Thursday, July 20, 2017

Resumes Made Easy at the Library

by David Ryan, Computer Commons

Getting a job is filled with so many frustrating steps. You need a resume, you have to fill out the application, and then there’s an interview. With all this work it almost seems like unpaid labor. The Birmingham Public Library can help lighten the load.

The resume may be the most confusing and difficult part of your job search because it generates so many questions. Do I include that high school lifeguard position on my resume? Do I use the functional, entry level, or chronological resume style? We can help you with these and many other questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for a summer job at Dairy Queen, or a full-time position at Wachovia Bank, the place to begin building your resume is at your neighborhood library, or our website.

All the Birmingham Public Libraries have public PCs loaded with Microsoft Word. You may not know this, but Word has resume templates. If you’ve never used a template, be prepared for awesome. You are presented with a resume completed from top to bottom. All you have to do is write your name, career goals, work history, etc., on top of what’s on the screen. When you’re finished you have a resume ready to print out. How does one find this magical tool?

If you’re using one of the libraries’ public PCs, choose Word, click on File, then New. Notice all your document choices. You’ve got Food and Nutrition, Newsletters, Flyers and (sound of drum roll) Resumes and Cover Letters! Notice how some of the resumes are career specific. You can choose between a teacher’s resume, computer programmer’s, sales manager’s, and others. You’re even given multiple styles to choose from: functional, traditional, chronological, entry level. Just click on the resume that suits your needs, and then click on the download icon to the right. Once the resume is on the screen you simply replace the original information by typing in your information. Of course you can delete or add any fields to these templates. You can even pick the font style and letter size. This is a great, free, way to view different resume styles, and choose what you feel is best for the job you’re hoping to land.

All the Birmingham Public Libraries’ have several databases that will help with your resumes. Go to our website Notice the black horizontal line near the top of the page. Click on databases. Now you’ll be presented with a list of databases available at home, or in your local Birmingham Public Library location. Notice on the left side there’s a brownish rectangle entitled subject list. Scroll down to Resumes and CVs.

First on our database list is Career Cruising. This is actually a database designed to help you choose careers. I could spend an entire blog just talking about the functions available on this site, but let’s just focus on resumes for the moment.

Start by clicking on the find jobs tab. Next click on build my resume. This site does require a registration, but that consist only of you name, e-mail, login, and password. This is a totally different animal from Microsoft Word. This database offers a resume builder. You are asked questions, such as your career objectives, educational history, etc. By the time you’ve finished answering all their questions you have a completed resume! And this database also allows you to pick the font, style, and print.

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center is a similar database. It has great information on every career under the sun. Ferguson’s even taps into the Bureau of Labor to give you industry hiring predictions. On the front page choose launch your career, below that choose resumes, cover letters and interviewing. On the next screen choose view and download resumes. You’ll find five resumes and CVs arranged by styles. Choose a style; within that style you’ll find five examples. Click download word doc. You’ll find yourself magically transported into Word. Click on enable editing and you’re ready to type over the existing resume to create your own sparkling resume with your name and information. Explore this database. I think you’ll find Ferguson’s is your one stop shop for career questions.

The next BPL database that offers a resume module is Learning Express Library. Go to the search box and type in resume. Now choose great resumes. At this point you will be asked to register. Like the other database they just need your name, email account, and a password. You’ll notice at the top of the page 2 a tab labeled tutorials. Click on great resumes. This tutorial presents you with something like a book or classroom presentation. At the end you are presented with several examples. If you open a Word session you can toggle back and forth between the examples and your own resume.

So, the next time you need a new resume, or need to update your old one, come the library, or visit us online. If you need information on which careers will be hot, come to the library. If you need to find information on how to ace that interview… well, you know what to do.

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