How to Write the Best Resume: The 10 Basics to Cover

As a recruiter, I have seen candidates submit resumes using various formatting styles such as   functional, a resume that focuses on a candidate’s competencies (i.e. experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities), chronological, a resume that displays a candidates work history by date. Typically, chronological resumes start with the most recent employer and lastly, combination. Combination resumes allow an applicant to put their work history chronological while focusing on their competencies. Despite the varied resume styles, resumes should cover a few basic details. Below is checklist of basics that should be included on a resume.How to Write a Resume - 10 Basics to Cover

10 Basics for Resume Development

  1. Name: This seems to be an obvious detail however, many applicants will submit a resume without a name. Don’t forget to put yours so the recruiter will know who to refer to when they select your resume for a phone screen!
  2. Contact Information: Along with your name, also provide contact information, e-mail address, phone number (put the best contact number to reach you) and your home address.
  3. Professional Summary or Objective: A professional summary or objective will provide the hiring manager/recruiter with insight as to what you are looking for in a new job opportunity.
  4. Name of Employer: Don’t forget to put your employer name on your resume. Without this, your employment history cannot be verified.
  5. Work History: For your work history, provide details of your job duties. Provide the recruiter/hiring manager with as many details as possible as this will ensure you fit for the position. Additionally, don’t be afraid to speak towards any knowledge you may have gained while working with a current or previous employer.
  6. Dates of Employment: Remember to put the dates of employment and try to be as accurate as possible. Additionally, ensure your dates of employment are consistent. Review your resume so the dates do not “skip” around. Inconsistent dates will raise a red flag for the recruiter / hiring manager reviewing your resume.
  7. Location of Position: While adding your dates of employment, also add the locations for each of the positions. This will show a hiring manager/recruiter that you are familiar with particular locations. Also, this is helpful when it comes time to perform reference checks.
  8. Formatting: Before submitting your resume, run a spell and grammar check on the computer and print a copy for a final review. Additionally, check the spacing and font. The font should be large enough for a recruiter / hiring manager to read and should be one that is not too “fancy”. A Times New Roman font, Calibri, Arial or Tahoma are good fonts to use for a resume. Lastly, utilize bullet points instead of a paragraph format. Bullet points highlight job duties and experience. A paragraph format can be overwhelming for someone that is reading a resume. Remember recruiters and hiring managers could potentially review 100s of resumes a week!
  9. Certifications and Degrees: Put them on your resume! This shows your qualifications and can potentially make you stand out amongst the “crowd” of resumes. Also, put the dates you obtained your certification and degrees. If you have not obtained your degree you could indicate that you are pursuing this degree and the tentative graduation date.
  10. Systems, Software, and Hardware: If you have experience with specific systems, hardware and/or software (i.e. HRIS, SAP, PeopleSoft, ADP, Peachtree, or Microsoft Applications) put them on your resume. Once again, this could make you stand out in a “crowd” of resumes.

Take your time when building your resume. If you have to revise it a few times that’s okay as you are looking for an ideal employment opportunity. Remember you want your resume to stand out amongst the multitude of other resumes.

Ten Best Places Recruiters Can List Their Job Vacancies to Find Great Candidates

By Shawn Wilkins, Senior Recruiter & Brett Carlson, Recruiter

business visionA new requisition opens and it’s up to you to grasp the attention of the industry’s top talent. You might be wondering, “Where do I turn to attract these candidates?” Finding really exceptional people who fit your culture and positions can be a challenge. However, as Recruiting Consultants, we have had the opportunity to not only work on many different job openings, but have had the pleasure of filling positions for many different industries too.

In today’s high-tech world of mobile applications and social media, getting your open positions out there to the public has never been easier. Below are the top 10 best places to list a job vacancy that have proven to be successful when attempting to peak a candidate’s interest and have given us the best ROI:

  1. Social Media: Social Media is a popular, growing trend within the recruiting industry that is making a tremendous impact. For instance, LinkedIn can be used to post job vacancies that both active candidates and passive candidates can view. You can target specific organizations for candidates who hold unique industry expertise. On Twitter, you can generate attention to your vacancies by using hashtags such as #hirefriday, #jobs #DC, #jobhuntchat, etc.  Make sure to include the location and industry when posting!
  2. Job Boards: Posting a requisition on job boards is certainly one of the more traditional approaches to advertising a job, however it has proven to be highly effective. Thousands of candidates often turn to sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and Indeed everyday when searching for a new opportunity. Most of these sites can be tied easily to your internal ATS and will be posted with a simple click of the mouse.
  3. Your Company’s Website: Qualified candidates will often go directly to a company’s websites to search for opportunities and will apply to positions within the applicant tracking system. Don’t forget about all of your candidates who have applied in the past that may still be a great candidate for your new position.
  4. Professional Associations: If your recruiting niche is Contracts & Procurement, advertise your job the National Contracts Management Association’s website or if it is Human Resources, look into your local SHRM Chapter’s newsletter. Members of such organizations will often look for job vacancies on channels that focus on their core area of expertise.
  5. Personal Network: It is imperative to build a strong network of professionals and personal contacts. Sharing your company’s vacancies within your network will often yield positive results, as this approach will generate referrals.
  6. Career Fairs: When attending a career fair, it is always a good idea to have a list of your organization’s current requisitions to share with candidates who are actively looking for new opportunities.
  7. University Websites: University websites are great for attracting students who are graduating or have recently graduated, that are looking for internships or entry-level jobs. By taking this approach, it could also provide job leads for alumni, who already have years of professional experience. Posting to University websites are usually free, which is an added bonus.
  8. Newspapers: Posting a job ad in a newspaper may be considered more of an old-fashioned approach in today’s society, but it’s another helpful way to reach active job seekers who will still search the classified ads for career opportunities. Many papers are now integrating their classified ads onto a website and/or mobile app too.
  9. Online Classifieds: Organizations will often post job vacancies on websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji, an online classified service owned by eBay. While this may not be the first option for candidates, many will turn to such sites if they have exhausted their searches elsewhere and the cost to post a listing is quite inexpensive.
  10. Radio: When commuting to or from work while stuck in the DC gridlock, listening to the radio can alleviate the stress of the beltway. Advertising your company’s openings on the local stations, could very well perk someone’s ears up and make them consider doing more research on your firm after listening to a well thought-out advertisement.

We believe that the most important tip to remember is to highlight your opening as often as possible. Promote your organization and drive the talent you desire to your door. Happy searching!

10 Predictions for 2012: The Top Trends in Talent Management and Recruiting

The following 10 Predictions for 2012 article was written by Dr. John Sullivan and posted on the ERE Daily website.

2012 Will Be “The Year of the Mobile Platform”

By the end of next year, even the skeptics will have to admit that the mobile platform will have become the dominant communications and interaction platform by early-adopting best-practice organizations. The capabilities afforded users of smartphones and tablet devices grows immensely day by day. Long before unified inboxes existed for the desktop, smart device users could see all incoming e-mail, social messaging, text messaging, and voice and video messaging in a single place. Tablets will become the virtual classroom, and an emerging class of tools will let employees manage almost every aspect of their professional life digitally. During the next year, talent management leaders need to invest heavily supporting execution of talent management initiatives across mobile.

The Additional Top Nine!

Intense hiring competition will return in selected areas — global economic issues will persist for years to come, but the global war for talent will continue spiking in key regions an industries. While growth has slowed somewhat in China, Australia and Southeast Asia — including India — continue to see dramatic demand for skilled talent. In the U.S. and Europe, demand is still largely limited to certain industries where skills shortages have been an issue for years. In high tech inclusive of medical technologies, 2012 will see a significant escalation in the war for top talent. As innovators and game changers step out of established tech firms like Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Zynga, a whole new breed to tech startups will be born each vying for the best of the best. While recruiting will move forward at a breathtaking pace, so too will “rapid” leadership development.

Retention issues will increase dramatically — almost every survey shows that despite high engagement scores, more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. I am predicting that turnover rates in high-demand occupations will increase by 25% during the next year and because most corporate retention programs have been so severely degraded, retention could turn out to be the highest-economic-impact area in all of talent management. Rather than the traditional “one-size-fits-all” retention strategy, a targeted personalized approach will be required if you expect to have a reasonable chance to retain your top talent.

Social media increases its impact by becoming more data-driven — most firms jumped on the social media bandwagon, but unfortunately the trial-and-error approach used by most has produced only mediocre results. Adapting social media tools from the business coupled with strong analytics will allow a more focused approach that harnesses and directs the effort of all employees on social media. Talent leaders will increasingly see the value of a combination of internal and external social media approaches for managing and developing talent.

Remote work changes everything in talent management — the continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible for most knowledge work and team activities to occur remotely. Allowing top talent to work “wherever they want to work” improves retention and makes recruiting dramatically easier. Unfortunately, even though it is now possible for as much as 50% of a firm’s jobs to be done remotely, manager and HR resistance has limited the trend. Fortunately, managers and talent management leaders have begun to realize that teamwork, learning, development, recruiting, and best-practice sharing can now successfully be accomplished using remote methods. Firms like IBM and Cisco have led the way in reducing and eliminating barriers to remote work.

The need for speed shifts the balance between development and recruiting — historically, best practice within corporations has been to build and develop primarily from within. However, as the speed of change in business continues to increase and the number of firms that copy the “Apple model” (where firm is continually crossing industry boundaries) increases, talent managers will need to rethink the “develop internally first” approach. In many cases, recruiting becomes a more viable option because there simply isn’t time for current employees to develop completely new skills. As a result, the trend will be to continually shift the balance toward recruiting for immediate needs and the use of contingent labor for short-duration opportunities and problems.

Employee referrals are coupled with social media — the employeereferral program in many organizations is operated in isolation as are the organizations’ social media efforts, but talent managers are beginning to realize that the real strength of social media is relationship-building by your employees. With proper coordination, employee relationships can easily be turned into employee referrals. This realization will lead to a shift away from recruiters and toward relying on employees to build social media contacts and relationships. The net result will be that as many as 60% of all hires will come from the combined efforts. The strength of these relationships will lead to better assessment and the highest-quality hires from employee referrals.

Employer branding returns — Employer branding and building talent communities are the only long-term strategies in recruiting. True branding is rarely practiced (hint: it’s not recruitment marketing) especially in the cash-strapped function of today, but years of layoffs, cuts in compensation, and generally bad press for business in general may force firms to invest in true branding. The increased use of social media and frequent visits to employee criticism sites (like Glassdoor.com), make not managing employer brand perception a risky proposition. While corporations will never control their employer brand, they can monitor and influence in a direction that isn’t catastrophic to recruiting and retention.

The candidate experience is finally getting the attention it deserves — Organizations have never treated candidates as well as they did their customers, but the high jobless rate has allowed corporations to essentially abuse some applicants. As competition for talent increases and as more applicants visit employer criticism sites like Glassdoor.com, talent leaders will be forced to modify their approach. At the very least, firms will more closely monitor candidate experience metrics as they realize that treating applicants poorly can not only drive away other high-quality applicants but it can also lose them sales and customers.

Forward-looking metrics begin to dominate — Almost all current talent management and recruiting metrics are backward looking, in that they tell you what happened in the past. Other business functions like supply chain, production, and finance have long championed the use of “forward-looking” or predictive metrics and the time is finally coming when talent management leaders will shift their metrics emphasis. Forward-looking metrics can not only improve decision-making but they can also help to prevent or mitigate future talent problems.

For the full article, please visit ERE Daily.

Helios Recruiting Blog

Welcome! This blog will provide you with the best practices and needed advice on resume writing, interviewing, tips for researching potential employers, techniques on finding the right people and finding the right opportunity for your growth. Our mission is to share best practices with those involved in talent management and provide current tips and trends to our readers.

In the coming days and weeks, we will cover many topics, but I wanted to start with trends that will shape tomorrow’s talent searches for firms. The same practices can be used by job seekers to see where they should be posting resumes and the best places to connect and network with Talent Managers. The first action that any recruiting team needs to tackle is to create a competitive advantage in their space.

How can this be done? Our recruitment practice subscribes to the philosophy that the quality of an organization’s talent will have a direct correlation to its success. We will share some of the ways we have become the “go-to team” for our clients. Having a team of consultants, each with their own niche or specialty, is an added resource to your internal HR team, and will help you build and establish a workforce environment that creates a competitive advantage.

Use your resources wisely

Using Social Networks is new, needed, and effective. However, when used incorrectly it is a tricky policy. In order to be effective, firms not only need to have a presence, but a policy that is well suited to their needs and that works for them. If you encourage employees as individuals to connect with others and share their own information, they will expand their following, but not drive people to your firm.

It is important when using social media to make sure the branding of your firm is consistent and that you do not have multiple employees using the same media, in the firm’s name. An effective way to transform or shape this is to encourage senior management and recruiting staff to have a work account. Using a professional account on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and The Ladders allows your team to have their own following. Candidates of various job skills and locations can follow your firm or your firm’s representative. You also encourage better communication between your own internal recruiting team and senior management.

At Helios, we typically incorporate social media in our searches and particularly LinkedIn. Job boards may have revolutionized recruiting, but many of the larger services, although useful, have become weighted down with resumes of unqualified candidates. Sometimes it is more time consuming to run a complex search on a larger board or really find candidates in the top talent pool our clients are interested in. While job boards are still an avenue of candidate sourcing, they now take a back seat to more strategic and innovative ways to build a superior candidate pipeline.


Generate buzz!

It is important to create targeted social and traditional media buzz designed to attract top talent. We no longer rely on just being known or doing only traditional passive/active recruiting strategies. To be successful requires the ability to use several strategies and build a consistent presence. By using the tools in social media, like event notification and scheduling, immediate updates, and location check-ins, you not only invite but include your followers in your company’s news, events, and successes, and really form an identity that people will relate to.

As we still rely on the old faithful niche websites, industry associations and event networking, we also look to search “aggregators” {which are search engines} such as Indeed, Simply Hired and JobSniper.

Other sites that can offer recruiters, firms, and prospective employees potential employment profiles are jobfox, Itzbig and My Perfect Gig, which are popular because candidates and employers remain anonymous until there is a firm, mutual interest between the two parties. This creates a venue for the passive candidate to entertain opportunities without having to commit or risk being identified by their current employer as a candidate. For firms, it gives you the means to interact without having to know a specific opening. You can locate and interact with people with specific skill sets, locations, levels of experience, and really see what they are looking for and how it is a match to your firm.

A Look Ahead

At Helios, we are expanding our Candidate stream to LinkedIn, our recruiting team, corporate blog and Twitter. The ability to connect and network through these avenues seems endless. This is the main factor to LinkedIn’s job listing service having tripled in revenue in one year. With industry blogging, we are now able to set up email alerts through RSS feeds which can lead to new and more defined qualified candidate pools.

Social media is ever-changing and it is critical to understand leading trends to stay ahead of the curve. We are hoping that each member of our team could add “Social Media Development Manager” to their title very soon! We will continue to use these methods and others (hence the consultant rears their head for the fee ;) to create a searchable and customized database of qualified candidates for our clients. The bottom line is each team knows their industry and corporate needs. Marrying this information to the tools in social media and fostering a team whose main goal is to improve will allow you to form best practices. Being committed to the highest quality in human capital will allow you to unleash the potential of your workforce and gain that competitive edge.

Welcome to the new era of candidate sourcing!

So, what is it that you would like to know?  Please let me know what questions you have (general or specific is fine) with regards to getting hired in today’s economy…. and stay tuned for regular updates!