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- 322 pages
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Table of contents
About This Book
Knock Em Dead Resumes, 11th edition. How to write a killer resume and use it to get more job interviews and job offers than you have ever had before. Every page packed with practical, easy-to-follow advice for creating your resume.
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YOUR RESUME IS the most financially important document you will ever own. When it works, the doors of opportunity open for you. When it doesn’t work, they won’t.
No one enjoys writing a resume, but it has such a major impact on the money you earn during your work life, and consequently on the quality of your life outside of work, that you know it needs to be done right.
You didn’t come to this book for a good read. You came because you are facing serious challenges in your professional life. The way the professional world works has changed dramatically in the past few years, and nothing has changed as much as corporate recruitment. When hiring practices have changed beyond recognition, your approach to getting hired needs to be re-evaluated from top to bottom.
In these pages, you are going to learn very quickly how to build a resume that works. But you’re going to learn something more. Since my approach to resumes is part of a larger strategy for achieving long-term career and personal success, everything I teach you about developing a kick-ass resume will apply to the broader challenges of the job search, interviewing, and career management.
In other words, not only will you leave this book with a killer resume, you’ll leave it with critical job search and interview strategies, and even some amazing insights into winning raises and promotions.
Self-Awareness: The Key to Professional Survival and Success
Understanding what employers want and need from a specific job title, and how they express and prioritize those needs, will tell you what it takes to win and succeed in that job. It will also give you some hints about the story your resume needs to tell in order to get your foot in the door.
Employers Just Want to Make a Buck
Employees only get added to the payroll to help make a buck, to enhance profitability in some way. Think about this: If you owned a company, there just isn’t any other reason you would add workers to your payroll. So it is implicit in any employment contract that your job contributes to profitability in some way.
Depending on your job, you can help an employer make a buck by:
•Making money for the company
•Saving money for the company
•Saving time/increasing productivity
No matter what your job, no matter how impressive your title, at its very core, your position exists to help an employer maintain and increase profitability by:
•The prevention of problems within your area of responsibility
•The solution to problems within your area of responsibility
No resume gets read, no one gets interviewed, and no one gets hired unless someone somewhere is trying to solve a problem. That problem may be finding a quicker way to manufacture silicon chips, speed up the accounts receivable process, leverage social networking for brand management, or any one of a million other profit challenges.
The only reason your job exists is because your employer needed someone to identify, prevent, and solve the problems that regularly occur in this area of professional expertise; it exists because not having someone like you is costing the company money.
Problem solving—the application of critical thinking to the challenges within your area of expertise—is what you are paid to do. It is why every job opening exists, and why every job gets filled with the person who seems to have the firmest grip on how to identify, prevent, and solve the problems that make up the everyday activities of that job.
Why No One Wants to Read Your Resume
You may think that resume writing is a tough job, but you’ve never had to read them. Go to the resume samples section at the end of the book and try to read and understand six resumes in a row. Your brain will first go numb, then start to melt, and by the sixth you’ll understand why no one is really that anxious to read your resume.
No one reads resumes unless they have to, so when your resume does get read, it means that a job exists: a job that has been carefully defined, budgeted, and titled, with a salary range that has been authorized and for which funds have been released. Whenever a recruiter searches a resume database or reads a resume, she is doing it with a specific job and the language and priorities of that job description in mind.
Why a Hiring Manager May Never Get the Chance to Read Your Resume
The ongoing impact of technology on our world of work causes the nature of all jobs to change almost as rapidly as the pages on a calendar. Resumes today rarely go straight to a recruiter’s or manager’s desk (though I’ll show you how to make this happen); more often they go to a resume database.
This means that before anyone actually looks at your resume, it must first have been pulled from that database by a recruiter with a specific job and the language and priorities of that job description in mind. Keep in mind that some of those databases contain more than 35 million resumes.
With this in mind, you can see that if your resume’s just a jumble of everything you’ve ever done, or of everything that you happen to think is important (without reference to what your customers are actually buying), it is never going to work.
Understand Your Customer
“The customer is always right,” “the customer comes first,” and “understand your customer” are phrases that underlie all successful business stories. In the same way that corporations tailor products to be appealing to their customers, you need to create a resume tailored to your customers’ needs.
Your resume works when it matches your skills and experiences to the responsibilities and deliverables of a specific target job. This requires that your resume focus on how employers—your customers—think about, prioritize, and describe the job’s deliverables: those things you are expected to deliver as you execute your assigned responsibilities.
A resume focused on a specific target job and built from the ground up with the customers’ needs in mind will perform better in the recruiters’ resume database searches, and it will resonate far more with human eyes already glazed from the tedium of resume reading.
This Is Not Your Last Job Change
In a world without job security, when job and even career changes are happening ever more frequently, being able to write a productive resume is one of life’s critical survival skills.
This is probably not your first, and almost certainly won’t be your last, job change. You are somewhere in the middle of a half-century work-life, a span during which you are likely to have three or more distinct careers and are statistically likely to change jobs about every four years; where economic recessions come around every seven to ten years and age discrimination can begin to kick in around age fifty.
When I started to talk about these issues of professional survival twenty-five years ago, I was called a communist and asked how I could suggest that Americans be disloyal to their employers. History has shown that it is the corporations that broke the employment contract, yet today we still hear of companies demanding unblinking loyalty from their employees. If you accept this double standard, your life and the lives of your loved ones will suffer.
Wake up! Times have changed. You need a tougher, more pragmatic approach to your professional life. You still need to do your best for your employer and your team, but you also need to put yourself first, because you need to survive and, hopefully, prosper in life. To do that, you need to find a more sophisticated approach to managing your professional life and guiding your destiny.
Start to think of yourself as a corporation: MeInc, a financial entity that must always plan and act to ensure its economic survival. Like any corporation, MeInc constantly has new products and services in development. These are the ever-evolving skill bundles that define the professional you. Again, just like any corporation, these products and services are branded and sold to your targeted customer base: employers who hire people like you.
The success of MeInc depends on how well you run your company, and like every successful company, you’ll need initiatives for Research and Development, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Public Relations, and Sales.
•Research and Development: Every company is continually involved in the identification and development of products and services that will appeal to their customers. You must have similar ongoing initiatives. This translates into skill building in response to market trends, which you do by connecting to your profession and by monitoring the changing market demands for your job on an ongoing basis.
•Strategic Planning: The development of career management strategies. You’ll begin to think of your career over the long term, of where you want to be and how you are going to get there. How you will stay on top of skill development, and how you will develop and maintain a desirable professional brand.
•Marketing and PR: The effective branding of MeInc as a desirable product requires establishing credibility for the services you deliver and positioning these services so that the professional you becomes visible to an ever-widening circle. You want to make yourself known within a company, to encourage professional growth, and within your profession, to encourage your employability elsewhere.
•Sales: MeInc needs a state-of-the-art sales program to market your products and services.
Your new resume is the primary sales tool for MeInc, the company you embody. It is the most financially important document you will ever own, and you can learn how to do it right, starting right now.
“THE CUSTOMER IS always right” is probably the first business lesson we ever learn. The customer has the money to buy the product you want to sell and that customer knows exactly what he wants; when you accurately tailor your product to your customer’s needs, you’ll experience a much shorter and more successful sales cycle. This chapter is about how to effectively customize your resume to your customers’ needs.
Your resume is the primary marketing device for every job and career change (probably between twelve and twenty changes) throughout your career. In addition, it plays a role in subsequent internal promotions. In short, it is absolutely vital in determining your professional success. Yet when it comes to creating a resume, the most financially valuable document any of us will ever own, no one ever seems to think about what the customer wants to buy! Instead, we just want to get it done as quickly as possible and with as little thought and effort as possible.
Your current resume is probably a simple recitation of all you have done: It lists everything that you think is important. I bet this resume just isn’t working. That’s because a simple...