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06/01/2015

Résumé Tips


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WallStreetTrainingThis page is intended to serve as a reference for corporate related information, stressing the necessary preparations before the job hunt. This page is NOT intended to teach you how to find a job or where to look for a job. This page has been built with two assumptions in mind. Please keep them in mind as you read this page:

  1. The audience has a clear idea of the type of job they want
  2. The audience is aware of the skills that they possess, but would like tips on how to communicate this across in the job search.
Resume Rule: Never Lie
That's right – never lie on your resume. This cannot be stressed enough. It's the easiest way to lose an interview and is sufficient grounds for dismissal once on the job.

The first step in finding a job is having a resume that effectively communicates to potential employers why they should hire you. Unless you know someone in a company, the resume serves to get you an interview which gets you the job. As the saying goes, the resume gets your foot into the door. . . 

In your resume, you want to emphasize certain things about you that will make someone want to hire you – whether it would be lots of prior experience, a special skill, or your ability to learn and adapt quickly. With this in mind, you must target your resume to the appropriate audience. You are selling yourself in your resume, cover letter and on the interview. To effectively accomplish this, you must know your audience. Do your research and know as much as possible about the job (responsibilities and qualifications), the company (main product, the big cheese, etc), and the industry (trends, mergers, etc).

It pays to put in the extra effort to make multiple resumes, each for a different type of position or industry. For example, many Stern undergraduates target the Information Systems and Finance industry; it would be most effective to have a resume customized for each industry, to stress the different skills of each. With these thoughts in mind, let's get to the resume!

Resume Format

Your resume should be pleasing to the eye and should have a natural flow. Too much white space is not good, but at the same time, you don't want to clutter your resume. There are many different styles of resumes that you can choose. The easiest way to select a format is to look at lots and lots of other resumes for ideas. I like my resume in a chronological order, with relevant sections grouped together. Don't bother putting in locations unless they are unique such as an international location or a difference between jobs that may need to be highlighted.

Some resume formats to consider: 

EXPERIENCE
Company Name, Your title for Department Name
Date(s) of employment
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description    line    here.    Try    to    write    to    fill     up    the    entire    line    if     possible.

OR . . .

EXPERIENCE Company Name, Your Title, Your Department

Date    • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.

  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
  • Description line here. Try to write to fill up the entire line if possible.
Try to look at as many resumes as you can. Also, ask others for ideas and suggestions. . .
 
Bullets vs. Paragraph Style
I prefer bullet points as opposed to paragraph format because it allows each line to be emphasized. In a paragraph format, the reader (recruiter) sees a bunch of words, but none of it really stands out. I tend to think that the paragraph style should be used by manager-level and up positions to describe how they managed people, whereas below-manager level people need to emphasize specific responsibilities. And this is accomplished more effectively through bullet points. Do not allow bullets to exceed one line. 
 
Length of Resume
Keep it to one page and be succinct. An exception to this rule might include a second page for any special projects or assignments that you would like to display, if applicable or necessary.

Make sure that the phone number that you put down won't be answered by a maniac and preferably has an answering machine. Beeper numbers should NOT be included; however, cell phones with an appropriate voicemail are ok.

The Heart of the Resume Contact Information
This section should include all the information necessary to contact you, whether it is by phone, snail mail, email or internet. Include the following:
 
Name
All relevant addresses (local & permanent)
Phone Number (day and evening)
Email address
Web page
 
Objective
It is my personal opinion that objectives are a waste of time and only takes up white space that could be used for other important things. Your objective should be included in the cover letter. An objective should only be included if you know EXACTLY what you want to do. 
 
Education
List the schools that you have attended, with the most recent first. If you graduated from college, do not put in your high school, especially if it is not a well known school. If you are still in college, you can put in your high school if you'd like. Inclusion of high school is optional, based on personal preference as well as space availability on your resume. This section is a must.
 
A couple notes on GPA:
Include your GPA if it is higher than 3.0
Emphasize higher GPA (major vs. overall)
 
Relevant Courses
Only include this if your resume has too much white space, especially if you are new to the work force. Similar to my view on Objectives, I think this is a waste of time, but advisors and career counselors seem to advise students to include it. It's not practical in my opinion. Leave it out if you have more important areas to stress on your resume. This is what differentiates between a recruiting resume and a school/internship resume. You want a recruiting resume.
 
Experience
Perhaps the most important part of the resume, this section describes your jobs. Big corporate names don't hurt. This is usually the most difficult and most time-consuming part of writing the resume. You do not have to include every job. Be selective and targeted with your resume! 
 
**** READ THIS SECTION ABOUT HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR RESUME LANGUAGE****
Experience Section:
Before writing /revising your resume, first figure out the overall goal of the resume - what type of job is this resume trying to achieve? Then, tailor the resume.
 
For each worthwhile job experience, try to have 4-5 bullets for each description. Minimum of 3 bullets.

For each job description, answer these questions:

What did you do and why did you do it?
Start your first bullet with an overall role/job function. What were you hired for? How did you fit into the company overall? Shows that you understand the bigger picture. Be general here. What you want in your next job will determine how you phrase your responsibilities and how specific you get. Always start from general to specific, both in the overall flow of your bullets as well as within each bullet/idea.
 
How did you do your job?
Be  specific  here,  list  specific  tasks  and  how  you  did  it.  List  applications  /  programming languages,  etc. Emphasize the soft skills, such as teamwork and communication and hard skills, such as technical skills. Use strong action verbs and don't use passive tense.
 
Address value-added
If you weren't there, what WOULDN'T have happened?
 
First Line
In the first line of my description of a job, I try to give the big picture and say why I was hired. If I ended up having various duties than my original job responsibilities, then I explain what my role was in the department and the firm. Be specific as possible and use the subsequent lines to describe what you did and how you did it. This is just like in elementary school and junior high school where the teachers tell you that an essay has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is the intro, the middle is the body and the end is the conclusion. In this case, the first line is the intro.
 
Body (next few lines)
The body (next few lines) support and back-up your intro. Limit the use of the word “the” and specify the applications that you used on the job, especially if it is unique. Companies want people who can “add value” to the job – will you just sit back and do what you are asked to, or will you go beyond that and take initiative to improve the overall process of the department and company? Would you hire yourself if you were a lazy person who doesn't take the initiative to learn and do new things?

Include the following:

  • Major accomplishments (quantify, if possible)
    • For example, if you received an award, then say something like 5 of 100 to receive award Main responsibilities
  • Skills acquired, improved, and utilized
  • Any special knowledge gained

I find it helpful to answer the following questions:

  • What did you do? (execute corporate mergers & acquisitions)
  • How? (building and developing sophisticated models)
  • Incorporate specific tools utilized (comps, pre-paids, dcf, break-up, etc)

Another example:

  • What did you do? (design and build internet linked database system)
  • How? (analysis business process and design workplan)
  • Incorporate specific tools utilized (ODBC, SQL, VB, etc)

Use the Action Verb List.

These are powerful verbs that emphasize certain points and strengthen your resume.

Last Line 
For the last line, I like to include how I did my job – I communicated and worked in a team, etc..

Activities 

While some view this section as optional, I tend to view this as mandatory for a well-rounded resume, reflecting a well-rounded person. You definitely do not want to come off as all work and no life. Companies look for a well balanced person. Do note that some companies / industries such as Comp Sci, who just might be looking for people who can write code and don't care about anything else. Do your research. Target your resume

Include any of the following activities, as applicable to your situation and level of experience:

  • Officer / Executive Board of any clubs / fraternities
  • Membership in any clubs / fraternities
  • Student government related activities
  • Volunteer work and community service
  • Athletic teams

Skills / Computer Skills

In today's digital world, it doesn't make sense not to include any computer skills that can make you more marketable. Include language skills, computer skills, other technical skills, such as typing, etc...

Interests / Personal

This section is optional, but I feel that it is important in a well-rounded resume. Be prepared to talk in depth about whatever you write in this section. If you include golf, you should be able to talk about your handicap or I'll know you're bullshitting. If you include pool/billiards, you should be able to tell me what English is, at the VERY least, or else don't include it. 

Action Verb List

These are powerful verbs that emphasize certain points and strengthen your resume:

accelerate

collaborate

enhance

instill

revise

accomplish

collect

enlarge

perform

revitalize

achieve

combine

enrich

pinpoint

salvage

acquire

communicate

establish

pioneer

save

activate

compile

increase

plan

schedule

actuate

compose

incur

prepare

segment

adapt

compute

inform

present

select

address

conceive

initiate

preserve

sell

administer

conceptualize

innovate

preside

serve

advise

edit

inspect

prevent

service

affect

elect

inspire

process

 

allocate

eliminate

instigate

procure

 

clarify

employ

instruct

produce

 

close

encourage

insure

revamp

 

co-author

engineer

install

review

 

Don't forget built, create, develop, design and structure!!!

-Hamilton Lin

Hamilton Lin, CFA, Founder & CEO of Wall St. Training, has a broad background in investment banking and mergers and acquisitions. His responsibilities have included analyzing, structuring and negotiating mergers & acquisitions

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