For the first time since the recession, the national unemployment rate declined – from 10% in December, 2009 to an adjusted rate of 9.7% in January. That's the good news. The bad news is that the economy is still losing jobs – 20,000 more jobs were lost in January. If that leaves you looking for work, you're likely to find some fairly stiff competition. But if your resume looks thin on paper, don't despair - there's still a way to spin things so that your future employer calls you back for that all-important second interview. Take a look at the following before and after examples of work experience, to see what a dramatic difference a little wording can make. (Find out how professional resume writers can help you land a coveted career, in Resume Scribes Seal The Deal.)
IN PICTURES: 7 Tools Of The Trade
- Before: Answered phones, made copies, filed, sorted incoming mail.
- After: Coordinated communication between outside clients, vendors and partners with department staff; created and managed system to prioritize and improve information flow resulting in improved department efficiency and employee satisfaction.
- Before: Received and sorted mail from mailman for company employees.
- After: Efficiently processed incoming correspondence for entire company; met regularly with manager for customer service assignments; worked directly with outside corporate partners; improved overall efficiency of corporate mailroom.
Grocery Store Stock Worker
- Before: Stocked shelves
- After: Efficiently managed retail sale product display and assisted with customer fulfillment to ensure satisfaction; improved sales by maintaining appropriate inventory and advising customers about store promotions; advised staff and management about potential inventory issues.
- Before: Mowed and edged lawns.
- After: Worked directly with project manager to implement daily plans and schedules for ground maintenance to meet customer expectations; recommended potential improvements for customer properties regarding planting, fertilizing and mowing; operated power tools and maintained both hand tools and large equipment.
- Before: Watched six children ages seven months to two years old.
- After: Performed a wide variety of tasks to promote healthy child development and ensure child safety and security; monitored children's play and provided wide variety of age-appropriate activities; prepared healthy food and refreshments on regular schedule; maintained accurate records of children's personal habits and activities; reported daily routines, incidents and activities to parents; wrote contracts and managed monthly client billing.
It's a rough job market out there. While you should never lie about your previous experience, you should give yourself the credit you deserve. You may not have had any of these specific jobs, but each example provides strategies you can adapt for your personal experiences. Put that creative thinking cap on and tweak your resume to market yourself in a way that sets you apart from the pack - or at least make a hiring manager's day with a good laugh!
Still feeling uninformed? Check out last week's Water Cooler Finance to see what's been happening in financial news.