Posts Tagged ‘resume strategies’

Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Which blunders will send your resume straight into oblivion? There might be dozens (apart from simple things, like bad grammar and spelling), depending on the job, but experts say including these five things on your resume are most likely to derail your job search:

1. A list of every job you’ve ever held

Hiring managers don’t want to know about that summer you worked as a lifeguard—unless you’re applying to manage the park district’s pool.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for relevance and stability. The key is to list the work you’ve done in the past 10 to 15 years that tells an employer you’re a skilled, reliable fit for the job.

Say you’ve had three employers in the past seven years but only two of them are in the industry you’re applying for. Employers don’t want to see a gap in your employment record, so you still need to list that third job — just make sure you list the accomplishments in that job that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

2. Your Age

Hiring managers need to know what you can do for them, not how many years you’ve managed to stay alive. Therefore, experts commonly argue against:

* Listing professional experience more than 15 years old.
* Providing an exact number of years of professional experience in your opening summary.

And don’t forget that age bias cuts both ways: A resume that tells a future boss you’re too young for the job is no good, either.

3. Lists of tasks or duties without results

Your resume has to go beyond saying which jobs you’ve done: It must establish what you’ve accomplished on those jobs. Many applicants miss this key distinction.

The only things that separate equally qualified candidates are the results of their efforts. For example, an administrative assistant may write, “reorganized filing system.” That provides the task. What were the results? A better way to write it would be, “Increased team productivity 20% by reorganizing filing system.” Results are what matter to hiring managers.

4. Explanations of anything negative

Everybody has dark stories in their past.

There’s no place for them on your resume. Your resume is a promotional document and all promotional documents need to be positive.

The time to explain yourself is when you’re talking to the hiring manager in person after you’ve scored an interview.

5. Personal details

Employers usually don’t care about your marital status, race, sexual orientation or hobbies, unless they are somehow pivotal to the job. Including personal data is a rookie mistake, and nobody wants to hire a rookie.

Crafting and sending a resume is part of the “discovery phase” of the hiring process so employers at this phase don’t need personal details beyond your name, city, state and a way to contact you. If you make it to the hiring phase, the human resources department will collect your relevant personal details then.

Most resumes are now transmitted electronically, and there’s no way to be sure where one might end up after you send it in. With identity thieves always on the prowl, you always need to protect your personal data. Never include your Social Security number.

6. A photo of yourself

This is probably more applicable to international candidates, who generally have more experience with resume and CV formats that include a photo. However, standard policy for US resumes is not to include one. Partly this is due to the age and personal details issues above (i.e., potential for bias).

But also, if your resume has your photo, a recruiter isn’t going to spend any longer looking at it. Instead, they’ll just waste part of the valuable 6-10 seconds generally spent scanning a resume looking at the picture instead of reading what they need to find out about you.

Good luck!

5 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume | by Tom Mangan via Monster.

5 Common Resume Lies & Exaggerations

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

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.

Why a Targeted Resume is Critical

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

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?

Friday, July 7th, 2017

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?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

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.

“Accomplishments” to Leave off Your Resume

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

In the perpetually competitive job market, you need to show hiring managers that you can make an immediate contribution. As we all should know by now, including your biggest professional successes in the “Accomplishments” section of your resume is an effective way to do just that.

But keep in mind that any achievement you cite should be a) truly noteworthy, b) relevant to your current career goals and c) relatively recent. Far too often, job seekers miss the mark. For instance, you’re unlikely to impress prospective employers by highlighting the fact that you were a finalist in a local pageant held in 1982.

And even something that would normally qualify as a solid accomplishment is not as impressive when it happened over thirty years ago… there is often a “what have you done for me lately” mentality at work.

The following are more examples from resumes that feature “accomplishments” that aren’t worth mentioning in your resume, as well as advice for crafting statements that will catch a hiring manager’s attention:

The Unquantifiable Accomplishment

· “I am the most talented employee my company has ever had.”

· “I am the best and most awesome employee in New York City.”

· “My last client called me a god.”

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements by noting how you helped previous employers increase revenue, cut expenses, or improve productivity. (Example: “Increased territory sales by 150 percent within one year of being named district sales director.”) Boldly heralding vague, unverifiable accomplishments is less compelling and often comes across as arrogant.

The Not-So-Notable Accomplishment

· “Maintained a 2.0 GPA.”

· “I get along with coworkers.”

· “Overcame procrastination.”

Make sure any accomplishments you place on your resume will impress a potential employer. Your ability to do average or even below-average work, or fulfill the most basic requirements of a job, does not warrant special mention.

The Offbeat Accomplishment

· “Set record for eating 45 eggs in two minutes.”

· “Raised over $6,000 for an organization by sitting on a commode.”

· “To be honest, the only thing I have ever won was a Cabbage Patch Kid. This doll was the result of a school raffle, and I was hated by many children for it.”

Honors and awards received from professional associations, industry publications and educational institutions hold weight. But being overly playful and mentioning odd accolades as a vehicle to showcase your wacky sense of humor could cause employers to question your professionalism.

The Mistake-Ridden Accomplishment

· “I have successed in all my endeavors.”

· “Dum major with my high school band.”

· “I continually receive complaints on the high quality of work I perform.”

As with every other section of your resume, remember to carefully proofread the descriptions of your accomplishments. Don’t undermine your achievements by misspelling them. Hiring managers are looking for applicants who demonstrate attention to detail. Research indicates that just one resume error can sink a job seeker’s chances of landing a job interview.

While it’s important to have accomplishments on your resume, that doesn’t mean you should lie, or add items that are irrelevant, just to fill the space. Consider carefully what you have achieved so far in your career, and be sure to track these efforts over time so you can keep your resume up-to-date. Remember: recent, quantifiable, and relevant accomplishments are the key to impressing hiring managers and landing job interviews no matter what field you are in.

Good luck!

“Accomplishments” to Leave off Your Resume | Doug White via CareerUSA.

How to Get Over Imposter Syndrome

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Recently landed a new promotion? Finally got that manager position you’ve been working towards for years? Been recruited by some top companies for great new roles (maybe even that dream job you’ve been waiting for)? Feel like you don’t deserve any of it?

Yes? Welcome to the club! You’re experiencing the often crippling effects of “imposter syndrome.” It happens to the best of us, even the most famous and successful people out there.

Imposter syndrome occurs when we feel like a fraud—when we feel that our successes are undeserved. We convince ourselves they’re based on luck, timing, or other factors outside of our control, instead of embracing the fact that we’re actually responsible for having made those successes happen. Imposter syndrome makes us think irrationally about our aptitudes and performance: We don’t believe we’ve excelled, and we don’t believe we deserve the rewards that come along with our success.

The irony is that the further you go in your career, the more opportunities there are for imposter syndrome to rear its ugly head. You didn’t get that promotion because you earned it, you got it because you were lucky. You didn’t get to lead that project because you had the most experience on the team—you got it because timing worked out. That dream job wasn’t offered because of your stellar resume—maybe you’re just a diversity hire.

The bad news is: It’s not likely you’ll ever be able to fully rid yourself of imposter syndrome. But the good news is: There are ways to combat it! You can train yourself to quickly identify it, manage it, and live to rise again.

Identify What’s Shaking Your Confidence

Is it your new job title? Is it a certain senior-level meeting you’ve been invited to attend? Is it a high-stakes project you’ve been asked to lead? What is it that’s making you feel doubtful?

In most cases, the answer will be obvious: I don’t deserve to lead this project because so-and-so is more experienced than I am. I haven’t worked at the company long enough. I only aced my last project out of luck or good timing. That spot where you’re underselling yourself is likely the root of the problem.

Once You’ve Identified the Confidence Culprit, Tell Someone

Pick someone you trust to talk about your waning self-confidence. If it’s a work problem, make sure to confide in someone who isn’t your co-worker or manager. Choose someone who sees you outside of that environment: He or she can identify when those feelings of fear are irrational and remind you of your strengths.

Remind Yourself of All of Your Achievements

If you don’t have an accomplishments box, start now by recounting your most recent accomplishments (or even better, get those achievements on your resume). Take a look at everything you’ve achieved, and reflect on all the hard work you’ve put in to get to where you are now. Embrace the fact that you got yourself to where you are. You’ve earned your spot—your accomplishments are proof of that.

Remind Yourself That the People Who Got You Here Are Incredibly Competent and They Did Not Make a Mistake

You did not pull a fast one on anyone. Your boss or hiring manager—who you may believe didn’t see the many gaps in your resume—is not an idiot. Don’t doubt the intelligence of those who have promoted you, hired you, or offered you opportunities. They have made deliberate choices based on your experience and potential. You really do deserve to be there.

Take a Risk

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Write it down, say it out loud, tell someone else, and do it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work. So what? Do the work and keep going. Don’t let imposter syndrome derail you from what’s rightfully yours.

Take a Hard Look at Your Language and Update It

Do you say “I feel” a lot? How about using “I think” to start your sentences? Have you been pitching ideas prefaced with “It might just be me, but?” Rein in that doubt! Update your language with more confident, assertive phrases, and you’ll start to believe in what you’re saying. Assume your questions are valid, and that you’re probably not the only one to have them. Try: “I have a question—and I’m sure I’m not the only one.” Champion your ideas through more assertive language.

Reframe Your Story by Writing it Down

Imagine you’re speaking at a conference and that you have to provide an introductory bio for the panelist moderator. What would you say, and how would you say it? Would you tout your accomplishments or brush them off as if they were insignificant? Take an afternoon to write out your personal story. Who are you and how did you get to where you are? Let yourself shine on paper. Then, accept that it’s all true.

Try Mentoring

Guess what, imposter syndrome sufferer? You have expertise to share. Share it with someone who needs it. Not only will you realize how much knowledge you really do have, you’ll also likely uncover new strengths in the process. Mentoring can reveal skills you took for granted or mistakenly assumed came from luck. It’s empowering to know you are helping someone in their journey.

Take Solace in the Truth That Imposter Syndrome Is a Symptom of Success

Famous actors, authors, artists, CEOs—the most successful people are those most likely to have imposter syndrome. If you’re feeling like a fraud, believe it or not, you are doing something right. So play your pump up jams. Say your personal mantra. Do your power pose. You’ve got this.

No matter how successful someone is or has been, no one is free from lingering doubts regarding their own abilities. It’s easy to get sidelined by worry about your own competency, concerned that everything you have earned is due to luck, deception, or blindness on the part of managers, rather than your own talent. But whenever your confidence wanes, keep that list of accomplishments on your resume firmly in your mind… let the successes of the past serve as the foundation for your future success, not as excuses to fall short or reasons to doubt.

Good luck!

How to Banish Imposter Syndrome and Embrace Everything You Deserve | Ximena Vengoechea via The Muse.

Resume Guide for 2017

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Another year has arrived, and with it comes the obligatory style guides and fashionable advice for your resume. Though the overall trends usually stay the same, and most advice remains constant, there are always a few new tweaks when the calendar changes, as the warped and twisted realm of HR and human capital belches out new gimmicks that go viral and then are quickly discarded (to be picked up and recycled again in a later generation).

But though it might be easier to ignore the hype guides and the ceaseless barrage of “helpful” advice, you really don’t have the luxury. With each recruiter or hiring manager giving your resume maybe six to ten seconds these days at a first glance, even a subtle mistake can be enough to land your resume in the trash. With so little time to make a first impression, it certainly doesn’t pay to stick with an outdated and ineffective resume.

So here are a few tips you need to remember before sending out your resume in 2017:

The robots are dead (or dying)

One of the main tips that has become canon in recent years is the need to include keywords and buzzwords. This was to get past the infamous ATS (or applicant tracking software), which scan the many resumes that reach the inbox of the HR manager and let only ‘specific’ ones pass through. So, the probability of a worthy candidate’s resume being rejected because of the lack of keywords was high. However, most companies are now moving away from such systems as they have identified its numerous shortcomings. So be honest and precise about your skills in your resume. A skills section is still helpful for readability, of course, but don’t be as worried about the robots ditching your resume because you didn’t pad it enough.

Make it visually appealing

Given that the scare of robots does not apply anymore, it’s safe to make your resume as visual as possible. Infographic and multimedia resumes seem to be the new rage now, with candidates in creative fields like design, film, creative writing, and digital marketing embracing it. They showcase your creative skills, personality and experience all in one go. While there are many recruiters who feel that such resumes should not be the primary one you use to reach out to employers, others encourage using it if it fits the job role you are applying for. It is logically more likely for a quirky startup to be interested in a creative resume. If you are from a field that does not encourage extreme creativity, just add some color to your resume to liven it up.

Ditch the objective

It’s 2017, and no one has the time to care what you have regurgitated in the form of ‘career objectives’. Recruiters have realized the pointlessness of these objectives after hearing every candidate state that they want to “use their skills to contribute meaningfully to personal growth as well as that of the organization”. Instead, what they want to see upfront in your resume is a summary of your experience and skills. Keep it short and precise. Writing it in bullet points is even better. It should convey the number of years of experience you have, your job history and your big career achievements. This is all the information that an employer needs to have before he or she decides whether to read your resume further or not. So, include all the relevant information, but remember that this is just a summary of your profile.

Easily accessible contact information

We would suggest that you start off your resume providing relevant contact information. Don’t make hiring managers hunt your resume for your contact in case they need to call you for an interview. On an online resume, make sure that you hyperlink your email id and, it goes without saying, include all social media profiles that are relevant to the application. LinkedIn is the first on this list, followed by Twitter and the rest. However, resist the temptation of including all your profiles, because while creative designers may need to include their Instagram and Behance profiles, accountants and engineers may not. As we warned you earlier about dying ATS, what is replacing them are such social media profiles. So keep these profiles up-to-date and be active on them. And please, for the love of God, don’t be that person who tries to be cute by not including an email address at all… do you really want to make it harder for potential employers to reach you?!

Titles and fonts

Your resume may not get read word to word by the employer so make sure you have highlighted what you don’t want them to miss out on in case they choose only to scan or skim through it. Keep such position titles or phrases in bold, so that even someone who glances at your resume gets a full picture without having to read what is written under every point. Ditch traditional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Courier for more modern and chic fonts like Garamond, Cambria and Calibri. The standard font size can vary from 10 to 12 point for the body, with larger sizes acceptable for headings or subheadings. Always remember that different people may have different font settings on their computers, so it’s best to send a resume that has uncommon fonts in PDF format so that the appearance is not tampered with.

So what does it all mean? That infographics and social media resumes are the wave of the future (remember the video resume)? Probably not but it pays to keep apprised of what everyone else is doing. In the long run, though, it’s always best to have an easy to read, targeted, honest, and consistent resume ready at hand for when that dream job finally does come along.

Good luck!

How Your Resume Should Look in 2017 | Monty Majeed via Your Story

There’s No Need to Pad Your Resume

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Maybe you’ve had a bit of a bad employment record in recent years, due to downsizing, a wretched economy, or even mistakes on the job. Maybe you just don’t have the impressive educational background that many other professionals in your field boast.

It seems harmless enough, to add a few things to the resume to pad it out, impress the hiring manager with a white lie or two. Everyone else is probably doing it to, right? Your resume might even look out of place if you didn’t. And employers would never have the time to check everything out…

Cheating on a resume can be tempting, especially when one has been searching for a job for months or even years. But these kinds of decisions can haunt a professional for the rest of their career, as several high profile examples at Yahoo and other companies have shown.

This is because, since resume fraud is on the rise, employers are taking much more care in verifying information, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to mislead them. Even if your “creativity” seems to slip through the cracks and remain undiscovered, do you really want to live in fear the rest of your career that your secret will be uncovered?

There is good news, however: lying isn’t necessary if your resume is well-written and strategically organized.

So let’s address the greatest areas where embellishment is often utilized: education and accomplishments.

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Education doesn’t top an employer’s list
Many people incorrectly believe hiring decisions are made based on the candidate’s education, and they feel compelled to stretch the truth in order to compete with their degreed counterparts. The reality is that education, though important, isn’t the driving force behind hiring decisions unless, of course, your profession requires a degree (e.g. doctors, lawyers, CPAs, etc.).

When a candidate lacks a college degree but has a solid work history, education quickly falls down the ladder of necessary requirements. Let’s take a look at this point from an employer’s perspective.

The situation: The job description reads, “Seeking an accounts payable specialist with comprehensive experience in processing expense reports, reconciling vendor accounts, and performing bank reconciliations. Successful candidate holds an associate’s degree in accounting.”

Candidate #1: Jose has worked in accounts payable for the last five years. During his career, he has set up new policies, cross-referenced purchase orders with invoices, and interacted with vendors to resolve invoice discrepancies. His experience comes from the school of hard knocks and he doesn’t have a college education.

Candidate #2: Maria recently received a bachelor’s degree in accounting. While earning her degree she worked as a front desk clerk for a Fortune 500 company where she was in charge of filing and answering a multi-line phone system.

Who would you rather hire, Jose or Maria? Chances are that you named Jose as the clear winner because his experience supercedes Maria’s education. Jose will be able to jump into the position with little or no training because he has hands-on knowledge of best accounting practices. Maria, on the other hand, is green. The hiring organization would have to spend time, money, and resources to train her, which they most likely won’t have an interest in doing.

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Show ’em what you’ve got (for real)
Employers spend most of their time scrutinizing the experience section of the resume, and unfortunately, the homespun resume rarely tells the whole story. Most resume do-it-yourselfers fear their accomplishments won’t fare well against the competition and they decide to embellish facts in an effort to attract an employer’s attention.

Again, fabricating information isn’t necessary. Most likely the experience you have garnered throughout your work history is impressive. The challenge, however, is expressing your accomplishments in a way that entices the hiring organization to give you a call.

When dealing with hiring organizations you have to connect all the dots. For each position that you are applying for, there is an average of 500 applicants so you have to make it very easy for the reader to distinguish between you and every other qualified candidate. The only way to achieve that is by writing strong resume copy.

As a job seeker you are intimately involved in your own search, so much so that it is hard to take a step back and write a resume that is marketable. You are probably your own worst critic. If you have attempted to write your own resume you know how difficult it is to write about yourself objectively.

To make the resume-writing process easier, answer the following:

1. What skill set do you bring to the table?
2. What are your competitive strengths?
3. For each position you held, list three to five achievements.
4. How is your company better off since you joined their team?
5. Have you been involved in designing and/or implementing new initiatives?

The point here is to start thinking about your career as a portrait of who you are professionally, and not just as a job. When you make that mind shift, it will be easier to put words to paper. Lying isn’t a necessary evil. The trick to obtaining the job you desire is making the most of what you have to offer.

Good luck!

There’s No Need to Pad Your Resume | Linda Matias via Marketing Hire

How to Overcome a Job-Hopping History

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Maybe you’ve had to move around a lot for your spouse’s career. Maybe you just can’t seem to find a company or a job title or a career that suits you. Or maybe your career so far has been one long “series of unfortunate events”, enduring economic downturns, companies going bankrupt, and massive layoffs.

However you explain it, if your resume seems to show you moving around quite a bit, that is usually seen as a red flag by hiring managers and HR. If a company is trying to invest in the long-term, bringing on someone who seems to leave their job every few months is certainly not going to meet those hiring KPIs instituted by management.

So how do you overcome the stigma attached to you and your resume, with a career you cannot simply undo or pretend didn’t happen? There are several tactics you can use, depending on the reasons for your moves, your industry, and your discipline.

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You have an unstable work history, having held several jobs in a relatively short period. How can you try to prevent potential employers from holding your job-hopping past against you?

You can minimize the appearance of job-hopping by focusing your resume on your career history rather than your job history.

The biggest hurdle is getting noticed because recruiters usually screen out people with a choppy employment past.

It is easier to overcome a choppy history if you are young and just starting out. It’s more acceptable for those under 30 to move around, so I don’t think they need to address it, unless there are big gaps in their resume.

And, of course, you will have an easier time if your recent departures resulted from mass layoffs at previous employers. You can emphasize this point in your cover letter or add a few parenthetical words about it on your resume, such as “(one of 700 employees downsized 11/01)” or “(company acquired by ACME in 1/09)” after the job title or company name.

How should a resume deal with short periods of employment?

The dates of those jobs don’t have to jump off the page. They can go in parentheses after the job title, the company name or at the very end of the job description. You can also use years only, rather than months and years.

It’s also fine to eliminate one or two jobs from your resume. For example, if you took a position and two months later decided that it wasn’t for you, it’s probably best not to include it. It’s not that you’re ashamed of it, but it’s not the most relevant information you need to share in your resume.

If you do keep a job off your resume, be prepared in the interview to explain why. As long as you’re being truthful, you can answer that the job didn’t add a lot of value and you wanted to include more meaningful experiences and accomplishments.

Use a cover letter to explain your reasons for switching jobs — something that is difficult to do in a resume. But first, tell the employer why you are an exceptional candidate, summarizing your background — including the number of years you have been in the industry — and the results of your work.

After that, acknowledge that you have held several jobs in a short period and address each with a line of explanation. Keep the explanations short. Remember, you are selling yourself, not defending your candidacy.

Aren’t there some industries where moving around often is expected?

If you work with start-up companies, frequent job changes are almost de rigueur, because start-ups often fail or are acquired by other companies. Especially in the biotech and technology industries where there are many start-ups, it’s O.K. to move around. If you do consulting work on a project basis, it is expected that you would be switching jobs fairly often.

For certain technology positions, like computer programmer and software developer, the length of time at each job is almost irrelevant. The breadth of experience is far more important.

dilbert-hopper

How should you handle questions about your job history during an interview?

Focus on your accomplishments and stress your years of experience. Managers value accomplishments that have been repeated. If a person can demonstrate they have had repeated success in their jobs, they may be more attractive than a person with years of experience at only one organization.

If you were fired from a job, discuss it in a way that shows you have come to terms with it. Don’t be defensive about it. If you were at fault, acknowledge it, and discuss what you could have done differently.

If you cannot persuade hiring managers to look past your job history, are there other potential ways to get an interview?

This is especially hard at the executive and senior levels of employment. A pattern of short jobs is a show-stopper. No amount of resume editing will help — there is simply no way to dress it up.

Instead of answering ads, focus on networking because a personal connection is more likely to persuade an employer to give you the benefit of the doubt. Your network includes friends, family, current and former co-workers and former supervisors.

You need someone who will give you a break. That’s usually someone who knows you and your work and has a reason to take a leap of faith.

So you’re not doomed if you’ve moved around a lot, though it will definitely be a struggle to get past the stigma associated with being labeled a job-hopper. By being honest, addressing the reasons directly in interviews and on your resume, and understanding the nature of your chosen industry and discipline, you can overcome it and perhaps even portray it as an asset rather than a liability.

Good luck!

How to Overcome a Job-Hopping History | Eilene Zimmerman via the New York Times