Newest Articles on Career Choice Guide

Here are the most recent articles on Career Choice Guide, posted immediately as they are written.

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Here's What's New on This Site

Cover Letter Sample

Here is a cover letter sample to give you some ideas and inspiration for writing your own cover letter.

Continue reading "Cover Letter Sample"

Applicant Tracking System Series

Need a refresher on all of the applicant tracking system information that's been covered in the past six articles? Here are links to all of the articles in the applicant tracking system series.

Continue reading "Applicant Tracking System Series"

ATS Optimized Resume Sample

It's time to take everything I've covered in the applicant tracking system (ATS) series and pull it all together into a sample resume. Here's your sample ATS resume.

Continue reading "ATS Optimized Resume Sample"

Saving an Applicant Tracking System Optimized Resume

An applicant tracking system optimized resume needs to be saved in a very specific way to ensure it is formatted correctly to avoid "choking" the ATS software. Here's how to save your resume to ensure you avoid special characters that the software cannot process, and to ensure you have used the file format the employer requires.

Continue reading "Saving an Applicant Tracking System Optimized Resume"

Researching Resume Keywords for ATS Resumes

You may know you need to use effective resume keywords to score well in ATS screening. But do you know how to find those important words and phrases?

Discover how to research keywords so you can create an ATS optimized resume that scores as well as possible.

Continue reading "Researching Resume Keywords for ATS Resumes"

Demystifying Resume Keywords and Phrases on ATS Resumes

ATS software uses resume keywords and phrases to score your resume, so the better you understand how the ATS interprets keywords, the better equipped you'll be to write a resume that scores well.

Creating an effective, keyword rich ATS optimized resume is not a simple matter of stuffing the document with as many words as possible. Here's how to really use keywords effectively on your ATS optimized resume.

Continue reading "Demystifying Resume Keywords and Phrases on ATS Resumes"

Resume Formatting for Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems require very specific resume formatting. This software has some limitations, and if you don't format your resume correctly, it will not be interpreted correctly by the ATS software.

Here's how to format your resume for ATS screening.

Continue reading "Resume Formatting for Applicant Tracking Systems"

Do You Need an ATS Optimized Resume?

You may have heard the hype about ATS optimized resumes. Some experts will tell you that every employer is using applicant tracking systems to screen resumes. The fact is, that is just not true.

Here's the first article in a series of six about ATS optimized resumes, with an overview of how this software is used by employers, who actually uses applicant tracking systems, and how to tell if you need to use ATS resumes in your own job search.

Continue reading "Do You Need an ATS Optimized Resume?"

Sample Career Counselor Resume

Sample combination style career counselor resume with formatting tips.

Continue reading "Sample Career Counselor Resume"

Career Change Resume Sample

Sample career change resume shows you how to highlight your most relevant skills and education to switch into a new career.

Continue reading "Career Change Resume Sample"

Choosing a Career the Smart Way

Choosing a career is one of the most impactful decisions you can make. Don't leave it up to chance! The tools, resources and strategies here will help you understand yourself and the jobs that interest you so you can make a choice that is right for you.

Continue reading "Choosing a Career the Smart Way"

Common Resume Writing Mistakes

Find out the most common resume writing mistakes that are easily avoidable, so you can prevent these costly errors.

Continue reading "Common Resume Writing Mistakes"

When to Capitalize Job Titles - Cover Letter Grammar

One of the most common problems people have with writing cover letters is not knowing when to capitalize job titles.

Like it or not, employers see your cover letters as a representation of you at your very best, and they infer things about your work habits based on the contents of your cover letters, so they must be pristine.

When to Capitalize Job Titles in Cover Letters

The short answer is almost never. People frequently make the mistake of capitalizing job titles in cover letters when none are needed.

A job title takes a capital if…

  1. You are writing the signature line in a letter

    Example: Stephen Thomas, Vice President

  2. The job title is used as part of the person's name

    Example: Vice President Thomas attended the conference.

You won't typically encounter either of those situations when writing a cover letter.

When writing the signature line of a letter:

At the risk of stating the obvious, most of the time, people are job searching because they are out of work. That means they won't have a job title to attach to the signature line and will just sign off with a name and no job title.

However, if you do have a title to include after your name in the signature line, it should be capitalized.

When using the job title as part of the person's name:

This example is typically used only when referring to another person. You would not normally refer to yourself as Vice President Thomas.

Your cover letter is all about you, not other people, so this rule is rarely applicable when writing cover letters.

How Job Titles Are Expressed in Cover Letters

Usually, when you mention a job title in a cover letter, you are referring to a job you once held.

Example: I worked as a quality control technician for five years.

Any time you refer to a job you once had, or a current job, in the body of your cover letter, the job title does not require a capital.

Pride and Attention-Getting Capitals

Sometimes people incorrectly use capitals on job titles out of pride. They feel their job is important; therefore, it deserves a capital.

Other times, people use capitals incorrectly to direct attention to the job title. A capitalized word stands out in the body of a letter more than a word written in all lower case letters, but it is still incorrect.

People make the mistake of capitalizing job titles all the time!

Granted, some employers won't know this grammar rule and won't penalize you for incorrect capitalization of job titles, but those employers who are aware of the rule might form a negative opinion of you.

Employers review so many applications, they will use any reason to exclude someone from being considered for the job. Don't let a stray capital exclude you from a great job!

Important Resume Writing Information - Busting 9 Job Search Myths

There's a lot of terrible resume writing information floating around online that can really get in the way of landing the job you want. Here is the truth about some common job search myths.

Continue reading "Important Resume Writing Information - Busting 9 Job Search Myths"

Writing a Winning Resume - The Most Important Thing You Need to Know

Discover the single most important step in writing a winning resume which is skipped by most job seekers.

Continue reading "Writing a Winning Resume - The Most Important Thing You Need to Know"

12 Rules for Good Resume Writing

Good resume writing requires you to follow some very specific rules and conventions. Here are 12 rules you need to follow to create a winning resume.

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How to Create a Resume in 12 Steps

Learn how to create a resume the shows you at your best with this 12 step guide.

Continue reading "How to Create a Resume in 12 Steps"

The Resume Writing Guide - FREE from 7/24/2013 to 7/26/2013

My ebook, The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Creating a Winning Resume, is free on Amazon from 7/24/2013 to 7/26/2013.

It will help you create a resume that shows you in your best light and get back to work.

Grab your copy here while it is free:

How to Prepare a Resume and Get Back to Work

Learn how to prepare a resume that gets employers' attention and gets you back to work with The Resume Writing Guide.

Continue reading "How to Prepare a Resume and Get Back to Work"

Career Decision Test

Are you trying to make a work-related decision and feeling stuck? Try this simple and effective career decision test.

Continue reading "Career Decision Test"

Printable Job Skills List

Use this printable job skills list to find out if you have the skills employers in your industry are looking for. Find out how here.

Continue reading "Printable Job Skills List"

Printable Job Interview Strategy Planning Guide

This free, printable job interview strategy planning guide will help you track every detail of your interviews, determine what you're doing right, and what you need to fix to find work.

Continue reading "Printable Job Interview Strategy Planning Guide"

The Resume Writing Guide - 99¢ on Amazon

The Resume Writing Guide book cover

I am thrilled to announce that my new ebook, The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Creating a Winning Resume, is available on! This book has been a long time coming, so I'm happy to finally be able to share everything I've learned through writing over 1000 resumes.

I've seen a lot of resume books in my time, and while there are some helpful books that provide good general explanations of the dos and don'ts of resume writing, I've never found a good book that takes you one step at a time through the process of creating a resume and helps you make good decisions about how to write your own resume based on your specific background, strengths and challenges.

That's why I decided to write my own book - Because the book I'd love to be able to give to clients, and the book I would love to have read 14 years ago when I was first learning how to write resumes didn't seem to exist.

The Resume Writing Guide takes you through the actual process of creating a resume one step at a time, carefully guiding you through each decision and answering all of the "what ifs" people normally worry about.

  • What if I've been out of work for a long time?
  • What if I'm making a career change?
  • What if my best experience is through volunteer work?
  • What if I'm a new graduate and don't have a lot of work experience?
  • What if I'm worried about age discrimination?
  • What if I've held a lot of jobs in a short period of time?
  • What if I've done basically the same job at a few different companies?

The answers to all of those "what ifs" are in there.

I've broken the resume writing process into small, manageable steps. In each chapter, you complete one or two tasks and make decisions about your resume based on your specific circumstances. If you complete all of the tasks to the best of your ability, by the time you reach the end of the book, you will have written a resume that shows you in your best possible light.

You don't need a Kindle to read this book. You can read it on any computer or tablet using Amazon's free software available here

One More Thing…

In order to get the word out about my new book, I'm offering it for a short time for only 99¢. You can get your copy here:

16 Good Resume Examples

16 good resume examples show you how to structure your resume for a variety of situations.

Continue reading "16 Good Resume Examples"

Sample Manufacturing Resume - Wastewater Operator

This sample manufacturing resume for a wastewater operator shows how to demonstrate increased responsibility over time at a single company.

Continue reading "Sample Manufacturing Resume - Wastewater Operator"

Music Teacher Sample Resume

Music teacher sample resume showing how to avoid repetition if you've held the same job at more than one company.

Continue reading "Music Teacher Sample Resume"

Quality Assurance Resume

Here's a quality assurance resume written in the chronological style. This resume format is a good choice for anyone who has a solid work history.

Continue reading "Quality Assurance Resume"

High School Graduate Resume

High school graduation is just around the corner. That means young people should be job searching! Here's a resume for a recent high school grad.

Continue reading "High School Graduate Resume"

Forklift Operator Resume

This forklift operator resume shows what to do when your most relevant experience is in the past, and the work you are currently doing is not particularly relevant to the job you are seeking.

Continue reading "Forklift Operator Resume"

Administrative Assistant Resume

This administrative assistant resume shows you how to structure your work history section if you've worked at a lot of contract jobs through a temporary agency.

The trick with showing contract jobs on your resume is you don't want to list a lot of separate short-term jobs because, at a glance, it will look like you've been job jumping.

Here's how to show several short term jobs in one longer entry.

Continue reading "Administrative Assistant Resume"

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