Simple Interview Tips That Work

October 18th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

Job interviewing never seems to get any easier – even when you have gone on more interviews than you can count. You are always meeting new people, having to sell yourself and your skills, and often getting the third degree about what you know or don’t know. And, you have to stay upbeat and enthusiastic throughout each interview.

That said, there are ways to make a job interview much less stressful.

Invest a little time prior to the interview getting ready, and it will be much easier to handle. The key to effective interviewing is to project confidence, stay positive, and be able to share examples of your workplace skills and your qualifications for the job.

Brush up your communication skills, so you can speak clearly and concisely about the assets you have to offer the employer. Take the time to work on your interview skills – effective interviewing will help you get hired.

Here are a few simple job interview tips to help prepare you to interview effectively:

Practice and Prepare

Practice your responses to the typical job interview questions and answers most employers ask. Think of concrete examples you can use to highlight your skills. The easiest way to do this is to make a list of the job requirements, and match them to your experience. Providing evidence of your successes is a great way to promote your candidacy.

Also, have a list of your own questions to ask the employer ready.

Research the Company
Do your homework about the employer and the industry, so you are ready for the interview question “What do you know about this company?” Try to relate what you have learned about the company when answering questions. Know the interviewer’s name, and use it during the job interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview. Building rapport and making a personal connection with your interviewer can up your chances of getting hired. People tend to hire candidates they like, and who seem to be a good fit for the company culture.

Get Ready Ahead of Time

Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear. When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before. Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.

Be On Time (That Means Early)

Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the interview location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Give yourself a few extra minutes to visit the rest room, check your outfit, and calm your nerves.

Try to Stay Calm

During the job interview, try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Remember that your body language says as much about you as your answers to the questions. Proper preparation will allow you to exude confidence. Take a moment to regroup if you need it. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question (active listening) before you answer, and pay attention – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question.

Show What You Know

Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions. When discussing your career accomplishments, match them to what the company is looking for. Use examples from your research when answering questions, “I noticed that when you implemented a new software system last year, your customer satisfaction ratings improved dramatically. I am well versed in the latest technologies from my experience with developing software at ABC, and appreciate a company who strives to be a leader in its industry.” Take the time to make a match between your expertise and the company’s requirements, and to sell yourself to the interviewer.

Follow Up

Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. You can also include any details you may have forgotten to mention during your interview. If you interview with multiple people send each one a personal note. Send your thank you note (email is fine) within 24 hours of your interview.

So with some advance preparation, you’ll be able to nail the interview and showcase the experience that makes you the ideal candidate for the company’s next new employee.

Good luck!

7 Interview Tips That Will Help You Get the Job | by Alison Doyle via the Balance.

Avoiding the Path to Rejection – Software Engineering Resumes

October 4th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

So you sent your resume to your favorite tech companies and never heard back from any of them?

Guess what, you’re not alone. Top technology companies like Google receive over 2 million job applications a year and only hire about 5000 people. So the average applicant’s odds are only 1 out of 400, says Laszlo Bock, Head of People Operations at Google. Presumably this includes all roles at Google; it is quite possible the odds are even worse for their engineering positions.

Admittedly, this is at one of the premier technology firms in the world, but the situation is not much different at other companies. There is a good chance that your resume is going to be shelved without you ever learning the reason. To not end up in the rejected pile, you must at least avoid the following mistakes in your software engineer resume:

1. Not sending your resume via an employee referral

If you are applying directly via a company’s website or through a job board, please stop!

As per the Impact Group Study in 2010, job applications using networking or referrals are far more successful than applying online. 26.7% of external hires made by organizations came from referrals, making it the number one external source of hiring. 46% of men and 39% of women find their jobs through networking. The higher your salary, the more effective networking becomes.

2. Not tailoring your resume for each job application

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use the same resume for each job application. While most of the content will remain the same, it is easy to customize the headline and summary sections at the top where you can convey your fit for that particular position. You can highlight the relevant skills in your professional summary to enable an employer to quickly get a grasp of the most impressive and pertinent items in your profile.

3. Not mentioning your online presence

Given how easy and cheap it is to maintain a personal website, social media profile, or blog, it is inexcusable for a software engineer not to have one these days. A blog showcases your knowledge, the kind of work you’ve been doing, and how long you’ve been involved in it. It demonstrates your writing skills and how clearly you can communicate your thoughts. And with linking and discussions, you can show your level of connection with current trends and technologies. It also gives you a significant advantage when a prospective employer can look at your site or blog and assess your fit for their work, beyond the brief summary included in your resume (which will always need to be limited in length and scope).

If you don’t have a website or a blog yet, consider including your Stack Overflow, GitHub, or any other public profile link that could demonstrate your skills. At the very least, you should include your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s more than just a stub.

4. Not highlighting relevant projects

Top tech companies and startups are looking for killer projects in your profile.

Anyone can build mundane school projects but what personal projects did you create? Did you build an expense sharing app to use among your friends? Or a budget app for your Mom? These projects show your passion for programming because you built them just for fun or utility. Good companies look for such passionate candidates.

These projects can make or break your shortlisting chances especially when your current job profile is not very relevant. If you are an enterprise application developer at a bank, for example, and are applying to Google or Facebook or Twitter, then your work is unlikely to impress them straight away. To make the cut and stay in contention, you need to differentiate yourself, and listing independent projects is certainly one way to do that.

To do this right, of course, you need to understand the job requirement first and then determine what kind of projects would be most relevant. Cut out old school projects and add these instead. If you don’t have any, don’t apply yet and first work on some projects that will be worth mentioning!

5. Not using the right keywords

Most big employers and job boards use applicant tracking systems to store and manage the huge number of resumes they receive. Keyword searching becomes a necessary evil here for screening and filtering out the best candidates. And since most jobs have at least one, non-negotiable requirement, including relevant keywords related to that requirement is essential (adding Hadoop, for example, for a Data Scientist position).

Keywords aren’t just restricted to tools and technologies, of course, but could also be functional titles such as ‘product manager’, ‘SEO’, ‘social media manager’, etc.

So think of what keywords are pertinent to the position you are applying for and include those in your resume to ensure that it is shortlisted during first-level ATS filtering.

6. Not removing irrelevant or unimpressive certifications

There are only a few companies or hiring managers impressed by a SCJP certification. In fact, there can be times when it serves as a negative signal. Ideally, your expertise in a technology should be reflected in your projects and not in the number of certifications under your name.

Unless a job opening specifically asks for a certification or it is extremely relevant, you should leave it off of your resume. For example, if you are applying for network engineering roles that involve working on Cisco switches and routers, including a certification like CCNA might be helpful.

At the end of the day, your resume is supposed to highlight your accomplishments and the skills relevant to the position for which you are applying. Every line should conform to these goals. Anything that does not add value to your candidacy should be mercilessly removed.

If you’ve done it right, your well-designed resume will prioritize the right information and get you past the initial screening. After that, during the interview, it’s all up to you!

Good luck!

Dear Software Engineer – This is why your resume was rejected | by Nistha Tripathi via Scholar Strategy.

5 Common Resume Lies & Exaggerations

September 20th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

The temptation to stretch the truth on a resume can be powerful, especially considering the modern, competitive job market we currently endure, where the slightest advantage can mean the difference between a successful career and a life mired in mediocrity.

Before you act on this temptation and give your credentials a fictitious boost, think twice. Beyond the serious ethical implications, consider a few other issues.

First, most employers keep resumes on file once candidates are hired. And if your exaggerations are discovered—even years down the road—you may be terminated on the spot (recall the embarrassing firing of CEO Scott Thompson from Yahoo! a few years ago).

Second, experienced hiring managers have usually been in the candidate-selection business for a long time, and they’ve seen many more resumes than you have. They tend to spot exaggerations right away, and if this is your first foray into the job market, some of your adjustments may be more obvious than you realize.

Here are the most common lies and alterations that managers tend to see on resumes, especially those submitted by less experienced applicants:

1. GPA Misstatements

Inexperienced candidates are more inclined to stretch the truth than workers with longer track records, and as it happens, many of these newbies are recent graduates, so their GPAs hold more weight than those of their mid-career counterparts. If you’ve graduated within the past two years, feel free to include your GPA in your resume. After two years, take this detail out. In the meantime, don’t round-up or “accidentally” misstate your GPA by a few tenths of a point. This detail is very easy for employers to verify.

2. Revenue Raised

You worked on a project, and the project helped your company make money. You wrote a grant application, won over a new client, participated in a successful product roll-out, or coached a sales team until their numbers improved. That’s great! And when you describe this accomplishment, you’ll want to quantify it by using dollar amounts, timelines, and sales figures. As you do so, keep these numbers honest and accurate. Your reviewers probably won’t be able to verify these claims, but don’t be tempted to overstate them or you may call your entire candidacy into question.

3. Head Counts

How many people worked right beside you on the project described above? Was this a single-handed effort or were you part of a 27-member team? How many direct reports did you manage in your last position? How many clients did you handle at once? Don’t add (or subtract) so much as one imaginary person. Keep your record and your conscience clean.

4. Skill Level

Sometimes, we are tempted to claim greater knowledge and experience in a subject than we possess. For example, while we may only have a passing familiarity with software like Adobe Photoshop, we may put on our resume that we are skilled at using it, thereby implying frequent use and in-depth knowledge. Or we’ve read some articles or books but have no formal training in a subject. Or we took high school Spanish and that makes us fluent. Always be sure to indicate the exact level of expertise you possess, when in doubt.

5. Timelines & Job Titles

Did you finish this project in three months or four years? Were you promoted from the entry level within one year or five years? Did you leave your last job in 2014 or 2010? When you held that job, were you the Assistant Branch Manager or the Assistant TO the Branch Manager? Keep in mind that dates of employment and job titles can be verified with a single phone call.

So the best policy is always to keep your certifications and accomplishments honest. An accurate resume will hold far more value for both your employers and yourself. The more information you share, and the more accurate it is, the easier it will be for both parties to find a potential match.

Good luck!

4 Common Resume Lies & Exaggerations | via LiveCareer.

Dress for Success at Your Next Job Interview

September 6th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that can sabotage your career, so it pays to sweat the details.

When you’re invited to a job interview, for example, one wrong move can blow your chances. Even wearing the wrong thing can distract an employer from your polished resume and outstanding experience.

Before you schedule your next interview, be sure to review this list of the six worst things to wear for a job interview.

Ill-Fitting Clothes

If you haven’t worn your interview outfit recently, you might find it doesn’t fit the way it used to. Don’t try to pull it off, though. You won’t look your best and you won’t feel comfortable — and it will show.

Better to wear an outfit that is tailored to suit you, rather than anything that feels or looks too tight or too short. It may not only give the wrong impression, it may also be distracting. Tugging at your skirt hem, for example, is another distraction that takes away from the focus on you and your skills.

Overly Casual Clothes

Even if you’re interviewing at a laid-back workplace, it’s still possible to take the casual concept too far. Do not wear jeans, tennis shoes, shorts, t-shirts, hats, flip-flops, or any garments with messages or brands written on them. For men wearing a suit, do not wear loud, obnoxious colors, busy-printed shirts or overly patterned ties. Take the conservative approach, and save the fun stuff for after you’ve got the job.

Anything Distracting

There’s a fine line between standing out and wearing something that’s just distracting. In the interview process, you should err on the side of caution and tone it down. Better to choose subtle patterns over brighter ones, and dark or neutral clothing versus neon colors or anything distracting. You should be the focus of the interview, not your clothing.

Women should not wear anything too revealing or low cut. No platform heels, no sun dresses, nothing too trendy. Make up and jewelry should also be toned down. For men and women both, it’s generally a good idea to stick with the basics: a black, blue, or grey suit and the associated conservative accoutrement.

Excessive Accessories

You might like to make a statement with your jewelry, but the job interview isn’t the time to do so. Stay away from jewelry that jingle-jangles, which can be very distracting for an interviewer.

Experts advise against wearing perfume and cologne as well. You may feel like something is missing when you refrain from wearing your favorite fragrance, but this is one more thing that can be distracting during the interview. In addition, many people have sensitivity or allergies to fragrances. Play it safe!

Something Very Different from What the Interviewer Suggested

It’s a good idea to ask about what’s expected of you when you’re setting up a job interview. Always ask the point person that set up the interview for advice on what to wear. If you wear something that is significantly different than the instructions that you were given, then you stand a good chance of turning off the interviewers.

The Obvious

Never attend any interview with ill-fitting, sweat-stained, smelling like smoke, dog or cat hair covered clothing that looks like something you slept in. Never wear the same ensembles you would wear out to a bar or nightclub with your friends. Ridiculously sculpted fingernails on women and pointy shoes and contrasting socks for men are no-nos.

When in doubt, overdress for the first interview.

Good luck!

The 6 worst things to wear to a job interview | Catherine Conlan via Monster.com.

Why You Need to Hire a Professional Resume Writer

August 23rd, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

If Your Resume Isn’t Opening Doors, Get Some Professional Help

Job searching sure is expensive. After all, it costs money to dry clean your interview suit, fill up your tank and drive to each and every job interview. And at a time when you’re counting every nickel and dime, you don’t want to spend any more cash than necessary.

But if you’ve been job searching for some time without success, it may not be what you’re saying, but how you’re coming across on paper. That’s where a resume writer comes in. Resume writers are not just professional writers, but they’re experts in making your resume stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Here’s why you might need a resume writer, and why it’s such a good investment.

1. U Can’t Right Good

Let’s say you’re an accountant.

Dollars and cents are your game, not words. So if you’re struggling to express your previous work experience well—and your writing confuses HR professionals like advanced math perplexes most of society—a resume writer can help. He/she can discern what needs to be on your resume (and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t), and express it all professionally.

2. You’re Stuck in the Past

When you look at your resume, you think it looks totally awesome. But when a hiring manager sees it, all he’s seeing is the year 1986.

Like music and fashion, even resumes have to be stylish so they can get more than a passing glance from a potential boss. If you’re not sure of what the current trends are, a professional service can give your resume the extra savoir-faire it deserves. From the quality of the paper it’s printed on to the template used, the writer will make sure that your resume reads—and looks—its best.

3. You’re Not Getting Interviews on Your Own

You know your work experience is impressive and your workplace skills are stellar. So why aren’t you getting any interviews?

The main reason could be your subpar resume. A professionally written resume can open doors for you that might lead to a great job. It’s also good to keep in mind you might even need several versions of your resume, depending on the type of job interview you have. These advanced nuances are things with which a professional resume writer can assist.

4. You’re Shy

To you, a resume is a necessary evil. It’s basically a depiction of all your previous accomplishments and accolades, and frankly, you’re not the bragging type.

You might need an expert to help you through the process if you have a hard time talking about yourself, much less writing it all down on paper. There’s no shame in getting help with this because writing about yourself is one of the toughest assignments, and you’re often your own worst critic.

A professional resume writer will know how to spotlight your most worthy accomplishments because he’s looking at them with fresh, unbiased eyes. Let him turn your resume into something that’s personable and professional.

5. You Have Issues

Maybe you left the workplace so you could raise your family, and now there’s a huge gap in your employment history. Or perhaps you’re changing career fields and don’t quite know how to revamp your resume to show off the skills you have for this new industry. While you can’t rewrite history, a professional writer will know just how to accentuate the positives on your resume, and write away any negative aspects.

Hiring a resume writer may not be an option for everyone and some people can do the job on their own. But for those who have the necessary skills but are struggling to get interviews, a professionally polished resume can be one of the best investments you make as you continue on your job search.

So if you’re looking for an edge, an upgrade, and a boost to your job search contact us today!

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Resume Writer | Sara Sutton Fell via Salary.com.

What to Research Before a Job Interview

August 9th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

You know that weird feeling between excitement and dread that accompanies an invitation to interview? It’s especially strong when you know next to nothing about your potential workplace.

However, even if the first time you’ve ever heard of the company you’re interviewing with was the day you sent in your application, you can still walk in like you’ve known about the place for years. The key is to do some pre-interview research to make sure you can handle anything specific to the company that might come up (and offer suggestions to address the company’s particular situation if afforded the opportunity). Below are some topics and strategies you might consider.

Keep in mind, of course, that they will likely be researching you as well, going beyond just your resume and cover letter. So make sure you research yourself as well and clean up your online presence as much as possible!

1. The skills and experience the company values.

First and foremost, you should know what the company looks for in a qualified candidate. This enables you to position yourself as the best candidate for the position.

To discover the skills and experience the employer values, read between the lines of their job postings. You can also find out information on the employer’s career page to get an idea of the type of employees their desire. In addition, reach out to current employees who work there and ask them about what their employer values most in the workplace.

2. Key players of the organization.

The key players within an organization are those employees who hold important positions in the company. These individuals can be managers, department directors, and especially the CEO/president of the company.

You can find out who the key players of the organization by reading the employer’s “About” page and employee bios. It’s also a good idea to check out what these individuals say on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn what employees say about the company online.

3. News and recent events about the employer.

When you go into a job interview, it’s always a good idea to be knowledgeable about the company’s latest news and updates.

Most companies have a page on their website dedicated to press releases and events. This is a great source for you to find out information regarding the company’s latest news and updates.

4. The company’s culture, mission, and values.

Job seekers should be able to confidently say they’re good fit for the company’s culture during any job interview. In fact, a Millennial Branding study says 43 percent of HR professionals believe cultural fit is the most important quality job seekers can have during the hiring process.

As you research the employer, pay attention to what’s written on their website regarding the company’s values and mission. You can also learn more about the company culture by following the organization on its social media networks.

5. Clients, products, and services.

As a potential employee, you need to have an idea of the type of work you’d be doing once hired. By having a general idea of who the company’s clients are and the types of products and services are offered, you’ll be more prepared for the interview, too.

To find out the company’s offerings, you can usually find them on the company’s website. You can also read through the company’s blog, case studies, and white papers to give you a better idea of their accomplishments.

6. The inside scoop.

To ensure you’re fully prepared for the job interview, websites such as Glassdoor help job seekers discover the inside details of a company that can’t be found on the employer’s website.

With these sites, you can typically find information such as salary figures, employee functions and duties, company reviews, details about the hiring process, and more.

7. The person interviewing you.

Finally, you should find out who the interviewer will be. This will give you an advantage during the interview because you’ll have a better chance of connecting with them and sparking a meaningful conversation.

Now it might be a little tricky trying to find out who the interviewer is, but you should be able to locate the person’s name with a little investigation. First, try locating the person’s name from email you received regarding the interview. If you can’t find any information, reply to the email politely requesting the name of the person who’ll interview you.

Once you acquire the interviewer’s name, do some research on LinkedIn and Twitter. This will help you learn about the interviewer’s background, their position with the company, and even some common interests you both share.

Good luck!

7 Things to Research Before Any Job Interview | Heather Huhman via Glassdoor.

Why a Targeted Resume is Critical

July 26th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

When applying for a job, it’s your responsibility to prove you’re the best candidate. This can be challenging if you can’t provide examples showing that this is, indeed, the case. A great way to show your worth is by focusing on what the employer needs most from the candidate who will fill the position, then tailoring your resume to address those needs specifically.

Targeting Your Resume Proves You Are the Best Fit for the Position

Employers absolutely need to know that the candidate they choose for a job is the best fit, which they do by confirming that a candidate’s past accomplishments and current skill set fall in line with the important day-to-day tasks and overarching goals of the position.

If you submit a generic resume that doesn’t address the specific needs of each company and showcase your professional capabilities, you are failing to prove that you are right for the position. And unfortunately, another candidate will be more than willing to pick up your slack — and take your dream job while they’re at it.

How Can You Ensure Your Resume Is Targeted?

So how do you create a targeted resume that will emphatically show an employer that you deserve the interview? Here are a few brief suggestions:

Research the company and position:

A great way to target your resume is to dig in and learn about the company and what the employer wants from its candidates. Once you acquire this information, you will be armed with specifics that can help you determine what contributions you can make to the company.

Customize a job target/title, branding statement, and career summary:

Instead of writing a bland objective statement, place a job target/title at the top of your resume that defines who you are as a professional. Also, create a branding statement (a one- or two-line statement that sums up the value you can offer each employer based upon their needs and how you can meet them) that is customized to the specific job. Then write a career summary (most commonly a bullet point list that shares your career highlights) listing accomplishments most pertinent to the position at the top.

Utilize keywords throughout:

It’s also important to utilize specific keywords in your resume. For example, if you are applying as an executive chef in the hospitality industry, you might incorporate keyword phrases like “menu planning”, “kitchen equipment”, “banquet meal production”, and “procurement of food supplies” as indicators of your knowledge of the field. Keywords should be used in your job target/title, branding statement, career summary, and most other sections in your resume.

Though targeting your resume requires a bit more effort (a resume writing professional can help!), it offers a lot more in return. By taking the time to customize a resume for each application, you give those companies no doubt that you are the best candidate for the job.

Good luck!

Why Writing Targeted Resumes is More Critical Than You Think | Jessica Holbrook Hernandez via HCareers.

What’s in a Title?

July 7th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

For some, it’s ego. For some, it’s power. For some, it’s ambition. For some, it’s self-esteem. And for many job seekers, it could be what keeps you from or lands you your next role.

Your title.

The issue of your current and previous job titles is something to consider carefully, since HR and hiring managers often fixate on titles, which can be (but often are not) simple summaries of what a professional does and at what level. Often, though, depending on the company and the industry, titles can just as easily be misleading or confusing, making it difficult to effectively judge a candidate’s experience and capabilities (especially as regards seniority). And this can hold you back professionally in myriad ways.

So, how can you move on and up if your current title suggests that you don’t have the qualifications for that next step, even if, say, you have years of experience and could very well have a “higher” level title if not for extenuating circumstances such as your company’s budget or team structure? Is your only option to wait with baited breath for a promotion before you can start exploring other opportunities?

If you’re in this situation, you’ve likely asked yourself the following questions: Can you fudge your title on your resume? Embellish your role to be viewed as a more desirable candidate? Take pains to explain your position to the hiring manager? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Examine and Clarify

A job seeker once told me she waited to start looking for a new job until after she got a promotion and title change (from associate editor to editor). While not terribly unhappy in her current role, she was ready to move on. “I probably would’ve done it sooner,” she confided, “but I was embarrassed by my job title.”

She explained that she wasn’t comfortable applying to roles as long as associate was a part of her title, and so stayed put. Now, promotion in hand—or on paper as it were—she was prepared to look forward and embrace a new opportunity, having ditched the label that she believed made her sound too junior for roles she felt qualified for.

If you’re at the point in your career when you could easily have the next title up, whatever that may be in your industry or field, clarify your position on your resume. So maybe you’ve been working as a production assistant for three years, but the truth is, you are the production team at your company.

You report to the director, yes, but you coordinate all of the in-house production, and you’ve moved so far beyond assisting anyone that it’s not even funny. But, for whatever lame reason, you’re stuck with the entry-level title you came in with (even though your salary has most definitely not stayed the same), and you’re worried that if you put that junior-sounding role on your resume, you’re only going to be eligible for roles that were appropriate when you were first starting out. You’ve learned so much since then and are far more qualified than your actual title suggests.

In this case, you’ll need to adapt your resume to close the gap between title and experience.

Redirect and Expand

There’s a really great way to navigate this challenging situation without being dishonest. Instead of putting production assistant on your resume, you put “Name of Company – Production Team – 3 Years.” You can always edit for clarity and communication so long as you’re not misleading or misrepresenting your background or experience.

If that type of clarification gets you an interview, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explain how you started at the company, how the role and responsibilities evolved, and that because of the organization’s budget/protocol/whatever you never actually received a title change during your tenure there. In your resume, focus on the responsibilities and accomplishments and de-emphasize the titles. And remember that your resume is only one part of the job-search process.

That said, because it’s an important one, you do want to err on the side of caution with the information you include. If a company’s human resources department calls your current or former employers for confirmation of your work history, it’s generally looking for two things: your dates of employment and your title, making it a pretty bad idea to put down a position name that wasn’t actually bestowed on you.

Instead, make your resume about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing—avoid highlighting your actual title if you’re worried it’s going to knock you out of the running before you even have a chance to get dressed for the race.

Good luck!

The Answer to “Can I Change My Job Title on My Resume to Make it More Accurate?” | Stacey Lastoe via the Muse.

When Should You Lie on Your Resume?

June 21st, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

Probably everyone you’ve ever met has told you that you shouldn’t lie on your resume. But what if you can’t seem to get a job with the skills you have? You may really want to be honest, but want to be employed even more. What should you do?

When it comes to resumes, and many other things, you can’t look at every statement as black and white. You never want to outright lie on your resume, of course, but you do want to paint the best picture of yourself possible. This sometimes means leaving out certain information or finding the right angle for your experience. Here’s some rough advice on what you can do and what you should never do to enhance your resume:

Don’t Include Your Entire Work History

Whether you have a short or long work history, you don’t necessarily want to include all of it. If you’re applying for a marketing position and you’ve worked as an intern and an associate in separate firms, but also as a cashier at a grocery store, don’t pad your resume with the irrelevant job. Doing so wastes space that you can use to explain the good work you did at the actually relevant jobs.

Conversely, you may want to leave off jobs (and other information) that make you look overqualified. You don’t need an MFA to work in telesales or Vice President position to get a job as a programmer. Part of putting your best foot forward on your resume involves leaving out the stuff that makes you look wrong for the position, no matter how impressive.

Temporarily Lie About Skills You Can Learn

Do you know Excel? Probably not very well if you haven’t touched it since 2004, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include it on your resume. If you can spend a night learning what you need to know before you need to know it, you can claim proficiency in a skill you don’t really have.

Keep in mind this means taking a sizable risk and you shouldn’t take it often. You don’t want to claim to know JavaScript when you’ve never even learned the basics. That said, you can claim to know HTML and CSS if you’ve learned a little bit but not a lot. When you “lie” about a skill, you have to know you can acquire that skill quickly if needed by your employer. Don’t apply for jobs that require certain primary abilities you don’t have. You wouldn’t want to try and get a job as a front-end developer with limited knowledge of HTML and CSS, for example. You might, however, promote that same limited knowledge to find work as a blogger (or any job where those skills help but aren’t required). Although it’s always better to just tell the truth, if you need to embellish your skill set you can safely, under these constraints.

Don’t Embellish Your Position, Explain It

You never want to lie about your position. While your work might imply a more robust job title, if a prospective employer calls your previous employer to ask about a position that doesn’t exist, you’ll just seem like a liar. That said, you shouldn’t discount the work you did beyond the call of duty. For example: Let’s say you were an intern last semester. You worked really hard and you think, “Hmm, I worked almost as hard as my manager, I’ll just say that I had his title instead.” Sometimes a hiring manager catches this fib and sometimes they don’t. If you were a hardworking intern, illustrate that with the bullet points below your title, not by lying about your position at the company.

You can still call yourself by your correct title and explain only the great, relevant work you did. You don’t have to include remedial tasks that made up most of your job if it doesn’t apply to the job you’re trying to get. Instead, you can leave out more of the irrelevant tasks and focus on the ones that make you look like an intelligent, hardworking prospect.

All of that said, if you have a great relationship with the company you’ve left (or plan to leave) and want to use a more impressive title, talk to your boss or manager about using one. They may allow you to use a more impressive-sounding title on your resume and play along when called as a reference if they like you. Perhaps they’ll even award you that honorary title as a parting gift. If your boss or manager approves, it’s not really a lie.

Spin Relevant Experience When You Have None

The trick doesn’t involve lying, but rather digging deep to find relevant experience you didn’t really know you had. If you really want a job as a graphic designer but work as a receptionist, you can spin a lot of your experience to make it relevant. Perhaps you’ve created fliers, mailers, in-office posters, and so on. I worked as a customer service representative awhile back and found ways to make company videos, design posters, and even write code. If you want a different job, find ways to do the kind of work you want to do at your current job so you can claim it as experience on your resume. You still have to do the work assigned to you, but if you add a few other helpful tasks here and there your company should appreciate you for it.

When you can’t do something at a company, do it on your own time. Nobody can stop you from designing, writing, or whatever else after you clock out. When you have no relevant experience, you can always make some yourself. That might not get you an interview all by itself, but you can also try to meet someone from the company to give yourself a better chance. A simple email asking if you can take someone out to lunch to ask them for career advice can go a long way.

In the end, you want to lie as little as possible but find ways to make what you have look as attractive as possible. That means embellishing your skill set a little, including the right jobs, and focusing on relevant experience—even if it didn’t make up the majority of your work. If you just don’t have a lot of work experience at all, seek out internships to get some. Just don’t outright lie on your resume. That might get you an interview, but it probably won’t get you a job.

Good luck!

When Should You Lie on Your Resume? | Dave Yourgrau via Lifehacker.

How To Survive Marathon Job Interviews

June 7th, 2017 by Tyrone Norwood CPRW

We already discussed how to handle stress interviews last time but I wanted to follow up on that topic by covering something less common but potentially even more stressful: the marathon interview.

For the most part, our advice over the years regarding how to succeed with job interviews has focused on meeting with maybe a single hiring manager or perhaps a small group of people including HR. But for many job seekers, an even bigger challenge awaits them after those initial phone screens and one-on-one meetings are completed and they’ve moved on to the next stage.

Some companies, like Lending Club, PwC, Microsoft, and Boston Consulting Group, hold sessions that can last an entire day, running straight through lunch and on to after-work drinks. These sessions may include interviews with a dozen or more candidates at once, as the company tries to efficiently handle large numbers of potential candidates (including some who may be flying in from out of town), and may occasionally involve group interviews where candidates are required to solve problems together.

In order to survive these grueling sessions, here is some advice from professionals involved in the industry who have officiated marathon interviews:

Prepare, prepare and prepare some more.
Plan to spend as much time as possible getting ready for your all-day interview. Some of the specific challenges will be covered below but by all means, don’t think you can wing it.

Ask your contact in advance what you should expect.
How many people will you meet? What are their job titles? What topics do they expect you to cover? Will you be presented with a case study? Will there be a group session with other candidates? Will the interviews run through lunch? Will there be any other opportunity for socializing, like after-hours drinks, that you are expected to attend?

Get ready with stories.
It’s essential to have at least three short but detailed anecdotes about yourself ready to tell. They should illustrate a challenge you faced, either organizationally or substantively or both, and how you overcame it. Were you expected to increase sales by 30% in six months while traveling to satellite offices? Did you mount a social media campaign while juggling sales calls and writing internal communications materials?

Research your potential employer’s field.
If you’re interviewing with a company like the Lending Club, read and digest every page of the company website, do a news clip search and make sure you know who the competitors are. You won’t necessarily introduce any of these topics but you want to be prepared to talk intelligently about them should they come up. Try finding ex-employees on LinkedIn and message them to ask if you can talk on the phone or ideally, meet for coffee or a drink. Quiz them about the company’s strengths and challenges.

Keep your focus on the positive.
When the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, stick to a positive, linear story that emphasizes your interest in the job. For instance, if you’ve worked in business and you’ve decided to apply for a teaching fellowship, don’t talk about why you’ve come to dislike your job or how you’ve soured on your career. Instead emphasize how much you’ve learned and how you think those lessons will make you a better teacher. The same rule applies if you’re looking to leave a company where you’ve become unhappy. Talk about your past successes and how excited you are at the prospect of a new challenge.

Be prepared to listen rather than talk.
A friend of mine went for an interview at a nonprofit last week. She was incredibly well prepared (she works in the field in a senior position at another nonprofit institution) with anecdotes about her achievements and questions about her potential employer. But her interviewer talked for 45 minutes straight, describing the institution and its challenges. That left less than 15 minutes for my friend to make her case. The interviewer obviously has a lot to learn but her tactics, from my experience, are common. The challenge is to listen closely, appear as though you care about what the interviewer is saying and try to retain as much as possible.

Don’t expect to eat at lunch.
Though a company like Lending Club claims that lunch is a time for candidates to take a breather and relax, don’t. Your interviewers care about whether you are socially skilled and easy to be around. This is a good opportunity to ask questions. Query your dining companion about their career and how they like their employer. Remember that you are still being evaluated. You may not manage more than a few bites of food. Pack a small water bottle and snack in your bag that you can nibble when you excuse yourself to go to the restroom.

Jot down notes when you take a bathroom break.
Don’t take notes during a meal or in interviews. When you go to the rest room, jot down some points. These will come in handy when you follow up with thank-you notes. Pay particular attention to descriptions of the company’s challenges. You want to come off as a problem solver.

Get everyone’s business card and offer yours.
Unless you have a photographic memory, you will not be able to recall the names and titles of everyone who interviews you, especially if you talk to 12 people. You can take out your pen briefly and write down a few words to remind you when you look back at the card, like “beard; told him about sales increase.”

Keep your energy high.
Fight your fatigue. Sit up straight, lean slightly forward in your chair, laugh at your interviewer’s jokes and meet the interviewer’s gaze. Smile as much as seems appropriate. Express your passion about the possibility of getting the job, both verbally and nonverbally.

Make notes before calling it a day.
At the end of a marathon interview day, you will likely feel completely spent. But don’t give in immediately. Make yourself sit down at your computer or take notes longhand about the points your interviewers emphasized. It’s great if you can be organized about this but stream of consciousness is fine too, if that’s all you can muster. You’re debriefing yourself while the information is fresh. You’ll need it to write those 12 thank-you notes the next day.

Good luck!

How To Survive A Marathon Job Interview | Susan Adams via Forbes.