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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.