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Resume Tips And Advice

Using Power Verbs to Get the Interview

Verbs are the action of a sentence; they are the part that packs all of the punch. And if you want to get the interview, you'd better have power and impact.  More »

4 Simple Rules to Make Your Resume Standout

In order to be successful in your job search, people say you need to make your resume stand out from the rest of the people applying to the same position. This is really not as difficult as one might think. The hiring managers at Pongo can tell you many stories about the resumes we've received over the years for a variety of the positions we've posted. From our experience, just by practicing these four simple rules, your resume will easily stand out from your competition:  More »

Writing a Keyword Summary: What You Need To Know

If you have ever seen Keyword Summary listed on a resume but are not sure what the purpose of it is or how to write this section properly, you're not alone. The Keyword Summary is new to the resume building process and was added when electronic resume submissions became commonplace.  More »

Where Did My Resume Go? Uncovering The Mystery

After you send your resume, what happens to it once it reaches the employer? Done right, it can avoid an employer's black hole and land you on the short list of prime candidates.  More »

Why Your Resume Can Use a Second Proofreader

Sometimes it takes someone else to point out something you don't see on your resume that could lead to disaster. Here's what a resume can have in common with your car's brake lights.  More »

Sending Your Resume? Make It a PDF

Here's a quick question for you to ponder: What's the most popular format for submitting resumes to employers? Is it PDF? Word? Plain text? Or something else? In most cases, PDF is the way to go.  More »

Resume Tips: How to Write a Summary of Qualifications

Your resume should start with a summary of qualifications that spotlights your most impressive and relevant accomplishments, skills, and experience. Use these tips and examples to inspire you.  More »

7 Resume Tips from 7 Resume Professionals

In a recent meeting with Pongo's Customer Support Team, I asked what tips they give out the most. It was pretty amazing how quickly the answers came flying out. Here's a list of the top 7 tips from these 7 CPRWs.  More »

Ever Wonder What Santa's Resume Looks Like?

Have you ever wondered if Santa has been happy in his work? Have the elves ever gotten the better of him? Did he ever get stressed out at the prospect of a reindeer rebellion that would delay Christmas? If he wants a job change, we've built a resume for him.  More »

Want a Readable Resume Summary? Opt for a Bullet List

Writing your resume Summary section and getting the hiring manager to read it can be difficult. But here's an idea you may want to consider: Write the Summary in bullet form rather than paragraph form.  More »

4 Tips to Find Accomplishments to Put on Your Resume

If you're a regular reader of the Pongo Blog, you've probably read a few posts that have preached the benefits of putting accomplishments on your resume instead of just listing your past job duties. But many job seekers struggle to come up with accomplishments. Here's how you can overcome that struggle.  More »

How to Write Your Degree on a Resume

Last week, when I was sitting with my buddy Kati, one of the CPRWs on Pongo's awesome Customer Support team, we got to talking about the questions that come up over and over as people are building their resumes. She mentioned that a lot of people have trouble deciding the best way to spell, capitalize, and punctuate their degree. Here's the answer to that question.  More »

3 Resume Writing Tips to Stand Out Among Hundreds

There's a saying that success means doing what others won't. And that's especially true when it comes to resume writing. Not to rattle your confidence, but it's common for employers to receive over a hundred resumes for a single job opening. Plenty of them aren't even from qualified candidates. But that still leaves a boatload of resumes. Follow these 3 simple resume rules to grab the employer's attention.  More »

Delivering Your Resume In Person: Good Idea or Bad?

A job seeker reached out to Pongo's Customer Support team this week with this question: Would it be a good idea or a bad idea to walk in and present my resume and cover letter in person, instead of applying online like everyone else? That's a tough one. It might help. But then again, it might not.  More »

Should You Dumb Down Your Overqualified Resume?

When you believe you're overqualified for a job, it may mean you have to dumb down your resume and cut some stuff, no matter how proud you may be of what you've accomplished in your career. But would you?  More »

When to Use a Plain Text Resume

One thing about resumes that seems to get swept under the rug is the idea of creating a plain text version. We all know how daunting it is to write your resume in the first place, so after all that time and effort you put into making your resume perfect and visually appealing, why would you need to make it…boring? This post will tell you.  More »

Do Second Opinions Help or Hurt Your Resume?

Second opinion. When I hear those words, the first thing that comes to mind is a bad diagnosis. Like when one doctor swears you have cancer while the second opinion reveals that you don't. Second opinions are a big deal in that respect, but are they as big a deal to your job search and career?  More »

Ask Pongo: Which Heading Do I Use for My Experience?

Our online Resume Builder gives you five different options for headings that identify your work experience. Since our templates are fully customizable, we suggest figuring out which of the five works best for you. This blog post explores the five options.  More »

9 Quick Resume Fixes from a Career Expert

By now you've probably seen our Don't Be Dave video resume spoof. Dave's cringe-worthy video blunders are fun to watch, but if you're hungry for usable tips to help your job search, check out this recent post on AOL's Jobs blog by Barbara Safani, expert resume writer, job search strategist, and owner of Career Solvers.  More »

Video Resumes: If You Must Create One, Don't Be Dave

Video resumes have been around for several years, but have you ever seen a job posting that asked for one? I haven't. There are many reasons they haven't replaced traditional resumes and cover letters, and this video resume from an unhirable character named Dave illustrates many of them.  More »

Top 10 Careless Resume Update Mistakes

When we get anxious about looking for a new job, we tend to overlook obvious details in our resumes. Example: A man who'd been working overseas had a great resume, but forgot to update his contact information when he returned to the States. That meant every potential employer got an overseas mailing address and phone number. You might think you'd never make such an obvious mistake, but it happens all the time, especially if you haven't glanced at your resume in several years. So here are the top 10 careless mistakes to avoid when you update your own resume.  More »

Update Your Resume with Pongo Resume!

It's International Update Your Resume Month and we're giving away free Pongo services each week in September. In fact, the first prize package will be announced on Twitter today! So while we're all about honoring this important month, we believe you should update your resume throughout the year, and Pongo makes it easy to do that.  More »

How to Get Your Resume Noticed? Think Above the Fold

What's the most important part of your resume? Take it from a former newspaper editor: Page one, above the fold. That's how a resume is like the front page of a newspaper, and one of several reasons why writing a resume comes easily to me.  More »

5 Examples of Ridiculous Resume Writing

Resumes are such important documents. Your future livelihood may depend on the words you use to communicate your qualifications. So it's only natural that job seekers are tempted to use longer, fancier, more formal words, rather than the simplest, most direct forms. But it's a temptation you should resist. Too often, the result is a document that sounds ridiculously proper, and fails to achieve its goal of quickly communicating your value to the employer.  More »

Resume and Cover Letter Words That Can Trip You Up

English is a funny language. There are different words that mean the same thing, single words that have different meanings, and words that are prone to mispronunciation, such as nook-you-ler when it's really nook-lee-er , and Feb-you-erry instead of Feb-roo-erry. Then there are words that sound alike. Here are five confusing word pairs and how you should use them properly on your resume and cover letters.  More »

Basic Resume Formatting Rules

The overall look and feel of your resume may seem trivial compared to what your resume says, but it's not. Visual elements such as font type, size, and style, along with margins and indents, make a difference for first impressions. Here are a few guidelines for creating a resume that's readable and inviting.  More »

Resume Buzzwords: Prove Them or Lose Them

Using resume buzzwords and phrases without offering proof is like me claiming to look like Julianne Moore. Saying it doesn't make it true. Here's how you can strengthen your resume by backing up buzzword-y claims with solid evidence from your work experience.  More »

Hiring Managers Look for Related Experience First

When it's time to write a resume, some job seekers have a hard time figuring out which elements to emphasize in order to land an interview. But what's the most important aspect of a resume that hiring managers look for? A recent survey posed that question to 85 hiring managers in Orange County, CA.  More »

How to Make Your Resume Visually Appetizing

I was invited to a dinner party with some old friends this weekend. There were two dessert options: a tray of individual pastries and a delicious-looking chocolate cake. One of those desserts never got touched, for the same reason some really good resumes never get read.  More »

Resume Buzzword Bingo: A Game You Don't Want to Win

Buzzword Bingo has been around for years, but we've created a new version - Resume Buzzword Bingo. This bingo card has squares filled with the all-too-common expressions HR people, recruiters, and hiring managers see over and over on job candidates' resumes. How many appear on your resume?  More »

7 Resume Writing Tips for Your Education Section

These seven guidelines will help you determine how to complete the Education section of your resume. They'll help you decide what to include, what to leave out, and what to do about that school you attended but didn't graduate.  More »

Rerun: What Counts as Experience on a New Grad's Resume

If you took advantage of an internship during your college years, you've already got something great to list under the Experience section of your first professional resume. But what if you don't have an internship to vouch for your experience? Fear not! Here are a few things you can add to your resume that count as experience.  More »

Updating an Old Resume? Lose the Objective and Duties

You're facing a job change and have no clue where your old resume is. It's been more than 10 years since you had to think about it. Before you start writing, be aware of these two resume changes that have come to be the new standard.  More »

"Should I Put a Short-Term Job on My Resume?"

The scenario: You worked a job for a very short time (1 to 2 months) and want to know if that job belongs on your resume or not. The simple answer applies to any job you've ever had, whether it lasted 5 years or 2 months. Keep reading to find out what that answer is.  More »

Focus Your Resume on the Employer's Needs

If you graduated from college within the last month, submitted resumes, and received just a couple of nibbles in response, you're probably getting a little antsy. Maybe it's time to look at your resume Objective again and think of ways to improve it to persuade more employers to contact you.  More »

Resume Writing Reality Check: It's Not About You

I found some important resume writing advice in an article about, of all things, launching a web site. By replacing the web site-related words, with resume, you get this needed reminder: This principle is the most basic, yet most difficult, to embrace. Even though it may be 'your' [resume], the [resume] isn't, or shouldn't be, about you.  More »

Is Your Functional Resume Keeping You Unemployed?

Recruiters and headhunters throw them out, employers get frustrated by them, and many job boards won't accept them. So why are some job seekers still using functional resumes? Because for a long time, functional resumes were widely considered the best way to camouflage employment gaps or a lack of experience. These days, it seems they've become more like a flashing neon sign that screams, I'm trying to hide something!  More »

10 Ways to Describe Fast Food Experience on a Resume

It might feel as if you're just pressing buttons and wrapping up greasy products while wearing a silly hat. But fast food experience is actually a good way to develop a variety of skills that can transfer into other fields. Here are 10 resume-worthy descriptions of fast food skills you might not have considered.  More »

Graduation Date on Your Resume: Yes or No?

Since our blog went live more than two years ago, we've advised that older job seekers who are worried about revealing their age on their resumes shouldn't divulge the year they received their college degrees or high school diplomas. But not everyone who comments about career issues buys that argument. Do you? Vote in our poll and comment after you read this post.  More »

What Counts as Experience on a College Grad's Resume

If you took advantage of an internship during your college years, you've already got something great to list under the Experience section of your first professional resume. But what if you don't have an internship to vouch for your experience? What if the only jobs you've had involved manning a cash register or serving up pizzas? Fear not! Here are a few things you can add to your resume that count as experience.  More »

Recruiter Reinforces Our Resume Advice

We've addressed the keys to effective resume writing more than once on this blog, but there are some things worth repeating, especially when they come from outside sources who walk the same steps on the web that we walk, and their advice is just as valuable.  More »

It's Spring Cleaning Time for Your Resume

Spring has arrived! And with it comes a list of things many of us haven't been able or willing to do over the winter, such as go outside for a run, play catch on the lawn, or clean the garage. It's also a good time to spruce up your resume.  More »

When and How to List Personal Interests on Your Resume

When is it all right to include a personal interest or hobby on your resume? Most experts will answer Never! They recommend keeping your resume focused on your skills and qualifications for the job. But would it really hurt to mention an outside interest or two? Here are guidelines on when and how to mention them.  More »

D-OHHHHH! Here's Homer Simpson's Resume!

He's never met a donut he didn't like, and some of us have never seen an episode of The Simpsons that we didn't like either. So, I put together a resume for Homer Simpson, that lovable cartoon buffoon who's been known to snooze away the hours on the job at the nuclear power plant and find his way in and out of a few jams in other short-lived jobs.  More »

Looking for Temporary Work? Try These Tips

With the nation's unemployment rate still around 10%, many out-of-work job seekers are facing, or already experiencing, many weeks or even months without a steady paycheck. If you're in the middle of a long layoff, consider a temporary a contract assignment. Here are tips on how you can land one.  More »

"How Do I Make My Resume Stand Out?"

Last week, I wrote a blog post asking you to voice any questions that stump you in your job search. This one question was popular enough to be asked more than once. Want to know how to make your resume stand out among the other 500 applicants applying for the job you want?  More »

The Hazards of Resume Promiscuity

A surprising number of job seekers think the key to getting hired is submitting a resume to as many job openings as possible. This is what I like to call resume promiscuity, and like that other kind of promiscuity, it's pretty ineffective if your goal is a meaningful, long-term gig.  More »

Top 5 Resume Questions According to Google

It's called Google Suggest, and it's a list of popular search terms that you might be interested in based on the first few words you type. I typed in the words should my resume, and found that the first five suggestions were some of the simplest questions anyone could have about resumes. So here they are, with equally simple Pongo answers.  More »

Predicting the Future of the Resume

By now you've probably had it up to here with predictions and what-to-expect articles for the new year. But I hope you can stomach just one more, because a colleague (thanks, Jen!) recently alerted me to this article on resume trends by career expert Louise Kursmark. She offers some interesting insights about the future of resumes and the factors contributing to their evolution.  More »

You Did THAT on Your Resume? Really!?!

If these five resume errors were rare, there'd be no need to discuss them. Unfortunately, they're not only common, they're also forehead-slappingly obvious. So, in the sarcastic spirit of SNL's Weekend Update Really!?! segment, I give you five really common resume mistakes that you really don't want to make.  More »

'Tis the Season to Fine-Tune Your Resume

If the economy watchers are correct, finding a job will be easier--if just a little--in 2010. And that makes this holiday season a great time to fine-tune your resume so you're ready to jump when the next job opportunity knocks. So, carve out a little time and look at four areas of your resume.  More »

3 Easy Tips for Perfect Bullet Lists on Your Resume

On a resume, bullet lists are a lot easier to read than paragraphs, so if you're already using bullet lists, you're ahead of the game. But don't get excited just yet. There are good bullet lists and there are bad bullet lists, and many of the resumes I see have baaad bullet lists. Find out whether yours need help, and follow these three simple tips to bullet perfection.  More »

Super-Easy Method for Writing a Targeted Resume

Most of us prefer to do things as quickly and easily as possible, as long as we don't sacrifice quality. Am I right? So here's a form that will make it quicker and easier to translate a job posting into a targeted resume (and cover letter) that shows the employer what a good candidate you are.  More »

Take it from HR: One Typo Can Kill Your Chances

You can't know whether the person you're emailing will or won't dump you because of a typo on your resume or cover letter. But you can be sure that most job openings are going to attract a lot of applicants, and the folks on the receiving end are going to need some way to make the pool smaller. That's why you have to make sure your resume and cover letter are perfect every time.  More »

Can Your Resume and Cover Letter Use a Little Passion?

Most of us are drawn toward people who are passionate about their work. Their enthusiasm can inspire us to do bigger and better things, spur us into action, or just make us feel good about ourselves. Maybe your resume and cover letter could use a little passion to inspire a hiring manager to call you for an interview.  More »

Should I Write My Resume in Past or Present Tense?

Let's talk about verb tenses: past, present, and future. Only two of these should ever be used on your resume, and future isn't one of them. How do you know what tense to use and when to use it? Find out in this blog post.  More »

Critique Your Resume Like a Hiring Manager

In order to critique your resume effectively, you need to understand how a hiring manager will look at it. As a rule, resume reviewers start by making a snap judgment based on their first impression. If there are no immediate red flags, they'll spend the next 10 to 30 seconds scanning it to determine whether you seem to have the right qualifications. If your resume passes those two tests, it has a good chance of being reviewed more thoroughly.  More »

Wanna Get Noticed? Don't Just Rely on Job Boards

No, I'm not suggesting that you stop using job boards to find a job (how silly would that be?). I'm simply suggesting there might be a better way to apply to the jobs you find on those big job boards. With this alternate method, you'll improve your chances of getting your resume and cover letter into the employer's hands in a way that gets you noticed.  More »

50 Action Words for Your Resume

One of the biggest complaints HR reps have about resumes is not enough action words! Every resume needs punch-packing, meaningful action words to impress readers. If yours is missing that punch, read this post and update your resume!  More »

Older Workers: Rejuvenate Your Geezer Resumes

Some older job candidates blame their lack of job search success on age discrimination, when really it's their bad attitudes and/or bad resumes that keep them from getting hired. Well, this week I heard a story from a hiring manager who's looking to hire someone with top-notch technical skills to head up a department. One of the applicants was over 60, but his resume made it clear he's kept up with the latest technologies. This story seemed like a perfect illustration of how a job candidate can be somewhat old, but not be an old fart.  More »

Build a Long Master Resume, Then Cut, Cut, Cut

You have years of work experience; many years, in fact. You've racked up plenty of accomplishments with several employers, and even won a few awards. But when you put all of that into a resume, you're left with a document that's well over the strongly suggested 1-to-2 page length. Should you keep it all or cut some? The answer (surprise!): Keep it all, but don't use it all.  More »

Top 10 Careless Resume Update Mistakes

When we get anxious about looking for a new job, we tend to overlook obvious details in our resumes. Example: A man who'd been working overseas had a great resume, but forgot to update his contact information when he returned to the States. That meant every potential employer got an overseas mailing address and phone number. You might think you'd never make such an obvious mistake, but it happens all the time, especially if you haven't even glanced at your resume in several years. Here are the top 10 careless mistakes to avoid when you update your own resume.  More »

15 Stress Relievers for Resume and Cover Letter Writing

While we can't help you draft your will or do your taxes, we can make your job search experience a little less nerve-racking. Here's a list of our most stress-relieving blog posts on the topics. They provide solutions to puzzling questions and issues that you might face while writing your resumes and cover letters. Give them a read and let me know if they help you feel more confident about your job search.  More »

A Tip for Moms, Retirees, or Any Reluctant Job Seeker

Thanks to the flippin' recession, there are two groups of job seekers: Those who really want to be working (but aren't), and those who don't want to be working (but have to). This latter group, the reluctant job seekers, includes parents (mostly women) who left the workforce to raise their families but are now being forced to return for financial reasons, and retirees who worked and saved all their lives, only to have their investments shrivel by 25% or more.  More »

Snail Mail: The 'New' Way to Get Your Resume Noticed

In a job market where practically every job posting draws dozens (if not hundreds) of electronic applications, old-fashioned snail mail could be the new cutting edge. A well-written and formatted paper resume and cover letter (in addition to the electronic application the employer requested) could be just the thing to make you stand out.  More »

Cheat Your Way to a Better Professional Summary

The part about resume writing that I loathe most is the Professional Summary, or Summary of Qualifications. And wouldn't you know, it's the most important part. Here are two ways you can cheat and make writing your resume easier on yourself.  More »

If You Say it in the Resume, Prove it in the Interview

You've probably heard the term false advertising in reference to a product or service that failed to live up to a claim stated in an advertisement, sometimes placing its owner in a bit of legal trouble. Like a product or service advertisement, your resume acts as an advertisement of your skills and experience.  More »

Fans of The Office: Here's Dwight Schrute's Resume!

Who would put manure dodge ball on their resume? Dwight K. Schrute would! It's amazing how much material you can find on his life at Dunder Mifflin (and then some), if you just look in the right places. Here's a look at the clever way we used that information to create a fake resume for him!  More »

Will the Applicant Tracking System Love Your Resume?

In most cases, resumes submitted online go into the employer's Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before they ever encounter human eyes. The ATS scans the resumes for job-related keywords. No keywords? No chance. Here's how to choose keywords that will help your resume survive the ATS gauntlet.  More »

They Want a Resume AND a Job Application? Seriously?!

Hiedi from Springfield, MO asks: When we hand in a resume to a company, why do we need to also fill out an application? Don't they have exactly the same information? After all, a resume seems to be just a more detailed application. Read more to find out why employers do this.  More »

Does Your Resume Have to Be Perfect?

There was a blog post at last month that reinforced some of the resume advice we offer at Pongo, that your resume should be error-free. But the comments on the post demonstrated that the perfect resume is a subjective judgment. For example, one hiring manager may disqualify you over a misspelled word, while another may not even notice, and if he does, may not care.  More »

Addressing a Gap in Your Resume: A Pongo Rerun

One topic that seems to resonate most with our readers is how to address a gap in your resume. Almost everybody has one (or more) employment gaps, but nobody seems quite clear on what to do about it. We tackled that issue back in a March 2008 post, and here it is again.  More »

Write a Resume Haiku

Ever notice that people tend to make things harder than they have to be? Wouldn't the job search be simpler, for example, if you could forgo the trouble of crafting a brilliant resume that details your past experience, and instead just sum up your essential nature, your true value, in the form of a haiku?  More »

What Happens to My Resume After I Send It?

Once you submit your resume and cover letter to an employer, it can feel as if your precious career documents have fallen into some kind of abyss, never to be seen or heard from again. At best, you might get an auto-reply email that acknowledges your application, but promises nothing. Wouldn't it be nice to know what's happening to your resume after you send it?  More »

3 Quick Tips to Seem Younger on Your Resume

Fighting the effects of aging is all the rage these days, with everything from little blue pills for your you-know-what to facial injections that promise freedom of expression (that's expression, singular). If everything else gets softer and flimsier as we age, why does job seeking get harder? This post offers three quick and easy tricks to put that youthful vigor back into your resumes and cover letters.  More »

Resume Writing for the Clueless II: Your Summary

If I could give the clueless job seeker only one piece of resume writing advice, it would be this: Start your resume with a summary of your best qualifications. Beginning the resume with this kind of short preview of your most impressive and relevant accomplishments, skills, and experience helps readers see within seconds how you fit their needs.  More »

Fluff Is for Tabloids, Not Resumes

I finally received my Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) diploma this week, so I'm no longer the only writer on staff without that accreditation (woohoo!). But getting that piece of paper meant I had to update my blog bio to match. I noticed that my first bio was an ill attempt at making me sound as experienced as my fellow writers, even though they're years ahead of me on their career paths. What was I thinking? Take this revelation and apply it to your resume.  More »

Resume Writing for the Clueless: Contact Info

Educational institutions teach us lots of things that will (theoretically) help us succeed in our jobs. But they rarely teach us how to write a resume, which is what you need to get hired for those jobs. As a result, we have a lot of otherwise smart people who are pretty much clueless when it comes to resume writing. In this post, you'll find basic Dos and Don'ts for providing contact information (name, address, phone, email) at the top of your resume. (We'll cover other resume sections in upcoming posts.)  More »

Spice Up Your Professional Summary with a Headline

You may have heard this before but it's worth repeating: Your resume has only 10 to 15 seconds to grab a hiring manager's attention, so you need to make every one of those seconds count. An effective way to get the hiring manager to continue reading is with a headline in your professional summary that effectively shouts your value.  More »

I Sent My Resume with a Typo! Should I Send a New One?

The short answer is: maybe. Ask all your favorite career experts that question and some would tell you to send a new resume, while others would tell you not to worry about it. What it really boils down to is whether the hiring manager is likely to notice the typo, and whether they'll care if they do. And that largely depends on how good your resume is overall, along with the kind of job you're seeking.  More »

Are You Smarter Than a Spell Checker? Part II

'No spelling errors' is one of the first rules of resume writing. Yet the English language, with its non-standard spellings and exceptions to every rule, seems cruelly designed to thwart our efforts. Take for instance the words Loose, Lose, Choose, and Chose. Despite their similar spellings, loose doesn't rhyme with choose, and lose doesn't rhyme with chose. But that's just one example. Take this quiz to identify 12 more commonly misused and/or misspelled resume words.  More »

Good Resume But No Interviews? It Could Be Your Name

We have a guy named Barack in the White House, so name discrimination must be history, right? Sure, tell that to the woman who wrote a post on Tuesday describing her experience as a highly qualified job candidate who couldn't get an interview until she began using her middle name (Danielle) instead of her first name (Danisha) on her resume. Would you have done the same? Let us know in the poll at the end of this post.  More »

Create an Attractive Resume Employers Will Notice

There are rules for resume writing that are pretty standard and widely accepted by professional resume writers and hiring managers. But what about resume format and style? Can employers really be so picky about appearance that they ignore how well-written and on target your experience and qualifications are?  More »

Should You 'Dumb Down' Your Resume to Get a New Job?

Imagine yourself in this situation: You're an experienced professional in your late 50s whose background includes high-level managerial positions over the last 10 years. One day, you find yourself laid off. In spite of this, you realize you may need to take a step or two down the career ladder. Your solution is to downplay your high-level experience, or dumb down your resume. Can it really improve your chances?  More »

How Do YOU Spell Resume?

You've probably noticed that resume is sometimes spelled with no accents, sometimes with one, and often with two. Since this blog resides on a web site called Pongo Resume (no accents) you may have astutely gathered that the no-accent option is perfectly acceptable. It is, of course. But is it the, ahem, proper way?  More »

Take the 'Cupcakes' Out of Your Resume

As someone who has spent just about all of his professional life working with words, I admire any piece of writing that employs a more vivid word or phrase in place of something wimpier. But there are things I call cupcake words that provide no mental nutrients to the reader and can sink your chance at landing a job interview. This post offers five examples.  More »

Has Caring for a Loved One Left a Gap in Your Resume?

I've been hearing a lot lately about people who have taken time off work to be full-time caregivers for ailing parents, spouses, or other loved ones. And now, they're faced with a significant employment gap to explain on their resumes. Not fair! To make matters worse, the standard advice for explaining any resume gap (be brief, be factual, and leave out the emotion) is pretty tough to practice when the gap stems from such a significant and painful phase of your life. If you're battling this dilemma, here are some tips to help.  More »

Writing a Resume When You Have No Experience

Getting a job can be hard for anyone, even a highly experienced professional who has successfully navigated several job changes. But it can be particularly challenging if you have no experience in the field you want to work in. If this describes you, this post provides you with resume tips and hope.  More »

10 Old-School Resume Rules That Don't Apply Today

Last week I wrote a guest blog post over at What Would Dad Say, talking about how older job seekers might need to think like 13-year-olds to succeed in job interviews today. But over the past couple days, I started thinking about all the ways we should NOT repeat behaviors from times gone by. Specifically, we need to ditch at least 10 of the old-school resume and cover letter rules that were popular back in the '70s, '80s, and even into the '90s.  More »

Job Fair Yields Cold Truths about Resumes

If you happened to catch Good Morning America on Wednesday, you know that hundreds of job seekers braved the bone-chilling cold of a pre-dawn New England winter morning to attend GMA's Great American Job Fair and Career Camp in Boston. After critiquing several resumes at the show, I came away with three lessons about resumes.  More »

Resume Buzz-Kill: Dump the Business Cliches

Most of us have heard business buzzwords, those oft-used expressions that become part of the everyday vocabulary in the business world. Maybe you just absorb them without thinking or -- if you're like me -- cringe sometimes at their mere utterance.  More »

Writing a Resume When You Haven't Worked for Years

We received a blog comment recently from a woman who had left the workforce 18 years ago to raise her children. Now she's looking to return to work, and wondering, What do I say on my resume, and where do I start? Since there are lots of people in this boat, I thought I'd answer this reader's question, and offer some tips for anyone who's looking to make the leap back into (paid) work after a long time away.  More »

Three Ways to List 3 Titles for 1 Employer

When a large block of your work history has been with one employer, it can be challenging to create a resume based on that. But if you've held a few different titles at the same company, that can present a different challenge of its own. Here are three ways to approach your resume based on several titles under the same employer.  More »

Another 5 Power Words to Make Your Resume Get Noticed

You've probably read or heard it before, but it's worth saying again: Your resume must grab the hiring manager's attention within the first 10 seconds, or it will likely get tossed. Strong verbs, what I like to call power words, can help your resume stand out. We've offered 10 in previous posts. Here are five more.  More »

Got Resume Writer's Block? Here Are 5 Cures

You know you need a resume to launch your job search. The problem is: You don't know where or how to begin. Essentially, you're staring at a blank page on your computer, save for your name, address, and contact information. You've got a case of writer's block: resume style. Here are five ways to help you break through it.  More »

Stand Out in the Job Market: Part I - Your Resume

The news on the economy is hard to ignore, and even harder to stomach. The unemployment rate has topped 6 percent and could climb higher if businesses can't pry loose sufficient credit to grow or just sustain operations. If you're expecting to launch a job search, or are already in the middle of one, you may be facing a lot of competition. In the first of a two-part series, learn how to craft a resume that will get noticed.  More »

The No-Excuses Way to Submit an Error-Free Resume

An author wouldn't publish a book without involving an editor, and a job seeker shouldn't publish a resume without involving a proofreader - or four. You have no excuse for submitting an error-filled resume to potential employers when you can so easily get others to check it first. Here are some ways to get feedback from others.  More »

"Should I Put My GPA on My Resume?"

When you're in high school, and even more so in college, your grade point average (GPA) can seem like the one-and-only measure of your success. But how important is your GPA after graduation? Should you put it on your resume? Do employers really care if you had a 2.8 or a 3.0? Can a low score ruin your chances of getting hired? The answers may surprise you.  More »

Resume Objective or Summary: You Need One, but Which?

Should you lead your resume with an Objective or Summary that briefly describes your skills and background? In a word, yes. However, if you were to poll 10 recruiting experts on this question, you might get 10 different answers. But if an Objective or Summary is written properly, it can be the hook that pulls the reader into your resume.  More »

No Bites on Your Resume? Check These 5 Things

You sent out a few resumes for job openings that matched your skills. You researched the companies and demonstrated some of that new-found knowledge in your cover letters. You communicated a positive tone. But why didn't anyone respond? Maybe you overlooked one or more of five critical components of the job search.  More »

You Can (and Should) Put Volunteer Work on a Resume

Good karma is not the only thing you can build by volunteering. You can also build a great resume. Adding volunteer work to your resume is especially helpful if you're just starting out, changing careers, or returning to work. Even though volunteer skills don't pay the bills, your volunteer experience could be the ticket to your next paycheck.  More »

CV vs. Resume: What's the Difference?

It's a valid question with a bit of a complicated answer. In some parts of the world, such as the UK and Ireland, CV refers to the same document we Americans call a resume. You may be familiar with job sites and company career centers that ask you to submit a Resume/CV when you apply for a job, which furthers the idea that the terms are interchangeable. But here in the U.S. (and Canada), the formats and content of a CV and resume are vastly different. So if you've been boggled by the difference, here's a clear-cut comparison between the two to relieve any confusion.  More »

How Do I Get Employers to Notice My Resume and Call Me?

Rick Saia's post yesterday ( Dude, Where's My Job? ... ) listed five typical reasons a recent grad might be having trouble finding that first job. Coincidentally, as Rick was crafting that post, a reader named Jen G. left a comment on an older blog post, asking a closely related question. Jen is a new graduate who has posted her resume on various online job boards. Unfortunately, she wrote, I have rarely been called back from a site that I have posted my resume on. What do I need to do in order to get employers to notice my resume so that I get called back? I've added a few more tips for Jen and anyone else who's wondering the same thing.  More »

Everyone Should Be Short, Accurate, and Interesting

Stop the presses! The Pongo Blog received its very first content critique on Monday, and we like it! So we'd like to turn it over to you, our readers, to let us know what you like to read and what you'd rather we leave out. Read more to see what I'm talking about.  More »

Thoughts on Truth, Truthiness, and Lying on a Resume

A few years ago, Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, introduced us to the concept of truthiness. Basically, a statement has truthiness if you really wish it were (or feel it should be) true. Politicians might embrace the concept of truthiness, but hiring managers call it lying if you do it on your resume. Even though we all know it's stupid to lie on your resume, a recent survey by found that 49% of hiring managers have caught job seekers doing just that. I think the key here is to understand the line between presenting your qualifications in their very best light, and blatantly falsifying them.  More »

Plain Text Resumes: How to Make Them a Little Less Ugly

At some point in your job hunt, you'll probably be asked to submit a resume as plain text (aka, just text or ASCII text). When this happens, you'll have to convert your handsome, professional-looking resume into a bare-bones document with no formatting. Just line after line of ugly, typewriter-ish text. Bleh. Maybe a text resume can't have any bling. But with a little keyboard creativity, you can at least give it some zing. Here's how...  More »

5 More Power Words to Make Your Resume Get Noticed

Your resume should inspire a hiring manager to spend more than a few seconds reading it. That's especially important if there's a lot of competition for the job opening. You want the hiring manager to absorb as much of the information on your resume as possible to increase your chance of being called in for an interview. One way to do that is with strong action words. Here are five of them.  More »

Put Your Brand Name on Your Resume, Not Your Real Name

Putting your name on your resume is not as simple as it seems. Should you use your nickname or your formal name? Include your middle initial? How about Jr. or III? Your academic credentials? There's no absolute rule here, but read on for some guidelines to help you win the name game on your resume.  More »

The Resume Mistake Even Savvy Job Seekers Make

It's relatively easy to avoid the most obvious resume mistakes (typos and such) but there's one resume mistake even the savviest of job seekers often make. It's so obvious once you think about it, yet so easily overlooked amid all the other things you're proofing and verifying and remembering as you submit your application. It's a small, simple thing, but it can either support or detract from the first impression you're making on a prospective employer.  More »

7 Phrases You Should Never Have on Your Resume

When I was a teenager, the comedy of George Carlin, who died this week, was a godsend that could brighten the worst of days. To honor his controversial 7 Words You Can Never Say on TV, here's a list of seven words and phrases you shouldn't include on your resume. Chances are this list won't serve as the basis for a Supreme Court case, as George's did.  More »

5 Steps to Writing a Resume That Can SCORE an Interview

Is it time for you to write or update your resume, but you're not sure how or where to begin? Try this simple five-step method for putting together and writing a resume that can make the difference between landing an interview and landing your job hopes in the wastebasket. The SCORE checklist - Search, Customize, Organize, Research and Edit - can garner great resume results for those who use it.  More »

How to Create a Generic, Useless, Well Written Resume

In this line of work, I get to see lots and lots of resumes. Occasionally I'll see one that's so outstanding it would make a hiring manager weep tears of joy. On the other end of the spectrum you have the ones that are just baffling.  More »

Build Your Resume Like a Newspaper

Two things we hear about resumes: Resumes are not read, they are first skimmed; and your resume has 15 seconds to capture the reader's interest. Both of these statements can apply equally to newspapers and resumes. Resumes are treated a lot like newspapers: They are skimmed first and read only if the reader is interested in something he or she skims.  More »

3 Ways to Conquer the Fact That No One Reads Resumes

Yeah, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nobody reads resumes. Don't feel too bad. I make my living as a web writer and nobody reads web pages, either. What they do is scan them. I'm talking about human eyeballs and human brains taking in and processing information. People skim their eyes around the page, looking for visual elements, words, or phrases that stop them in their tracks. The experts call it information foraging. Here are three tips to help you write a user-friendly resume with built-in eye-catchers that help hiring managers find the good stuff.  More »

Back up Your Soft Skills with Hard Facts

You've probably seen words and phrases like detail oriented and strong communication skills in job ads. And maybe you've used some of the same wording on your resume. But while employers are more likely to look beyond those soft skills to whether you have the qualifications to do the job, you may need to address those soft skills in a job interview and support them with examples.  More »

5 Power Words to Make Your Resume Get Noticed

You don't have a lot of time to grab a hiring manager's attention when he or she begins looking at your resume. Get your resume noticed by using action words that carry more impact than their milder alternatives. Here are five examples of resume power words that outshine their blander cousins.  More »

Top 3 Resume Formats: Which One Is Right for You?

Quick! Name the top three resume formats in use today and who should use which one! OK. Just kidding. If you knew the answer, there'd be no reason for this post. If you're trying to create a resume on your own, or simply want to know the difference between Chronological, Functional, and Hybrid resumes, then this post is for you.  More »

Quiz: Are You Smarter Than a Spell Checker?

Why are typos so common on resumes and cover letters? At least in part, it's because we think spell checkers are more effective than they are. Some career pundits will tell you not to worry about typos, but you and I both know that's silly. Any error is a strike against you, and the hiring manager may have a one-strike-and-you're-out policy. Spell checkers are good at spotting real spelling errors, but they're no help if your typo happens to be a real word. Do you think you're smarter than a spell checker? Take this quick quiz and find out!  More »

The First 10 Seconds Will Make or Break Your Resume

Last Tuesday I spent the day in Boston critiquing resumes at the Women for Hire job fair. I met dozens of smart, talented, eminently qualified job seekers -- and saw a lot of resumes that were NOT passing the 10-second test. Like it or not, hiring authorities typically decide within 10 seconds whether they'll bother to read your resume. Does your resume have an impressive opening that will hook your reader in 10 seconds or less? If not, maybe that's why it's not getting you as many interviews as you'd like.  More »

How to Build a Resume after Many Years with 1 Employer

While job-hopping can create concern among prospective employers, having worked for only one employer for a long time -- say, 10 years -- can also elicit a sense of alarm when a hiring manager looks at your resume. If you're one of these individuals and looking to go elsewhere, there are five questions you need to ask yourself.  More »

Resume Writing: That Was Then, This Is Now

Resume writing has changed in many ways since the days when typewriters roamed the earth. If you're still a bit fuzzy on the current state of the resume, here's a past vs. present rundown.  More »

The Resume That Never Sleeps

This has probably happened to you before: You lose your job or want to change jobs. Your first step is to update your resume, which you haven't since you took your last job - several years ago. This isn't new. Many of us are more inclined to be more reactive than proactive when it comes to managing our careers. But it makes sense to continually update your resume, even if you're not looking for a new job.  More »

4 Easy Steps to a Powerful Resume Objective

Despite its name, your resume Objective is not supposed to state your objective. At least not exclusively. Like every other part of your resume, the Objective should demonstrate the value you can bring to the employer. Here's an easy four-step system for building an impressive Objective that will contribute to your real objective of getting an interview and getting hired.  More »

'So, about This Gap in Your Resume ...'

It's happened to most of us: You were out of work for awhile because of one reason or another. And as you list your work experience in typical reverse chronological order on your resume, there's this time gap that a potential employer will ask you about if you're called in for an interview. But don't go into a job interview unprepared; be ready to explain the gap.  More »

Lie on Your Resume? Don't Be Stupid!

If you ever feel compelled to lie about or exaggerate anything on your resume, here's a word of advice: Don't. Even if you land a job in spite of the lie or exaggeration, there's no substitute for telling the truth. And if three recent high-profile incidents are any indication, it could damage your career.  More »

Top 10 Things to NOT Put in a Resume

With apologies to David Letterman, here's a list of top 10 things you should not put in a resume, along with possible responses from employers - well, more likely kept to themselves.  More »

Job Search Lessons I Learned on HGTV

Here's the cold, hard truth: I am an addict, and HGTV is my drug. (That's Home & Garden Television for the uninitiated). And my addiction is only partly attributable to the insanely good-looking Eric Stromer (more on him later). I'm sharing my secret with you because the real estate principles they teach on HGTV are highly relevant to job seekers.  More »

Top 100 Misspelled Words in Resumes

In my never-ending quest to learn everything there is to know about resumes, I came across the web site of the Kentucky Office of Employment & Training, which has a handy list of 100 commonly misspelled words on resumes, cover letters, and job applications. It's nice to have them all in one place.  More »

Too Many Resume Rules to Remember? Relax.

If you're a job seeker, you've probably read eleventy-billion pieces of advice about what you MUST and MUST NOT do in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews. How can you possibly remember all the rules? You know what? Relax. No one can remember ALL the rules, and not every rule applies in every situation, anyway. So take in all the advice you can stand, use what works for you, and ignore the rest. And if you're still nervous, ponder these truths  More »
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