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Resumes & Cover Letters

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Use Numbers to Highlight Your Accomplishments

By Peter Vogt, MonsterTRAK Career Coach

If you were an employer looking at a resume, which of the following entries would impress you more?

Wrote news releases.

Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines.

Clearly, the second statement carries more weight. Why? Because it uses numbers to quantify the writer’s accomplishment, giving it a context that helps the interviewer understand the degree of difficulty involved in the task.

Numbers are powerful resume tools that will help your accomplishments get the attention they deserve from prospective employers. With just a little thought, you can find effective ways to quantify your successes on your resume. Click here to view a few suggestions:

Resume Dilemma: Criminal Record

How to Address Your Background

By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Individuals with criminal histories face numerous obstacles when seeking employment, so it’s important they make the one document that can open doors — the resume — as effective as possible. Follow these tips to ensure your resume is ready to go:

Don’t Reference Your Criminal Background

The purpose of a resume is to help you secure a job interview. For your resume to work, it must highlight your top qualifications for the position and demonstrate that you would be an excellent employee. While it’s important to be honest on your resume, revealing information about a criminal background is best handled in a face-to-face interview.

Many states prohibit employers from asking about an arrest record but allow them to inquire about past convictions. (Check with your state’s attorney general’s office to determine what employers can and cannot ask you.) If the employer asks a legal question regarding your criminal history, briefly explain what happened, but keep it positive and don’t dwell on the past. Explain that you have learned from your mistakes and are currently interested in making a positive contribution to the employer’s operation.

When completing job applications that ask about your conviction record, you must be honest. Select “yes” when asked if you have been arrested, and in the section that asks you to provide the details, write something like “will explain in interview.”  Click here to read more.

Ten Cover Letter Don’ts

By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Your cover letter is the first thing employers see when they open your materials. Avoid these 10 mistakes, and make your first impression a good and lasting one.

Mistake #1: Don’t Overuse “I”

Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you meet an employer’s needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word “I,” especially at the beginning of your sentences.

Mistake #2: Don’t Use a Weak Opening

Job seekers frequently struggle with how to begin a cover letter. This often results in a feeble introduction lacking punch and failing to grab the reader’s interest. Consider this example:

Weak: Please consider me for your sales representative opening.

Better: Your need for a top-performing sales representative is an excellent match to my three-year history as a #1-ranked, multimillion-dollar producer.  Click here to read more.