Claire Bush, Careerbuilder, Arizona Republic, March 26, 2006
seekers, take note: Accuracy counts when creating a resume.
A report released in 2005 by InfoLink Screening Services, the nation's
leading provider of employment background checks, said that 14 percent
of employees lied about education on their resumes.
month, the Resume Writers Council of Arizona sponsored a human-resources
forum with representatives from state agencies, federal government,
private corporations and executive recruiters to discuss hiring
hiring manager on the panel reported that the industries they represent
use background checks as a normal part of the hiring process," said
Kathy Sweeney, a conference attendee and certified professional
resume writer and owner of the Write Resume in Phoenix.
hiring managers quickly can access information online, too. Researching
a potential hire with the use of Internet search engines means that
misrepresented information about education or job history most likely
will be discovered.
few job candidates have perfect educational or employment backgrounds,
the secret to creating an accurate and powerful resume lies in accentuating
strengths, said Barbara Urlaub, owner of AAA Professional Resume
Service in Phoenix.
work history is special, just as each person is special. The purpose
of a resume is to reflect an individual's uniqueness in the best
possible way," she said.
are several ideas from career experts for fixing typical trouble
spots in a resume:
education. One of the biggest sticking points on a resume can
be lack of a college degree, or a haphazard accumulation of college
credits that led nowhere. A sketchy educational background can send
up a red flag to potential employers that the job candidate lacks
this case, "don't list your high school diploma," Urlaub said. "Instead,
stress what special skills or attributes you have to offer."
said that if a traditional two- or four-year diploma wasn't received,
consider including specialized coursework completed instead. "Focus
on industry-related training or online courses completed," she said.
gaps. A job seeker may have legitimate reasons for lengthy gaps
in paying employment. Staying home to care for children, nursing
an elderly relative or attending school are acceptable.
way to portray these gaps in the most favorable light is to select
one or two skills gleaned during this time, and in a few sentences,
show where this will add value to your potential as an employee.
New mothers must learn time management. Holding down a full courseload
teaches discipline. Caring for an ailing family member signals a
take-charge individual who can accept responsibility.
stay-at-home mom, for instance, could focus on her work experience
prior to raising children, then stress the skills she has learned
from adapting to her new household duties," Urlaub said.
work, church and civic duties all count toward acquiring skill sets,
too. Organizing a church fund drive, leading a Brownie troop or
forming a neighborhood recycling club are valid accomplishments
that can be listed.
Many employees at retirement age are anything but ready for the
rocking chair. Some are on their third, fourth or even fifth careers.
seekers with decades of experience should consider carefully how
to convey that information.
I'm creating a resume for an executive, we normally go back 20 years,"
job titles. "Many employers, particularly large corporations,
assign titles that don't accurately reflect duties involved," Sweeney
said. If a job title is longer than six or seven words, or is vague
sounding, chances are it will be hard for the potential employer
to figure out what you did.
cites the case of a resume prepared for a loan processor. "Her job
was to expedite paperwork so that loans could get funded. However,
her employer, a financial institution, gave her the title of Home
Specialist II. The challenge was to present her with an accurate
title that reflected her job duties."
Sweeney listed the job as loan processor, and in the same line inserted
the proper job title.