En Route: A Career Blog

ResumeEdge http://www.resumeedge.com Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:03:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Linkedin Tips http://www.resumeedge.com/linkedin-tips/ http://www.resumeedge.com/linkedin-tips/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:03:04 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4979 Most of us are already aware that our Linkedin profile is just as important as our resume during the job search. Making sure to follow these ever important tips will help guide you to a better Linkedin profile and have recruiters falling at your Linkedin doorstep. Target keywords- I feel this is the most important...

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Most of us are already aware that our Linkedin profile is just as important as our resume during the job search. Making sure to follow these ever important tips will help guide you to a better Linkedin profile and have recruiters falling at your Linkedin doorstep.

Target keywords- I feel this is the most important aspect to having a stellar Linkedin profile. If you don’t have the correct keywords listed you will miss out on a huge piece of the puzzle. If you’re looking to be found and matched with the perfect role, you have to use the right words. I would suggest looking at positions that you’re targeting and look at the keywords they use in the job posting. For example, if this was the ad, “Looking for a highly-motivated Regional Sales Manager with experience in insurance and leading teams.”, you would want to make sure that you’re using the keywords: “sales”, “insurance”, “leading” and “highly-motivated” – this will ensure you are listed when the recruiter is doing a Linkedin search.

Keep it updated- Even if you haven’t switched jobs recently, you will want to think through any new skills you have acquired throughout the year. Try to include knowledge gained from conferences or seminars you attended, or other instances where you may have obtained knowledge or skills. At the same time you might be adding new skills, it might be a good idea to remove any outdated technology – times change and so does technology, so remove any irrelevant information from your profile.

Professional photo- Make sure that your photo is professional and it’s a photo of only you (not the pic your friend snapped of you and your 3 cousins last summer). Recruiters, myself included, do not love when there’s a group photo or a couples photo. Linkedin is a professional networking place and I would assume your professional work photo is a picture of you and not you and your friends. The moral of the story is “keep it professional.”

Summary- Your summary is the time to tell your story – what you can do and what you have been able to achieve throughout your experience. Again, keep in mind that you should have those all-important keywords within your summary. If it’s not searchable information, don’t waste the space on your summary.

If you take the time to make sure that your profile is up-to-date and that keywords are plenty – the return will be well worth it, especially when the interviews coming rolling in.

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Tips to stay organized when working from home http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-stay-organized-working-home/ http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-stay-organized-working-home/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:06:10 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4977 As someone who works from home, people ask me, “How do you do it?” They feel that they would be too easily distracted or tempted to shirk their professional duties. The answer isn’t a simple, “No, it’s easy.” It does take major discipline and, if you’re like me, you may find it hard to take...

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As someone who works from home, people ask me, “How do you do it?” They feel that they would be too easily distracted or tempted to shirk their professional duties. The answer isn’t a simple, “No, it’s easy.” It does take major discipline and, if you’re like me, you may find it hard to take a step away from the computer after a long day, creating a different set of quandaries. Here are some tips to keep your day organized and stay on task.

 Get ready: Wake up and get ready just as you would if you were going into the office. This just makes for a better day. You’re still working and still a professional. While sweats and a t-shirt might be ok once in a while, the old saying of “dress for success” still applies. Everyone feels better after they start the day fresh!

 Have systems in place: Label all folders and projects, so you’re able to identify quickly. You wouldn’t just let your files pile up on your desk if you were in the office, so there’s no reason that they should form a pile on your kitchen counter. Whether it be file cabinets or simple racks, find an organized system that works for you.

 Keep your desk clear of clutter: Keep your desk for work-related items and not a place to store other items. It may be tempting to double-purpose the space, but clearly defined boundaries are a good thing when working from home.

 Keep a trash can near: A trash can or recycling bin close by will help to keep your desk free from garbage. Sounds remedial, I know, but before I started working from home, I never placed a receptacle near my desk.

 Maintain a regular schedule: Have clear-cut guidelines and stick to your schedule; this breaks up free time from work time.

 Schedule breaks: It’s important to set break times on your calendar. Everyone needs time to recharge and just get away from the computer.

Lunch time: Try to leave the house during the day over your lunch break. You can always use the fresh air and exercise and being bound to the house all day can wear on a person. It’s tempting to just eat your lunch and continue to work, but it’s important to take time out. Maybe a quick walk around the block, or lunch on your balcony?

 Feeling sick: I’m guilty of this as well, but everyone should take a proper sick day. Sure, enough over-the-counter elixir will allow you to get through the day…but sometimes you really do need to take a day off, even if your days are spent at home.

 Distractions at bay: Avoid whatever might be a distraction – turn off your personal cell phone or personal emails might be helpful. If you wouldn’t do it in the office, you probably shouldn’t be doing it at your home office.

Set ground rules: This goes for both family and pets. It seems like my dogs always start barking or the kids get home from school and need something when I’m on a call, so set ground rules to keep your work time professional. Everyone in your household should be aware of your schedule and cues/clues as to when it’s appropriate to come into your workspace. Whether it be a door hanger or sign, a light on or off, or simply a shut door- everyone should be on the same page.

Some people will find that they aren’t cut out for this type of work arrangement, however for those who work-from-home arrangements do work or for those who are considering testing the waters, these simple tips will make your work-from-home experience more seamless and productive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Research the Company Before the Interview http://www.resumeedge.com/research-company-interview/ http://www.resumeedge.com/research-company-interview/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:29:51 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4974 You just found your dream job and submitted your resume, but what should you do next? If you haven’t already researched the company prior to hitting the submit button, you should start digging! Here are a few tips to make sure your research is thorough and complete, to help you stand out in the interview....

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You just found your dream job and submitted your resume, but what should you do next? If you haven’t already researched the company prior to hitting the submit button, you should start digging! Here are a few tips to make sure your research is thorough and complete, to help you stand out in the interview.

Company website- The easiest place to start searching is on the company’s website. You can learn a lot from their site, including key information about their culture. Here, you can research the leadership team and find out how long each member has been with the company. Don’t forget to check out press releases and other exciting, or not so exciting, business news. As a recruiter, one of the first questions I ask is regarding the research you have done. If you haven’t done your research or tell me you didn’t find any information, I will move on to the next candidate who has done the research. Researching shows a genuine interest in becoming part of an organization, not just finding a job.

Industry- Research the industry and their competitors. Not only will this give you an understanding of what’s trending in the industry and where it’s going, but it can also give you a few talking points of their company’s differentiators. You can also speak to why you’re excited to be a part of their growth.

Ask around- Chances are that you know someone who works there, or maybe you have a friend that knows someone working there. Ask around and find out the good and bad. You can always check LinkedIn see if you’re connected to an employee and ask them questions about the culture, growth, and what it’s like to work there or you can take a peek on GlassDoor and read company reviews from previous employees.

Smaller companies- A lot of small companies don’t have a strong web presence, or if they do, their website may be very lean or bare-boned. That said, when information if lacking, what should you do to prepare for the interview? You can tell the interviewer that you are very excited to learn more about the company. Mention some of the research you attempted. They will understand that there’s a lack of information out there and will likely be glad to talk you through the selling points.

The bottom line is, you should know important facts about the company and why you’re so intrigued. In addition to demonstrating your proactivity and enthusiasm for the organization, you’ll also be setting yourself up for that classic question most recruiters ask, “Why do you want to work here?” Having a solid answer will make you stand out from the rest.

 

 

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Asking Friends for Job Search Help http://www.resumeedge.com/asking-friends-job-search-help/ http://www.resumeedge.com/asking-friends-job-search-help/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 22:58:00 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4969 Asking friends and former colleagues for assistance with your job search is without a doubt an awkward thing for many job seekers, but it’s worth the time and effort.. What’s important to know For generations, Americans found available career opportunities in the local newspaper’s help wanted section. However, classifieds and other traditional sources of job...

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Asking friends and former colleagues for assistance with your job search is without a doubt an awkward thing for many job seekers, but it’s worth the time and effort..

What’s important to know For generations, Americans found available career opportunities in the local newspaper’s help wanted section. However, classifieds and other traditional sources of job information have largely vanished, leaving no tool more important than networking.

When it comes to networking, your person’s friends must be included as part of your network.

The approach to use with friends can vary from situation to situation, and it should. Some friends can be asked for direct referrals to hiring managers whereas others may know staffing professionals and executive recruiters. There will also be friends that will opt to introduce you themselves while others will prefer to work behind the scenes with information about opportunities.

One way to start this process is to list the companies you have an interest in and then used LinkedIn or a similar online source to see who you may know that either works there now or did previously. You may also have contacts that know individuals who already work or do business with the firms on your list.

Another approach is to brainstorm a list of people who you know that have lots of connections. Lawyers, accountants, professors, sales people, business owners, and clergy all have an extensive network of contacts. Very often these professionals are asked by their contacts to refer solid candidates to them.

In a “Pay It Forward” world many friends you have will want to refer you to potential employers.

Here’s a sample of an email you can adapt to your situation and send to your friends:

Hello John,

I hope this quick note finds you well. I’m seeking your assistance in my career search. Please keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities that may fit my experience. For the last four years I have been the manager of the marketing department at American Widgets, Inc, the premier distributor widgets and widget related products in Cleveland. You may also remember that I was previously with Widget Development International in Toledo where I ran the sales department and organized trade show participation. Also, can you recommend any recruiters that it would make sense for me to reach out to? Thank you in advance for your help. My cell phone number is XXX-555-0000.

You can also use this note and message your connections on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? ResumeEdge’s experts can help you craft a LinkedIn profile that will be a solid networking tool and will be optimized so recruiters can find you quickly.

 

 

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Work-life Balance http://www.resumeedge.com/work-life-balance/ http://www.resumeedge.com/work-life-balance/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:23:58 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4964 One of the great accolades that business technology receives is the increased flexibility it gives today’s workers. It is with near certainty that you or someone you know works from their mobile device or telecommutes. Technology has created a world where savvy businesses allow workers to effectively decide when and how they will complete their...

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One of the great accolades that business technology receives is the increased flexibility it gives today’s workers. It is with near certainty that you or someone you know works from their mobile device or telecommutes. Technology has created a world where savvy businesses allow workers to effectively decide when and how they will complete their work.

The freedom of not being shackled to the 9-5 schedule sounds great, however if we’re not careful, this benefit can quickly become a burden. By blurring traditional ‘work’ and ‘life’ hours, we’ve set up the potential for a perfect storm in today’s competitive world. We see examples of this every day: in line at the store and the patron in front of you appears to be closing a multi-million dollar deal, oblivious to the cashier’s request for payment or their child begging for a pack of gum; the person who jumps up from their table to take an apparent business call in a quieter location; or even the manic driver wildly responding to email at every stoplight (or worse, going 80 down the freeway).

Sure, this may be the norm, however in order to maintain our sanity and lessen the likelihood of burnout, each of us must try to create some separation and create a healthily work-life balance. Whether you’re just discovering the freedom that technology in the workplace can bring, or you’re the spitting image of the above examples, there are things you can do to keep sane.

  • Email Vacation. When you’re on vacation, you should really be on vacation – put that email away. If it’s on your phone, disable service until you’re done. We all need times to unwind and disconnect from the stresses around us.
  • Set Boundaries. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule, however if you vow to stop checking your email after 7 p.m., you should rarely break that vow. This will look different for everyone, however no one should be ‘on-call’ 24/7 every day of the year.
  • Communicate Your Plan. Let your coworkers and clients know your schedule. All too often I’ve listened to people complain about late night calls or disrupted dinner, only to discover that while there was indeed a plan, nobody else knew of it. Again, every organization and position will have varied requirements and by no means should you shirk your understood responsibilities; however you should be able to create some ‘you’ time.So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

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Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile: Part 2 http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile-part-2/ http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile-part-2/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:57:42 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4961 In the previous blog http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ we discussed some of the common mistakes that should be avoided on your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few more: Typos: I know this seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often this happens. Check your spelling and grammar and, as always, have another set of eyes review it. If...

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In the previous blog http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ we discussed some of the common mistakes that should be avoided on your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few more:

Typos: I know this seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often this happens. Check your spelling and grammar and, as always, have another set of eyes review it. If you’re not the best at writing, try using a professional writer to create your profile. It’s very embarrassing to say that you’re a perfectionist or have great attention to detail…only to showcase that you’ve just misspelled one of the words.

Recommendations: It’s important to have recommendations. They should be from someone that knows you well and is a credible source. They should talk through what capacity you have worked with one another, such as a project you where you were paired. Make sure it’s not a generic recommendation and that they do their best to sell you!

Buddy connections: LinkedIn should be used to connect professionally and not with your friends – that’s what Facebook is for. To get the most from LinkedIn, you should connect with people you have met at a career fair or a trade show, or at other networking events. An unfinished profile: Make sure to finish your profile – having an unfinished profile speaks volumes to your personality, and may give the impression that you are lazy or that you don’t see things through. I understand that LinkedIn has a lot of content options, but make sure that you have filled out the main content and showcase your accomplishments.

Omitting information: When you don’t list dates of employment or are missing details of what you were doing while in a specific position it seems as if you are trying to brush information under the rug. It’s best to have accurate information and tell the story of what your responsibilities were so the reader can visualize what you were doing.

LinkedIn is a huge part in the recruitment process and avoiding unnecessary mistakes will help leverage your career and put you at the top of the stack.

 

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Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:44:17 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4957 I’ve heard that in 2015 most hires will be found on LinkedIn or via employee referrals. Since LinkedIn is such an important piece in the hiring puzzle, don’t let silly mistakes be the reason you weren’t sought out and hired for your dream job. Profile Photo: I’ll be honest—if someone doesn’t have a profile picture, I...

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I’ve heard that in 2015 most hires will be found on LinkedIn or via employee referrals. Since LinkedIn is such an important piece in the hiring puzzle, don’t let silly mistakes be the reason you weren’t sought out and hired for your dream job.

Profile Photo: I’ll be honest—if someone doesn’t have a profile picture, I wonder why. Too lazy? Too shy? Many recruiters won’t even contact you without a photo, so make sure it’s updated photo professional!

Privacy Settings: If you’re on the hunt for a new position, you probably don’t want the entire world, or your current company, to be aware. Make sure that you have updated your settings, so others won’t see notifications and keep your search quiet.

Quality or Quantity: With LinkedIn, it’s important to have quality connections over quantity. LinkedIn is the place for people to connect so they can further their careers. Before connecting or accepting a connection, you should ask yourself if this person can help you in your search or, in some cases, would it possibly hurt your cause instead. If you’re not sure, do the research and decide if they will benefit your career plans.

Stellar Summary: Don’t skip the summary! Your summary is a brief synopsis of you, and should help you sell yourself and give you the edge over other candidates with similar backgrounds. Be creative and find ways to make others want to hire you!

Keep it up-to-date and add new skills: I hate when I reach out to a candidate to only find out that they haven’t worked at their most recent company listed for years. What that says to me is that you’re lazy and you really don’t care about your career or finding ways to leverage yourself.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: It’s never a good idea to lie on LinkedIn or your resume. The truth will be uncovered and it’s best to be honest from the get-go and not lie your way to an offer. This will only hurt you in the end, so don’t inflate the truth and be proud of what you have “actually” achieved.

Status Updates: Stay consistent on your LinkedIn activities, but don’t go overboard. Staying active will help in your relationship building and growing strong connections.

These are a few of the important mistakes you should avoid; by no means is this list all-encompassing. Stayed tuned for my next blog, where I discuss additional best practices. In the meantime, make sure that you’re not guilty of any of the above.

 

 

 

 

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How to Write Ridiculously Persuasive Cover Letters http://www.resumeedge.com/write-ridiculously-persuasive-cover-letters/ http://www.resumeedge.com/write-ridiculously-persuasive-cover-letters/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:57:30 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4952 A cover letter should tell a story in which the candidate is presented as an impact player—that is, someone a hiring manager wants to have on their team. Effective resumes and cover letters are most persuasive when they paint a clear picture of the candidate’s accomplishments and successes. Berkley Law tells its students and alumni...

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A cover letter should tell a story in which the candidate is presented as an impact player—that is, someone a hiring manager wants to have on their team.

Effective resumes and cover letters are most persuasive when they paint a clear picture of the candidate’s accomplishments and successes.

Berkley Law tells its students and alumni that a “cover letter is as important as your resume because it is often read first and plays a vital role in your quest for an interview.”

A cover letter that only focuses on the duties and responsibilities that an individual has had rarely wins interviews. Princeton University counsels its students that “a well-written cover letter introduces your resume and directs your reader’s attention to specific areas of your background.”

A cover letter with two or three carefully worded examples of when the candidate has excelled, backed up with qualitative or quantitative information, is often all that is needed for a corporate recruiter or headhunter to take a closer look at a candidate’s resume.

Many candidates struggle to figure out what examples of earlier career accomplishments to include.

A 2009 article on Examiner.com reported on a Microsoft corporate careers blog post that provided advice that remains highly relevant and helps point the way. The way to write a great cover letter is to communicate MSA “Made, Saved and Achieved” history, which is defined as “Made the company money, sales, etc.; Saved the company money, time, etc.” and “Achieved (awards, recognition, etc.) personally”

One strategic way to include MSAs in a cover letter is to have one bullet point for a Made statement, one for a Saved statement and one for an Achieved statement. Meaning one example in each area and to keep each statement to no longer than two lines. The MSA section should come in between the introductory paragraph and the closing paragraph and should be the bulk of the cover letter. Long introductions and long conclusions are not a good idea.

Some final tips:

Berkley Law suggests that proofing is vital and explains that cover letters “should be clear, brief, and written in a business letter style, without any typographical errors.”

Examiner.com further recommends that job seekers “review your resume…Are you just listing “stuff” you did? Or, are you incorporating specifics that entice an employer to want to know more about you?”

Harvard Law encourages candidates to“go into detail about your background and skills instead of reiterating what is already on your resume (and), do not begin every sentence with “I (verb).”

 

 

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Clues the interview didn’t go as planned http://www.resumeedge.com/five-clues-interview-didnt-go-planned/ http://www.resumeedge.com/five-clues-interview-didnt-go-planned/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 14:44:59 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4944 You just left the interview and you’re getting the sense that it didn’t go as well as you thought. If you’re feeling that way, it’s probably a good sign that it might not have. Here are some clues that you didn’t land the next interview. Time is cut short: The recruiter said to plan on...

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You just left the interview and you’re getting the sense that it didn’t go as well as you thought. If you’re feeling that way, it’s probably a good sign that it might not have. Here are some clues that you didn’t land the next interview.

Time is cut short: The recruiter said to plan on being there for at least an hour and you’re leaving the office after 30 minutes. This is a big clue that the interviewer felt that you weren’t the right fit, which typically they can sense after just a few questions.

Next Steps: When you asked about next steps in the process, they were vague and didn’t really have an answer. This is a good indication that they know they aren’t moving forward with you and didn’t want to let you know you’re receiving a rejection letter.

Questions: When they asked if you had any questions and you responded “no” they will feel that you’re just not into the role and you might as well scratch this job off the list.

What you can offer: You spent the interview talking about what you wanted from the company and not what you can offer them. You want to sell your skills and make them picture you in the organization and not just spend a lot of time asking what they can do for you or all the vacation time you need. Yes, it needs to be a fit for both of you, but you need to make them see what you can accomplish and how you will be an asset if hired.

Research: Do your research! I don’t know how many times I have rejected a candidate because they hadn’t done the research. You should know about the company and why you’re interested in working for them. This should also be a selling point as to why you are a fit based off of the research you have done.

These are just a few clues that you might want to replay the interview in your mind. I’m not saying that in fact you won’t hear back, but there’s a good chance you won’t. Plan to keep applying and make sure you’re better prepared for the next one.

 

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Tips to Write a Student Resume http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-write-student-resume/ http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-write-student-resume/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:10:15 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4941 Whether you are embarking on your first semester in college or preparing for graduation, now is the time to think about crafting a well-written resume. Like those with strong work histories, students should also focus on the skills and abilities they bring to a potential employer—including their accomplishments. Students might look at different accomplishments than...

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Whether you are embarking on your first semester in college or preparing for graduation, now is the time to think about crafting a well-written resume.

Like those with strong work histories, students should also focus on the skills and abilities they bring to a potential employer—including their accomplishments. Students might look at different accomplishments than those who have saved their company a certain amount of money or those who have increased revenue, but they will demonstrate how well someone can perform a particular task.

Students should exploit opportunities to be active outside of the classroom in pursuits that support their career goals. For students employed, whether as an intern or as a server in a local restaurant, they should still treat each day as an opportunity to improve team work skills, leadership capabilities, and project management talents. Whenever possible, students should ask for more responsibility or special projects.

Likewise, students who volunteer in any capacity should look for opportunities to lead projects, to tackle problems even if they appear to be small, and to be a productive team member. Non-paid experience can be just as valuable as paid experiences; the key is to make the most of the task at hand.

It is wise to make notes about significant projects, leadership experiences, and unique challenges faced from time to time. These notes can be the foundation of a resume by providing information on situations, challenges, projects, and tasks; the actions taken to complete the projects or overcome problems; and the results of those actions.

Remember that a resume is not a stagnant document and it should be updated as you move through your academic career. If you need help to develop a winning resume, contact a Certified Professional resume Writer.

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