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Lisa Rangel

Ask the Industry Expert About Resume Development

Lisa Rangel

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Lisa Rangel is Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes, and a graduate of Cornell University

Click each question to listen to the reply.

I have my résumé on Monster, CareerBuilder, and other job boards, but I am not getting any phone calls for the jobs that I want. What can I do?

Summary

Are you searchable? To be searchable means that hiring managers can find you on the Internet, whether it is on a résumé Web page, on job boards, or on LinkedIn. Placing key words and phrases used by your profession at the beginning of your résumé is an important technique. Research job descriptions in your field of interest and subtly incorporate relevant search phrases into your résumé. That way, when hiring managers input those search phrases, your résumé will have equal opportunity to be noticed.

Try industry-specific job boards. Join LinkedIn. Create new contacts, and ask them for an exploratory or informational interview. Attend networking events for your industry. You must be proactive, continuously looking for contacts. Be searchable, and stay current on topics and events in your field.

Successful candidates make new contacts weekly. Rather than wait for a hiring manager to find you, market yourself vigorously.

You mentioned using action verbs. I have many responsibilities in my present position. Is it appropriate to begin a bullet with "Responsible for . . ." since it is all-encompassing? What action verbs should I use in my résumé?

Summary

Phrases such as “Responsible for” or “Duties include” are passive and are a sign that a list of duties follows—-boring!

Hiring managers want to know how you made a difference in your past organization. This is your opportunity to set yourself apart.

Some examples of colorful and action-driven verbs include:

Direct, develop, streamline, institute, define, create, implement, initiate, lead, integrate, audit, research, reorganize, mediate, act as a liaison to, promote, and present.

For past employment, remember to use past tense.

What is the best way to compose a cover letter when applying for an outside position or an internal interview? Do hiring managers even read cover letters?

Summary

When writing a cover letter, your goals are to capture and retain the attention of readers, convince them that you are qualified for the position, and express your passion and enthusiasm for the work and the company. The key is to do all of this in a succinct and direct manner. Rather than depend on the hiring managers to make the connections between your résumé information and their job descriptions, make it easy. Begin your letter by indicating which position you are applying for, then explain how your education and experience make you a quality candidate for the position or promotion.

In the body of the cover letter, expand upon your educational and experiential accomplishments. Use the job description to subtly outline, point by point, how your background makes you ideal for the role. It is not a matter of citing your achievements in a vacuum. The key is to list your experiences in a way that proves you are qualified for the position. Tie it together in a neat little package in the form of a cover letter.

Executives in my organization have been promoted without a Cornell University certificate program or further educational training. How will this certificate help increase my chances of landing a promotion or a better position outside my current firm?

Summary

This is an excellent question. Yes, professionals have advanced without certain educational achievements throughout the course of business. But the marketplace has never been as competitive as it is currently. To excel in your profession today, you need to do everything you can to gain tangible experiences that will set you apart from other candidates vying for a coveted position or promotion.

As an alumnus of a Cornell University certificate program, you join the preferred group of alumni educated and challenged by the elite Cornell faculty. You apply this progressive teaching to your real-world position to create better experiences for yourself, your co-workers, and your classmates. You will expand your expertise, network among classmates, and create a pool of knowledge, gaining insights into perplexing issues that will arise throughout your career. Class and certificate programs taken through eCornell teach you to think in an agile, solutions-driven manner—which is an extremely desirable trait in today’s marketplace.

As C. K. Pralahad states in his article, "In Volatile Times, Agility Rules" in the September 10, 2009, issue of BusinessWeek, "The winners won’t stop focusing on quality, cost, and efficiency, but they’ll be paying a lot more attention to agility, too." Rest assured that you are preparing yourself for the ever-changing marketplace we currently find ourselves in, and will continue to be in for the long term.