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Do Your Homework: Critical Research When Considering a Career Move

UntitledYou’ve finally decided to consider career options and commit to your quest for an employment change. You’ve updated all of your job application documents and social media platforms with your current employment information and accolades. Aside from the information posted in the job description, have you really considered what your potential employer is TRULY seeking in a job candidate AND how competitive/creative candidates are expected to present themselves?

After working with a talented client, our plans for a simple resume update evolved into an intriguing project exploring the “soft skill” essentials of his potential suitor company within the global fashion industry.

We discovered that employees were “chatting” online about their corporate experiences, how to land a job, and what personality traits and passions candidates possessed that the employer was intent on hiring.   Absolutely none of this “golden” material was posted by a recruiter – we had to dig for it.

Our Findings 2

 

  • The company sought out individuals who thought on their feet, applied creative problem solving, and used all of their networks at their disposal to get things done.
  • Recruiters were interested in candidates who were able to display a unique passion for the beauty and fashion industry.
  • Employees felt deeply connected to the organization. They relished the opportunity to discuss their work on a deep level with colleagues, fashioning camaraderie.
  • The company incorporated third-party development programs that decreased voluntary employee turnover and continued to give the organization a leading edge over the competition.

Recommendations

 

  • Read company press releases. Identify what companies they partner with.
  • “Like” all associated social media platforms and engage in conversation by asking questions or providing positive feedback on a service or product (your name may get recognized by someone on a hiring panel).
  • Actively browse through related social media platforms to stay on top of the corporate news, events, and product lines.
  • Create a video – yes with you in it – as a supplement to your resume or cover letter. The more artistic the company is, the more appropriate this will be!
  • Pick out a concept, program, or product belonging to the potential employer that you personally connect with and plan to incorporate this into your cover letter. Cover letters are boring. Period. You can change that with your content and truly pique the reader’s interest. This also serves as a great talking point when you’re called for an interview!

Goal: Don’t let your application package sound and look like everyone else’s. DIG for information. Show them you’ve done your homework not just to make a powerful impression but also to truly find engaging, value-driven employment.

 

 

 

Military Spouses – It’s Network, Or Not Work

Since the Spring and Summer seasons are popular for military PCS moves, I thought I’d repost the original March 2012 article. Enjoy and best wishes on your next move!

~ Christine

Résumés Right Away CareerBlog

Please check out Christine’s latest publication in Military Spouse Magazine’s March 2012 issue!

(Click on the image for the full PDF version)

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Just landed a new job? Time to prep for the next one!

ID-100248984My next job you say?  Yes, that’s exactly what I said.  The job after this one.  For most successful career job seekers, the job search trend is to seek out an employment change about every two to three years whether it be working for a new organization or competing for an internal promotion.

So how do you start to prepare now?

Save your job description and original job vacancy announcement

  • These documents will come in handy when updating your resume with recent employment information.

Retain your performance evaluations and written recognition

  • Resume writers love to brag on their clients and highlight unique and noteworthy achievements. Unfortunately this area is challenging for many of my clients who spend precious time trying to locate or recreate these key documents and accomplishments.
  • If you are fortunate to receive a written or emailed compliment from a customer or client, request that your supervisor provide a copy of it for your records. These make great references when adding achievement-related content to a resume especially if they are measurable. Numbers demonstrate immediate value.

Keep a running list of on-the-job training

  • Did you attend an advanced spreadsheet workshop that increased overall reporting efficiency and performance? Do tell!
  • If the training is relevant to future job interests, you will want to make note of dates, general course information, location of the training, and course duration to either incorporate into the application process or as part of a resume update, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile build.

This process can be as easy as putting it all in a binder with labeled tabs and keeping it in a desk drawer at work. Some folks call it their “brag book”, or for a more muted and discrete approach, call it your “achievement record” .

However you elect to do it, it will benefit you in the long run.  You’ll want to thank me for it when the time comes!

Enjoy the new job!

Christine

Julie Steed’s Interview: Create a Resume That Works

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by military spouse and freelance writer, Julie Steed, for an article geared toward the working military spouse and how to effectively update and keep the résumé current and ready for when opportunity knocks! Great article Julie!

(Click image for access to full article)

Julie Steed's Interview with Christine 2013_Page_1

Julie Steed's Interview with Christine 2013_Page_2

Job Reference Etiquette – The DOs and DON’Ts

Has an employer ever asked you for a list of references?  Were you prepared?  Did you notify your references in advance?  Did you provide favorable and verifiable professional references?  If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may need a quick refresher on the proper etiquette of providing job references to potential employers.

As both a seasoned hiring manager and recruiter, I have been privy to various blunders that job candidates make when providing references.  Here are some of the most common:

  1. The candidate fails to provide favorable and verifiable PROFESSIONAL references.  These include contacts that can verify information on traits and characteristics of the job candidate, are available for comment, can mention the employee’s specific contributions to the workplace, and have favorable comments to make concerning his/her work history.  Most recruiters don’t consider personal references favorable to their screening process.
  2. Candidates provide recruiters with the number to Human Resources.  What most candidates don’t realize is that a lot of HR departments have strong policies limiting the information they divulge to potential employers with the exception of verifying basic employment information.  It’s best to provide a contact such as a former supervisor or client who can speak to the performance of the job candidate.
  3. The applicant fails to make contact, obtain consent from, and notify their ideal references.  It looks bad when a provided reference wasn’t expecting the call.  It is always best for an applicant to notify a potential reference that they are seeking employment and mention their interest in using their name as a reference.  In addition, ask what number they’d prefer to be reached at and what time would be best for the recruiter to make contact.  This allows the referral to make some notes and prepare for the call as well as to avoid being surprised by the call when it’s received.
  4. The applicant does not provide a quality amount of references.  If the employer asks for three professional references, provide five.  A recruiter’s position is to fill the position quickly and if he/she has to wait for a reference to return his/her call, it only delays the hiring process.  Provide at least two more references to be proactive in the event that the initial references are not available when the recruiter tries to connect with them.

So what are the qualifications of a good reference?  An ideal reference should be able to provide the following:

  1. Share how long the candidate and referral have shared a professional relationship
  2. Provide specific information relating to the candidate’s traits, overall performance and how it compared to other employees, and detailed information on their impact on and contributions to the workplace
  3. Highlight any special qualifications that made the candidate stand out amongst peers and briefly summarize the candidate’s strengths

The ideal reference should be someone who has evaluated the applicant either as a supervisor, manager, or client.  This person should demonstrate a strong ability to communicate and articulate vivid details regarding the candidate’s professional characteristics.  Peers generally do not make good references and neither do supervisors from fifteen years ago.

Should all references be previous supervisors or managers?  Not necessarily.  If the candidate is worried about getting a bad reference, it doesn’t hurt to call that supervisor and politely express his/her concern based on what may have happened on the job.  Chances are the supervisor will be honest – either he/she will provide a positive reference or encourage the candidate to avoid using them as a reference.  If the candidate does not trust the previous supervisor to provide a positive or neutral reference, then avoid that person all together.

In lieu of using a previous supervisor as a reference, the applicant can potentially use another department or division manager as a strong reference.  A lot of times department managers call on other departments to help resolve problems.  How often did this candidate come to the rescue?  What was their impact?  Or… was the candidate part of a project team?  What was his/her impact on the overall project, timeline, and team?

There are also plenty of cases where overachievers and strong performers in the workplace lack the support of their direct supervisors, creating an unpleasant work environment, not necessarily being the fault of the applicant.  In this case, avoid using this type of supervisor as a reference. If he/she didn’t demonstrate support on the job, chances are he/she won’t change their behavior as a reference.

So how should a candidate go about providing references to a potential employer?

  1. Contact and confirm potential references before applying for employment.  Follow the recommended criteria for selecting ideal referrals, get their preferred contact information, professional title as it was when working with them, a brief explanation of the relationship with the reference, how long the candidate knew each reference, and correct spelling of their names.
  2. Bring a printout of these references to the potential employer either when conducting an initial introduction, job fair, or to a scheduled interview.  Ensure candidate’s name and contact information is also on the document in case it gets misplaced by the recruiter.
  3. Avoid placing references on a resume.  This should be a separate document.  There are plenty of templates online for guidance on formatting and structure.

 

Christine Brugman MAOM, GHRM  |  Resumes Right Away LLC  |  Professional Résumé Writer and Employment Consultant

Military Spouses – It’s Network, Or Not Work

Please check out Christine’s latest publication in Military Spouse Magazine’s March 2012 issue!

(Click on the image for the full PDF version)

Courtesy of Military Spouse Magazine

Courtesy of Military Spouse Magazine

Colorado Springs Gazette Features Résumés Right Away!

Many thanks to the Colorado Springs Gazette and reporter Erin Prater for her comprehensive cover story on Christine and Résumés Right Away!

We hope that you enjoy the read and we welcome your comments.  Lastly, there are a few points in the article I want to clarify.

I frequently work with and consult Soldiers and Airmen in Colorado Springs.  Many of them have experience with deployed and combat operations.  Those with combat experience contend with many complex variables in that environment, but they bring a strength, sense of teamwork, and focus that are unparalleled in the civilian environment.  When I meet with Soldiers that express concerns about their roles in, and perceptions of combat, we remain sensitive to the gravity of their experience while focusing on the positive, constructive lessons and applications of  combat. This approach is meant to instill confidence during the transition from military to civilian life.

In the example shared in the article, the Soldier I spoke with expressed concern that combat operations were his primary responsibility. We worked through the process to glean information about teambuilding, goal-setting, and mission readiness – all skills that are VERY transferable to and extremely valuable in the civilian workforce.

“Christine launched Résumés Right Away, which offers custom résumés and services to transitioning military members and small-business owners.”

Yes, we in fact provide career services to transitioning military members, but we also provide services to military spouses and professional, civilian job seekers.  We also partner with and provide business services and workshops for small businesses.

Click on the image below for access to the full article or click HERE.

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