DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

resumes

Feb 26 2010

Help Wanted – Optimal Resume

by Lesley B

This month the Library added a new online tool for our patrons – Optimal Resume (available through our Reference Databases page). As the name suggests, Optimal Resume assists you in creating a resume and cover letter but it has many other features that make it a comprehensive aid to job seekers. Every day, library staff help people using our computers make resumes and search for work. We’ve been looking for something that would make it easier for job seekers and Optimal Resume is the best product we’ve seen. It’s used in many college and university career centers and we’re happy to be able to offer it to DeKalb County residents.

To use Optimal Resume, you will need to first set up your account through the library’s website. If you’re accessing the website at home, you will need your library card number and PIN. You only have to go through the Library’s website the first time. Once you’ve set up your account, you can login directly to our Optimal Resume website.

Once you login, you’re taken to the Document Center. The resume and letter sections have lots of professionally written sample resumes and lots of online help (like a link that suggests appropriate “action verbs”). Optimal Resume takes you section by section through the resume process and formats the document for you. You can work with their examples, start your resume from scratch or upload an existing resume. You can customize your resume for different job openings and store all the versions online in your Optimal Resume account. No more keeping your resume as an email attachment or on your flash drive (we have a lot of flash drives in our lost-and-found drawers.)

Beyond creating resumes and letters, Optimal Resume will help you create your own website. You can post your resume, create an online portfolio and more. Your website can be public or password protected. I used several of the sample documents to create a resume and application letter for the imaginary Jane X. Sample. You can see her personal website at http://dekalblibrary.confidentialresume.com/Jane_X_Sample/.

If you have access to a webcam, you can use Optimal Resume to record yourself during a practice interview. A video “coach” offers advice on good ways to answer some of the usual interview questions. It’s a great way to rehearse for a real world interview.

The Libray is offering classes to help you get started with Optimal Resume and staff will be also be available to assist you with the site during any of our “Open Labs for Job Seekers”. Come in and try it out at any of our libraries or at any time from your home computer.

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If the above statement describes you, the library has a few things that can help prepare you for that job search. I know years ago, I was taught that you had to create a resume using a basic format and put it on white or manila stock paper. Over the last five years or so, how you present your resume or job history has changed quite a bit. Now most companies require that you fill out an application online whether it is for a the engineering firm or the fast food restaurant down the road. If they don’t have an online form, most companies will request that you e-mail your resume. You might also use a one stop web site that allows you to post your resume and apply to several jobs at one time.

Don’t know where to start? The library has many books on writing resumes and cover letters (again usually electronic). Some examples are Resumes for Dummies and Cover Letters that Knock Them Dead. You may also want to try a subject keyword search in the catalog using the phrases resumes, cover letters or job hunting. For more information, you can also check out the resources listed on the Jobs/Careers Subject Guide.

Need help using Word to create that electronic resume? The library has classes on how to use Microsoft Word and specific classes on using Microsoft Word templates to create a basic resume. Check our events calendar for the classes, times and locations. Most of these classes require sign up prior to the class.

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