While I am busy writing these articles, I really could use a little help around the house, so I decided that maybe it’s high time to hire a minion.
I placed an ad in the “Minion Daily”:
Help Wanted: Minion needed to do light housework, help with homework, and walk the dog. Must be punctual, wear blue overalls, and be good with dogs and kids. Caution: our dog really likes to chew apart stuffed toys.
All of the minions I have seen appear equally adorable and immature to me, so help me pick one of the three responses I have received.
- Have done housekeeping
- I like petting little dogs
- I got good grades in minion school
- I own lots of overalls
I have been in two blockbuster movies called Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, in which I played a minion. If you don’t know what a minion is, we are yellow, cylindrical beings with either one or two eyes. We may look the same, but if you look closely you will be able to see differences between our eyes, hair, height, weight, and clothes. We speak Minionese, which is a combination of many languages including French, English, Italian, Russian, Korean. We also make up our own phrases, such as “bee do bee do bee do” and “backo backo.” We do understand English. We find anything to do with buttocks extremely funny, especially if one of us can make copies of our bottom on a photocopier machine. We have an uncontrollable craving for fruit, especially bananas and apples (“bapples”). In the movies, I play with kids and am shown vacuuming, though I think the vacuum was off, and the sound effects made it sound like it was on.
HOUSEKEEPER: In the past four years, I have cleaned houses for five different families according to very strict standards. I am highly skilled at: vacuuming, mopping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, dishwashing, laundry (including folding), and washing windows with the help of a ladder.
HOMEWORK HELPER: For all the five families, I also helped with kids from grades 1 through 8 with homework in all subjects. I am able to help the kids be focused and finish their homework on time with positive reinforcement and rewards, but I am careful not to do the homework for the kids.
DOG WALKER: Two of the families I have worked with have dogs, including one large German shepherd. I was nervous at first with the dogs, so I took a certification course in dog handling and have no trouble since with not only walking dogs, but also helping to train dogs.
TIMELINESS: In the four years I have worked, I have been late only once, and that is because an ice cream truck abducted me.
APPROPRIATE ATTIRE: I own 3 pairs of blue overalls, and I wear one of them every day.
The Different Formats
What did you think? Was it pretty clear which format best highlighted the applicant’s skills and abilities?
Each of these minions used a different format commonly seen in federal resumes these days. Let’s take a look at each one in further detail.
- Very popular
- Easiest to write
- People think I am easy to read.
- But most of the time I don’t have enough information or I don’t hit the necessary keywords.
THE BIG BLOCK RESUME
I am the big block resume, and you can probably tell how I got my name. People used to use me a lot when the Resumix system was still in place, and even though Resumix has been retired, many people still use me. Resumix was a system where resumes were first evaluated by a computer for keywords. Now, however, all resumes submitted through USAJOBS are actually read by a human being first, not a computer. The reason the big block resume shouldn’t be used is obvious. People hate reading a big block. That is because it is missing a very important design element called white space. White space is how your eyes know what to read and how the information on the page is organized. If you don’t have any white space on your paper, then the eyes have no idea where to go, and reading the big block is really hard work that takes an incredible amount of additional concentration, especially right about now when you are in the middle of the block. Most people will completely lose interest in reading what you so carefully wrote, no matter how interesting or helpful the content might be. Moreover, most people using me as their format are simply taking all of the duties listed their position description and letting the lines all run together into this big block, creating something that is not only difficult to read, but also incredibly boring. You would not believe how long some of the blocks people submit are. We have seen many that are well over a page. Do your HR specialist and your application and huge favor and pick ANY format other than me.
OUTLINE FORMAT RESUME
STAND OUT: The Outline Format was developed by Kathryn Troutman in 1995 and has been accepted and highly praised by Human Resources specialist as the easiest to read.
KEYWORD HEADERS: Keywords are the orange traffic cones of your resume. The HR specialist scanning the resume can immediately jump to the keywords they are looking for to find your experience with a particular knowledge, skill, or ability from the announcement.
ALL CAPS HEADERS: This is another tool we use to make the keywords stand out even more. We don’t have the option to use underline and bold in the USAJOBS resume builder, so we are limited to using all caps. But doesn’t it work really well?
PLENTY OF DETAILS: Your paragraphs should make a great case on how much experience you have with the topic keyword. Don’t just list boring duties that no one else can understand. Write for someone who does not know your line of business, and provide plenty of supporting details.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Telling one or two significant accomplishments that you have had at the end of a job block really helps the HR specialist to visualize your level of success at your job. We like to present these accomplishments as stories to make them come alive, using our CCAR format. You can add them into your outline format paragraphs or set them apart with bullets at the end of the job block.
As a federal resume writer, I have literally taken resumes that looked like Minion A’s and transformed them into ones that look like Minion C’s. It’s possible—and necessary—if you want to get hired.
The common sense tip for your federal resume is: turn your bulleted or big block resume into an outline format federal resume!
Paulina Chen has a passion for taking the complex and making it simple for people to understand. Paulina has been a graphic designer, developmental editor, and webmaster for The Resume Place for over 10 years. Since receiving her Certified Federal Job Search Trainer certification, she has been eager to show federal applicants that writing your best possible federal resume is within your reach. If you need more writing help with your federal resume, contact us for an absolutely free estimate. If you need expert advice or training, Kathryn Troutman the “Federal Resume Guru” is still your best bet on the planet.
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* Image credit: http://protagonist.wikia.com/wiki/File:Despicable-me-minions.jpg