Some job searchers love them, but most consider an Application Summary a necessary evil. All it takes is one call from a prospective employer who you don't recognize to convince you that you need better record-keeping.
Note: Because they may be required to show their job search activity, some job searchers depend on their application summaries to support their unemployment reporting.
What is an Application Summary?
It's a written record used to track the progress of job applications and need for followup activity. It typically includes the job title, job description, date you applied, any materials you submitted, names and contact information, and comments.
How can my Application Summary help me evaluate my job search progress?
An Application Summary is worth every minute you spend when a recruiter calls you "out of the blue" three months after you submitted an application!
In reviewing your Application Summary you can identify which applications:
Below is a sample Application Summary with many rows deleted to be able to show it on one page. Note that entries are hyper-linked back to the original documents. Copy each job posting into a separate Word document and file it in a folder along with the cover letter and other documents related to that application. The job posting will disappear once the posting period is over, never to be recovered. Many of us had to learn this lesson the hard way!
- Require follow-up
- Should be moved to the bottom of the list as "Inactive"
- Produced the most interest from potential employers
It's especially important to hyper-link to the resume and other marketing materials that you used if you tend to use different resumes for different types of jobs. You don't want to walk into the interview later with copies of a different resume!
Out of all of the techniques I've recommended to my clients, this is the one that seems to have resulted in the most job offers. I think it's because putting together a group of people to advise you in your job search requires you to think about what you need and who can help. Since most successful job candidates land their new job with the help of someone they know already or meet along the way, it makes sense. An additional reason might be that, having someone to ask, job searchers ask questions they might not ask otherwise.
What is the saying, "It takes a village..."? Oh, yeah.
What is a Board of Advisors?
It's a group of people that you invite to advise you throughout your job search. They can be local or virtual or a mixture. You can meet with your advisors as a group or separately, on a weekly conference call, a daily coffee shop breakfast, or a monthly dinner at your home. The dynamics and structure are up to you and your advisors.
How can a Board of Advisors help me?
- Your Board of Advisors can:
- Recommend target companies for your Target Company List
- Introduce you to people on your Desired Contacts List
- Dialogue with you to identify strengths and skills
- Review your marketing materials
- Advise you on all aspects of your job search
- Provide moral support when you need it
- Practice interview and debrief your actual interviews with you
- Review your resume and other marketing materials.
- Help you "talk through" a challenge or sticky issue
These people will be more engaged in your job search. They will have a stake in your success because of their role in the process.
Here's a "fill in the blank" diagram that can help you select your advisors:
Don't let anyone convince you that resumes are not relevant, because, unlike other job search elements, resumes are as important today as they have been in the past. Videos, mind maps, and other "gimmicky" resumes, won't cut it in most cases. (There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare enough to be omitted from discussion here.)
Here's the bottom line on resumes:
A resume is a teaser, a provocateur, a hook, that is designed, or SHOULD be designed, for consumption in the shortest amount of time AND compels the reader to want to know more.
How can I make sure I emphasize what I should on my resume?
First, your resume needs to reflect your Ideal Work Situation Statements. Be sure you review your Job Search Datasheet and at least ten job postings for your desired role. Select the knowledge, skills, and experience that overlap. Then, emphasize these in two places: your resume summary AND your accomplishment statements.
[By the way, since you will be telling the stories behind your accomplishments in your interviews, you will have another opportunity to emphasize these same knowledge, skills, and experience. It's all about congruency.]
How can I make sure that my resume fits with the job I want?
When you have completed your resume, compare it to a job posting of your desired position using Jobscan. If you don't have at least an 80% match, either you or your resume is not ready for a successful search for that position.
What format do you recommend for my resume?
While I don't want to be overly dogmatic about all aspects of your job search, I do have a preferred format because it has proven itself so often for my clients. It seems to be timeless. Maybe that's because it's easy to read with adequate white space and no gimmicks. Now this doesn't mean that your resume should be exactly like this, but it should be close.
Don't get creative with your resume! You'll have lots of opportunity to show off your creativity in a job search, but your resume is not one of those places. Your potential boss is rarely the first person to see your resume. Your goal is to make it through that first hurdle.
Check out this JOBquest-recommended resume format.
Here are some great sample resumes for a number of different industries
What shouldn't I do on my resume?
What not to do on your resume
What should be at the very beginning of the resume?
Here are a couple of resume summaries you may want to use:
How can I display my career at its best?
After you have listed your work experience on your resume, review it holistically and carefully. Ask yourself: Does it tell a story of a career that has progressed appropriately (or even spectacularly!)?
If there are any "off-notes" or entries that take away from your story, minimize them or re-word carefully to show how they fit into your story.
Ex. you had a title in between two other positions that sounds like a demotion. Lump the three positions together on your resume, instead of separately.
What do I do about jobs that don't fit in or that I did long ago, but I want to highlight?
You have to be totally honest on your resume and that means including all employment within the last 10 years or so. You'd prefer, however, to omit jobs that don't add to your "career story", like that six weeks you spent selling used cars for your brother-in-law because you were unemployed and desperate. Or, you have the opposite, but equally challenging, situation. You want to include relevant, but ancient, experience without listing the three irrelevant jobs in between.
The solution in either situation? Create a new section on your resume: "Previous Positions Held" for jobs you want to de-emphasize and pull out of the chronological resume. Or, in the latter situation, create a "Notable Experience" section to highlight a particular job from the past.
Example: I moved into learning and development, then employee performance consulting after successfully practicing as a CPA, first with KPMG, then my own firm. I feel that my financial background and consulting experience add to my "street cred" for current work, so I want them on my resume. But they are now almost 20 years old. So I aggregate my CPA experience into one entry without accomplishments, etc. like so:
KPMG/Salazar Bourgeois PC, Houston, TX 1977 – 1995
CPA, co-owner of public accounting firm
What is the difference between job descriptions and accomplishments?
The job description is a summary of the job as you were hired to perform it. Accomplishments are how you did it faster, smarter, or at less expense or time.
What are the basics of creating powerful accomplishments?
Here's how to know if your accomplishment statement is ready for "prime time":
Tell them you oversaw the construction of a $3M factory and sure, that sounds impressive.
But most of your resume readers will have been in business long enough to ask, "What if it was supposed to cost $2M?"
Tell them you oversaw the construction of a $3M factory in less than one year at $.5M under budget and now it's sounding even more impressive. But those same readers, who are longing to throw at least one more resume in the "NO" pile, ask, "What if it was supposed to take eight months?"
Tell them you oversaw the construction of a $3M factory on deadline and $.5M under budget, which operated at 95% capacity within two months increasing market share by 10%.
No more questions. They're too busy listening.
Ex. if you are a Project Manager, enter Project Manager in the search box or
go to groups that would include project managers to find names of peers.
Look for well-articulated accomplishment statements and follow their lead.
What are some tips for listing for my education and professional development?
Here you want to keep it simple so the reader can easily track what education and training you have had:
- List your degrees first
- Include your GPA only if impressive
- Add in any scholarships you earned
- For professional development, omit dates and names of training suppliers
What words are currently recommended for inclusion in resumes?
While resumes are not "over", boring, generic, over-used words and details best left for the interview are.
Words to dump and words to use on your resume
Power words to use on your resume
What if a recruiter wants to adjust my resume for a particular job?
Say, Yes". The recruiter knows what the prospective employer wants.
Please share this post with someone who is in a job search!