Posts Tagged ‘resumes’

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 With so little time to make a first impression, it certainly doesn’t pay to stick with an outdated and ineffective resume.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

Common Millennial Resume Mistakes

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

As you probably already know, the market for entry-level work is especially competitive. Each national posting for an entry-level or mid-level position in a popular field can easily attract dozens of resumes within an hour, and hundreds in a single day.

If you’re a job seeker in this age category, this information should energize, not discourage you. And here’s why: Because 99 percent of these applicants also lack work experience. And 99 percent of them will quickly remove themselves from the running by making simple resume mistakes.

The common slip-ups listed below can actually help you—as long as other applicants make them and not you. Avoid these errors, and you’ll vastly increase your odds of becoming a final contender.

1. Too much nonsense. Before even reading a word, most hiring managers will reject a resume that contains clip art, photos, moving GIFs, more than two colors, or file formats that can’t be downloaded on the simplest and most primitive devices. If you think you’re being clever or tech savvy by sending your resume in a text or file format other than the latest three versions of Word, think again.

2. Smugness. You’re probably well aware of this by now, but there are many gatekeepers over the age of 30 who resent members of your generation for reasons based on silly assumptions. Avoid some of this stereotyping by using a professional tone in your resume. Stay straightforward (skip the jokes and irony), and never exaggerate your accomplishments, even in ways that can’t possibly be cross-checked. Skeptical employers can spot millennial buzzwords, exaggerations, and overstatements from a mile away.

3. Common language errors. Know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” “they’re” and “their,” and “then” and “than.” If you don’t know these differences, look them up now. And if you don’t know how a semi-colon works and what it’s for, just don’t use it at all.

4. GPAs. Don’t include your GPA on your resume after you’ve been out of school for three years or more. If you’ve graduated within three years, you can include your GPA, but only if it’s over a 3.0.

5. Self-centered summaries. Use your summary statement to emphasize what you can do for the company and the kinds of skills and services you’re able to provide. Don’t emphasize your own goals and desires. This was a common practice a generation ago, but it’s fallen out of favor for now.

6. App-dependence. While you may live your entire life through your phone, don’t be caught staring slack-jawed at a manager who asks you to provide a printed copy of your resume. Yes, you have five different apps you could use to instantly transmit your file, but if these methods are unwelcome, always be ready to simply attach a Word file to an email and click send.

Resume Trends for 2015 and Beyond

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Resume writing is constantly shifting and changing. Although resumes are only one part of the job search journey, they are still a vital requirement in every job seeker’s toolbox. Compile a resume incorrectly and you could find yourself being overlooked by employers and losing out on opportunities to advance your career.

Yet it can be challenging to know what is trending as ‘current and savvy’ in resume writing versus ‘old-fashioned and obsolete’. In order to increase resume success you need to keep abreast of evolving advances. Here’s some quick advice for the upcoming year.

Resume Trends for 2015:

  • Brevity and more concise content are growing in importance. Even more targeted positioning, messaging, and branding are required to market one’s self. Resumes need easy-to-follow and easily digestible points.
  • Short branding statements are replacing lengthier resume profiles.
  • As ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) continue to advance, so does the need for compatible resume formats. Job seekers must use the appropriate resume format when applying for online positions.
  • Employers spend the majority of time reviewing the most recent role in a resume, so these roles must captivate and pack a lot of immediate punch.
  • With the changing economy it is becoming more common to see short-term contract, multiple part-time roles, or diverse industry experience in a resume. The key is presenting varied work history in a relevant format that still aligns with targeted job requirements.
  • Infographic and video resumes are gaining momentum. When used correctly, for the right industries, these visual resumes can help job seekers stand out.
  • Integrating the right keywords in a resume increases the chances of the document being read – either electronically or by an actual person.
  • Overuse or misuse of keywords is cautioned. Only add keywords to a resume in proper context, supporting them with examples of application and impact.
  • If content is king in a resume; design is queen (for non-ATS applications). Spend equal amounts of time on content AND format. Employ savvy design components to attract attention, make certain elements stand out and, guide the reader through the document.
  • Modern resumes commonly contain hints of color, unique section headers, different fonts, italics, decorative lines, charts, images, testimonials, or boxed text to capture and keep the reader’s eye.
  • Finally, remember that resumes are career story-telling and not career obituaries. Avoid generic tasks or boring job overviews and focus on results, achievements, and accomplishments. Always demonstrate value.

Original from Career Impressions

The Biggest Resume Lies — and How Job Seekers Get Caught

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Why You Shouldn’t Fudge Facts — and How to Make the Truth Sound Better

Desperate times often call for desperate measures — and in a brutal employment market, some job seekers may be tempted to falsify their work or education history in order to make themselves more attractive to potential employers., a provider of on-demand employment background screening, found that 34 percent of job applicants lie on resumes.

But job seekers who stretch the truth are playing an ever-riskier game. Background checks are much easier now. It’s all pretty open on the Internet. And many companies and recruiters now employ background-check providers who specialize in sniffing out untruths.

The Gray Area Between Fact and Fiction

Almost all career experts advise job seekers to customize their resumes to individual jobs they apply for. So where’s the line between self-promotion and falsehood? Some experts say it can be hard to define. The dictionary says that ’embellish’ means ‘to make beautiful,’ which is when a candidate is great at self-promotion. The difference between that and a damaging lie varies by industry and profession.

For instance, financial executives are subject to more intense scrutiny than many people going into entry-level positions that don’t involve money.

But at any point in your career, stretching the truth is risky — especially on official job applications. Any uncovered fib is liable to severely damage your reputation in the workplace.

Most Common Resume Lies

According to, some of the most common resume lies concern:

  • Education
  • Employment dates
  • Job titles
  • Technical skills

These are the same resume areas that, if you fudge them, can cause problems — the Internet has made it much easier to verify a person’s claims about education, for instance.

And some recruiting firms are sleuthing far beyond a candidate’s given references to corroborate his claims — for instance, finding and contacting the candidate’s former colleagues via LinkedIn.

People think that they can make up and embellish details about companies that have been sold or gone out of business. But LinkedIn, Facebook and our wide-ranging networks will put a quick stop to most efforts to change history in our favor.

Truth or Consequences

And even if false credentials get you the job, those untruths may come back to haunt you. You’re subject to immediate dismissal if it turns out you misrepresented something.

If your company is acquired, for instance, the acquirer’s HR department may perform an audit of its new employees. Or your background may be checked when you apply for a promotion. Former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, former Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary and celebrity chef Robert Irvine are just three of the people who made news when false background information cost them high-profile jobs.

Keeping It Real

Career experts have practical advice on how to deal truthfully with some of the problems that may cause people to lie — follow it, and you’ll be able to sleep more easily at night.

  • Employment Gaps: Just because you weren’t getting paid for something doesn’t mean you weren’t being productive and gaining skills. If you volunteered or worked on your own projects, say, you should speak to those things on your resume, in a cover letter or in an interview.
  • Misrepresentative Titles: Job seekers need to lay claim to projects and results that may not have been in their formal job descriptions. Here’s an example: An office manager took on HR in her company after the HR coordinator left. The office manager’s title was never changed, but she took on responsibility for payroll, benefits, and so on. She put all of that on her resume, and changed her title to ‘Office Manager (with HR responsibilities).’ That’s a perfectly good way for her to brand herself, because she hasn’t changed the title to something her old employer wouldn’t recognize or support.
  • Past Salaries: If you feel you were underpaid, you should arm yourself with information about the salary you should be earning.
  • Skills: If you’re tempted to lie about having a technical skill, for instance, the right thing to do is clear: Gain that skill by enrolling in a class (or committing to learning it on your own). Then you’ll be able to explain to potential employers truthfully that you’re working on getting up-to-speed in that area.

    Original from Monster.

Ten Job Search Rules To Break

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

We’re not advised to tell the truth when we’re job-hunting — just the opposite. We’re coached to contort ourselves into pretzel shapes, to be whoever we think the employer wants us to be. We’re encouraged to play a role on a job search, to fawn and grovel and hope the hiring manager falls in love with us. What horrible advice! If you wanted to go into the theatre, you’d be in Hollywood by now.

We say that if people don’t get you, they don’t deserve you. Better to let them see who you really are at the earliest opportunity, right? Job-seekers are often surprised that more honesty doesn’t hurt them on a job search. If the people they’re interviewing with have any self-esteem and confidence at all, your human honesty helps you.

And if managers are so fearful that they can’t handle a dose of honesty, do you really want to work for them?

Here are ten traditional job search rules to start breaking on your job search.

Ten Job Search Rules to Break

1. Follow the defined process.

The defined recruiting process is broken. Black Holes are great in space, and horrible on a job search. Many job-seekers have trouble stepping out of the Good Little Rule-Following Job Seeker persona. If they can do that, they’ll be unstoppable!

We’ve been trained since childhood to do what we’re told to do. The Black Hole will eat your resume and shred its atoms, but people keep pitching resumes into gaping recruiting portals anyway. Don’t do it! Reach your hiring manager directly.

2. If you know someone in the company, give that person your resume and tell them to give it to the hiring manager.

A job search, like any marketing campaign, makes use of channels. Your friend inside the company might be a tremendous channel for your job search, or a horrible one. The question is “How well does your friend know the hiring manager?” If your friend does know him or her, you’re in great shape. Otherwise, your friend carrying your resume in the door is just a side entrance to the same Black Hole you were trying to avoid.

Choose the strongest channel for your job search: an intermediary friend, the direct approach, or a third-party recruiter. Don’t assume that your in-house friend is your best job-search conduit.

3. Use a traditional zombie-style resume and cover letter.

You’re not a zombie. You’re a human, switched-on and ready for action, so don’t brand yourself using zombie language like “Results-oriented professional with a bottom line orientation!” (Ropwablo for short.)

You can write a resume that sounds like you, and you’ll make a stronger impression if you do. Forget the old-fashioned cover letter and write a compelling letter instead.

4. In your overture to employers, emphasize the way your background matches the job spec.

You know that a written job spec has as much in common with the actual job as I have in common with Genghis Khan. Forget the tedious and delusional job-spec bullets and focus on the pain behind the job ad.

5. Spend most of your energy applying for posted jobs, and do so online.

If you want to destroy your mojo in the first two weeks of your job search, spend all your time online hunting for positions to apply to. Then, toss resumes into Black Holes and pretend that someone is going to get back to you. You’d be better off putting a stack of paper resumes on the passenger seat in your car and driving down the freeway with the window open. In that case, one of your resumes might land on a hiring manager’s desk by chance.

If you want a job rather than a boring daytime activity, step away from the Black Hole and take a more active role in your job search.

Split your job-search time three ways into three equal parts: one-third of your available time and energy will go to responding to posted job ads, one-third of it will be spent reaching out to target employers whether or not they have jobs posted, and the final one-third of your time and energy will go to networking.

6. Use your networking time and energy letting people know about your job search, your specific skills and how each friend can help you.

Your job-search networking is not a hunt for jobs to apply to. It’s a mojo-building, introduction-generating exercise instead. Use your networking to coach your friends on the issues they’re dealing with (nothing grows mojo better than coaching someone else) and to get their moral support in return.

When people get unadvertised jobs through networking – and people do that every day – it’s because they focused on the relationship, not the transaction.

7. If you’re asked to report your salary history, share every detail going back as far as the employer asks you to.

Are you ready to go work for people who don’t trust you? If the employer asks you to verify every salary you’ve ever earned, the relationship is not off to an auspicious start. Keep your salary history to yourself.

8. When the employer asks you to jump, do it.

No employer is ever going to love you more than they do just before they make you a job offer. Don’t be a doormat on your job search. A new job is essentially an extended consulting gig, so manage the process the same way you would if you were proposing a consulting assignment to a new client. Don’t climb over every pile of broken glass they put in front of you. If you show up as the most compliant, docile candidate in the bunch, don’t expect to be able to argue for your strategic value later in the process.

9. Don’t bring up the topic of salary – let the employer bring it up.

It is suspicious to me that the awful, conventional wisdom “Don’t mention salary – let the employer bring it up first. Whoever speaks first, loses” fits so nicely with many job-seekers’ natural aversion to broaching sticky topics like money.

That advice is repeated everywhere, and it couldn’t be more mistaken. In a job search, you have to price yourself like a house. You have to let employers know what it will take you get you on board. If you wait for the job offer to finally learn what an organization is planning to pay you, you’re in the world’s worst negotiating position.

After all, it was your obligation to show (not tell) these folks what you’re worth, during the interview process. If you’ve been through two or three interviews with a gang of people and they subsequently decide collectively — maybe delusionally as well, but that’s a different topic — that you are worth $X, then in their eyes you are worth $X, and you’ve already missed your prime opportunity to show them differently.

10. Do whatever you need to do and say whatever you need to say to get the job.

When you agree to play a part to get a job, you’ve made a deal with the devil. As tempted as you may be to bite your lip when you’re frustrated with a hiring process, don’t do it. If you have to take a survival job to pay the bills, take it! Don’t swap your integrity for a paycheck from people who don’t even see, much less value, the real you.

Remember that only the people who get you deserve you. The faster you say “No thanks” to the wrong opportunities, the faster the right ones will roll in.

Five Resume Tips for Foreign Workers

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In our last article, we provided advice for Americans seeking work abroad; this time we’re covering what job seekers who are emigrating to the U.S. need to do to update their resume/CV to U.S. standards. There are many differences between international resumes and American resumes and these differences can determine whether or not your resume gets looked at by employers at all.

You don’t want something like your resume to get in the way of the perfect job, especially given the complexity of US work visas, legal fees, and innumerable other obstacles that stand in the way of foreign workers. That’s why it’s so important to have a clean, updated resume that fits what American employers are looking for, so you’re that much closer to a:

Below, we’ve pulled together a few examples of the differences between U.S. resumes and international resumes and tips on things to avoid.

  1. Be straightforward: American resumes are clear, concise, and usually chronological. On the other hand, international resumes are often very detailed and not always chronological. Have your most current experience and/or education listed first and go from there.
  2. Don’t include personal information: U.S. resumes do not include age, relationship status or religion, whereas some international resumes do include this information. It’s important to leave these personal details off of your resume because they could complicate your application. Employers legally can’t use information like your age or personal beliefs to make a hiring decision, and they don’t want to see it on your resume.
  3. Keep your info relevant: It’s also important to only include relevant information on your resume. U.S. resumes are typically shorter than international resumes and are used to market job seekers through brief descriptions of relevant experience, education and skills. While on the other hand, international resumes usually give detailed explanations of academic and formal work experience. Employers don’t have a lot of time to look over resumes, so the easier you make it for them to see your work, the more eager they may be to call you in for an interview.
  4. No selfies please: Actually, do not include a photo at all. You should let your skills and expertise listed on your resume sell you instead.
  5. Update your formatting: Follow American standards for formatting details on your resume. For example, when including your phone number you should leave off the plus sign and take a look at how Americans list their address. You’ll notice a few differences and you’ll want to adhere to American standards before submitting your application.

The job market in America is competitive and opportunities for overseas professionals are limited. To ensure the best possible chance for job search success, make sure that your primary branding document, your resume, conforms to US standards and does a good job selling your unique skills and background.

How To Get Noticed – Job Hunting Secrets For Career Changers

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Anyone who has been job searching using traditional methods – applying online, submitting resumes, responding to advertisements, etc. – knows you rarely even get an acknowledgment. There’s a reason people joke about a resume black hole. Employers are seeking something that simply doesn’t exist: “perfect” candidates, ideally someone with direct experience in the role they’re being hired for, preferably at a competitor.

Unfortunately, that means many talented candidates get overlooked. If you’re seeking to make a career change, switch roles, transfer among industries, or re-enter the workforce, you’re likely to be eliminated early on by automated resume screening systems. That’s a problem for job seekers, but it’s also an issue for corporations, which are missing out on top talent. So how can an aspirant break through the clutter and get noticed, especially if he or she comes from a nontraditional career background? The answer is strategic networking.

Your goal should be to network your way into the hidden or unadvertised job market by connecting one-on-one with hiring managers at the company you’re trying to break into. What if you don’t know them? Search LinkedIn to find mutual contacts and “warm leads” who might introduce you. Failing that, you can try cold calling them with an attractive hook – in 30 seconds or less, let them know what’s distinctive about you and what you can offer. For instance, you can mention how your background enables you to get the job done (e.g., you already know many of their customers; you have implemented and have years of experience using the same ERP system they rely on; you were the point person who coordinated with their main IT vendor, etc.) The idea is to show them you’re up to speed on a capability that is critical to their business success or already have established relationships with individuals on whom they depend on for their success.

Now, make the ask: would they be interested in chatting further? It can’t hurt to try, because you’re not going to succeed by going the traditional route. You need to find a way to personally discuss challenges, explore opportunities, and recommend solutions, so you can show them you’ll get the job done and aren’t a risky hire.

Make sure to anticipate objections they might have (“You’ve never worked in this field before! You’ve been out of the workforce for five years!”) and have good answers ready, providing a “trade-off” – in other words, the skills you do have that compensate for what you lack. (“I haven’t worked in this field before, but it’s an advantage that I can bring a breadth of expertise and best practices from another industry that shares some of the same operational/sales/technical challenges as you do.”) It’s up to you to eliminate the elephant in the room by demonstrating your talent, trustworthiness, and cultural fit.

One senior sales executive spent months fruitlessly job hunting. His industry was shrinking and headhunters said they wouldn’t propose him for a job in a different industry; he was either overqualified or under-experienced. Instead, he revised his market positioning, reframed his value proposition and targeted a different group of employers, which shared similar customers to his former employer.

He expanded beyond first degree connections, asking his contacts for referrals. He tapped into consultants, attorneys, accountants, vendors and supplier contacts for introductions within their networks. He rewrote his credentials to distinguish himself from those with deeper industry experience, branded himself as a turnaround specialist – and landed a desirable new job.

Why aren’t more people strategically networking their way into the hidden jobs that are out there? In many cases, the reluctant networker is often a victim of their past success. This may be the first time during their careers that they’ve been involuntarily in transition; they ascended through promotions or were recruited. As a result, they have inadequate job searching skills and haven’t put much effort into creating and maintaining a professional network beyond those they had to interact with on a regular basis.

Responding to advertised openings or uploading your resume to databases may fill your time, but it won’t get you a job. Generally, these are ineffective and passive approaches – just like hoping and wishing that recruiters will magically find a position for you. You may be doing lots of online job hunting activities and making inquiries about openings, but if you’re not developing meaningful, genuine, memorable relationships that will put you on the radar of hiring managers or “recommenders,” you’re probably wasting your time. You can establish these relationships through things like an introduction by a mutual contact, an in-person conversation at a conference, or reaching out by phone or email. Keep in mind that it’s best to transform a virtual relationship into a live connection, which is more likely to be lasting.

Networking purposefully will improve immediate job search results while simultaneously creating the lifetime benefits of “career insurance.” This relationship building is a more labor-intensive process than just clicking to submit your resume – but when done right, it will help ensure that you have timely access to the kind of desirable, insider-only job opportunities that others can only dream of.

Get the Job: Summer Edition

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Don’t be tempted by sunny days, warm weather, and outdoor activities: summer is no time to abandon your job search!

Conventional wisdom is that companies are not making hiring decisions until the fall time frame and everyone is taking their vacations, so why pursue career opportunities?

That, however, is a common misconception. Summer is one of the best times to advance your career! The decline in long summer vacations has generally meant that companies are moving on all cylinders throughout the summer months and with so many other job seekers out at the beach, competition is generally far less than when September rolls around.

So how do you keep your search moving forward in the summer? Here are 10 essential tips to stay ahead of the competition:

  1. Start a Job Search Schedule: Don’t be lulled into lethargy: create a schedule for each day to determine goals and progress. Even if it’s only for an hour a day, put structure in place to keep you going and maintain momentum.
  2. Enhance Your Network: Don’t go it alone: form or find a group of like-minded job seekers in the same or similar discipline/industry to support you and keep your job search on track. Meet at least once per week to share information on who’s hiring and any leads you know of. A job opportunity that isn’t a fit for you may be just what someone else in your network needs, and vice versa.
  3. Take Your Job Search to the Great Outdoors: Take advantage of the sunny weather to make outdoor home improvements and help out your neighbors as well. As you enjoy the weather, offer to give your neighbors a hand and while you’re helping, you can always share that you’re in the job market, thereby tapping into their network as well. This can, in turn, lead to further connections, possible interviews or informational meetings, and maybe even a new job.
  4. Volunteer Activities: Similarly, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your community during the summer. It’s a great way to help people and make a difference! It will also provide additional accomplishments for your resume, and generate opportunities to network.
  5. Keep Your Career Portfolio Up to Date: The majority of professionals only update their resume after they come across a new opportunity or when a recruiter tells them they should. However, you should have an updated resume at all times to avoid rushing to throw something together at the last minute (with unimpressive results). In addition, there are several other documents that you need in your “career toolbox” – a “job story” (that explains your job moves and reasons for each), a one-page biography, a targeted company list (with those companies you are most interested in pursuing), a contact list (not only your direct network but also contacts at your target companies), professional references, etc. These items are vital for your current job search as well as having them on-hand to ensure your future/long-term career success.
  6. Improve Yourself: Brush up on any skills that may be lagging, either from lack of use or new innovations in your discipline. Take a few summer courses in your field (maybe fulfill those CPE requirements) or expand your range of knowledge. Not only will you be improving your skills, especially cross-function skills for career transitions, but you can also network with your classmates.
  7. Take Advantage of Seasonal Events: Summer provides many unique opportunities to network. There are sports, barbeques, weddings, and other gatherings that can be a perfect time to connect or reconnect. Utilizing social gatherings to inform people of your job search is an excellent strategy (though subtlety is required).
  8. Expand Your Online Presence: Social media is everywhere and it’s not just for keeping up with your old classmates. From LinkedIn, to YouTube, to Twitter, to Google+, to Facebook, you should have an integrated, professional online presence. Many employers research job candidates online before making hiring decisions. Therefore, you must manage the “brand image” you’re building online (i.e., you might want to take down some of those Facebook pictures from the party last weekend).
  9. Invest in a Job Search Coach:With the difficult economic climate, this might appear to be something of a luxury. However, the summer is an excellent time to get some solid career counseling, as you are free from a lot of other distractions. An experience qualified career coach can provide a number of important strategies that will enhance your job search by:
    • Clarifying your career objectives
    • Differentiating you from the competition
    • Teaching you to market yourself effectively
    • Expanding your network
    • Securing interviews
    • Negotiating the best compensation
    • Maintaining those strategies over the long-term to maximize your career success
  10. Don’t Get Discouraged: Though long summer breaks are generally a thing of the past, staggered summer vacations can make reaching key people a challenge. But this isn’t a reason to hesitate or delay. Be patient and consistent; leave polite messages on a regular basis and continue your research and due diligence on target companies. Keep in mind that not only hiring managers but also receptionists, assistants, and other gatekeepers take vacations as well. If you are persistent, you might just connect with an otherwise unreachable hiring manager while your competitors are busy goofing off as they wait for September.

Following these tips should provide a road map on how to engage in an effective summer job search. Good Luck!

How to Follow Up on Sent Resumes

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

As a recruiter at heart, I think this article by Kris Plantrich is something that all job seekers should read and think about.

Kris Plantrich is a:

Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC)
Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP)
Certified Internet Job Search Expert (CIJSE)

So she certainly knows what she’s talking about! As a executive recruiter, I would note that while you take these lessons to heart, certainly do so without contacting the Hiring Manager/Recruiter too much/too often as that can place you in a light you would like to avoid! However, tactfully done, following up is a lost art.

How to Effectively Follow Up on Sent Resumes

As I talk with many candidates, the biggest frustration I hear is that there is no response to resumes they send out. Although many have worked hard to develop a large contact list, targeted specific companies of interest and have a specific system or plan in place to send out resumes, I find most do not follow up on sent resumes.

When I ask the question, “Have you followed up with them?” I usually get the deer in the head light stare, as if the thought is a new concept.

Don’t expect the contacts, networking acquaintances, recruiters, HR department or hiring managers to contact you. It probably won’t happen. I spoke with someone last week that had applied for a particular position and was complaining she had once again, gotten no response,  so I suggested she give them a call. Later that day I received a call from the woman saying she did contact the company and found out that for the two positions available they had receive over 400 resumes. The company also said it would be several weeks before they began interviews.

Knowing what to expect and when decisions will be made helps job seekers with the frustration of the unknown. With only 2-3% of resumes being followed-up on, this job seeker would have missed an opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of candidates that blended in with the crowd and didn’t following up. In our conversation the woman admitted she usually didn’t follow up because she felt uncomfortable contacting the companies and so we discussed how to follow up and make an impact.

The easiest and fastest route is to call to the contact you sent the resume to. Usually a response time of five to six business days is acceptable if there isn’t a specific date deadline already given in the job description. If calling is not an option I would send an email note with your resume attached. Whether on the phone or sending an email try and include a few questions and express your genuine interest in the position such as:

  • Conveying your interest in the position and company with a short reason on why you want to work for them, be authentic and real when speaking with them.
  • Finding out what the next step is, when interviews will be taking place and when you should contact them again.
  • Asking how many applicants have applied so far so you have an idea of the odds.
  • Giving your name at least one time in the conversation to help them remember your name or at least make it familiar to them.
  • Determining if there is anything additional they are looking for in the candidate. If they are responsive you may have a few minutes to sell yourself to them based on what the company is looking for – make sure to do your homework before calling.
  • Thanking them again for their time.

The conversation should last no more than five or ten minutes, so you don’t take up their valuable time. It may feel awkward at first, but like anything it will get easier with practice. With people being so busy and the employment arena being so competitive, following up on sent resumes is a must.

Shine on jobseekers!