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Resource: Better Resumes
The Mistakes On LinkedIn You Never Want to Make
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's great about LinkedIn is that it's like the Facebook of online job boards. It's the networking social network that focuses on what people have done, are doing, and hope to do in their professional lives--nothing else (ideally, at least). Everyone has a professional goal on LinkedIn that they want to accomplish and this type of online networking makes it easier and quicker to do.

If you think that as long as you have one social media profile that your job establishing an online presence is complete, then you're a long way from a job offer. Each social network is designed with a different purpose in mind.

But having a social presence is only as effective as the amount of engagement. Are you actively using LinkedIn, or do you just check it from time to time when you've made a new request? Do you use it to make new connections or simply have it for the sake of having one?

LinkedIn has a direct influence on your career prospects because it's where your professional background is most reflected. Making mistakes on your profile can be seen by more eyes than you think, eyes that may have belonged to someone who could have benefited your career.

Whether you're looking for a job, wanting a better one or simply trying to get the most out of your current one, the following mistakes are ones you should be extra careful to avoid making:

Omitting a picture.
This is basic Online Profile 101. Profiles without a picture can't be taken seriously. An incomplete profile doesn't look legitimate and potential employers aren't going to take a chance on someone who seems like they're hiding something. Without being able to see who you are, they're going to think something is wrong and who could blame them? Plus, if you give out your profile link to someone you met in person, having your picture on your profile will make it easier to remember you.

The wrong type of picture.
Your LinkedIn picture is meant to identify you to the outside world. Some people might take it as an opportunity to show off their pets or family but that's what Facebook is for. Your profile picture should show your face and nothing else. Also, don't be self-conscious of your age. Putting up a picture that doesn't accurately represent who you are in the present day will do more to harm your chances of getting a job than an age-revealing picture. A hiring manager that calls someone in for an interview and doesn't get what they expected isn't going to be pleased. So remember, no false advertising!

Adjust your privacy settings.
Most if not all social media networks put these there for a reason. It's very important to make sure that your online activity on professional networking site is done discreetly. If you're currently employed but are actively seeking new employment via LinkedIn, better be sure to keep this kind of information from your boss. Knowing that you don't intend to stay will give them a reason to go ahead and let you go so they can find someone else. Make sure that people will see what you want them to see so that you don't end up having to do damage control or turn your "new job" hunt into an "any job" hunt.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool that job seekers from 2001 and before probably would have loved to have. The website puts the job market and the people who influence it right at your fingertips. With all the different types of social media networks available now, remembering the right kind of etiquette for each one can be tough. LinkedIn is one of the easier ones--if don't belong in a cover letter or resume, it shouldn't be on your LinkedIn profile.

Most Common Resume Writing Myths
Monday, April 15, 2013

Some of the hardest work you'll in your career up is when you're not even employed. Dedicated job seekers like yourself spend many laborious hours tweaking their resumes. When you're meticulously modifying every little detail to make it as flawless as the resume templates out there, you wouldn't think that following some of those guidelines may not actually make for the perfect resume.

To help you make the most of your resume-writing time, here are the most common resume writing myths:

Resumes have to be one page.
Typically resumes have been said to be one page in order to be brief and concise since hiring managers have a lot of resumes to go through in one day. Nowadays, having valuable material on your resume is important. There's nothing wrong with having a two-page resume as long as everything on it is specifically relevant to the job position.

Graphs and charts are pointless. In today's skeptic world, people are more willing to believe things when they can see the proof. By adding a graph to your resume, you can quickly show your story in a way that allows the viewer to absorb the information with a quick glance.

Spelling errors immediately disqualify you. While spelling errors can ding you a few points on your thorough proofreading skills, it doesn't automatically mean that it will land your resume in the reject pile. Hiring managers will take more consideration into your work experience to see whether you would be a good fit. Always be sure to read and re-read your resume before sending it out.

Objective statements are required. Nope. It's actually becoming more common to see the space that was once used for the objective statement replaced with something of more value. Recruiters and hiring managers quite frankly don't care about your objective, they only care about their own. They are more interested in seeing your qualifications for the job to determine whether you would be the right fit.

Full contact info is mandatory. Your resume is precious real estate that should only be filled information the hiring manager or recruiter will find useful to their purposes. As long as you have direct lines listed for them to reach you at such as your main email address and cellphone, your address and middle name aren't a must.

Job searching practices are evolving along with job market demands. From applications going digital to directly connections with hiring managers online, approaches to finding a job isn't what it used to be. The same goes for resumes. We've all grown up with the cookie-cutter style of resume ingrained in our minds but as competition for jobs gets more intense, standing out takes more creativity. Don't be afraid to let a little of your personality shine through your resume as long as it isn't blinding!

Why Design Matters When Writing Your Resume
Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest post: Jordan Grimes, freelance recruiter

After you've put your resume together you give it a read and feel that every word says what you want it to. But does the look of your resume give off an equally satisfying impression? Resume structures are a big deal.When you hand a resume over to a potential employer, the first impression they get from the looks of it.

From things like spacing to text amount, hiring managers and recruiters can make major decisions from just a quick glance. I can't even begin to tell you how many face-lifts my resume has gone through over the years. Resumes go through a lifelong metamorphosis because the process in which they are created is that of continual trial and error.

For the longest time I assumed that as long as the substance of my resume was on point, where the words fell on the page were essentially trivial. WRONG! Your resume makes the same kind of first impression on a hiring manager with the appearance of its format as you do with your attire. There is the right way to dress in an interview and a right way to doing some resume feng shui.

A good exercise that will help determine the effectiveness of your resume formatting is by putting one together using Lorem Ipsum. When not focusing on the actual words, you can start to see the resume as a whole picture. You'll notice subtle changes in legibility due to spacing or how increasing the font size for certain headings makes things pop.

Remember to always keep your audience in mind. The more corporate the place is, they don't care to see any kind of frills. More lax places will find hints of flair to be refreshing and may even be looking for it. Take a look at your resume right  now and compare it to the examples below:

 

Both have different styles and formatting, but can still catch the eye of a hiring manager. Granted, the one on the right has significantly larger font than making it much more noticeable, though a hiring manager might see that as a shortcut to fill up space on the page. It really all comes down to the overall cohesion of the resume.

Having a resume entirely in black and white like my first few drafts were is perfectly okay, but these days there's no such thing as doing too little to get noticed by a potential employer. You don't have to use crazy fonts--nor should you actually--but do get a little creative. Dare to align to the right, even.

The thing to remember about resumes is that who you are and your personality should be reflected in them. Just like your bedroom reflects your personal taste, add some of that style to your resume. In this case though, keeping it clean is mandatory. Do some research, try out different settings and stick with one that feels right to you. Before sending it out, get a second opinion and go back to the drawing board if you have to. 

You shouldn't rush the resume process because you're going to have to revisit again sooner or later. Think of a resume as a recipe. There are always core ingredients that go into it, but you can always modify different parts to suit your taste buds. It's better to make small changes along the way rather than starting over from scratch each time.

How to Write a Resume Better Than Your Competition
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Considering the recently avoided plunge over the "fiscal cliff," our economy is still hanging onto hope for a seamless recovery. Job seekers know more than any others that this recovery couldn't come soon enough. With how slow the job market has been picking up, the amount of competition out there still remains overwhelmingly high compared to the availability of open positions.

As resumes continue to pile up for the few jobs out there, the process of picking out qualified candidates has become increasingly automated. Job seekers are constantly being bombarded with mixed messages of how to effectively construct their resumes. While some are told to cater their wording and format to appeal to a machine scanning for keywords, otherwise will focus on shining the spotlight solely on their personalities. The best resume, however, will be the perfect balance of each.

Here are three resume tips to have your resume come out on the top of the stack and make your job search more productive:

1) Get inspiration from the job description
One of the first places to turn to when putting together your resume is the job description and requirements. Extract keywords and skills and include them on your resume. It's protocol for hiring managers to give resumes a quick skim so you'll want to have words in your qualifications that the manager (or a computer) will be looking for. 

2) Create compelling content
The skills and accomplishments you highlight on your resume reflect your competence as a professional in your field. You'll want to direct your focus on the details of what you did rather than what was expected to give clear examples of your work. Try to provide numbers and percentages that measure the quality of your achievements.

3) Clean up your copy
Whether reviewed by human eyes or a computer, misspellings and typos will lower your resume to the bottom of the pile. When recruiters have more reason to reject resumes due to high volumes, you don't want the tiniest mistake be the reason yours gets put aside. Unless you're job search is within the creative arts field, your resume should not incorporate too many graphics. It's also not very appropriate include photos, bright colors, or images even if you think they will add some flair to your resume.

The most important parts of your resume and cover letters that should stick out are the words you use and how well you use them. Communication is the key to getting attention from hiring managers. Remember, they all love a good story and good stories tend to have the same core elements. Keeping these tips in mind your resume could finally give you a shot at landing the job that lets you live happily ever after.

Writing Your Resume For the Right Audience
Tuesday, January 08, 2013

You know better than anyone else why you are deserving of any position you apply for. What poses a challenge to most people who feel the same is being able to prove it to and convince them that you and this job are the perfect pairing.

When it comes time to put the proof on paper, it can hard to find the perfect balance between overdoing it and selling yourself short. Everyone has something to offer and showing what you have to the person who could potentially offer you a job is extremely important. Knowing what kind of resume to give which hiring manager is key. Giving your audience what it's looking for will make it easier for them to see you.

The following resume tips will make it easier for you when putting your resume together and for the hiring manager to see why you should be chosen for the job:

1) Give meaning to your identity.
Many job seekers will define who they are on their resume thinking that this will interest the hiring manager. On the contrary, the reader will only care about who you are if you can give them reasons to that are relevant to the job. You could list every quality of a perfect employee and still not get a second thought from a hiring manager because they are focused on only one thing: why they should care. A resume that focuses on answering that if you really want to impress. Provide some context and background to your abilities and accomplishments.

2) Focus on a certain audience.
If the majority of your work experience has been spent in the business areas of a large company and now you want to slow things down by doing some consulting at smaller companies, then your resume should be directed toward that audience. The people that you want to impress now are not going to care much about your past work if it doesn't speak to their cause. Wherever you send resumes the people receiving it need to see you as a relatable colleague.

3) Outline your value and prove its worth.
Keep in mind that applying for jobs is like being put on trial, anything you say can and will be used against you in an interview. Talking big in your resume is only successful if you're able to back it up in person. You have to show why this job with this company has your name written all over it. Part of this also has to do with painting them a complete picture. Tell your story from different angles that will help them visualize you in this position.

We all want our identities and personalities to shine through our resumes but in a job search, we actually need to be selective about the sides of ourselves that we highlight. A resume that tells the story of you which they can relate to is one that will stay with them. The best candidate for a position is the one who has successfully communicated the message that the hiring manager wanted to hear: this is why you care about me.

Take Command of Your Social Media Presence With Your Online Resume
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The term "Googling" has been adopted over the years because of how much people were using the popular search engine to look up anything and everything--including other people. And if your social media presence is lacking, you might as well be a phantom.

A Jobvite survey found that 92 percent of recruiters turn to social networking sites for their searches, and 73 percent of them were successful in their searches. Even if recruiters aren't looking for you, if they consider you through an application, you can count on them doing further investigating into your background.

Your online reputation and brand profile has to be more than filled-in blanks. It has to have substance. To make sure that potential employers like what they see when they research you, here are some tips to help you polish up your online presence:

Get Googling. The easiest way to begin your self-investigation is to start with the basics. Employers want to see that you not only have a presence but are also accessible. If all your profiles are private, it gives the impression that you are not someone who is approachable and inviting. Employers will also wonder why you might be so reserved. Your LinkedIn profile should always be kept public.

Liven Up Your LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not just a template for inputting the content of your resume. It's a way to make an interactive one. Upkeeping it is important. When a LinkedIn profile gets stale it gets overlooked. On that note, you'll want to turn your notifications off so that your connections won't be bothered every time you make a change. LinkedIn is first and foremost a community, so don't be shy. Interact with people like you would on Facebook but do so strategically. The tone should be more like that of a happy hour among professionals rather than the holiday party.

Tweetle Dee, Tweetle Not So Dumb. Because of Twitter's short and sweet nature, it's easy for people to just have a constant stream of quick updates to turn to. While some people may be able to Tweet often and frequently, not everyone does. But building a network through it is important to getting your brand recognizable. You'll be able to connect with people who use Twitter as their main networking platform.

You can't talk tech these days without hearing about social media. Social media has permeated just about every aspect of popular culture and society. Whether you want to network professionally or share pictures of interesting crafts, there is a network for you to do so. We live in an age that is more connected--on and offline--with the world around us. In the same way that you would have reservations about a company you couldn't find online, employers feel like that about candidates. Avoid becoming an online phantom by coming well out of the social media shadows.

Your Resume 2.0
Monday, December 10, 2012

Job searches all start, and for many, end with the resume. An outdated resume is one of the most common ways to have your job search go nowhere fast.

Resumes might seem like one of those things that only need updates whenever there is a change in your educational or work experience. Add a new job here, replace a reference there. But their formats can also go out of style just like cultural trends. Having one that is outdated gives the same impression as anything else such as outdated cars and hairstyles.

When hiring managers see outdated resumes, it makes them think that the candidate is out of the cultural and professional loop. It's hard to convince a hiring manager that you've been keeping up with the latest innovations if it isn't reflected in your resume's appearance and overall content. After all, actions speak louder than words and you can only say you know so much without showing it.

Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by being misrepresented on your resume. Here are some ways to make sure that it doesn't put you in the wrong decade.

Font: Highly stylized fonts are unnecessary, but you don't have to feel constrained to using Times New Roman. The selection of fonts variations that are easy on the eyes is extensive. Look around and find one that you like and that you think represents your taste. Remember to keep it looking professional. Fonts like Comic Sans are commonly seen, but shouldn't be used on resumes.

Graduation dates: You can either choose to include or leave this out of your resume if you prefer. Something to keep in mind if you decide to do this is that hiring managers tend to assume that you're an older candidate who doesn't want to give clues about your age.

Weak adjectives: Using general words such as "proactive" and "multi-tasker" doesn't provide the manager any concrete ideas of your work capabilities. Those types of words aren't effective in making you stand out from other candidates. Be efficient in your use of resume space by only including words with weight.

Objectives: Objectives are becoming increasingly optional since their functions aren't proving to have the same effect as they originally did. Instead of a generalized statement of your goals and characteristics, replace it headlines that clearly outline what you've done and as what role. These give a clearer definition as to the type of worker you are.

Content trimming: You might want to include every piece of information about your work and academic background in order to use it against the competition. However, if the information isn't relevant to the job or the skill is outdated, then it's just taking up precious resume space.

Links: Including links to your resume is also a great way to prove that you've been keeping up with modern technology. Social media websites are great networking and personal branding tools that hiring managers want to see you using. If you have your own blog, include that along with any LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.


How to Write An Irresistable Resume For Recruiters
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recruiters spend hours upon hours reading resume after resume. You can bet that they are used to seeing the same words repeated on a good amount of resumes. While, yes, they are looking for certain keywords that most applicants will have made sure to include on their resumes, they are also keeping an eye out for words they aren't used to seeing straight from the job description.
 
You are probably well aware that your resume isn't going to get much one-on-one time with the recruiter or hiring manager. If you're writing skills are on point, that's usually enough to get the recruiter's attention. That's just the first part. Your main goal is to get their eyes to linger.

If your writing skills are lacking your resume is as good as non-existant. Making a good first impression is all about making one that lasts (in a good way, of course). Keeping that in mind, these tips will help you attract that recruiter and have them curious for more:
  • Customize your resume to the T
Recruiters don't have time to read though every resume completely, let alone trying to figure out what some are trying to say. Trying to be too clever in your language and end up confusing the reader. If your meaning is not clear with just a scan of the page, the recruiter will just read the next resume which is much easier and less time consuming. Make sure your cover letters are also written to reflect each individual company and manager you are applying to. Generic cover letters are a thing of the past.
  • Prioritize your resume
Fold your resume in half. Does the upper portion have the most important information? All of the information you include on your resume should naturally be important, but you'll have to prioritize that information by most to least important. Recruiters are probably only going to read until about half of the page before they move on. The kind of info you should be putting on top should relate closest to the job.
  • Words are money
Each word on your resume should be treated like you paid for it. You want to get your money's worth from each one. Each word should build up anticipation for the next one. The better you choose your words the more valuable they are. Read your resume word by word and cover up the one after it. Are you interested in reading on or are you bored after the first sentence? Write and re-write and many times as it takes. Let friends read it and get their feedback. In a sea of resumes, you want yours to be the one that the recruiters gets hooked on.

Stand Out With Your Resume in 3 Ways
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recruiters look for people for qualified for a specific position so they only spend a matter of seconds glancing over a resume. With so many to go through, they can't allow their attention to linger to one for more than just seconds.

In those few moments that your resume has one-on-one time with the recruiter, they are deciding where it goes from there. There are only one of two places it could go next: the callback pile or the filing cabinet of no return.

It's likely that the filing cabinet will get more contribution than the callback pile. There are plenty of things you can do to get yourself in the pile of lucky candidates who made it to the next step. Here are a few:

1) Unique accomplishments
A position in particular industry will generally attract that same types of people. There's a good chance that the majority of them will have the same skills and background. That being the case, you'll need something interesting and quirky, even, that will jump out at them immediately. Something that they wouldn't expect. These are also great for conversations starter at your next meeting and you'll already have their interest in the story behind it.

2) Buzzwords
Buzzwords are important because that is what they are skimming for in the few seconds. They are searching for as many words on your resume match the job description. This is tough to beat, however, since other candidates are sure to pull the same words on their resumes. Take it a step further with yours by visiting the company's website and see if any of their goals match your experience. Fit those keywords on your resume as well.

3) Don't leave everything out
Since resumes are meant to be brief, it's generally advised that you only include information relevant to the position applied for. This advice can backfire for those who don't have much experience to begin with. Having a resume that's too bare looks just as bad. Even if your past jobs don't relate to the position you're applying for, a good work history speaks more for you than complete omittance. Including it will at least show that you're a hard worker and are comfortable working in difference settings.

Things to Avoid Standing Out With
  • Inappropriate font. Keep the font standard so that it's easy to read. Also, don't experiment with the colors. Black or even a deep navy blue would work as long as it doesn't interfere with the abilityto read clearly and quickly.
  • Colored paper. With this you're basically telling the recruiter, "Here, you throw this away."
  • Opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but they should not be given where they are not solicited. A resume is one thing they are not wanted. Recruiters make decisions based on merit so they have no interest in that kind of information anyway.

Application Tips From a Recruiter
Friday, November 02, 2012

Job searching can be extremely frustrating and discouraging when resume after resume goes unresponded to. When a resume is added to a big stack of others, there's no telling whether your resume will even be seen by a recruiter or human resources manager.

Recruiters know what they're looking for and keep their eyes focused on key things. Their main objective is to perfectly match the candidate and position by finding as many similarities between the two as they can. Here are some tips from recruiters that can increase your chances of being a match for the job.

1) Apply to jobs that you are suited for.

Many job seekers will apply to positions that they want and hope to get rather than jobs for which they are match. A good way to determine whether you have good chance of being considered for the job is to see if you match the job description more than 50 percent. Recruiters want to make sure that those they take to the next step will have a happy ending instead of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

2) Meet the majority of the criteria.

Requirements listed in job descriptions aren't optional. No matter how much a potential employer likes a candidate, it won't change the required skills needed to perform a job. Being proficient and very good at something are not the same. Saying that you're better at something than you really are can put you in a tough position because they will expect you to be true to your word. Positions that aren't filled by the right people are likely to open up again so that they can be.

3) Being overqualified can work against you.

Recruiters will indicate a certain amount of experience because they are looking for someone with the right level of expertise. Candidates with not enough or too many years of experience may not match the salary level that the job position offers. There are some who still apply that are fine with taking a salary cut, but companies want to avoid this. It wouldn't be fair to anyone if they hired someone who wasn't satisfied with their job and continue to look elsewhere.

4) Apply to places you can commute to.

Jobs abroad might sound appealing. You might think, "I could do this on the other side of the world." Recruiters, however, will want people they can easily access. Even if you meet all their requests and requirements, most companies won't go through the trouble of relocating a new hire. They also know that there is much more at stake for those who are willing to relocate. Many often back out once they realize the sacrifices they and their families have to make. Things are much easier for both parties without the factor of relocation.

5) Listen to the voice in your head.

As much as you want a job, any job, your search should be conducted based on your qualifications and desire to do it. It's much more effective to apply to less places that you're a better match for than to more that you may or may not be appropriate for. This will allow you to have a more efficient, and hopefully successful, job search. If you have any doubts about applying for or accepting a job, listen to your gut. Settling for a job will most likely cause you to leave it.

Score a Job With a Winning Resume
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Looking for a job is like going into combat. And just like any other kind of warrior, you wouldn't go into battle without a weapon. A resume is a job seeker's weapon in the job market against the other competition.

Weapons can often reflect their beholder and that definitely applies to job seekers and their resumes. The choices a person makes about how to compose their resume says a lot of about their thinking process. From the basics like font type to advancing the effectiveness of your writing skills, how well your resume constructed will determine how long you last in the fight for a job.

A weak resume can take you out of the running before you even started. Be a winner with a solid resume. If you're not sure whether your resume's infrastructure can withstand the challenge, use the following as a guideline to fortify it.

Things work best when they are built to perform a specific function. Similarly, a resume works best when it's written specifically for a target industry. Different industries and companies look for certain things when they go through resumes. Look for resume examples of a certain position type within a specific industry and use that a starting point. Pull keywords and phrases from job descriptions that will also stick out to the reader.

Coupled with being specific is being clear. Narrowing your audience means being able to narrow yourself down as well. Candidates are more valuable when they do one thing extremely well rather than being able to adequately do several things. It's easier to show off a set of skills if you can prove you've mastered them.

Another way to make yourself distinct from other candidates is by building on your personal brand. By making yourself recognizable you gain a huge advantage because you then become memorable. If you don't already have a LinkedIn account, now's the time to make one. And if you do, keep it current.

You can easily link your other social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter so that you can update your online presence simultaneously. To put a cherry on top, think about creating a personal website. Websites are a great way to market yourself to a specific industry because they serve as a sort of interactive business card. Take the website about.me for example. Any kind of these links should always be included in your resume. Anything you took the time and effort to take is worth showing off.

The thing about resumes is that there is no one thing about resumes. They are constantly changing with the times. When innovation and creativity are at their best, resumes can really shine despite their restrictive nature. Resumes, however, can only work for you if you equip them properly. Give yourself a fighting chance by putting some TLC in creating your resume fit for a champion.

Making Sure Your Online Application Isn't Ignored
Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paper applications are pretty much a rarity these days which can be a good and bad thing. Online applications are readily accessible and can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. With the vast amount of applicants that pour in for an open position, companies and more easily manage and sort through the candidates.

The downside is that these applications often get screened by a program that searches for specific keywords pertaining to the positions. So even though you might be qualified, if your application doesn't reflect exactly what they are looking for you could easily get overlooked.

Here are some ways to make sure that your application gets seen by human eyes:

1) Examine each job description.

Job descriptions are not a guideline, they are rules. Even if you feel like you are right for a position and think you might stand a chance, you shouldn't disregard the requirements if you don't meet them. Otherwise, you can count on being disappointed. These programs are designed to filter out the candidates that aren't a good match so chances are you don't have any.

2) Customize your cover letter and resume.

Cover letters and resumes must follow that same approach of matching the job description. Generic ones will simply get weeded out. You'll need to include some of the words from the job description such as certain skills and experience listed. If you're finding this to be a difficult task, you might want to rethink applying for the position.

3) Always proofread.

Neglecting to proofread your application can have lasting effects. Anything submitted online can remain the system for years to come and if all your errors and mistakes and kept on record it can be very hard to do damage control. With that in mind, you should always be 110% sure that your work is flawless. Make sure that the information you provided is clear and accurate.

 4) Fill it out entirely.

Leaving anything blank is not taking the opportunity to give yourself the best possible chance. Since the online program scans your resume, you'll want to have as many words as possible that could potentially match what it's looking for. Plus, leaving things out shows that you are taking short cuts and aren't that interested in the position.

5) Update and clean up social media profiles.

If a company does consider calling you in for an interview, they are more than likely to do some background research first. They'll want to see what kind of online presence you have and take a look at your social media presence. Whatever you don't want seen by professional eyes, make sure you adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty of Applications
Friday, August 03, 2012

Once you submit an application, it's all a waiting game after that. From there, all matters are out of your hands and into those of the hiring manager.
It's nearly impossible to tell whether you did enough to get a call back making the process all the more difficult to endure. From the moment you hit send, you're probably under the impression that you sent in an impeccable application and resume. The hiring manager would have to be crazy not to hire you.
But days and maybe even weeks go by and still no word. Not even a little thank you. It can become discouraging after a certain period of time. So why such a terrible turnout? It's news to no one that the economy has been less than ideal and have put a strain on many job seekers' efforts. The following tips are to help you identify some key areas that hiring managers take into consideration and how you can improve some of your weakenesses.

 

 
1) Unqualified.
You might be applying for a job that you want or believe you can do. But being passionate about a certain position can only go so far. It can't make up for a lack of required skills, knowlege and experience. You have to think realistically from a hiring managers perspective. They are looking for the best possible candidate so you have to know what you're up against. You have to expect that it's going to be a long shot if you apply for jobs you are insufficiently qualified for. Apply for ones where you fulfill the requirements and even exceed them a little.

 
2) Format.
Just have the information they asked for on your resume won't cut it. If it's not formatted properly and in the way they expect to read it then they simply won't. When they happens, it's another lost opportunity that didn't have to be. It's always easiest to start with a template and go from there toward making it reflective of you.

 
3) Optimization.
Optimizing your resume with keywords is, well, key. Sometimes your application can get screened by a recruiter or a machine to pick out certain elements that hiring managers want candidates to have on resumes before giving it a look themselves. The easiest way to get an idea of what words they will be looking for is by skimming the job description for them. Also try to group the same words together used in the description.

 
4) Timing.
Why you don't get a call back can even come to when you submit your application or resume and often does. Keep in mind that companies will get hundreds and thousands of applications for just one opening. Until you get the job that you're looking for, you have to search diligently like it that was your job. It helps to have a morning routine of scouring job boards and submitting at least 5-10 applications before continuing throughout the day. Prioritize which openings you want most and apply to those first thing in the morning.

 
5) Conflicting profiles.
Even with the most impressive resume, it will get you nowhere if your social media networking sites don't match up. The resume you submit may have been fully keyword optimized but if your LinkedIn isn't, it's a clear sign that you were probably bluffing. Some employers may even look you up on non-professional sites such as Facebook or Twitter so make sure that you secure your profiles from prying eyes.

 
GETTING NOTICED
  • Do your research on companies through social media sites and get to know their cultures. These are also a good place to get updates on jobs.
  • Become notable in your industry by starting a blog, website, or social media page.
  • Begin your search before you have to. If possible, if you feel like you might be on thin ice or don't like your current job, start your search before you're out of options. That way there will be less pressure from time and you can do a more thorough search.
  • Ask around. Ask your friends, neighbors, family members, and even friends or friends whether they might know of anything available or anyone else who might be able to help in the search. This is a resource that should be tapped into. A lot of the time how you end up getting a job is through who you know.

Can You Pin It to Win It In Your Job Search?
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You can find it's 'Pin it' button along side Facebook's 'Like' and Twitter's 'Tweet' buttons on most pages these days.

Pinterest entered the social media arena, came out a hit and is starting to make waves in the networking world.

Some people are taking advantage of the platform's visual interface to market themselves to potential employers and hiring managers.

One immediate positive affect it may have is that it's a way for the job seeker to freshen up their job search. Job searching can no doubt be an exhausting process so adding another tool in their kit gives them something new to use.

With companies already sending out recuiters to scour sites like LinedIn and Facebook, there's a good possibility that Pinterest will be the next online resource.

For people looking to find jobs within the creative arts or visually oriented industries, Pinterest boards can be used as an advantage for showcasing their work.

Many designers have already taken to the practice of turning their resumes into an example of their artwork but Pinterest allows for more media with less page flipping.

The idea of utilizing the site for job searching purposes gained public interest when a Harvard Univerisity MBA student created her Pinterest resume hoping to land a job with the company.

One of her pinned photos showed a picture of her sky-diving accompanied by the caption, "risk taker." In many cases, these images resonate louder than any words typed up on a Word document.

While the resume-pinning phenomena has yet to gain much momentum, it's shown great potential as social media portfolio of sorts.

Some tips offered by digital marketing expert for creating a

Digital marketing expert Christopher S. Penn created his own Pinterest resume and offers tips for other job-seeking pinners.

Some of his tips include:
  • Featuring LinkedIn recommendations using programs such as PowerPoint.
  • Uploading your own video from Youtube.
  • Incorporate additional slides from PowerPoint to showcase any images or creative phrases you want to grab the viewer's attention.
What about you, have you taken an interest in Pinterest?

Things That Have No Business Being On a Resume
Monday, May 21, 2012

Conventional resume barriers are constantly being broken as new ways to connect with hiring managers are being created through technology. While some traditional ways of compiling a resume don't necessarily apply to each industry, there are certain things that should be left out of every resume.

Including these no-no's can make you look like an amateur at sending out professional resumes and hiring managers will be quick to toss yours aside.

No matter what field or company you are seeking employment from, remember to not include the following:

1) All the jobs you've ever had.

If you're applying for a job in the business field, you don't need to list a position you held (recently or not) in a completely unrelated field. This not only wastes valuable space on your resume, but also valuable time the manager spends looking at it. When they skim through it looking for the important stuff and don't see it, they'll move right on to the next one.

2) How old you are.

This is something that has never needed to be included on a resume, however, there are tell-tale signs from other pieces of information listed that can indicate your age. You don't have to provide the date of your college graduation or the exact dates you work at a job from years ago. There are other ways of listing your achievements from previous jobs without indicating the exact dates.

3) False statements.

Putting information on your resume that isn't true is already an obvious practice to avoid. Hiring managers are trained to fact-check and validate information. Even if it's overlooked and you do end up landing the job, there's always the chance of it being discovered and could cost you your job and your reputation.

4) Photograph.

Remember that you don't want to give your age away and adding a current photo of yourself will make how old you are as clear as day. Unless you're an actress or model, where your appearance is taken into account, leave your face out of your resume. Your accomplishments are what matter.

5) Personal information.

This includes hobbies and things about you that don't pertain to job requirements. Don't mention things like your religion or whether you are male or female (which should already be obvious by your name). Adding a list of irrelevant personal interests is another way to waste precious resume real estate.

6) Your Objective.

Objectives on a resume are practically obsolete nowadays. Companies aren't interested in what you plan to do, instead, they want to see what you've already done. Keep your resume focused on your capabilities.

7) Using Colored Paper.

There are other ways to stand out on your resume, colored paper is not the way to do it. Keep it simple and use your words to grab the reader's attention, not blinding fonts and colors.

8) Saying, "References Available Upon Request."

Not only will they already expect you to provide them with references upon request but this might also come up in the hiring process. Using this phrase is like the objective in that neither are necessary.

Why You May Not Be to Blame For Your Job Search Problems
Friday, May 11, 2012

Some interview processes can sound like horror stories. Candidates just getting left high and dry or sent through an obstacle course of interviews on to come out empty handed.


In these cases, and many others like it, sometimes even when you do have a superb resume the recruiter will send you on a wild goose chase because of their lack of organization.


There are also other factors on top of that work against you and here are some:


1) When finances are tight, everyone has to make cuts--even recruiters. In-house recruiters are sometimes required to find people to fill open postion throughout several of the company's departments. In this case, they'll be all over the place and each process will take longer and perhaps not done with the utmost attention to detail.


2) The unemployment rate is still high. While things are improving the number of unemployed people is still a large amount. Even when numbers are lower, it just means that people have completely removed themselves from the workforce.


3) Managers feel like the can be picky when they have so many applicants to choose from. Even candidates who seem perfect for the job might get passed over for someone else just as good but maybe had something in common with the manager.


People who apply for a position believe that they are a good fit to fill it so imagine when a recruiter has to go through thousands of applicants for several positions. It's simply a matter of there just not being enough jobs available for the amount of applicants.


To get through this process quickly, recruiters will scan resumes for key words to narrow down the choices. These applications are the ones that get passed on to the hiring manager who gave the recruiter the description to look for.


They train their eyes to look for skills that incorporate these key words so it's important to carefully read the job description and modify it accordingly.


It's hard to gauge whether a candidate is really the best person for the job in a process with this kind of methodology. But when times are tough, things get little more cut-throat.


Many companies' hiring processes could do with some improvement. The careful consideration for candidates is somewhat lacking and now it seems that the best candidate is the person who knows how to best work the system, rather than the best resume.

The Similarites Between Resumes and Taxes
Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tax season is over for this year until the next which has many people breathing easier. There's so much pressure when it comes to doing taxes because of the importance of meeting deadlines and maintaining accuracy. Let's face it, taxes may be daunting but who wants to be audited?

The careful scrutiny and thoroughness that goes into preparing tax documents are good habits for job seekers in their resume writing approaches. Both, if not done correctly, could end up being costly.


Here are some ways that your tax preparing traits are good are beneficial to preparing your resume:

1) IT TAKES TIME.
Many people take the Turbo Tax route where they have to clear their schedules to make sure that they can get it all done uninterrupted. The IRS estimated that last year it took 22 hours for the average taxpayer to prepare and file a Form 1040. That's nearly an entire day.

Putting a resume together can also be time consuming since it's almost never a done deal no matter how many times you go through it. Your resume should always be a work in progress as it should reflect new life experiences--like jobs, activities, projects, awards, etc.--that can applied professionally. Just like taxes have to be done annually, updating your resume should be done on a frequent basis as well.

2) LIES WILL CATCH UP TO YOU.
All you need to stay out of financial and career trouble in your finances and career sticking to truth will ensure that. Sometimes, even white lies will raise eyebrows and sink your credibility. If deceitful claims are found on your tax return, the IRS can not only fine you as well as prosecute you. Perpetuating those lies with the authorities will dig you a hole too deep to get out of.

Avoiding that all together is the best, easiest route to take. Improving a not-so-distinguished reputation is much easier than trying to fix a damaged one. Whether it be with the government or a hiring manager, remember that background checks are often done and a red flag goes up the second there are suspicions of discrepancy.

3) ORGANIZATION IS OBLIGATORY.
Without organization in your tax preparations you pretty much can't get started. You must have all your documents in order to ensure that your forms are filled out properly. Plus, it would be scary to imagine spending more than 22 hours on doing taxes or risk overpaying taxes.

When writing your resume you want it to be as successful as possible. For it to be effective, it's got to be polished. Organization will be a great contributing factor to making it so. Keeping track of all the details such as employment dates, names, and addresses will allow you to spend less time having to go back and figure it all out, and more time with making sure your resume looks clean, includes all the things you want it to, and is free of errors.


Another thing about resumes and taxes is that neither of them are really enjoyable. They can be somewhat tedious and they require our fullest attentions. Nonetheless, they are necessary for parts of our lives to run smoothly and when all is said and done, they weren't so difficult that they couldn't be done. In time (hopefully) the process will only get easier.

5 Tips to Refresh Your Job Search
Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Getting stuck on a plateau can happen in job searches. Momentum can only get you so far until you can't seem to go any higher. That doesn't mean you should stop, it just means you need to regroup and give your job hunt a change of pace. To help redesign your search approach, here's a list of tips to give it an upgrade.

1) Work on your messaging skills.
Before you start reaching out to people for networking or any other reason make sure you're communication skills are sharp. Check for frequent typos, run-on sentences or misspelling. This applies for verbal communication, too. Work on your elevator pitches and speech style like your talking speed, volume, and annunciation. In both, make sure that your language comes out sounding natural. It's good to practice, but it don't make it sound obviously rehearsed.

2) Don't scare your networks away.
Ever wonder why some don't get a second date after the first one seemed to go so well? Chances are they put pressure on other person and scared them away from attempting to go a round two. This can happen with bad timing--too much, too soon. Networks are even more sensitive because things need to remain professional so you should keep your tone on the formal side.

3) Can you see me now?
Don't be a ghost when it comes to job hunting, make yourself visible! You want people to notice you and know who you are. Relying on your networks to do the work for you is like giving up on your job search altogether. You've got to be in it to win it so show off and outshine the competititon. Take the initiative in becoming your own PR person. Reach out to people, convince them why they should want to get to know you and pretty soon they'll be spreading the word for you.

4) Stay up-to-date.
There's no reason you shouldn't update your resume every now and then. Even if you don't have anything new to add to it, there's always room for improvement. Clean it up a bit, change things that you think might make it look better. If you have a cover letter template that you generally go off of, spruce that up a bit too. Cover letters should always be unique to each company, but having one that you made to use as a starting point is fine. The more your documents looked tended to, the more serious recruiters will take you in your job search.

5) Enjoy yourself.
Have some fun in what you're doing. Sounds somewhat odd in terms of a job search but meeting new people and discovering different opportunities shouldn't be considered a drag. Having enthusiasm in your search will allow you to keep an open mind and increase your progress. People will feed off of that and start to grativate toward you. Being likeable among your networks is one of the most valuable qualities ou can have in the job market as it will make people want to work with you.

Secrets to a Winning Cover Letter
Friday, March 09, 2012

Job seekers today are playing a new game with new rules. A job search is exactly that, a game, and a competitive one at that. You're goal is to beat out the competition and to win First Place.

In order to do that you have to not only know the rules, but master them in all the ins and outs of the playing field.

1) Address the Letter to a Specific Person
First and foremost, send your letter via U.S. Certified Mail. It should be addressed to the exact person who is affected by this open position. He she is the one who has the most concern for getting it filled. Do some research on the company either through the corporate website or on LinkedIn. Find out who you should be talking to you about which employment opportunities.

2) Extra! Extra!
Think about when you're reading a newspaper or magazine and what determines the articles that you're going to read. It's the headline that catches your attention, right? The same idea can be effective when used in cover letter as well. The headline should be a selling point that sparks and draws the person's interest. Be creative and give it some style to get the headline to stand out. If you want, include a prop that plays on the words you use in it. For example, if you're telling someone that you can cure their headache from trying to get the spot filled, include a packet of aspirin or pain reliever. Things like that don't go unnoticed or forgotten.

3) Bullet Points Aren't Just for Resumes
Bullet points are a great way to lay out the pertinent information without the blocks of text. They're direct and to the point. If there are certain things that you want the person to remember, bullet points are the way to go. Bullet points are clear and easy on the eyes.

4) Provoke Some Excitement
You know that feeling you get when you think you've just discovered something wonderful that you've been missing? Get the reader to have the same feeling from your letter. Emphasize all you have to offer them and what they can look forward to by having you aboard the team. You want that person to think, "Where have you been all my life?" Get them to see the benefits that hiring you will bring them.

5) Keep the Ball in Your Court
In today's highly competitive job market, you have to be more proactive if you want to be the star. You can't just send things out and wait for people to you. You have to play the game from start to finish otherwise you'll lose halfway in. You should say in your letter that you'll not only be following up but indicating when also. Be specific so they'll know exactly when to expect to hear from you and stick to your word. Never forget to get back to them. One wrong move in this game and you'll find yourself back at START before you even take the next step.

6) Name Names
The person you're addressing should be high enough in the company to have an assistant or someone that helps them manage this type of business. Find out who that person is. Adding that  additional personal touch of mentioning that person's role in your cover letter is sure to impress the hiring manager. Let the hiring manager know that you're making yourself available for that person to reach you if he or she can't. Having informed yourself about the company's personel already will show that you are professionally keen and resourceful.

7) Don't Leave Out LinkedIn
Your signature block should include every convenient means of contacting you. LinkedIn is common use in the professional field and it shows that you are engaged in online networking. Even if you don't get the job, they can still keep in touch with you in case any other positions open up in the future. LinkedIn is a powerful tool, don't let it go to waste.

8) And One Last Thing...
Include a P.S. in your letter. You want capture the reader's eye and keep it there. In case your headline isn't enough, they'll be sure to take a look down at your P.S. and want to know what information led up to it. The P.S. should be the clincher to really get them to bite, give them something irresistable to chew on. The P.S. needs to be a WOW factor that says that you know your stuff, or someone that may have spokenly highly of you, or an incredible accomplishment you did. Your P.S. should translate to "checkmate."

With time comes change so we have to learn how to roll with it. The rules and conventions that we're used to following in the job search don't entirely apply to the way things are done now. In time, the changes being implemented now will subjected to new rules. Survival of the fittest all comes down to one thing: the ability to adapt. People who can handle new transitions, and handle them well, will have no problem hanging on to the top spot.

Resume Skills You Might Be Forgetting
Friday, February 24, 2012

Mistakes are inevitable and you are bound to make them on your resume. What's worse than spelling or grammatical errors is leaving out valuable content. Neglecting to put in key skills on your resume can disqualify you faster than a typo. Employers want to know what you're capable of. While you might want to create a laundry list of all your skills, remember that you want to keep it as brief as possible.

Narrow it down and stick to what matters most, what you can brag (figuratively speaking) about yourself.Even though things are looking up for the job market, you still want to stay ahead of the competition. The following are some abilities that you haven't been playing up as much as you should:

Verbally communicate with people within and outside of the company.
Companies must do business with other companies in order to gain and build on success. They'll be looking for people that will be able to bridge relationships between the organizations so you ability to communicate with them will be a major advantage. Good people skills are crucial in any industry as the rule of thumb is, "it's who you know, not what you know." People who can communicate well are also good motivators because that outspokenness will resonate with people. This is a strength you definitely want people to know you have.

Decision-making and problem solving.
Many people don't consider these qualities to be their forte but that doesn't mean they don't have them so they shouldn't rule them out. Problems aren't limited to subject type so anyone who can prove with an example of how they were able save the day are showing their value as a team member. Also showing how your decison making benefitted previous employers in certain situations has the same effect. Potential employers will see that you actively contribute to the well-being of your company.

Working in a team structure.
On that note, looking out for a team rather than number one is a very important, too. It says a lot about your character and integrity. You can expect to work for any company and expect to receieve a paycheck while being left alone. Companies simply can't survive without all parts in unity. Therefore, you'll want to let them know that no matter who you work with, you will be able to work with them well and are open to others' ideas. You'll be expected to share ideas as well. Companies grow through input and feedback.

Planning, organizing, and prioritizing work.
If you're one of those people with a "method to the madness" motto you'll be sure to scare away hiring managers. Yes, people are encouraged to be themselves rather than robots, but if you're all over the place that worries potential employers. They want to see what goes on inside your head,  how your thinking works, how your mental gears turn. But if you can't convey that properly or are used to throwing things together and leaving the rest to chance, chances are yours will be slim. Show them how you were able to demonstrate these strenghts with projects you may have worked on or how you applied them in your daily work.

Analyzing quantitive data.
Numbers people are like gold to employers. Companies are all about the numbers and people who can make sense of them are what they're after. What kinds of numbers that will pertain to you will depend on the department you're aiming for but if you can show how you were able to work your magic with then you stand a good chance of getting a call back. These jobs are competitive so it can be hard to stand out skillwise from the next guy who knows just as much as you. What will make the difference is the results you bring to the table.

Your resume is your ticket to an interview, not a job. So the best way to secure getting that exciting news down the road is by first getting through the door. Make sure you have a powerful resume with skills and examples of them that will blow any employer out of the water. Maybe you feel like you don't have much to offer but it's all in how you respresent yourself. If you can toot your own horn enough, someone is bound to hear you.