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About this Blog

Debra Wheatman, President of Careers Done Write, provides expert insight to the job search process that puts your career in gear with tips for interviewing, networking, job search strategies and how to create a winning résumé and cover letter.

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Resume and advice blog from Debra Wheatman

7:01AM

Do I need to reveal that I am not a citizen on my resume?

Dear Deb:

I am a citizen of Italy.  I have been working at a university as a researcher in the United States for six years.  Our study is coming to a conclusion in six months.  I am beginning to network to find a new placement.  Do I need to state my citizenship and status on my resume?   I am not a US citizen, but I do hold a US H1-B Visa.  The university sponsored me to achieve this and it was given to me based on my PhD (earned in Italy), MS (earned in UK) and my specialized knowledge.

How do I present myself properly?

Thank you for your advice.

Regards,

Emil

Dear Emil:

It is not required to show on your resume, but in your situation it will help you.   Employers will see that your education and experience is outside the US.  If they have any doubt that you are not eligible to work, you can put them at ease.  Add a category to the bottom of your resume, “Citizenship.”  Under that, indicate your citizenship and your authorization to work (your H1-B Visa).  

Wishing you continued success,

Deb

7:00AM

Three Reasons Why Objective Statements Are Out

With all the “do’s and don’ts” of resume writing, do you ever wonder the reasons why objective statements are out?  The objective statement falls in the category of a “don’t.” There are at least three reasons why objective statements are no longer recommended for professional resumes.

ONE:  It places the focus on your needs (objective) rather than the employer’s needs.

The purpose of your resume is to help the hiring manager understand what you can do for them, not what you want. Naturally, an employer is more concerned with filling their needs than your wants.

TWO:  An objective fails to promote the candidate effectively.

It is challenging to sell yourself in a short phrase when you are focusing on your goal.  The following are two examples of objectives that do not effectively promoting the candidate:  “Accomplished Network Administrator seeking to use experience in exciting enterprise setting” and “Self-motivated product manager seeking company who cares about quality and creates ground-breaking products.”  In fact, these read more like descriptions found in a job posting when a company is promoting a job vacancy to attract candidates.

THREE: It signals to the reader that you are out of touch with current resume standards.

Because objective statements are widely-regarded as obsolete and strategically flawed, including one on your resume shows that you are out of touch and did not take the time to research current resume trends. If you are unsure of current résumé trends, the employer may perceive you as outdated in other aspects of your career.

Some may wonder, “If I don’t include an objective, how will the reader know what position I want?”  As harsh as this may sound, the employer is not interested in your desires as a candidate.  The hiring manager is seeking a candidate who meets the requirements of the role and will make a lasting and positive contribution. True, you want the reader to identify you clearly as a candidate for a particular position. However, it should be accomplished by presenting your unique values that demonstrate how you fill the needs of the employer. A well-crafted summary statement (also called a profile statement) will showcase your top skills, experience, and achievements that are most relevant to the target job.

If your resume summary statement is written well, the reader will clearly understand that you are well suited for the position.  As a recruiter, HR manager, and hiring manager see that you are a fit, they are more likely to continue reading your resume to see examples of accomplishments that further sell you as a candidate for an interview.  As you update your resume, remember to skip an objective statement showing what you want; instead write a compelling summary with the reader in mind. 

8:17AM

Knocking Down the Wall of Words 

Andrew sent me his resume for review.  My first impulse was to knock down his “wall of words.”  He has so many wonderful accomplishments, but they are buried within long narratives under each job. Additionally, he has used a tiny 10-point Arial font and very thin margins.  It is tough on the eyes and only the most determined reader will get through Andrew’s entire resume.

This is very common.  A candidate comes to us with a strong history of accomplishments, but their resume holds them back.  Here are a few things that Andrew can do so his resume rises to the level of his accomplishments.

Enhance

The resume appearance is the first impression.  A poorly-prepared resume signals that you have not given much thought to the reader’s needs.  Aim for margins of .7” or greater all the way around (.8” is ideal if possible).   Increase the white space between sections.   The font would be more readable at 11 points.  Beyond those simple changes, consider a more sophisticated look.  Explore examples on our site to see modern resume styles.

Restructure

Sort your work history information separating major duties and scope of responsibilities from major achievements.   Place the duties and responsibility overview in a paragraph format with no more than seven lines.  Then follow the paragraph area with bullet points to showcase major accomplishments. Listing up to seven bullet points would be optimal. The new structure will be easier on the eyes and call attention to your strongest selling points.

Fortify

Andrew does not promote his accomplishments to the fullest.  In other words, he needs to strengthen those statements to explain the results and quantify those results whenever possible.  Including results shows that you are aware of the big picture and that you know how your actions impact your employer. Also, numbers make an accomplishment more real. 

Those simple changes will make a big difference as Andrew searches for a job.  If you would like to read more about resume writing, please check out these articles:

Resume Help: Asking Questions to Uncover Accomplishments

Resume Help:  Responsible for a Bad Résumé

Resume Help:  Formatting the Professional Experience Section