Dedicated toward helping job-seekers take charge of their job search, build confidence, and advance their careers.

Posts tagged ‘resume’

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

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Common Resume Killers and Myths!

Click image to read original article by Hello I’m Logistics

This was a well-written article with some valuable insight into how a resume is read by the recruiter and red flags that catch their eye such as numerous short-term positions, multiple unrelated positions, long gaps between positions, including dates or experience that is not current, and typographical errors.  The author also touches on recommended resume lengths and dispelling the myths associated with these.

NUMEROUS SHORT-TERM POSITIONS

Regarding “Numerous Short-Term Positions”, this can in fact be a resume killer if the job seeker is identified as a job hopper, which raises a lot of red flags for potential employers and recruiters. If in fact you are NOT a job hopper and worked with a temporary staffing firm to secure work with several clients, I would recommend reading up on recommendations on how to incorporate temporary work into a resume, demonstrating total time worked with the staffing firm versus dates working with each employer/client.

LONG GAPS BETWEEN POSITIONS

“Long Gaps Between Positions” is expected, especially in this tough economy, however, in addition to filling in gaps with education, an active, unemployed job seeker can take advantage of volunteer opportunities to not only fill in the gaps but keep professional skill sets up and/or learn new ones that can be directly applied toward paid employment. This experience will also add additional bullets to a resume! I can happily attribute my last contract position toward my two years of non-profit virtual volunteer work (all online) while living overseas.

TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS, MISSPELLINGS, AND INAPPROPRIATE GRAMMAR

When recruiting for a staffing firm, grammar and spelling errors were the number killer on professional candidate resumes. Why? It simply came across to the recruiters as lazy – someone who lacked attention to detail and wasn’t serious about the position or obtaining professional employment. “Manger” (instead of “manager”) was the #1 spelling error I found. Since this is in fact a correctly spelled word, spell check doesn’t identify it as an error which is why it is important to have a resume thoroughly proofread by at least two other trusted professionals. Even with the resumes I write, I proofread AND use an online spell checker as spelling/grammar bugs have already been found in some of the latter MS Word programs.  Another key tip in identifying spelling errors is reading your resume aloud AND having someone else read it aloud.

DISPELLING MYTHS ABOUT RESUME LENGTHS

The article reminds us that there are no set rules for resume lengths, however, most corporate recruiters prefer to see the following:

  • Entry level/student candidates – With minimal or no experience, a one page resume is appropriate.
  • Experienced, professional candidates – No more than a two-page resume.
  • Executive and technical candidates – Two to three-page resume highlighting the last three positions OR last 10 years of employment.
  • Contract or staffing firm candidates – Your entire work history, up to 10 years.  This allows recruiters to place for several open positions.
  • Federal employment candidates – Your entire work history to include military service (whatever USAJobs Resume Builder will allow – follow their instructions to build your federal resume).  Most federal resumes range from 5-7 pages, but can be longer based on experience and qualifications.

All around, great article with valuable advice! The ultimate key in writing an effective resume is to TARGET your resume(s) toward the job(s) of interest, tailoring the content, formatting, and design for each specific position. Happy hunting!

Elements of a Winning Resume

A marketable resume is a tailored resume – one size does not fit all. Each resume should be crafted to target a specific job of interest, customizing key words and phrases, job skills and professional experience, and industry type (private industry federal, temporary staffing, etc.). Click the image below to see a detailed example of some of the important elements within a resume and suggested formatting for those seeking private or corporate employment.

Please let me know if this was helpful to you and rate this post! I’d be happy to read feedback, answer questions, or post additional articles of interest relating to making your job search successful!

You Are a Seller In a Buyer’s Market

A Résumé Can Be a Viable Marketing Tool to Secure an Interview

No one likes writing their résumé. It catalogs and records what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, and what the results were from doing it. Sound easy? Not particularly, but it can viewed as the single most important vehicle to securing your next job interview, and as such, a great opportunity for you to sell or market yourself to potential employers. To do this successfully, attention to detail is imperative when drafting and assembling your résumé as well as focusing on writing for your audience and not for yourself.

The first quarter of the first page of your résumé is the most important space in the document. This is the area that attracts the reader’s initial eye contact and interest. An individual will spend 10-20 seconds reading this section and will eventually make a premature decision as to whether the candidate is worthy of being scheduled for an interview. Therefore, it’s essential to make yourself visible to and win the additional attention from the reader by presenting your most powerful and unique parts while also covering what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Make your readers’ eyes stop by giving them something that catches their attention!

Your name is important. Don’t allot the same font size to your name as you do with your contact information. Some writers suggest that this may give a frail or feeble impression to the reader when they are looking for a sharp and powerful presentation of you. Making your name the most visible part of your résumé links your name with all of the accomplishments and achievements that follow.

“LadysMan75 ” is not considered a professional email user name. Use a variation of your full name to display on your résumé such as ‘Jane.Doe@email.com’. Most email providers support the capability of having more than one email address. If you lack a professional email address, it would be wise to create one to present to a prospective employer. Consider wisely when using free email services from popular websites.

Don’t just list your skills; get the reader interested by getting specific. Details ring true. Justify your skills mentioned in your powerful profile by providing specific achievements and elaborating on your skill sets within your Professional Experience or Employment areas. You have already listed your strengths in your profile, now you have to detail what the benefits of those strengths are while aiming to avoid clichés and overused phrases within your descriptions. Recruiters almost always count on candidates putting an enormous spin on their credentials to make themselves look good, so justify all.

Your work experience has to fulfill the expectations of the profile. Review the posted job description that you are applying for, find key qualifications, and then decide which of them most clearly resembles your strongest competencies. Key word use is vital especially when the organization uses talent management software to digitally scan applicant résumés. Using key words can increase the chances of your résumé being assigned the right level of desirability or even come to the attention of the right person.

Market your performance and professional achievements. You don’t have to be in a position of authority to achieve something in the workplace worth being proud of and discussed. This could incorporate an Employee of the Month status, exceeding your performance goals, defusing an irate customer, saving the company money, or making a tough sale. Your achievements, in conjunction with your employment details, should also fulfill and incorporate the expectations of your profile.

Sell yourself with action words to show just how capable and qualified you are. Stay away from use of passive statements like “responsible for” or “duties included”. Action words can enhance an otherwise bland resume by vibrantly demonstrating your competencies and skill set. Steer clear of overusing these “action” words in your descriptions. Vary action words to showcase your writing skills.

Before submitting your resume, review and make any necessary changes to deal-breaker elements such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation consistency. Though this may seem obvious to those individuals seeking résumé assistance, it is also one of the most frequent deal breakers when it comes to the applicant’s demonstration of accuracy and attention to detail. Know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”; add periods to the end of each bullet point or don’t – just make sure it is consistent within the document; ensure tense agreement, and have someone else proofread it before you hit “send”. An extra pair of eyes doesn’t hurt.

Keep in mind that the recruiter is not looking to hire a professional résumé writer, so the résumé is not going to win you the position of your dreams… you are. Take time to actively and carefully find the position that you are looking for – Network, make some phone calls, research prospective employers, ask questions, volunteer. These activities, along with using your résumé as a marketing tool, will open up new opportunities for you to find a company who will want you for exactly who you are and what you have to offer. Your task is to get out there and find it!

As featured in The Army Wife Network and Associated Content

Targeting the Job For Which You’re Overqualified

Scaling Back Your Credentials May Help Secure Work in a Tight Economy

You have found yourself struggling to gain employment in your career field and your efforts have resulted in constant rejection despite years of experience. The tough economy has led to downsizing, corporate bankruptcy, and significant changes in employer recruiting methods. The job market has never been more competitive and good paying positions are extremely hard to come by. You have come to terms with this economical reform and are now willing to apply for positions below your pay scale and welcome a significant salary decrease for the promise of a paycheck.

Due to the increase in the unemployment rate over the last year, the amount of job applications employers receive has escalated and continues to rise at an alarming rate. Current events have caused an increase in employment screening efforts and capitalization of Web search-optimization tools. Use of these recruiting software programs to facilitate the pre-screening process has helped employers keep up with the overwhelming reaction to posted job vacancies. These programs are designed to identify applicants who not only lack the basic qualifications necessary to do the job, but can also recognize professionals who appear to be overqualified for the position.

In light of these changes, career professionals are recommending that overqualified job seekers tone down their resume to increase their chances at getting an interview. Most resume writers would define this approach as “dumbing down a resume”. I choose to describe this process as “creatively targeting”the position. Most posted job vacancies will list the necessary skills and qualifications that employers are looking for in a prime candidate. Using these job descriptions as a guide to writing your resume, just as I would advise any applicant applying for a specific job, is an excellent opportunity to highlight your RELEVANT skills, education, and experience as they apply to the job you are interested in. Omitting a college degree, especially a masters or higher, can help if employers are only interested in a bachelors degree. If you are applying for a truck driver position and your achievements indicate that you are an expert at sales management and leadership, your sales and leadership success and accolades are not relevant to the job you are applying for, so it may be best to just leave out these types of impressive achievements.

Why all the effort to avoid marketing yourself as a shining star? Hiring managers are not comfortable with putting a high-level candidate into an entry level or lower level position simply because these professionals are more likely to jump ship to seek better paying jobs. This creates costly involuntary turnover for employers and more work finding a suitable candidate to replace the one that just left.

Your job is to construct a resume that will get you an interview, and if you are applying for a lower-level position, (1) start by creating a separate resume that targets each position that you are interested in applying for. (2) Review the job description and highlight applicable key words relating to skills and education requirements to incorporate into your resume. (3) Keep your bullet statements to no more than three items per job, (4) and leave off “lofty” or “prestigious” titles.

Keep in mind that your primary goal is to obtain immediate employment and these recommended creative edits help professionals to do just that. After you’ve achieved this important milestone, you can then focus on staying true to your experience and career aspirations by seeking your dream job.

As featured in Associated Content

Rehearsing For Your Interview

After spending countless hours creating and polishing up your resume, you have finally been contacted for an interview. After you take in the brief moment of excitement, anxiety quickly sets in. What next? To demonstrate how serious you are about obtaining the job, there is no excuse for showing up for an interview unprepared. So, how do you effectively prepare, or rehearse, for a job interview?

Update Voice Mail Message, Email Address, and Social Networking Profiles. This step should not be limited to just interview preparation, but applied to the overall job search process. If you are actively job searching, you will want to update your current voice mail messages with a clear, concise, and brief message that portrays a professional image. In addition, make sure that the email address that you have provided the employer portrays the same impression. Refrain from using casual or inappropriate email addresses. If necessary, create an email address that includes your first and last name only. This can be done through your current service provider or various sites that offer free email accounts. The same concepts apply to your social networking site if you should have one. Make sure your profile picture is tasteful and does not send the wrong message to a prospective employer. It is very common for recruiters to incorporate social networking profiles into their background checks and investigative processes. Conduct a public search online for your name and remove anything that may have a negative impact on your chances of being selected for the position.

Understand Your Own Skills. Do you know what your strengths are? The interview is a valuable opportunity to market your strengths and qualifications. Write down your strengths and specific situations that justify your skill set. For instance, if you ran Customer Service skills high on your list, make note of at least two specific situations when you demonstrated desirable Customer Service behaviors, what actions you took, and the result of your actions.

Rehearse Likely Asked Questions. When a job candidate is contacted for an interview, the prospective employer is not expecting to meet a professional interviewee. The employer’s objective is to gather as much information on the job candidate to make an informed selection decision. As such, it would be favorable to you to be prepared to answer behavior-based questions relating to the position. You can conduct a search online for sample Behavioral Interviewing questions in the field you are applying for and prepare vivid and specific answers to those questions. Remember, the employer’s job is to focus on real work incidents and identify those behaviors that are necessary to be successful at the job. The more prepared you are, the less anxiety you will experience during your interview, and the more clear and detailed your answers will be.

Research the Company and the Position You Are Applying For. It is guaranteed that the employer will ask you what you know about the organization, why the position is of interest to you, and why you are the most qualified person for the job. Surprisingly enough, these are questions that stump most job candidates and bring on the most anxiety and display of vagueness during the interview. The more specifics you can provide, the more confidence the employers will have in making their selection decision.

Dress to Impress. Don’t show up for the interview like it was at the bottom of your priority list. Demonstrate that you took the initiative to physically prepare for the interview. Comb your hair, get a hair cut if necessary, iron your clothes, wear a shirt and tie (men) and dress suit or business attire (women) if appropriate, and leave your sneakers and flip-flops at home. It may be appropriate to cover any visible tattoos or piercings if interviewing for a position within a professional or customer-facing environment. Revisit the posted job description or employer website for any available dress code information.

Ask Questions. After researching your potential employer, note some intelligent questions that you will want to ask at the end of your interview. This demonstrates sincere interest in the position and the organization. Keep questions professional and refrain from inquiring on anything that would cause the employer to raise a red flag (consequences of calling sick, policies on personal use of equipment, salary negotiation, etc.).

Also featured in MSCCN’s Military Spouse Employment Journal

No Luck Finding a Job? Volunteer For Employment Skills

The job market in this tough economy is the worst in years. So if you’re one of those seeking but not finding work, what can you do besides continuing your employment search efforts? Consider volunteering. While I was unemployed last year, I became a proud volunteer. After my husband and I were notified that we were moving overseas to a geographically separated unit (GSU) far from traditional military support outlets, I immediately researched employment opportunities in the area and there were plenty, but for non-English-speaking candidates. I continued seeking employment as a foreigner by applying for local management and HR positions, without any successes – no returned calls and no email responses. After working in the Human Resources and Career Services industry for several years, I knew that I would have some explaining to do regarding my employment gap the next time I had the opportunity to apply and interview for a job in the United States, so I considered searching for places that could use my skills and expertise at no cost to them.

I started my volunteer efforts locally assisting unit spouses with basic resume building and interview skills coaching. I expanded my efforts on the management side by offering to facilitate a pro bono Behavioral Interviewing seminar for NATO Executives and Senior Military Officers. To my surprise, they accepted my offer! Not only did they feel the material would prove beneficial toward upcoming recruiting efforts, but the training team for the organization encouraged me to author AND facilitate a two-day workshop. I thought, “What did I get myself into?” I was now committed to research and create all training material to include training booklets, handouts, and videos, while keeping it interesting and valuable for an audience comprised of various European nationals. Wow! This brand new experience for me proved to be successful and extremely rewarding.

I wanted to continue building my professional skills through volunteer efforts on a smaller scale and decided to get back into mentoring and career coaching for Military Spouses and became a Military Spouse Virtual Assistant (MSVA), offering my professional expertise online to those that could benefit from it. In January 2009, I became a proud volunteer for the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), assisting Military family members, one-on-one, with resume and career coaching… and I absolutely loved it. I am now consulting for the MSCCN as an independent contractor pursuing my Career Services and Employment Consulting career using the skills and education I developed while working as a volunteer.

Volunteering created opportunities for me to test out different career options, gain practical experience and acquire skills related to specific types of employment I was interested in and now have a passion for. As a result of the invaluable experience and skills that I acquired through my volunteer efforts, I have a clearer understanding and appreciation for the Talent Management aspect of Human Resources and continued to focus my career and professional development efforts in this area.

Volunteering fosters skill development and practical preparation for employment opportunities… Give it a try!

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