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What is Resume Strategy Planning?

What is resume strategy planning and is it really necessary? I mean, it’s easy enough to find free resume templates on the internet, and it’s easy to fill them in with your work history and educational background. So, that’s it, right? Your resume is done. You’ve written it yourself, there’s no need to consult a professional resume writer when doing it yourself is this simple. At first glance, it looks professional enough. Now it’s time to start sending it out.

Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass. You’ve sent out that resume to 100s of employers, applying to every job you are even remotely qualified for. Still nothing. No interviews. No job offers. Nothing.

So, what went wrong? Your resume strategy was lacking. Your only plan was to fill out a basic template you found for free online. This is the same strategy that thousands of other applicants also used. the end result is that you don’t stand out to a hiring manager. At all.

What is Resume Strategy Planning?Resume Strategy Planning

Resume strategy planning is the process of finding job postings you are interested in, determining whether or not you are qualified for those jobs, and then, if you’re highly qualified, tailoring your resume to set you apart as an ideal candidate. This involves much more than using a free resume template and filling it in. Like any piece of writing, your resume needs a strategy. Remember in elementary school when you were first learning how to write? Your teacher probably told you that your writing always needs to be focused. Sentences need to be complete thoughts, paragraphs need to focus on a main idea, essays need to have a consistent theme throughout, etc. Resume writing is no different.

When we work on writing resumes for our clients, we use a unique resume strategy planning process that ensures your resume sets you apart from other job candidates. A resume strategy helps us focus your resume on the specific job you are most interested in and best qualified for. How do we do this? Before we begin writing, we ask questions about your work history. Not basic questions, but questions that will help us understand in-depth details about what you have done and how your past experience relates to the job you are currently seeking. The questions we ask help us quantify what you have done so that it makes a strong impression on hiring managers. We ask questions about things you might not have even realized are relevant to your current job search.

Why is Resume Strategy Planning Important?

When you skip the strategy planning process, you end up with a generic, often boring and unimpressive resume. Hiring managers only interview the candidates that most closely fit the requirements they are looking for. Going through the planning process before writing your resume helps identify all of your experience and accomplishments that are going to stand out the most to the person hiring for the job that you want.

Do All Professional Resume Writing Companies Do This?

No. Unfortunately, many don’t. Often, even professional resume companies don’t want to take the time to complete the resume strategy planning process before writing your resume. Spending more time working with the client means they ultimately make less money. It can be tempting to skip it, but when it is done properly, it can significantly reduce the time you spend searching for a new job and applying to jobs that aren’t even interested in calling you in for an interview.

If you’re ready for a resume that sets you apart from the competition, let us know, we’re ready to help!

Do I Really Need A Cover Letter?

One question that I am often asked is, “Do I really need a cover letter?” The question stems from the assumption that a cover letter isn’t going to be read, or that a resume covers all of the necessary information. The short answer to the question is: Yes, you need one.Cover Letter

Why Do I Need A Cover Letter?

Obviously, the follow-up question is: “Why?” Your resume clearly outlines your work history, highlights your relevant experience, and demonstrates the value you can bring to a potential employer. So, what more could a hiring manager want? What makes that additional document so important? Well, first of all, it shows that you are serious about wanting the job. It lets a hiring manager know that you want the job badly enough to write a letter that might not even be read. It demonstrates that you understand the importance of professionalism.

Part of making a good first impression is following established rules of etiquette, even if those rules seem antiquated. Submitting a cover letter with your resume is part of following those rules. So, it is necessary because it is expected. It also lets you connect with the hiring manager in a way that goes beyond the cut-and-dry format of your resume. It lets you present yourself as an actual human being, not just a “job candidate.”

You can use your cover letter to reiterate why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It gives you a chance to explain gaps in your employment, or make connections between your job history and your target job that might not be obvious. Ultimately, it can help set you apart from all of the other job candidates.

Cover Letter Best Practices

In order to make the most of your cover letter, there are some best practices to follow. First, make sure your cover letter is not too long. The ideal length depends on the job you are seeking, but always keep it under a page. If you are submitting it via email, send it as the body of the email, not as an attachment (attachment letters won’t be read). Don’t use a generic letter to apply to several jobs–customize it for each job posting. Personalize it when you can by including the name of the hiring manager. If you don’t have this information, call to get it unless the posting specifically says not to call.

If you need help creating an effective cover letter, let us help! Our resume packages all include a cover letter, or you can purchase one separately.

Military to Civilian Resume Writing: How to Overcome the Biggest Challenges

Creating an effective military to civilian resume is filled with a host of unique challenges. We can help. Here are some tips to help make sure your military to civilian resume will help you get a new job.military to civilian resume

Military to Civilian Resumes Need to Use Civilian Language

The military essentially has its own language. The same is true of civilian employers. So, if you want your resume to impress a civilian hiring manager, it needs to be written in a way that makes sense to them. Start by spelling out all acronyms (or, leaving them out altogether if possible). Try to think back to your days before joining the military. Remember all of the words and phrases that seemed confusing when you first joined? Leave them out of your resume.

Show Your Value

When you describe your experience, think about it in terms of the value you provided. There are some things that are valuable both in the military and civilian world. For instance, did you find a way to increase efficiency and cut costs? If so, make sure to highlight that because those are things that are valuable to civilian employers. Did you improve the effectiveness of a process or procedure? That’s valuable too. While the specific details of what you did might not translate well into civilian terms, the underlying value often does. So, make sure the focus is on that underlying value.

Find Common Ground

Military personnel, in general, often have a wealth of soft skills that are highly desirable to civilian companies. Strong work ethic, leadership skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure are all valuable traits. The trick is to show these on your resume rather than just listing them. Adding soft skills to a skills list or core competencies section is not recommended, but demonstrating them is. In your experience section, give clear examples of how you used these skills in your daily activities.

Resume writing can be overwhelming for anyone, and it can be especially daunting when trying to shift from a military career to a civilian one. At Loud Resumes, we have experience creating effective military to civilian resumes. We would love to help you make the transition as smooth as possible. We offer a 10% discount to all those who have served in the military (use discount code: Military2018). If you are a disabled/recently separated vet, contact us for an additional discount.

Top 10 Best Places to Find a Job Online

You’re ready for a new job and you know the internet is full of places to begin your search, but where are the best places to find a job online? We know how important your job search is, so we’ve looked at many job boards and job search engines to try to answer that question for you. 

First, it helps to understand the difference between a job board and a job search engine. A job board is a place where employers can post their job listings directly. A job search engine aggregates listings from other sites and brings them to you all in one place. Some sites do both. To help determine which sites are the best places to find a job online, we looked at the jobs they list and the other features they offer. Keep in mind that we were primarily interested in sites that were great for a general search.

Here are the 10 best places to find a job online:

1. Glassdoor

Glassdoor is a great place to start your job search. It offers a wide variety of up-to-date job postings from top companies. It has all of the standard job search features, but what makes it special is the company reviews, salary and benefits information, and interview hints.

The employee reviews help you determine if you’ll be a good fit. It also offers salary information, so you can estimate your salary. This information is based on employee-provided salaries, so it’s pretty accurate. If you are called for an interview, you can prepare by looking at the interview process the company has used for other employees. All of this makes your job search easier.

2. Indeed

Indeed pulls job postings from other job boards, company career boards, newspaper classifieds, and other online sources, making it one of the best places to find a job online. It also allows companies to list jobs directly. As one of the few that lets employers list their job postings for free, it is often the first place that companies will list their openings. This means that it has job listings you probably won’t find elsewhere.

You can upload your resume for easy applying (though this makes it harder to tailor your resume to the specific job posting…so be aware that easy isn’t always your best option) and you can sort the job postings by estimated salary, date posted, job type, etc. which makes it easy to find the postings that are most relevant to your situation.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become an essential part of the job search process. It allows you to search for job postings that are related to your interests and your previous experience. This makes it easy to find jobs that you are highly qualified for. It also gives you the opportunity to network with people in your industry and who work for companies you are the most interested in. Having a personal connection in a company significantly increases your chances of getting an interview.

4. Monster

Monster has been a long-time leader in the online job search. They have a wealth of job postings for just about every career type out there. They also have a library of valuable articles related to career development and salary information. Other resources they offer include forums to ask questions and connect with other job seekers.

5. Career Builder

Our favorite features on the Career Builder website are the career explorer tools and the projected career growth rates. The career explorer tools give valuable information about specific industries and job titles. This helps you determine if a career path is right for you before committing to it. The projected growth rates help you see which jobs are in-demand and which ones are on their way out.

6. ZipRecruiter

Like Career Builder, ZipRecruiter offers job trend data which includes trending industries, job titles, and locations. This can be especially helpful if you are thinking about relocating. ZipRecruiter also does a nice job of keeping you in the loop after you have applied for a job. It sends notifications when your resume has been viewed and lets hiring managers send messages to you.

7. Simply Hired

Simply Hired is another powerful job search engine. Like Indeed, it allows employers to post jobs for free. When an employer posts a job here, it is listed on more than 100 job sites simultaneously, which makes it an appealing place to post. Since it is a good place for employers to post their listings, it’s a great place for you to find a job.

8. LinkUp

LinkUp is special job search engine because it pulls jobs directly from company websites. This reduces the number of spammy and duplicate listings that are sometimes found on other job sites. It eliminates the “middle man” by sending job seekers to company websites to apply directly. This makes it easy for job seekers and employers to connect.

9. Craigslist

Craigslist is often overlooked as people begin their job search, but it shouldn’t be. With listings in countries across the globe, it can be a great place to find your next job. Choose the location you are interested in and search for jobs in that area.

10. Reddit

Like Craigslist, Reddit might not be the first place you think of to find a new job. But, there are subreddits for job postings in most major cities in the United States and in a few other countries. Posting jobs here is free, and the comments left can be a good indicator of whether or not the job is right for you. Reddit also has several subreddits related to career advice and job search advice, so it’s a great place to connect with others during the search process.

Finding the right job posting is only the first step. After you find job postings you are interested in, make sure your resume is ready to go. Let us help you make sure your resume sells you as an ideal candidate for the job you want. We’re here to help you get more interviews and job offers to move your career forward.

The Secret to Targeting Your Resume

At Loud Resumes, we create resumes that help you get more interviews and job offers, but how do we achieve that?

Targeting Your ResumeWe specifically target every part of your resume to the job you are seeking. Targeting your resume, along with making sure that your experience is value-based, and there are no grammatical errors or typos on your resume, results in you getting more interviews and offers. It sounds simple enough, but the process of targeting your resume is actually fairly complex. Here’s a breakdown of what the process looks like:

1. Targeting Your Resume by Analyzing the Job Posting

Before even thinking about starting the resume writing process, we analyze the job posting. We scour it for keywords and evaluate what is most important to this employer. What are they looking for in their ideal employee? Which skills and experience will impress them the most? What are their company values?

2. Evaluating Your Experience

After carefully analyzing the job posting to determine what the ideal candidate for this job looks like, we then evaluate your experience. We look at your job history to identify the experience that most closely matches what the company wants. We also note any education or special training that you have that will impress a hiring manager.

Once we have made our initial evaluation, we create a list of questions for you to answer to help us match your experience as closely as possible to the job posting. We also ask questions to help you identify any underlying value in things you have done in your previous positions. This step is crucial. We aren’t interested in just re-wording your previous resume for you, our goal is to elevate you to ideal candidate status for the job you are most interested in. This takes time and effort, but it is always worth it.

3. The Summary Statement

After gathering all of the preliminary information, it’s time to begin targeting your resume. The first thing a hiring manager sees at the top of your resume is the summary statement. This is the place to introduce yourself and highlight your most relevant skills and experience. The goal is to convince them in one short paragraph that you are someone they want to get to know better. We don’t use “fluff” or “filler,” but instead we focus on concrete “selling points” that make you stand out.

4. Core Competencies

The core competencies section gives the opportunity to list keywords found directly in the job posting. This helps your resume get through ATS scans and it makes it easy for a hiring manager to see that you have the key points they are looking for. We don’t just throw a list of keywords randomly onto your resume, but instead, target them to the position. This goes beyond just using the right words, we also focus on listing them in the most effective order possible.

5. Targeting Your Resume Experience

In the pre-writing process, we evaluated your experience and identified all of the value that you brought to your previous employers. Now it is time to show that experience in a way that positions you as an ideal candidate. Based on the job posting, we decide what order to list the bullet points under each position you have held. This allows us to make sure that a hiring manager sees the experience that is most important and impressive. It highlights the qualifications you have for this new position and shows your value as an employee.

Along with highlighting the most sought-after experience that you have, we also minimize anything that could hinder your chances of being interviewed. We eliminate as many reasons as possible for a hiring manager NOT to interview or hire you.

6. Education and Professional Development

This section of your resume might seem pretty straight-forward, and compared to some of the other sections, it is. But, sometimes it can be targeted towards a specific job posting. We take the time to clearly present your relevant credentials and training.

7. Technology Skills

Sometimes there are technical skills that are particularly sought after in the job posting. We make sure that, if you have those skills, they are clearly seen on your resume. We also make sure that irrelevant skills are removed. There is no need to take up valuable space on your resume with information that won’t help you get the job.

8. Professional Affiliations

Professional groups that you belong to can also help increase your appeal to a hiring manager, so we list your relevant affiliations next. Sometimes we include details about your specific activities in these groups if they bring added value that could help you get the job.

9. Volunteerism

Including a section on your resume to describe your volunteer activities is not always necessary, but if space allows, it can be valuable. If you have volunteer experience that is specifically related to the job you are seeking, then it is a good idea to include it. Unrelated volunteer experience can also be included to show the type of person you are.

10. Proofreading and Editing

The final step to create your resume is editing and proofreading. We go back and read what we have written, comparing it to the target job posting. When we read your resume, we should see a picture of that ideal candidate we described when we analyzed the job posting. We make sure that everything is targeted as closely as possible. This also gives us the opportunity to check for any grammatical or typing errors so that your resume is error-free.

Targeting Your ResumeThe final product is a resume that presents you as an ideal candidate for the exact job that the hiring manager is trying to fill. This makes you memorable and desirable. It makes the hiring manager want to meet you. This is how we get our clients more interviews and job offers. Your resume is more than just a history of your work experience, it is a chance for you to make a first impression on a hiring manager who is looking for someone just like you. Targeting your resume makes all the difference. Let us help you target your resume!

4 Great Places to Find Tech Jobs Online

You’re ready for a new job and you’re wondering where to find decent tech jobs online. You’ve already hit the standard job search sites: Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc. These are all great for a general job search, and they tend to have a little of something for everyone, but your industry is specialized and you want a selection of job listings that reflects that. You’ve come to the right place.

Tech Jobs OnlineHere are four great places to find tech jobs online:

1. Dice

Dice offers comprehensive job listings in the tech industry as well as industry news and insights on the blog. In addition to quality job leads, it also offers career explorer tools. These include a salary predicter and helpful career path information. All of these features make Dice a great website to visit if you’re in the tech field.

2. RubyNow

RubyNow offers job listings for Ruby on Rails developers, boasting the title “The Original Ruby Job Board.” If you are looking for jobs to use your highly specialized (and in demand!) skills, this is the place for you.

3. icrunchdata

If you’re not a developer, perhaps data analytics is more up your alley. icrunchdata offers many job opportunities in the data analysis field. It allows you to upload your resume into their database to streamline your job search.

4. WITI

Women in Technology International (WITI)’s website has tons of information and resources for women in the technology industry. This includes job listings, a place to upload your resume, career articles, events, and webinars. Their goal is to help women succeed in all sorts of tech jobs.

*Bonus

Another approach to finding your next tech job online is to go directly to the websites of the companies you would like to work for. This takes a bit more work on your end, but there are often job links on the company websites. If you are interested in getting into specific companies, this is probably the best way of finding their current openings and applying directly.

After you have found the jobs that you are most interested in, it’s time to create the perfect resume. We’re ready to help you get those interviews that you are hoping for. Check out our resume options and let us help you in the next phase of your quest for a new job.

Why is it So Hard to Write a Resume?

Writing a resume doesn’t sound that hard. After all, you know your job better than anyone. You know how valuable you have been as an employee. You are confident in your skills and abilities. So, why is it so hard to write a resume?writing a resume

Bragging Doesn’t Always Come Naturally.

Even though you know you have always done a good job and been a valuable employee, it can be hard to convey that in your resume. Bragging has a negative connotation, so many people are reluctant to “brag” about themselves. It can help to not think of it as bragging. You aren’t trying to show how great you are while making other people feel bad about themselves. That attitude is generally at the heart of bragging, which is why the negative connotation exists. But, when describing your positive qualities on your resume, your goal isn’t to put others down. So, in this case, this type of “bragging” isn’t a bad thing. You are simply trying to show a hiring manager the value that you have brought to previous employers to demonstrate the value you can bring to a new company or organization. Don’t be afraid to clearly show your value.

Describing Work Experience Seems Boring.

You might feel like your job was not very exciting. It might seem hard to describe it in a way that anyone else would care about. Keep in mind that whatever your job duties were, someone was paying you to do them. This means that what you were doing was valuable to them. Describe your job duties in terms of the value it brought to the company. Did you work as a cashier? In doing so, you were building valuable customer relationships. Did you work in the IT department? Your job helped keep critical systems up and running so that the business could keep functioning. Were you a nurse? You provided quality patient care. Think about your job in terms of the value you brought and describe it in those terms. When you do this, your job (whatever it may have been) is no longer boring, but important.

When thinking about the value you brought, also think about the details of what you did. Adding details that help you show what you did in concrete terms makes your experience more interesting and more impressive. Don’t be vague. Ask yourself, “How much?” “How many?” “How often?” and write about your experience in those terms.

Writing Isn’t Easy.

Writing doesn’t come easy for everyone. Grammar rules are confusing. Spelling is hard (even with spellcheck!) and you feel like everything you write sounds terrible. If the only thing keeping you from being confident in writing a resume is your lack of writing abilities, ask for help. Have a friend or family member proofread your resume for you. This can help minimize the problems with the mechanics of your writing.

Does writing your own resume still sound like a difficult and daunting task? Let us help. Our professional resume writers know how to highlight your value as an employee and we have the writing prowess to make you sound like the perfect candidate. We have a resume package that is perfect for your needs.

Resume Return On Investment

What does return on investment have to do with your resume? Well, a lot actually. First, there is the expectation that your resume will do something for you. The time and effort (and money, if you use a professional resume service) spent on creating your resume needs to result in a new job. A new job that offers more satisfaction, or freedom, or money, is worth the investment. Return On Investment

You Are Asking A Hiring Manager to Invest In You

When hiring managers view resumes, they planning on investing in a new employee, and they are hoping for a high return on investment. After all, the company invests thousands of dollars into hiring a single new employee. Consider the cost of hiring for a moment. It goes way beyond the salary and benefits package. There is also the cost of recruiting which includes money spent on advertising the position and time spent on reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, drug screenings, background checks, and any pre-employment assessments that need to be completed.

And, that’s not all. After hiring someone, there are the costs of workplace integration to consider: a computer with all the necessary software installed on it, a company cell phone, travel costs, the office space where the employee will work, etc. Once a new employee is in place, it still often takes months for their productivity levels to be on par with the salary they are earning. A new employee typically has to work for a company more than six months for the company to break even on their investment.

Your Resume is a Selling Tool

Your resume is your chance to make a first impression with a hiring manager. In a matter of seconds, someone decides whether or not they want to meet you. With a single glance at that piece of paper, you either capture the attention needed to get your foot in the door, or you don’t. It’s that simple. The difference between getting an interview or not starts with a thin piece of paper.

That thin piece of paper has the power to speak volumes about you. It is your first chance to show that you are a low-risk, high-yielding investment opportunity. In six seconds or less, you need the hiring manager to want to meet you. With so much riding on your resume, spending money on a professionally written resume is worth it. Spending $300 to make sure your resumes says, “I’m the perfect person for this job!” yields a high return on investment.

Which resume package will you invest in?

How to Cope With the Stress of Finding A New Job

Finding a new job can be very stressful, especially if you are not getting any interviews or job offers. Here are some strategies to help you deal with the stress of job hunting.

Coping with the stress of finding a new job

 

Don’t Take Rejection Personally

The most important thing to remember is that a lack of progress in your job search is not something to take personally. There are many reasons that employers pass over job candidates. Try not to let that rejection impact your self-esteem or feelings of self-worth. Remember that you have value as a person apart from your career. Remind yourself that, eventually, the right job will come along. Turn to friends and family for support. Spending time with people who care about you will help remind you that you are valued. Talk about your feelings regarding your job search with someone you trust.

Don’t Let Finding A New Job Be Your Sole Focus

It can be easy to be consumed by finding a new job, but it’s not healthy to have tunnel vision where your job search is concerned. Separating your work life from your private life is essential, even when your “work life” consists solely of trying to find work. Spend a set amount of time each day trying to find a new job, and then give yourself permission to spend the rest of your time focusing on other things like family, friends, or hobbies you enjoy. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed by your job search and the stress that it brings.

Focus on Being the Best Employee You Can Be

If you are currently employed, give your all every day at work. This can be difficult when you are in a job or career that you are unhappy with, but being a good employee is what will eventually get you the job that you desire. A solid work ethic is something that all employers value. If you are not currently employed, find ways to increase your employability. This could mean learning a new skill or getting a certification. Evaluate what the ideal job candidate for your dream job looks like and then do everything you can to become that person.

Re-evaluate Your Job Search Tactics

Identifying possible reasons for the lack of progress in finding a new job can help improve your outcomes. Take a serious look at the positions you are applying to and make sure that you meet more than 60% of the key qualifications and requirements. If you don’t meet at least 60% of the criteria, then you aren’t likely to be a top candidate. If you meet the qualifications, make sure you are tweaking your resume to target it to each position. Doing this shows employers that you are serious about wanting the position. It also makes it much easier for them to see why you are a good fit. Getting a second opinion on your resume is also a good idea. This can help you see potential red flags that are preventing you from getting interviews. We would be happy to review your resume for free, just send it over!

Seek Assistance

If you are at a loss on how to get your resume into the interview pile, our professional resume writers can help. We will work with you to identify accomplishments and value that you can bring to a new employer. We will also make sure that your resume is targeted toward the positions you want so that hiring managers view you as a top candidate. Check out the resume packages we have to offer and select the one that best meets your needs.

How to Leverage Social Media in Your Job Search

Are you using social media to help you during your job search? Social media can have a big impact on getting a new job if you know how to leverage it properly.

Using Social Media in Your Job Search

 

Using Social Media as Part of Your Job Search Strategy…

When you think about using social media for career purposes, LinkedIn is likely the first thing to come to mind, with good reason. LinkedIn provides a platform to find new job opportunities and to present yourself as an ideal candidate while networking with others in your field and in the companies you would love to join. So, as you begin your job search, updating your LinkedIn profile should go hand-in-hand with updating your resume. To maximize the value of this social media platform, make sure that your profile is filled out as completely as possible. Include a professional-looking photo of yourself as well because profiles with a photo gain significantly more traffic from recruiters than those without photos. After all, social media is about connecting with people and putting a face with a name is a powerful way to do this. Don’t forget to let recruiters know you are open to job offers. This setting is not visible to your current employer, so no need to worry.

Beyond LinkedIn…

LinkedIn isn’t the only social media platform that can help you during your job search. Recruiters also routinely look at Facebook profiles to get a sense of what candidates are like. If you are actively looking for a new job, join groups in your industry. Recruiters use Facebook groups to find potential job candidates.

On Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, following companies that you would be interested in working for is a good way to stay informed about job postings and changes in the company. Following other professionals in your industry is also a good idea. This gives you a chance to stay on top of industry trends and connect with industry leaders and companies in your field. Those connections can help you later on in your job search.

Social Media Rules to Follow…

Regardless of what platform you are on, be aware of who might be looking at what you post. Before posting, ask yourself, “Would I want my boss to see this?” Keeping your professional life and your private life separate on social media is harder than ever. It is always better to play it safe than to regret posting something damaging.

Keeping your social media professional is the first step, but you can go beyond that to increase your chances of getting a job. Post content that is relevant to your field to help establish yourself as an expert or a thought leader in your industry. This will help you stand out to recruiters, which can lead to more job offers.

If you want to be certain your LinkedIn profile is getting the attention you want, we can help! Check out our packages that include a LinkedIn profile makeover.