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Resume Writing Tips for HR Professionals

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The following article highlights nine important areas of focus for human resources professionals composing resumes. The author emphasizes demonstrating potential contributions to a prospective employer and addresses how human resources professionals should approach and present certain aspects of their work during a recession.

Writing a resume is a difficult task even in the best of times. Based on this document, employers judge whether the prospective candidate is suitable for further scrutiny. A human resources professional imagines the consequences of hiring a new employee as clearly as possible and comes to a decision which is in the interest of not only individual entities of the company but the organization as a whole.

Before reaching hiring conclusions the human resources professional always includes those who can provide accurate guidance. Human resources professionals need three major skills: analysis, clarity, and vision. Upon analysis of the situation, an objective opinion should be formed and taken up for further assessment.

When the economy is in a recession, the general business sentiment is affected as the interdependencies of various businesses get highlighted. For example, if one of your main customers is having financial difficulties, your organization is going to feel the pinch even though its internal assets, including its people, may be the best in the industry. The aim of this article is to help you, the human resources professional, present yourself in the best possible manner to prospective employers.

A resume should contain your contact information, a list of your past employers beginning with your most recent employer, salary details (both present and expected), and lists of your achievements and special skills.

Of all the points mentioned above, it is the last (lists of achievements and special skills) to which you should pay maximum attention. This is because prospective employers will be most interested in knowing about your professional achievements so that they can gauge whether you will fit into their organizational environments.

Please take care not to project yourself as a ''know it all'' while writing this section. If you were part of a team that successfully executed a strategic plan, do not hesitate to give due credit to other team members. But do not forget to include certificates or recognitions that you have received for your initiatives.

Another point to remember is that you may need to show some discretion regarding the details of the work you have done for your current organization. How much do you disclose? Refer to your current organization’s disclosure policy and remain well within acceptable limits.

The following are some areas to concentrate on while preparing your resume:

1. Your Role in the Hiring Process

During a recession employees at the lower end of the corporate structure tend to stay put because job opportunities are limited. However, at the higher end of the corporate structure, top-performing executives with proven skills remain in demand as every organization needs people who can think and implement radical strategies in a recession. Your resume must demonstrate how you have managed the best and brightest talent in the organization you currently work for.

Include details about innovative ideas that you have executed. In some cases even failed initiatives can be pluses as they show that you have taken decisive action, a must in times of recession.

2. Your Resume’s Purpose

In a recession you may be writing your resume because you have been asked to leave due to downsizing at your company, or you may be hunting for a job in a company that is a market leader and is well respected. If you are writing your resume for the former reason, usually it is because your performance has not matched that of the top percentile. In this case include the reasons that your performance has changed recently, and emphasize that this is a temporary phenomenon with adequate examples and references.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a position with your dream company, be sure to include a paragraph on what attracted you to the company. Go into specifics here; do not be superficial in your treatment.

3. Including Your Human Resources Strategies

Include your ideas on some core concepts of the human resources function and how you will be gearing up to meet the challenge of managing a human resources department in a difficult business environment.

Great businesses do not lose focus on the future in times of recession. This is because a good deal of the thinking of senior executives is devoted to preparing for the upturn that is bound to follow the present bad times. In other words, good business leaders know that adverse conditions are temporary and that it is important to seize opportunities as and when market conditions improve.

Therefore, your resume also must contain your ideas on human resources planning for the future. If possible, do some research on your prospective employer’s outlook for the future and align what you write with the company’s projected milestones.

4. Interdependencies: How Will You Manage Them?

During a recession human resources departments face added responsibilities. The personnel of human resources departments must organize interdepartmental meetings to highlight the importance of controlling the costs of production and service.

5. Motivating Employees

The human resources professional has a vital role to play when it comes to motivating staff. This function can feel like walking a tightrope as the incentives offered should be just enough — neither too meager nor too generous — and suffice to keep employees happy. Such incentives make employees feel respected and acknowledged, which enhances their commitment to the organization and makes their efforts more sincere.

6. Training

People often dive into tasks and regret their actions later because they were not well equipped. Often this can be avoided by sending employees for relevant training. In fact, what better time than that of a recession to send employees for job-training workshops? This is an excellent alternative to laying employees off. This is also an example of an initiative that you can mention in your resume.

7. Dispute Resolution

This is a crucial area of human resource management. As this area entails some unpleasantness, people avoid mentioning relevant experience in this area in their resumes. But this is a mistake, especially in a recession.

During a downturn things often do not happen the way people want them to, and this leads to increased friction in the workplace. This is where you, as a human resource professional, can step in with your out-of-the-box methods for dispute resolution.
When you cite examples of your dispute resolution expertise in your resume, avoid naming people. Doing so could hurt your image and prevent you from getting your chance to be interviewed by your prospective employer.

8. Negotiating Skills

This is probably one of the places in your resume where you should elaborate as much as possible. This section should be peppered liberally with examples. This is because in a recession you are sure to do plenty of negotiating with employees, be it at the individual level or at the organizational (union) level.

Along with details about your negotiating strategies, be sure to highlight the importance of clear communication in your resume. Oftentimes in labor negotiations things have a way of getting distorted. Having a transparent strategy for information dissemination will help.

9. Highlighting Expertise in HRIS

This is a relatively new field of human resource management. Visit websites like to get more information on how employers are deploying information systems to streamline the human resource function. Mention prominently any certifications or degrees that you have pertaining to this area of human resource management.


To conclude, prepare your resume with faith. Unless you have faith in your decisions and yourself, you may not make the right choices and end up making a less-than-optimal impression on your prospective employer.
On the net:Sample Human Resources Executive Resume

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