Resume and Job Search

“The resume focuses on you and the past. The cover letter focuses on the employer and the future. Tell the hiring professional what you can do to benefit the organization in the future. (12)”
Joyce Lain Kennedy, Cover Letters for Dummies

I am 7 months into my volunteer term, and the pressure to determine my next steps after its completion is on. In preparation for my transition, my AmeriCorps supervisor organized a resume and job search professional development training for me and the other the VISTA at my site.

My main takeaway from the training is that it is important to use language that matches the language of the job description and organization language especially if the organization uses an Automatic Tracking System (ATS). In the case of an ATS, a computer scans your resume searching for keywords that match the job description. Applications are scored based on the type of frequency of matching key words. An applicant is either pushed through to the next round or rejected based on their score.

Resume and Job Search Training Takeaways

  • Do not put anything in the header or footer of your resume
    • Automatic scanners cannot read information in this area
  • Match your resume language with the language on the job description (i.e. design rather than plan)
  • Save fancy formats for creative fields
    • Standard resume formats allow employers to read your resume within a short amount of time
  • Use months rather than seasons (i.e. April 2016 instead of Spring 2016)
  • Making a connection on LinkedIn is comparable to exchanging business cards
  • Color code responsibilities on job descriptions according to your qualification (i.e. green=confident , yellow=some experience , red=not experience)


I wonder where I will be a year from now. No, I wonder where my hard work will lead me a year from now.

=-) Domonique