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Ask Dr. Tom

Tom Denham: January 2011 Archives

A resume is very important in the job search.  It is the first impression a potential employer has of you.  It sells your unique package of education and experience.  The purpose of the resume is to get an interview.  There is no right or wrong way to write a resume.  However, many employers are overwhelmed by resumes, so you have between 15-30 seconds to capture their attention.  Despite many conflicting opinions on resume writing, follow these major "rules."

Resume DOs

  • DO center the heading at the top.
  • DO use an "Objective" if the reader can't figure out your focus.
  • DO list education first unless you have been out of school for many years.
  • DO describe your experiences with action verbs.
  • DO list dates on the right side.
  • DO use standard fonts like "Times New Roman."
  • DO laser print on 25% bonded paper.
  • DO use ivory or off-white paper; never gray or blue.
  • DO keep it concise with 1 page for every 10 years of experience.
  • DO leave space between experiences for easy reading.
  • DO write it with the employer's needs in mind.
  • DO back up all items on the resume in an interview.
  • DO qualify and quantify your resume experiences.
  • DO "frame" it on paper with either .5" or .75" margins.
  • DO tailor it to your purposes.
  • DO expect to write at least 2 drafts.
  • DO spell check and proofread it carefully.
  • DO have it critiqued by a professional
  • DO bring extra copies to the interview.

Resume DONT's

  • DON'T include everything on your resume.
  • DON'T provide any personal information (e.g. race, age, religion, etc.)
  • DON'T state salary expectations.
  • DON'T "pad" or lie on your resume.
  • DON'T list professional references.
  • DON'T have any typos or misspellings.
  • DON'T guess at dates; be accurate! (Employers will often check.)
  • DON'T use any computerized resume programs.

Updating your resume annually should be part of your long-term career development.  Consider meeting with a career development professional, a mentor, or anyone that would be willing to give an objective critique.  Resume building takes time and careful preparation.  Analyzing it annually will make you competitive in the marketplace.  If you have any thoughts or questions feel free to email me.

Keep Climbing,
Dr. Tom

 

Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - Albany.com - Friday, January 28, 2011

 

Although the resume is the most important document in your job search, each time you send one out a cover letter must accompany it.  If the resume is a snap shot of you, then the cover letter is the audio that makes it come alive.  With all the opinions on this subject, stick to these 10 commandments for an effective cover letter:

1. Thou shall take the necessary time to do it right.

2. Thou shall keep it to one page. 

3. Thou shall tailor it to a specific person and position. 

4. Thou shall have an introduction. 

5. Thou shall have a body. 

6. Thou shall keep it employer centered. 

7. Thou shall have a closing. 

8. Thou shall make it a writing sample. 

9. Thou shall pass the "wow" test. 

10. Thou shall make it perfect. 

I'd like to know any challenges that you have when you try to write a cover letter.  What do you struggle with?  Send an email to my blog, and I will answer any questions you have.

Keep Climbing,
Dr. Tom


Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - Albany.com Blog - Tuesday, January 25, 2011


If you have not already done so, I encourage you to make 2011 a great year by setting "S.M.A.R.T. Goals" pertaining to your career development.  S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-Sensitive.  If it is not a S.M.A.R.T. Goal, it is unlikely to be achieved.  Write them down on a Post-it Note and keep it close at hand, that way in the middle of the year you can check your progress.  Here's a sample of suggestions to help you to stay in shape.

1. I resolve to manage my career better and to be more enthusiastic at work

2. I resolve to read at least one career development book

3. I resolve to start looking for a new job or career by exploring my options

4. I resolve to further my education

5. I resolve to improve the balance between my work and my family

6. I resolve to stay in touch with my references

7. I resolve to strengthen my interview skills

8. I resolve to update my computer and technical skills

9. I resolve to increase my network of contacts

10. I resolve to update my resume

I'd like to know what your top 3 goals for your professional development are for 2011.  Send an email to my blog and perhaps it will give other readers some ideas of what needs to change in the new year.  I welcome your career questions.

Keep Climbing,

Dr. Tom

Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - Albany.com Blog - Friday, January 14, 2011


I wanted to introduce myself and the purpose of this new blog.  My name is Dr. Tom Denham and I have been a career counselor for over 20 years.  Since so many people are in transition now, I have decided to write this blog as an informational resource for everyone interested in their own or others career development.  Today, I will give you some helpful tips about the career development process.  In the future I hope you will send me your questions and I can get you the answers to move you forward.  I am looking forward to being your career partner so that 2011 and beyond can be a toll total success for you.  Here we go...

If you're feeling like your job just isn't doing it for you anymore, you're not alone. For many people, it's because they are not doing work they feel passionate about, or because they get so busy making a living they forget to make a life.  Finding work that has purpose and meaning is critical to a satisfying and successful career. Finding your passion is an important part of the 3-step career development process:  1) self-assessment, 2) career exploration, and 3) job search or education/training. 

A strong foundation of self-assessment must be established early in the career development process.  Unfortunately, many people think the answer to finding career satisfaction is to change jobs. These people usually wind up unhappy in another job or a career that is not congruent with who they really are.  Avoid making poor career choices because you lack self-awareness, and don't spend more time planning your summer vacation than planning for your career.

If you are searching for a more satisfying career, make a commitment to begin a deliberate process of self-assessment. This is not easy and cannot be done overnight. Start by reading a good career development book as part of your self-assessment research. You will find a Recommended Reading List at www.CareersInTransitionLLC.com.  Consider consulting with a career counselor that is qualified to administer and interpret career tests to more thoroughly evaluate your skills, values, and interests and zero in on the passions that will lead you to possible career options.  From there you can move into career exploration and job search.

Since we spend more time at work than in any other aspect of our lives, finding our passion is the most important, neglected and difficult tasks in adulthood.  People who find themselves in unsatisfying roles are often there because they never set out to discover and catalog their personality profile.  A clear purpose and direction derive from an organized personal plan. Once your career plan is developed be sure to review it periodically, revise it as necessary, and recommit to it frequently.  Finding a career that you are passionate about requires preparation and sacrifice, but it is entirely possible with the right tools, perseverance, and guidance.

I welcome your career questions.

Keep Climbing,

Dr. Tom

Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - Albany.com Blog - Friday, January 7, 2011



Dr. Thomas J. Denham

Dr. Tom Denham is the founder of Careers In Transition LLC, a private practice which focuses on career counseling for individuals and consulting services for institutional clients. Dr. Tom has over twenty years of career services experience at Siena and Union Colleges as well as Harvard, St. Lawrence and Boston Universities.

Dr. Tom founded Northeast Public Radio's award winning talk show, The Career Forum and speaks extensively on career management issues. He earned his bachelors from St. Lawrence University, his masters from Boston University and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

He has climbed over 180 mountains including the Adirondack 46, Oregon's Mt. Hood and The Grand Teton. In 2009, he survived a huge crevasse fall on Mt. Rainier by ice climbing his way out. Tom lives where he grew up in Albany where he would rather be ice and rock climbing and raising his 11 year old daughter, Rachel.

Dr. Tom Denham has been a professional career counselor for over 20 years. He helps people explore their options with career testing, make job changes and write resumes and prepare for interviews.

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