suggestions.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Okay, I am moving the homeschooling to the top and checking spelling again. How interesting that my spellcheck didn't pick up 'cirriculum'. At least it should have noticed a word it didn't recognize. Hmm. And I am checking for consistency in verbs and bullet statements.

The thing about the job at Middlekauff is that I did it for several months as a temp and was offered it full time. I left for a combination of personal reasons, which I really won't get into, but included getting married and moving so the commute was 45 mins (he already owned the house) and getting pregnant. So perhaps I should adjust the dates, move Middlekauff earlier and cut back on the temp time? I can always explain it later if I'm asked.

I try to use decent paper and hand address the envelopes. I usually print then individually, but I don't have a printer right now so I'm stuck with photocopying. Makes a personalized cover letter difficult too. I have done a huge amount of faxing, but many jobs only give a fax number! I e-mail if they give that out, because at least there is the opportunity to make a little personal contact.

Back to the objective statement: I don't want to sound like I'm going to be a problem to a new employer, but I also don't want to spend the rest of my working life as a receptionist. How do I convey, then, that I want to move ahead without sounding pushy? I don't want to own the company, but I'm certainly capable of middle management sometime in the next 10 years. I need a challenge or I get bored, and the boredom is my biggest enemy. If the work doesn't vary over time or present inherent challenges, I don't want the job, because ultimately it won't work out. (Though I feel like if I'm lucky enough to get an offer, I should just take it because I'm in a spot.) I also want to indicate that if I can find a suitable place, I'm happy to be quite loyal. Unfortunately, because of putting myself through school and being at home for so many years, that doesn't show up by example.

Ady, you out there? I hear you're good at this kind of thing!
post #18 of 23
Sunlion, first of all, objective is unnecessary unless you are trying to get into a different field. Secondly, no offense to the folks who have already offered it, but as someone who has screened hundreds of resumes in her lifetime, I can tell you that the "objectives" I've seen here so far do not tell a prospective employer anything. Everyone wants an interesting job utilizing their best skills at a company that has advancement potential. If you don't have anything above and beyond that, leave it off.

Resumes these days are all about "buzzwords" and brevity.

But, second of all, if you would consider going back into billing I could probably help you get a job within days, especially if you also got into collections and account reconciliation, and especially if you are willing to do the "temp-to-perm" thing for awhile. Actually, we're hiring where I am but alas! you don't have any Medicaid/Medicare on your resume.

Reply, pm or email me if you want more info and/or leads!
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
I actually did do a little medicare/medicaid billing, I just didn't complete the process. We had an outside auditor/accountant who checked my work and took care of bills and taxes, and she did the last few steps of the M/M billing. I have so many versions of my resume right now, I guess that didn't make this cut!

I'm not sure about collections, though, I tend to identify with the person getting the call! OTOH, beggers can't be choosers!

My e-mail is in my profile, drop me a line, I could sure use a hot tip!
post #20 of 23
My resume was done by a hiring manager at a major computer chip manufacturer and if I ever need to get a new position, I know this one does it for me. You might want to take a look at it. <pm me for the url>
post #21 of 23
I'm not surprised that works for you. I know exactly what your skills are. Your education is probably not as impressive as some of your competitors, but this resume would tell an employee exactly what you've done, what you can do, and what you want to do! This resume is exceptionally well done. Sunlion, I would check this one out, if I were you.
post #22 of 23
I have been off the site for close to 2 wks so this is the 1st I have seen this. I will review the info if you like (you can pm or e-mail me a copy of your resume). Part of my job is to help people with resumes and to assist them in their job search. You definately don't need an objective line as long as you have a great cover letter. The objective line can cause more harm then good sometimes unless you tailer it to the actual job posting. Let me know if you would like to to "beef" your resume up like I did Tigger's.
post #23 of 23
Good luck Sunlion. Let us know how it is coming along and let us kow how it is when you finish it.
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