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Create a Power Resume



When you put your resume in front of an employer, you are the product.

Six seconds!

That’s how long that recruiters spend reviewing an individual resume.—according to a study released by The Ladders, an online job matching service.

In spite of that, far too many job seekers reflect a naive belief that each and every word will be read by a Rational Reader. Rational Readers are marked by receptive hearts, detached egos and lots of free time. They are rarer than unicorns. I certainly have never met one.

Whether your resume is scanned for six or sixteen seconds, you’ve got precious time to make a sellable impression. Power resumes that work are effective because, as marketing brochures, they spark an interest in a particular product—you.

But let’s first back up a bit and ask: What is the objective of a resume? If you answered ‘to get a job’, go to the back of the class. A resume has one single goal: to get an interview.

One you’re in the door, you get to fill in the dots…tout your experience…tell (some) of your life story, but you have to get invited in first. That’s what a Power Resume does.

Start with a Summary.

So let’s start our Power Resume by getting rid of an obsolete technique: the “Objective Statement.” An objective states what you want—not what the employer needs. Your objectives or aspirations are only of interest to the hiring authority to the extent they correspond with what they’re looking for.

Summaries work better than objectives because they emphasize what you offer, not what you want. Focused summaries describe what you did…the skill set you used...the results you obtained. It gets an employer's immediate attention by focusing on their needs.

Let’s take a quick look. Here’s one summary style I find particularly effective:

Teaching & Classroom Management

Extensive background in education and academic environments. Experienced in public school teaching, training, art instruction, special education and institutional management. Special Strengths

This summary starts off with a title—targeted to the specific job opening—and a brief background statement of the types of experience you’ve had. No specifics yet; that will come.

Speak Skills

Right underneath this, eight of your key skills are listed—put into two columns, this makes a good presentation format—that are applicable to the position. Why skills? Because skills are expertise…they’re transferable…they give the best prediction of your future performance to a hiring authority. Here's one example for a teacher's resume.

Creating Assignments Program Management

Designing Lesson Plans Confidence Building

Formulating Learning Outcomes Team Management

Critical Thinking Student Motivation

All purchase decisions involve risk. The hiring authority will be “buying you” in offering you a job. You want to reduce any perceived risk they may see. A skills-based approach is a great technique when you’re using experience from other industries to break into a new field…like English teaching.

We specialize in taking candidates with no specific job or industry experience and repositioning them as viable candidates. We’re particularly effective in repositioning non-native speakers into dynamic English teacher candidates.

The next summary section summarizes results. Please note that we rarely use complete sentences in resumes. This is not a book—no one is going to read every word. Use phrases and bullet points to make more impact.

The mind…perceives info…and data…better…in fragments. Something like this:

Established record of consistent student progress…obtained consistent positive teacher evaluations. Achieved academic goals…built lasting relationships...with students, faculty, parents.

BA – Major TEFL Certification

Finally, just below those results, the employers can see your degree (if you have one) and that you’re qualified to teach English as a foreign language, i.e. you have a TEFL certification. Again, the details and dates will be shown at the end of the Power Resume.

Don't overload the summary.

You simply want the employer to see your relevant background, teaching skills, results, the degree and your TEFL certification.

Your complete summary could look something like this:

Teaching & Classroom Management

Extensive background in education and academic environments. Experienced in public school teaching, training, art instruction, special education and institutional management. Special Strengths:

Creating Assignments Program Management

Designing Lesson Plans Confidence Building

Formulating Learning Outcomes Team Management

Critical Thinking Student Motivation

Established record of consistent student progress…obtained consistent positive teacher evaluations. Achieved academic goals. Built lasting relationships...with students, faculty, parents.

BA – Business TEFL Certification

Check, check and check…6 to 10 seconds. Congratulations. You're one of the lucky ones. You’ve survived round one!

Think of all this in terms of a joust—where your resume is a battleground for a ritual skirmish. If you stay on your horse through the first scan, you'll get to the second round—an attentive reading. Survive all this, and you get to go to the castle and meet the princess.

Want to read more? The next section of a Power Resume details the treatment of experience—and what most everyone forgets—results.

You will also find a complete Power Resume example.

Power on!


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