Extreme Makeover

How good do you look on paper?

Career Builder.com, and Wetfeet.com offer free resumé tips in addition to links to professional resumé-writing sites such as CareerPerfect.com. Like Buffkins, some resumé writers are members of the Professional Association of Resumé Writers and Career Coaches, a 14-year-old organization that trains and certifies experts. You can also find a resumé writer in your area at the association’s Website: www.parw.com.

6 Don’t just send it out randomly, Young cautions. “You have to protect your brand,” says Young. “Be selective about who you send your resumé to.” That means doing research on your targeted company and making contact with someone there for an informational interview before you send your package. “It’s important to build a relationship with someone in the organization up front … so when you decide to send your credentials, they already know who you are and will be looking out for that information

BEFORE

  • Mackel’s current resumé runs three pages, which is long, wordy, dense with text, unfocused, and filled with jargon and acronyms.
  • It fails to paint a clear picture of her goals or the industry or position she is targeting. “If an employer looks at this resumé, they’ll question what it is that she wants to do,” says Buffkins. “It’s just saying, ‘These are the things I’ve done -fit me in where you think I can be utilized.’”
  • Mackel begins her resumé with highlights of her qualifications, including a mention of her “excellent interpersonal and management skills.”
  • After highlights, she lists her education -a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in health administration from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
  • After education, Mackel features her technical certifications and training, including software such as Microsoft Office Suite 2000 and PVCS Tracker, a specialized software used to track versions of software code and development.
  • Mackel says she is ready to leave behind the “unstable” contracting business. Her work on contracts through the firm can last two to four years, but when a contract ends, the possibility of a layoff looms. She has been laid off once during her career. She is seeking greater job stability, as well as a shorter commute from her home in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she lives with her husband, Craig, and their three small children. Mackel has sent out about 50 resumés via e-mail, regular mail, fax, and Internet posting and has had no requests for interviews. Hoping to create a document that speaks well of her accomplishments, Mackel agreed to let LeRachel H. Buffkins, owner of Writing for You Inc., a resumé-writing business based in Laurel, Maryland, perform an extreme makeover.
  • Most of Mackel’s experience begins with her job title, except the first listing, which begins with her status as a senior member of the technical staff.
  • Mackel includes a lengthy explanation of a software system for a project on which she worked. She says she did so to help interviewers understand her past work. Because so much space is used on summing up a project, vital details of the actual work she
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