Write a Resume Like a Pro Using These 10 Steps

While I dedicate my HR advice to working moms, moms trying to get into the workforce, or moms trying to make a career change, it also applies to just about anyone. If you know someone that would benefit from these suggestions, please pass on the free tips. People who seek out HR consulting pay good money honey, but here I offer these pearls of wisdom for free!  Just for you, sistas!

I have a decade of experience working as an HR Associate and then HR Manager at an energy company.  My main focus was in recruiting candidates in all areas of the company from Accounting, Legal, Finance, Public Relations, Asset Management, Compliance, to Development, Operations, and Construction.  In the process of hiring hundreds of qualified candidates, I had to go through thousands of resumes and conduct just as many interviews.  Those years of experience gave me valuable knowledge of what employers are seeking in candidates.  Resumes are your first impression and just with any first impression, it best be a good one, girlfriend.

Below is a list of tips and advice for writing the best possible resume to get you noticed and get you hired.

  1. Formatting – There is not a certain rule on how a resume should be formatted, but make sure you make it look professional.  Don’t use weird or colorful fonts.  Stick to black and professional font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or something similar.  There are several templates you can pull up with a simple Google search.  Templates are helpful and are a good guideline, but don’t use the same wording as the template.  Remember there are probably many others using similar templates with the same wording. You want to stand out from the rest!
  2. Contact Information – When giving your contact information at the top of your resume, be sure not to make any mistakes. Double and triple check the phone number and email address.  One little mistake there could end up costing you an interview. Also, please have a professional email address.  If your personal email is something like crazyhairycarrie@hotmail.com or whiskeydrinkeygirl@yahoo.com, then its time to consider having a second email address for the purpose of employer contact.
  3. Objective – Write an honest objective about what you are seeking.  Steer clear from the typical jargon “Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and abilities…blah blah blah”. BORING!  Set yourself apart and write something along the same lines, but using more creative wording.  For example “My objective is to find a fulfilling position in Human Resources that will compliment my background in benefits and recruitment, as well as my strong education in Business Management.
  4. Education – Definitely list your graduating college or university, your major and minor, and GPA, IF and ONLY IF (read this carefully) your GPA is 3.0 or higher.  Abso-freakin-lutely, under no circumstances should you list a GPA that is lower than that.  That’s a great way for an employer to quickly pass on your below average resume.  Remember you have a lot of competition many of which will have high GPAs, so listing a sub par GPA is a definite deal breaker and a big NO NO.
  5. Highlights – Include a small section that highlights your greatest strengths, such as any technology and software skills, and any soft skills like good communication skills, team oriented, strong organizational skills, any certifications, etc.
  6. Employment History – Make sure you fully understand the position you are applying for and insert key words from the position’s job description into your work history.  Let’s say the position calls for strong customer service, or sales experience, or strong MS Office skills, be sure to make those areas in your history very visible, IF you have that experience.  However, do NOT lie on your resume because if you have no experience in something, but list it anyway, it will backfire.  Be honest, but don’t be afraid to embellish the truth.  Make your background and experience shine so that you do! When writing your employment history, list your current position first then work your way back. Be sure to highlight your most important responsibilities.  This is your chance to stand out, so don’t make a quick, uninteresting list of what you do.  For example, there’s a world of difference between:
    • Pick up and sort mail      VS.     Responsible for the pickup and distribution of priority packages and correspondence
    • File paperwork                VS.     Manage the sorting, filing, and organization of classified company documents
    • Answer phones                VS.     Manage the office phone system and triage calls to office personnel
  7. Achievements – List any awards or achievements that highlight some notable accomplishments.  Definitely include any   examples of leadership, even if it was while you were in college.  List any clubs or organizations you belong to and any charity work that you’ve been involved in.  This is a great way to show your work ethic not just at work, but for your personal time, as well.
  8. Make it 1 page – Employers do not want to have to go through multiple pages for each resume, as they are most likely     having to go through quite a few of them.  So keep it nice and concise.  You may have to play with space and formatting a little to make sure everything fits on a page.
  9. Edit or Regret it! – Make sure to check, double check, and triple check your grammar!  You do not want to submit a resume  that contains spelling and punctuation errors, so make sure the grammar is on point.  If any employer sees that you   make  careless mistakes on something so important, then they might see that as an issue with your credibility and attention   to  detail at work. I suggest giving your resume to someone else to review so that you can get a fresh set of eyes on it.  They   may be able to catch mistakes that you are overlooking.
  10. Cover Letter – Take the time to write a great cover letter.  Be professional and genuine.  Summarize your background and   experience and use this as an opportunity to explain what makes you the best candidate and why you would be an asset to the company.  Remember, you have to set yourself apart from the rest.  I also strongly suggest that you do some research on the company you are applying for.  In your letter state the reasons why you are interested in their company and your desire to be involved with the company.  This shows that you took the time to learn about the place you want to work at and not just trying to find any job, anywhere that will hire you.  Make them feel as though their company is special.  Make sure you thoroughly edit your cover letter, as well.

Once you have a nicely written and formatted cover letter and resume you are ready to go.  If you want to land the job of your dreams, make sure you spend time on creating the best tool that will get you there – your resume!  Now that you have the resources to create your best resume yet….get READY, get SET, get HIRED!

It’s a Runderful Life: How to Run Like a Motha’

I have a love/hate relationship with running.  On one hand, or should I say foot, it takes everything out of me. It drains me in a way that not many other things can. It leaves me breathless and with my heart racing so fast that I think it might run right out of my chest. It leaves me at the brink of exhaustion and sweating so much I feel like I am literally melting. On the other foot, I realize that the reasons I hate it are actually the same reasons I love it.  Running will reach right down to your “sole” and in the long run will help keep your mind, body, and health on track. Ha! Don’t mind my runderful run puns.

In all seriousness, there is no worse feeling than the struggle of running, fighting at every step to keep your pace and feeling completely out of breath and almost to your breaking point, only to be met with occasional shin splints and side cramps along your way.  There’s no worse feeling than seeing how far you still have to go when you’ve already reached and exceeded your energy limit. Yet as much as much as I hate that feeling, I equally love the feeling once I finish.  It is a literal high that it is very addicting.  The feeling of accomplishment and pride in finishing such a depleting task is so gratifying.  The rush of endorphins flowing through your body is worth all the work it takes to feel it. It is physically rewarding, but even more so mentally rewarding.  There is such a great sense of victory being able to mentally overcome a challenge that you didn’t know you could; to push yourself over your limit and come out swinging like the fighter you are or training yourself to be; to break down any preconceptions that you weren’t strong enough to do it; to not listen to your body when it was tired but to let your mind carry you through.  Yes, moms, these are the reasons to run.  These victories on the track only prepare you for life’s big run.  Its not only incredibly beneficial to your heart and health, but it builds up the mental strength to overcome life’s obstacles and in turn helps you be a better parent.  It teaches us resilience and endurance, things that our children will see and model after us.  So run.  Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish line if you must, but just run.

I will be posting frequently about running, as it is a passion of mine and one I think you will find incredibly rewarding.  The best things in life don’t come easy, but that’s what makes them so great, right?  The sweet ain’t as sweet without the bitter.  The best thing of all is that you don’t need a whole lot to get started.  Mostly you need the will to do it.  Other than that, some good running shoes, a good music playlist, and a jogging stroller for the children who will eventually become your extra source of energy on the track, your motivation, and your reason to succeed each time.  Whenever you feel like giving up, just remember who’s watching.

I’ve compiled a short list that will help you get started.  So read then go run. I want you running like a motha’!

  1.  Find a good running shoe.  Shoes make all the difference.  Invest in a good pair of kicks.  Do your research on the best type for your foot.  My article on Running Shoes for the Sole will discuss this in more detail.  This is a must in order to have the best running experience possible.
  2. Decide the best time to run.  Planning your runs ahead of time will help you get into routine.  If you wait until you just find time to run, its never going to happen.  So decide if early morning or afternoons work best with your schedule.  At the beginning of the week, decide what days you will run and stick to them.
  3. Download an app.  There are hundreds of running apps to download on your phone that will help you track your progress, from how many miles you’ve ran to how many calories you’ve burned.  This will also help push you to go a little further each time.  You will see your endurance change within the first week.  Don’t get discouraged and remember its a marathon, not a sprint.  Allow yourself time to build up to your goals.
  4. Invest in a jogging stroller.  If you are taking kids along with you on your runs, it is important to have the right kind of stroller.  You can’t use a regular stroller to run.  Do some research and find one suitable for you. You don’t need an expensive stroller.  You can find many that are reasonably priced and do the job just fine. You can also search for lightly used ones in good condition to help with the cost, as well.
  5. Download a good music playlist.  I can’t tell you how many times music has gotten me through a run. Music can make a big difference in your running.  A good song can be enough to help you catch your second wind and get you to the finish.  So make yourself a good playlist that you love or download an online radio station that plays the genre of music that pumps you up.
  6. Be safe! As you run, remember to take safety precautions.  Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after your run.  Stretch before-hand and do a light warm up, such as power walking, before starting your run.  Be aware of your surroundings. I recommend running in a well lit area where there are plenty of people around.  For extra safety, I carry mase with me.
  7. Sign up for a 5K.  You don’t have to immediately do this, but many 5K runs are scheduled months in advance.  So sign up for one even if it is 3 or 4 months away.  It will push you to stay on track and motivate you to reach your running goals.  Once you conquer your first 5K, it will motivate you to sign up for a 10K, then a half-marathon, and someday maybe even a full marathon.  I have conquered all except the full marathon, but its on my bucket list.

Use these tips and get started and remember that no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone else on the couch.  You have to start somewhere and it all starts with you.  So get on your mark, get set, RUN!

 

From One Mother to Another

I am not an expert.  I am semi-good at so many things, but not an expert on anything.  I am a pretty good cook, I can run like the wind (or maybe a light gust), I’m the okayest singer ever, a moderately talented artist, my jokes crack me up but most would say they need some work, I am a food connoisseur (AKA aw lawk to eat a lawt), an amateur yogi, a wannabe master crafter, a sorta good cake maker, and I’d like to think I have a green thumb but it’s more of a yellowish shade. The list of averageishness (did I mention I’m a good word maker upper) goes on and on.  Yet in the midst of my mediocrity and along my journey, I’ve discovered an area of my life in which I am truly proud of and one where I excel in far more than any other. I’m referring to motherhood. I will never say I am a mediocre, average mother because I am not. I know that I am a good mom, not because I do everything right, but because I give it my everything.  Lord knows I have so many challenges and have stumbled one too many times, but that only makes me stronger. It makes me human. Motherhood is the one thing in life in which I know I cannot fail because I refuse anything less for my children. I am the mother of three beautiful boys who have inspired this blog.  I want to share my experiences, my successes as a mom as well as my challenges.  My experience as a mom has not been a long one, as my boys are still very young, which means I have a lifetime of learning to go. That’s were you come in.  I not only want to share my experiences, I also want to share yours.  I want to be inspired by YOU. There are so many women, younger and older, who have great stories to tell and beautiful words of wisdom to give; women who have been through great joys, but also unthinkable tragedies.  I will also share their experiences and hope that we can find a source of strength, determination, admiration, and respect in each other.

Motherhood has taught me so much about myself, just as I’m sure it has for you.  It changed me. It changed you. It changed us to the very core. I constantly make mistakes as a mom, but that doesn’t cause me to fail. It causes me to learn.  Mistakes are proof that we are trying. My mistakes, my challenges, and my obstacles have only made me a stronger mother. We are our own worst critics, aren’t we? The list of my pros pale in comparison to my undeniable cons. I can tell you the dozens of things wrong with me in a matter of seconds, yet slowly count on one hand the things that I believe are right. Its easy to focus on the bad, instead of the good. As Pretty Woman herself once said, “the bad stuff is easier to believe” (90’s classic!). We can be so critical of ourselves.  We’re always worrying whether we are good enough or if we are doing enough.  The truth is we are enough. The fact that we even worry about being good moms means that we already are. That’s hard to see sometimes through all of our insecurities.  Then on top of our own criticism, we face scrutiny from society and even mothers criticizing and shaming other mothers over their parenting choices. I occasionally allow some of that negativity to seep in and question my own choices. However, in the middle of all of my shortcomings and insecurities I find a strength and confidence that I attribute to God, my parents, my husband, and my three beautiful sons. They are my rock, the reason that I will never fail.  Yes, I will stumble, but I will not fail them. They are my reason to succeed.

This blog is dedicated to mothers who understand the juggle of life. Moms come from all walks of life and we are all very different, yet still so much alike.  While I do share many of my own experiences, tips, and advice, that come from raising three very remarkable boys, I also share the advice and stories of other mothers.  I hope you find their stories just as inspiring as I do and the shared advice helpful.  Keep in mind as you read these articles from myself and other moms, that this is not a place of judgement.  We rise by lifting others, so from one mother to another, lets lift each other up and share our journey and appreciate how much we are all just working like a motha’.