Job hunters can improve the odds of getting their resumes on top of the pile by using bullet points and injecting the "wow factor," panelists said in a Newsday Live program.
Maria Themistocleous-Frey, president and founder of Executive Consultants of New York Corp. in Islandia, a career strategy firm, said that when building a resume, it's important to offer context for listed accomplishments.
For instance, if someone grew sales by 10% at their company, they should explain how they did it.
"The how factor is the wow factor," she said.
Themistocleous-Frey also suggested that candidates highlight their core competencies as bullet points below the opening summary on their resume.
Panelist Leah Arnold, director of career, technical and adult education at Eastern Suffolk BOCES, said that job hunters need to research their target organization and have that reflected on their resume.
"Customize your resume for that job," she said. "Do your homework. Know what the company is, who they're looking for and what their mission is."
The panelists were questioned by Newsday anchor Faith Jessie and labor and employment reporter Victor Ocasio. The webinar was recorded on Tuesday.
Themistocleous-Frey said that skilled job candidates may land a job even if they lack certifications or specialized degrees specified in a posting.
Expertise "supersedes that piece of paper, that degree, that certification," she said. "The job description is a wish list. They will never find that perfect candidate."
Arnold said that candidates without college diplomas may find openings as builders, electricians, plumbers, automotive technicians or health care workers.
Factors that can eliminate resumes from consideration include errors and graphic elements, the panelists said.
"Make sure you proofread," Arnold said. "We often discard ones that are full of errors."
Themistocleous-Frey said that some computer systems cannot process resumes that have graphic elements, including pictures, logos or watermarks.
"Those things can throw you into spam," she said.
The panelists also said that candidates should connect with other people during their job hunt.
"Resume writing is not a solitary event," said Arnold, who suggested finding someone to provide feedback on the document.
"Isolation is not an answer," said Themistocleous-Frey, who suggested volunteering or joining a Meetup group.
Newsday Live videos can be watched at newsdaylive.com.