Beat the Blue-Collar Resume Blues
A resume is a chance for job seekers to make a great first impression, yet many blue-collar workers pay little attention to this important document. Follow these tips to create a resume that gets noticed.
Use the Resume Builder
If you don't have a resume and aren't sure where to start, use the Resume Builder to guide you. The Builder walks you through the process step by step, making it easy to develop your first resume.
Open with a Bang
The first section of your resume should pack the strongest punch. Steven Provenzano, president of Streamwood, Illinois-based Top Secret Resumes and author of Blue Collar Resumes, recommends leading with an objective statement - also sometimes called a career summary or career profile -- that emphasizes key skills.
"A resume is a marketing piece," he says. "Most resumes strictly list jobs, but you want to go beyond that by writing a summary of the most important skills for your current objective. Employers should want to hire you from the summary alone."
On the Resume Builder, use the Objective section to present your summary. Think about what employers are looking for, and incorporate your matching skills and other credentials. Include these facts:
- Your profession/trade specialty
- Licenses, permits and certifications
- Years of experience in the field
- Important skills and industry keywords
- Equipment or machinery you can operate
- A brief mention of top career accomplishments
Work Your Work History
The Work Experience section is your chance to prove your level of skill and accomplishment. Instead of writing a boring list of job duties, show how your work performance contributed positively to your employer's operation. "Quantify your accomplishments, and paint a picture of what you achieved," advises Provenzano.
Blue-collar workers often have trouble identifying their achievements, because they feel they are just doing their jobs. Provenzano recommends thinking about responsibilities and achievements you may take for granted to include in your resume. For example, tout your excellent attendance or safety record as an achievement. If you're having a hard time identifying your accomplishments, ask yourself these questions:
- Did you win any awards or receive incentives for your work performance?
- Did you earn superior marks on performance evaluations?
- Did you train new employees?
- Did your work enable the team to complete a project on time or on budget?
- Did you earn a perfect safety rating?
- Did you complete any special training?
- Did you build a reputation for reliability?
- Did you complete all jobs with zero defects or errors?
- Did you recommend or implement processes that improved efficiency, productivity or workflow?
- Did you submit all reports on time?
Mention Related Education
Employers like to see hands-on education and training related to your trade. Use your Education section to list schools attended, vocational training, continuing education, certifications and licenses. If you completed a program, list courses completed so employers understand the scope of your formal training.
Provenzano says that grammatical and spelling errors are common on blue-collar resumes. Avoid embarrassing mistakes that could cost you the job by thoroughly proofreading your resume. Show your resume to at least a couple of people with strong writing skills to make sure the document is error-free. Treat your resume as an advertisement for your services, and the extra attention to detail could lead to better job opportunities.