Archive for January, 2013

Your Resume – Summary vs. Objective

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The days of writing a career objective are long over. The objective was traditionally reserved for recent graduates or professionals changing fields or industries to indicate to hiring managers the kind of position they wanted, as this might not be immediately apparent from their resume since it would either have little experience or unrelated experience. It soon became fashionable for everyone to write a career objective at the beginning of their resume. However, most recruiters rightly point out that hiring managers don’t want to know what a job seeker wants from an employer but what the job seeker can offer to the employer.

It is now standard procedure to include a brief summary rather than an objective. The summary is designed to provide the employer a quick snapshot of what you have done and for how long, outlining your strengths, skills, and expertise (especially intangibles).

Summary or Objective of a Resume

It is important to know what a summary statement should include, as there is no set format and templates should be avoided. Some of the key ingredients are:

– Mention your industry, your work experience in years, and the kinds of companies you have worked for.

e.g., Financial Services, 20 years, private and public sector, Fortune 500, etc.

– Include important functional and vertical skills or expertise you demonstrate.

e.g., back office, service delivery, music composition, lyricist, accounting, software specialist, etc.

It is also important to include keywords from the description of the job that you are applying for. Otherwise, while the human element (HR) might be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you have some possible relevance to the job, the Application Tracking Software surely won’t and you’ll be filtered out before they even see your resume.

– An executive summary should not attempt to confuse or deceive the reader. It must be honest and consistent with the rest of the resume. Be concise and avoid generalizations. Think of it as a quick road map to what the hiring manager will be reading further below.

– The summary should be just that: a summary. It should summarize the details and the breadth of your career and resume. And it should be able to convey your background in less than 20 seconds.

Problems occasionally arise, however, when a professional is attempting to move into an adjacent profession, such as when a musician wants to be a lyricist or a teacher is applying for math tutoring near me or applying for role as a personal trainer. The goal then is to make the employer understand that you have transferable skills that are applicable to the role for which you are applying, even though you don’t have any or much direct experience. The summary can be an excellent place to accomplish this, as it will explain the situation immediately to the hiring manager and provide the lenses through which the hiring manager should read the rest of your resume.

Crafting Your Online Presence

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The average person is spending more time on the internet than they ever before. Life revolves around social media accounts like Twitter, Naymz, Linkedin, and Facebook. In reality, having a profile on any of these social media sites is like virtually exposing yourself to the world and they can be just as important to your online image as your attire and manner are to your offline image. Therefore, you need to keep these accounts well-managed, updated at all times, and free from images or information that might put you in a bad light.

Social media is a great way to make initial contact with potential business associates and to effectively manage a much larger network than would be possible offline. It is also likely that, unbeknownst to you, your social media profiles are being checked by prospective and current employers, head hunters, and so forth. Thus, social media is a double-edged sword: it can work for your benefit but if not managed properly can lead to missed job opportunities or even termination.

The best way to work with social media is to ensure it works positively for you at all times. The following tips will help you receive the maximum benefit from your online presence and avoid negative results:

  1. Avoid uploading inappropriate photos. A holiday snapshot with your family is fine but one where you are improperly dressed or engaged in inappropriate activity (drinking, partying, etc.) might damage your professional image. With the internet, these sorts of things can potentially go viral in a hurry and you should never assume anything is private after you’ve posted it somewhere on the net.

  2. Be careful about giving your opinions and views on certain subjects in public places. You’ve probably seen a number of celebrities and public figures lately who have regretted posting something on Twitter that ended up costing them a great deal, even their jobs.

  3. If you maintain a personal blog, understand that it may be visited by anyone in the world (including your boss). It is best to keep the content unbiased and steer away from any racist, political, or religious issues or negative comments about the company you work for (or your boss, for that matter). You could also utilize your blog to discuss relevant industry topics and as a place to show off your technical knowledge.

A consistent online presence is important and even some modest efforts will help ensure that your online brand matches not only your offline image but also the professional persona you want to portray to the world. With recruiters and potential employers lurking about the web, it pays to be prudent and proactive.