Home » Blog » career advice

Tag: career advice

Professionalism in Your Job Search

Professionalism in your job searchThe moment you begin your job search is the moment that potential employers start to pay attention. Everything you do has the chance of reflecting poorly on you or showing the value you have to offer. Professionalism in your job search matters. Make sure that you remain professional throughout the entire job search process. Here are some tips to keep you on track:

Professionalism in Your Job Search: Do’s and Don’ts

While searching…

Do: Begin your job search while you’re still employed. Job seekers who are employed during their search are often given better offers by potential employers than job seekers who are unemployed. Starting to look for a new position while you still have a job can also help minimize the stress of the search because you are not desperate for a new source of income.

Don’t: Search for a new job while you are at work. It shows a lack of professionalism. You owe your current employer your best effort while you are still employed with them. Plus, if you’re not ready to let your current employer know you are searching, using a work computer to look for jobs may alert them to your intentions.

Do: Update your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. These things are often the first impression that a hiring manager will have of you and what you have to offer. 

Don’t: Use a resume that is out of date or not targeted towards the specific position you are seeking. Hiring managers don’t have time to guess why you are a good fit–make it clear in your resume. Also, remember to proofread everything before submitting. Nothing is more unprofessional than a resume full of typos!

Do: Reach out to friends and other professionals in your network to learn about open positions at other companies. You are far more likely to get a job if you are referred by someone you know. If your network can’t help you, a recruiter could be a good option. 

Don’t: Abuse your relationships. Keep in mind that no one owes you anything. If someone is willing to help, be grateful for the assistance and don’t expect miracles. 

During The Interview Process…

Do: During an interview, make sure you are courteous and professional to EVERYONE you meet. This includes office staff, other job candidates, and anyone else you encounter. 

Don’t: Be rude or unprofessional during the interview process. If your interview doesn’t start exactly on time, be patient and don’t complain about the tardiness of the interviewer. Regardless of how things go, your professionalism will make a positive impression.

Do: Send a thank you note after each interview you attend. 

Don’t: Follow up every day until you get a response about whether or not you got the position. While following up is a good idea, don’t be obnoxious about it. Irritating the hiring manager will not help you get the job.

Do: Highlight the value you can bring to a new a new role based on your knowledge, skills, and experience. 

Don’t: Make any negative comments about your current or former employers. Even if they were truly awful, this is not the time to mention it. 

Do: Take time to thoroughly evaluate any offers that you receive. Be sure that the role and the company are a good fit before accepting.

Don’t: Keep the hiring manager waiting on your decision for too long. Remember that you are not the only qualified candidate out there. If you take too long to make your decision, you risk having the offer rescinded. 

*Bonus: DON’T ghost! Always return phone calls and emails, show up for interviews, and if you accept a job offer, show up for work. If you accept an offer and then change your mind, let the hiring manager know as soon as possible (BEFORE your first day). Hiring managers have long memories and you never know how ghosting can impact your future job searches. 

Are you ready to begin your job search? Let us help! Check out the resume packages we have available, or give us a call to discuss how we can help you reach your career goals.

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 Make A Career Shift

You’re in a career that just isn’t for you and you’re looking for a change, but you don’t know where to begin. Sound familiar?

 

Making a Career ShiftShifting careers can be tricky business. Where do you begin looking? How do you find jobs you’re qualified for in a new field or industry? Can any of the skills and experience you gained in previous positions help you in a new career? Trying to find answers to all of those questions can be overwhelming. But, don’t worry, here’s a guide to help you move forward.

Identify transferable skills…

First, begin by assessing your transferable skills. How do you identify your transferable skills? Start by looking at your job experience. Make a list of the duties and responsibilities that you have had in each job you have held. Now ask yourself what value each of these things brought to your employer. Why were you being paid to do these things? What did they accomplish for the company or organization you worked for? For example, working as a cashier seems pretty mundane, but the value a cashier provides to their employer is in the form of customer loyalty, revenue from repeat business, and minimal revenue loss from accurately charging customers and making change. So, what skills are needed to provide this value? Customer loyalty and revenue from repeat business come from providing good customer service, and minimizing revenue loss comes from being detail-oriented, honest, and having basic math skills. When you break down your previous work experience in this way, you can start to see the underlying skills that were used. Many of those skills can be valuable in other positions as well.

Use that list of skills to help find jobs you qualify for…

After you have identified your valuable skills, make a list of careers you are interested in. Then take a look at internet job boards and find some job descriptions of positions that you might be interested in. For your first search, don’t worry too much about location, just find descriptions of jobs you think you would enjoy. After finding a couple, look at the skills and qualifications needed for these positions and compare this with the list of skills that you made earlier to determine if you are qualified. If you can give clear examples of at least 75% of the skills required in the job description, and you meet any specific qualifications listed (education, certifications, etc.) then you can apply for the job. If you don’t meet the qualifications, determine what you need to get those qualifications and then decide if it is something you want to pursue. It might mean returning to school or pursuing certifications. If this is your dream job, then taking those steps could be worth it. If you don’t have the necessary experience for those jobs you found, go back to your list of careers you are interested in and choose another area. Look for jobs in this new area and follow the same steps as before. Continue in this way until you find jobs that you are qualified for.

If there is a significant gap between the experience you have and the types of jobs you want, you may have to find some middle ground. What lower-level jobs could help you gain experience towards the career you want? Keep in mind that you may need to take an entry-level position in your new industry to start on your new career path, but if it leads you to your dream job, it is well worth it.

Are you ready to create a resume to help you make your career shift? We’re here to help!

Why Isn’t Your Resume Getting You Interviews?

 

Maybe you believe there’s nothing wrong with your resume. Maybe you’re right. If your resume is getting you the interviews and job offers for positions you actually want, then, you’re probably right.

Resume ProblemsBut, if your resume is not getting you those interviews and job offers, then odds are that there is something wrong. So, how do you begin to fix a broken resume? First, you have to recognize what’s wrong with it. There are a plethora of potential problems, but if you have already made sure you are avoiding the really obvious mistakes (unprofessional email, starting every bullet point with “responsible for”, etc.) then what else could it be?

More often than not, if you have used a professional format and there are no egregious grammar errors, your resume is being passed over because it isn’t closely aligned with the job posting or the company itself. Are you using the same resume for every job under the sun? If so, there’s your problem. While it’s great to have a base resume to work with, it is essential to tailor it specifically towards every single position to which you apply. Sometimes this means only making minor changes, while other times, it can mean nearly a complete rewrite.

Tailoring your resume to your audience (the hiring manager for a specific job posting) is essential.

OK, so how do you tailor a resume towards a specific job position? First, do some research. Read, and reread the job posting several times. As you read it, make a list of specific skills or experience that the company is looking for in their ideal job candidate. For each of those skills or areas of experience, make a list of things you have done that clearly demonstrate your skills and experience in those areas. If you find that you can’t clearly demonstrate more than half of those, you’re probably not a good candidate for the position. You’ll likely be up against candidates who are able to demonstrate their experience in most of those key areas, which greatly reduces the chances of you being called for an interview. If this was your absolute dream job, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get hired for it, but it does mean that, if you are serious about wanting it, you’ll take the time to find ways to gain the needed skills before trying to apply for it. This might mean taking a different position as a stepping-stone to your dream job, or it could mean going back to school.

Once you have established that you really are applying for a position that you are highly qualified for, you need to present your experience in a way that makes this clear to the hiring manager. Take that list that you made earlier describing precisely how you meet the qualifications and make sure that these points are on your resume. When you are arranging the bullet points on your resume describing each position you have held, make sure that the ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for are listed first. This brings them to the attention of the hiring manager.

Think about what is most important to the hiring manager.

Now it is time to write your summary statement. Before beginning, do some research into the company as a whole. This will help you set the tone of the summary statement (and your cover letter). In your summary statement, highlight the qualifications that you have that are most desired by the company in the position you are seeking.

Under your summary statement, include a core competencies section. List the keywords from the job description that match experience that you have. Place the most important keywords first so that hiring managers can easily find them. Make sure that the keywords you list here are clearly demonstrated in the experience section of your resume; otherwise, this section is a waste of space and is seen as “fluff” by hiring managers.

We use this procedure for every resume we write and it greatly increases the number of interviews and job offers received. Want to know how your resume stacks up against the competition? Send it over for a free resume review!

What Went Wrong on Dazzlecloud’s Resume?

Colorful is not the way to go…

Dazzlecloud’s resume told the hiring manager that she was conceited, wasteful, and cared only about her wants rather than the company’s needs. How could this have been avoided? The first mistake that Dazzlecloud made was using a colorful resume template. While a little color can sometimes be a good thing, large, colorful headers aren’t the way to go, especially if the hiring manager is going to be the one who prints it off. Choose a template that is professional and easy to read, rather than one that looks like it is trying too hard to draw attention. (Dazzlecloud also chose to center everything on her resume, which meant that she had bullet points all over the place, leaving her resume looking unprofessional and hard to read.)

Objective statements are a thing of the past…

The next major problem with Dazzlecloud’s resume was the use of an objective statement. Objective statements are a thing of the past because they focus solely on what the job candidate wants rather than showing what the job candidate has to offer the company. Use a summary statement instead. This gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself while highlighting the value you can bring to the position and to the company.

Longer isn’t better…

Finally, make sure that your resume is an appropriate length. Generally speaking, longer isn’t better. For a student or recent graduate with only a couple of years of work experience, keep it to a single page. If you have been working for more than five years AND have enough relevant experience to justify using two pages, then use two pages. Don’t feel the need to include every detail of every job you’ve ever held–focus on only including the experience that shows how you can be a valuable employee to this company in this role (this means tailoring your resume to each position you apply for).

Want to know what your resume is saying about you? Send it over and we’ll review it for free.

How to Create an Effective Resume

As a professional resume writer, I hear all the time from clients that, “I’ll start my job search as soon as I have my resume written.” That sounds like a great way to do things, right? I mean, you need to have a resume in order to apply for jobs when you find them, so it seems logical to write the resume before beginning the job search. But, how do you write a resume that says, “Hire me, I am the perfect fit for the position at your company!” if you don’t know what position or company you are aiming for? What ultimately ends up happening in this situation is that you end up with a generic resume that doesn’t really stand out to anyone. Then, you wonder why you’re never getting called back for any interviews, and you quickly get discouraged in your job search, wondering why no one is impressed with you.

Job Search

So, should you not even bother thinking about your resume until after you have found positions that you are interested in? Not exactly. It is a good idea to create a generic resume before beginning your job search. Why? Because it helps you identify your skills and interests and can help guide your job search. But, that generic resume should not be the one you actually send out after you find the position you want.

After Your Job Search, Identify Your Strengths

After you find a position, go back to that generic resume and tailor it to the specific job posting. How do you do that? First, go through the job posting and making a list of keywords that describe the job duties and requirements of the position. Then make a list of specific experience that you have related to each of those duties and requirements. While you might not have specific experience related to every single keyword on your list, it is important to make sure that you have experience in more than half of them. If you demonstrate your qualifications, then it will be hard to convince a hiring manager that you are actually qualified for the job.

Leave Off Details That Are Not Relevant

Now go back to your generic resume. Begin with the Experience section. For each job in that section, make sure that the duties/responsibilities that most closely match the keywords on your list are the first bullet points listed. If you have several bullet points that describe duties or responsibilities that are not on your keyword list, consider leaving many of them off — hiring managers are most interested in how you can meet the specific role that you are applying for, and having a lot of information on your resume that does not relate to the position can be seen as a waste of their time.

Quantify Your Experience

After adding bullet points related to the job posting wherever possible in your Experience section, take another look at these bullet points. For each bullet point, try to answer the questions, “How many?” “How much?” “How often?” to quantify your experience. Also ask yourself, “how did this benefit the company? What value did I bring to the company?” Answering these questions will help you write bullet points that show how valuable you are as an employee, giving hiring managers a reason to invest in you.

Highlight Your Qualifications in Your Career Summary

The Experience section of your resume is your opportunity to show that you have the experience the hiring manager is looking for, but it is not the only part of your resume that needs to be tailored to the specific job position. The Career Summary at the top of your resume is also a great place to highlight your value. From the job posting, what appears to be most important to this company? Which skills and experience do they stress most? Those things should be included in your Career Summary section. Directly below your Career Summary, include a Core Competency section using words from your keyword list. This helps applicant tracking systems see that you have the necessary experience for the job.

If you take the time to tweak your resume specifically for each job position you are interested in, it shows hiring managers that you are serious about wanting THIS job. Hiring managers don’t want someone who is applying to everything under the sun. They want someone who is excited about their company. Show that you truly want this job. This will help you get the interviews and job offer you are hoping for.

Want help creating a resume that will get you more interviews? Let us help! Find the perfect resume package to meet your needs.

What Went Wrong on Izetta’s Resume?

Izetta had 15 years of experience as a chief executive officer in the healthcare field, which should have made it easy for her to get the interview for the position, but her resume landed in the trash instead. What went wrong? Isn’t it enough to have the right experience in the right field? Having the right experience is critical, but that experience doesn’t do you much good unless you clearly show the hiring manager your experience and the VALUE you can bring to the company. Izetta listed her experience and briefly described some of her job duties in her last position, but she failed to show the true benefits of the work she had done in the past. Just showing up for work every day and performing your basic job duties isn’t enough to convince anyone that you would be a valuable asset to their team. When a company hires an employee, they are making an investment (there is a salary that the employee will earn, in addition to the time and money spent on hiring and training), and before making a hiring decision, they want to have some idea of what they can expect from the employee in terms of return-on-investment (ROI). The best way to gauge the expected ROI is by looking at the contributions the employee has made in previous positions.

So, what can you do to help a hiring manager see you as a wise investment? Make sure that your value and contributions show up clearly on your resume. Begin by asking questions like this: How did the last company you worked for benefit from having you as an employee? What contributions did you make? Did you increase profits? Did you save money? Did you improve day-to-day operations? (If so, how did you do it and what impact did it have?) Be as specific as possible. It’s not enough just to say, “I saved the company money.” Try to quantify your contributions whenever possible by describing how you improved things and by how much. For example, a statement such as, “Improved employee retention” does not show as much value as, “Implemented an employee incentive program, increasing employee retention by 5%.” The first statement implies that you benefitted the company in some way, while the second statement shows that you are able to identify areas of need, take action to address that need, and the results are a measurable improvement.

Izetta’s biggest problem on her resume was her lack of quantifiable accomplishments or contributions, but her resume fell short overall because it was not an executive-level resume. It did nothing to show her professionalism or the level of seniority that is expected from someone applying for a C-level executive position. If you want to be taken seriously as an executive (or, at any level, really) your resume needs to be professional.

Our professional resume writers know how to ask questions to help you identify contributions you have made and quantify them so that they have the most impact. Order your resume package today so that you don’t face the same problems that Izetta did!