GREENSBURG — In her eight-and-a-half years as a human resources specialist, Nemia Cooper, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, has seen a lot of resumes.
Many have been good; many have been bad. For Cooper, though, “bad” does not necessarily mean a lack of qualifications, an insufficient work history or an unimpressive list of references. For Cooper, in fact, the difference between a “good” resume and a “bad” one is often a matter of presentation; presentation can mean the difference between a candidate landing the job and a resume being thrown aside, as Cooper sifts through the stacks, looking for the one resume that stands out.
Effective resume writing is not an automatic skill, though. Fortunately for his students, Decatur County Community Schools (DCCS) Alternative Education and Vocational Teacher Andy Honeycutt understands the importance of constructing an eye-catching, easy-to-read resume.
That’s why, on Tuesday morning, Honeycutt invited Cooper and her Honda HR colleague, Marilee Hoffman, to speak about effective resume writing to one of his Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education Classes at South Decatur High School (SDHS).
Some of the guidelines Cooper offered might seem like common-sense rules for resume writing – proofread multiple times; make sure to keep the phone number/address information updated and valid; keep things as succinct as possible. Other bits of advice the HR compensation specialist offered might not seem quite so obvious. For instance, contrary to prevailing belief, using relatives as references is not strictly forbidden.
“Obviously, you don’t want to just list your mother,” Cooper said, but added that, if a relative has valid knowledge of a job-seeker’s skills, work history or ability to do a particular job, then it is okay to list that relative as a reference.
Cooper also implored the students to be mindful of the email account from which they send their resumes. In example, she related one job seeker she once encountered who mailed his resume from an account with the word “fuzzy” in it, paired with another word for part of the human anatomy not suitable for print here. HR specialists, she said, won’t find such “gag” email addresses amusing in the least. More than likely, in fact, the resume from such an account won’t be taken seriously or even read.
She also advised the class to include a list of references with the resume, forgoing the oft-observed “references available upon request” footer. She also warned students to be mindful regarding pictures and other information published to social media websites like Facebook. Employers, she said, routinely check such sites to gain a better understanding of character and other work-related attributes.
Other tips Cooper offered, included using descriptive, action verbs to describe job duties and keeping the resume – not including references – to one page.
Cooper ended by inviting the students to email her a copy of their resumes for help in getting them application ready. At least one of Tuesday’s students, 18-year-old SDHS Senior Andrea Applegate vowed to take advantage of Cooper’s offer.
Applegate started her first job in May at a local clothing store and intends to study Radiology Nursing at Ivy Tech after graduation. “I’m going to start classes in the summer,” she said. “The sooner I can get started, the sooner I can get finished and get a job.”
Applegate found Cooper’s presentation extremely helpful. “I’ve never had this explained to me,” she said. “And this gives me a much better idea about what employers are looking for.”
That type of understanding is exactly what Honeycutt hopes for. The DCCS teacher has been an educator for 36 years.
“It’s my job to prepare them [students] for continuing training after high school,” the veteran, 36-year educator said. “Be it in college or technical school, on-the-job training or just going out into the workforce after graduation, it’s my job to prepare them and teach them what it will take to at least get an interview.”
For Honeycutt then, a successful job search – a successful career – starts with an effective resume. “I want to see them go out into the world and be successful,” he said, adding that Cooper and Hoffman offered extremely helpful information. If the kids at Tuesday’s presentation decide they want to shoot for a job at Honda, he added, Cooper laid out a blueprint for getting their foot in the door.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011