Thursday, January 30, 2014

Advice For Writing A Strong Resume

Creating a strong, solid resume involves several steps, which, when taken together, prove fruitful for an improved resume. Simple enough in themselves, it is important to actually go through and check that all the elements needed for a strong resume appear. First of all, an aesthetically clean, grammatically correct, and clear resume is a must. This indicates a well-educated and polished individual. The resume must be well organized and focused to be considered. In other words, include only previous employments that apply to the new job which you want in most relevant order. In the process of polishing up your resume, be sure that it stays interesting to the perspective employer. Your resume should be specific to each job to which you are applying, and your resume should speak for you as to why you are the right candidate. Your resume represents you, so the impression your resume makes is the impression that you have made. With these points in mind while writing and revising your resume, you shall end with a strong, attention-grabbing resume.

When writing a resume, never lose focus. Remember the point of the resume: the key to securing interviews. Thus, make sure that every point included in your resume indicates to the resume reader why you are the one who should get the interview and, eventually, the job. Don’t include extras in your resume. If they have nothing to do with the skills and talents you will need for the job you want, they do not belong on the resume. Again, keep in mind that resumes are only skimmed over, and so should contain only that information which applies. If you have a life experience that is so unique and interesting that you have to put it on your resume, tie a skill learned from it with the job you hope for. The unique activity will be noticed, and the fact that you learned from it in a way that will help you at future jobs will be viewed as a plus.

In keeping organized and focused, state your work experience in relevant order. Hopefully, and most likely, your most recent work experience is most relevant to your future job. If you are fresh out of college, you will likely want to prioritize your education, as presumably you will not have a meaty employment section at this point. On the other hand, if your college graduation is an old, fond memory at this point, start your resume with work experience.

Following the above tips will help keep the attention of your prospective employer. Keeping the interest of those reading your resume is vital, since these are the people who will be contacting you for an interview. Clearly indicating your career goals is a wise choice. It is an immediate indicator if yours are compatible with and conducive to the company you are applying to. The use of words indicating action, initiative, and energy is an intelligent move. Such words will help you focus on what you have done personally, and make your resume specific and unique.

It is wise to have a template resume from which you format specific ones for each job that you apply to. This way, you will never have a generic resume, which will naturally impress potential employers. When you take the time to personalize your resume, you show that you want the job more than others who are not willing to input this time and energy into theirs. A specific resume will wax the interest of the resume reader, and give rise to questions they will want to ask upon meeting you. In other words, the reader will want to interview you. There are resume builder services that you can utilize on the web to help ensure your resume is polished and professional. Shop around to find one that best suits your needs.

Investing time into your resume will lead to an investment of time by those reading it. The resume is the first impression you make on a potential employer, so use it to your advantage, and compose it carefully to separate yourself from other applicants. While it is important to use a standard resume format, it is not important, and even discouraged, to base your resume on the ‘standard’. The only result will be an average resume, and you want anything but. So focus your resume on your personal achievements and goals in a well-written, organized, focused, and interesting presentation. Once you send out this well-prepared resume, make sure your phone stays on as those phone calls start coming in.

Clarity and conciseness are also important in the resume. The fewer unnecessary words and the more direct your phrases are, the easier it is to read through your resume. Keep in mind that resumes are not read, they are merely read through. They are glanced at, or at best skimmed, so the clearer and more concise you are in expressing yourself, the larger portion of your resume will be noticed. One page resumes are preferred as 
they are concise and help you focus. This focus forces you to choose and include only your most important jobs and achievements.

Language is indispensable to us and we use it constantly, but grammar, spelling, and writing style have taken a back seat for the majority of us thanks to computer technology which corrects for us. All too often though, these corrections leave much to be desired. In other words, it is still up to the writer to ensure that what he has written is well written. Any blatant spelling or grammar errors jump out at the reader, and your strengths and talents take a far back seat to the minor spelling mistakes. Revisions must be done on resumes, and the first revision should check for correct grammar and spelling. Many executives find that typos and grammar mistakes are the most common oversights writers make on their resumes.   Having someone else proofread is wise, as it is always easier to see others’ mistakes rather than our own. Resume builder websites specializing in optimizing and improving resumes are also a great idea to help you avoid the pitfalls of resume writing. These specialists will view your resume objectively and will notice mistakes, both of grammar and good resume form.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Closer Look At Two Interview Questions

A job interview is stressful. The person who hasn’t made a lot of changes isn’t practiced at what is involved (nor should they want to be), and the person who has made a lot of changes doesn’t have any idea as to what’s involved either, or they wouldn’t be making so many changes!

Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you’d be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That’s basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.

For instance, in response to the question, “Why do you want to work here?” some people will say things such as:

“I’ve worked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track record of leadership. I’ve read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of XXXXX, I can help straighten those out.”

That answer may sound good and appear to suffice, but on a scale of 1 – 10, it ranks about a 4!

Why? The answer shows no research, no thought, no consideration. It sounds stock and could suffice for any number of companies. Overall, unimpressive.

In my experience as a recruiter, I’ve found that while mid level management tends to UNDERanswer the question, upper level management will often OVERanswer the question. One group doesn’t provide enough information because of a limited lack of experience. The other group has been around, worked their way up the ladder in more than one company, and in their attempt to sound thoughtful, intelligent, and wise, end up saying very little at all.

Let’s look closer.


Here’s where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned about the company, and why it’s appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here.

Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you’ve learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity.

For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen – there’s your answer – along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation.

And you might ask, “What if it’s not a high profile company? What if it’s on the small side and local?” Right. Not every company is the size of General Electric or even a regional public powerhouse that you can look up in Dun & Bradstreet.

But most librarians are more than willing to help you find any information that might be present in any of their research books. Local newspapers may have done stories on the company, and the library would have those too. And these days, most companies have a website.

Share what you can do and why you feel you can make a contribution and benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.


Some interviews are lost right at this point. This is not an invitation to go on ad nauseum about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer.

Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 – 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to say in advance.


In recruiting we used to say, “‘A’ candidates for ‘A’ companies, ‘B’ candidates for ‘B’ companies and ‘C’ candidates for ‘C’ companies,” and a ‘B’ candidate is not only some one who’s talents and track record is only so-so, it’s also an ‘A’ candidate whose poor interviewing skills MAKE him a ‘B.’

Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you’ve accomplished – and having it all on the tip of your tongue – can make or break you for a job offer – not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job.

Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then being able to close the deal necessitates taking the time to research and learn the company. It means knowing yourself well enough that you can apply aspects of your capabilities to the individual facts and details of that INDIVIDUAL company – and that you can do it smoothly without groping for words or just winging it.

And last, but not least, the words of Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training, echo the importance of interview preparation, including what strikes most people as silly – role playing. But as he said, “you only have one chance to make a really good impression,” and if you don’t take it seriously enough to study and thoroughly prepare, someone else will, and that’s the person who will get the job!

Do your homework before EVERY interview! There’s no chance to make a second good impression!
Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, 78% of all candidates – regardless of the level for which they are interviewing – wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process.

Monday, January 20, 2014

13 Resume Blunders That Can Cost You The Interview

You are the product, and your resume is the marketing piece. To find your perfect job you must differentiate yourself from the other people who will be interviewed.

Your resume must be specific, individualized, easy to skim so it invites a closer reading, and focused on the differences you've made with your previous companies, as well as the accomplishments you've achieved with – and for – them. This tells the hiring company what you can do for them – and it IS about the hiring company, not you. These are 13 resume blunders that can cost you the interview

1. A BLAND OR GENERIC OBJECTIVE: If your objective could be applied to a marketing resume as easily as a resume for an accounting position, then your objective says nothing and will get you nowhere. An objective is NOT some required paragraph at the top of the page that is an exercise in 5 lines of job speak. It’s an actual and real description of your skills as they’re related to who you are and what you want. It should vary with the type of job for which you are applying. 

2. BLAND JOB DETAILS: “Responsibilities included overseeing construction of 4 Hilton Hotels in Tri-City Metro Area, each 50 floors in height.” Yeah? So what? That doesn't say if they went up on schedule or if you brought the projects in under budget. It doesn't say if you took all four from site work up or if the guy handling two of the four hotels was fired and you were promoted to overseeing all four. Differentiate yourself from the others coming in to interview. If you don’t tell the hiring company how you will be an asset to them, how will they know?

3. WHO’S THE MYSTERY COMPANY?: Don’t assume the name and purpose of your company is common knowledge. If it’s a competitor, it might be, and if it’s in the same industry and located nearby, it might be. To be on the safe side, provide a sentence or two about the focus of your company’s products or services.

4. ANOTHER JOB, ANOTHER PARAGRAPH: Don’t keep adding on to your resume job after job, year after year. By the time you’re in your 40s, you need to have weeded out some of the earlier stuff. You don’t need all the college activities, just your degree. You don’t need ALL 5 bullets for each of your first two jobs.

5. REFERENCES: Shouldn't be listed on your resume. “References available on request” is the proper phrase. You present them separately when they’re requested. This isn't about protocol. This is about protecting your references so they aren't called until you and the company are serious about each other.

6. IT’S NOT A STORY!: Don’t – whatever you do, DON’T – write your resume in the third person!

7. SKIP THE PERSONAL INFO: You might think your weekend baseball coaching or your church choir participation shows you’re an interesting and well-rounded person, but they’re irrelevant. If the interviewer wants to know who you are as a person, aside from the job interview and your qualifications, he’ll ask.

8. DEGREE DATE: No matter how old you are, don’t leave the date of when you were graduated off your resume. It looks like you’re hiding something (well, you are, aren’t you?), and then everyone counts the years backwards and tries to figure out how old you are. Sometimes you can be ruled out – just for leaving the date off. If you’re trying to hide your age by not stating the date, what else might you not be forthcoming about?

9. SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK: Spell checking visually by you AND someone else, any fewer than three times, isn’t enough. And don’t forget to check your punctuation.

10. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE – part one: Don’t use one of those resume blaster things. Half of those sites they blast it to aren’t even valid. You don’t know how it will come out on the other end. You don’t even know where it’s going or if the landing targets are employment related. It’s bad form and just….NOT the way to find your perfect job. Finding your perfect job takes focus, attention, detail, individuality, tailoring, specifics. Resume blasting is about as far from that as you can get.

11. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE – part two: If it’s an ad, you probably have instructions as to how to send it. If it says email, cut and paste it in the form, AND attach it. You never know what it can look like on the other end because of the variety of settings available to each user. Quite frankly, you’re better off not emailing it at all, because it usually just goes into cyber space, and then it’s all about the hiring company – but unfortunately, besides not sending it at all, sometimes that’s your only choice. Emailing your resume takes any option for further participation right out of your hands, because often there’s not even a name given for a follow up contact. You’ve no other option than to wait and wonder. (And half the time it’s going to HR or an admin department to be scanned into an electronic database.)

12. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE – part three: If you know the company, call and ask if they prefer email, fax, or snail mail. I know a recruiter who never even opened his email. Because he was listed in The Kennedy Guide to Executive Recruiters, he received so many resumes emailed to him cold (so NOT pro-active) that he just did a mass delete every morning. Candidates contacted for a specific search were requested to snail mail their resume to him. How about that? I’ll bet less than 10% of those who emailed their resumes even bothered to follow up to see if it was received (this isn’t a numbers game).

13. RESUME VISUALS: Ivory paper. Black ink. Individual pages. No plastic, 7th grade, science report cover with the plastic slider or metal push down tabs. Your name centered at the top, not on a cover page that says “Introducing Clifton Lewis Montgomery III”. No exceptions. Your resume is a professional document, not a school book report or an art project. Until every resume is done this way, yours will still stand out in the crowd.

Of course this assumes you meet the requirements for the job – otherwise it doesn’t matter how good your resume is! The resume is what gets you in the door. If your resume is poorly written, looks sloppy, is difficult to read, is cryptic in any way, or necessitates being slogged through to learn your information (they won’t bother), you won’t even get in the door.

And how can you decide whether you like the company, if they’ve already decided they don’t like you?

copyright: Judi Perkins, VisionQuest

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Everyone Loves Certificates - Job Hunting

Whether you are a boss to thirty adult employees or the parent of three small children, consider what giving out reward certificates can do for you. Can you think of someone in your life that doesn’t like to be appreciated or receive recognition for a job well done? I cannot. It seems like almost everyone could use a little bit of encouragement and praise. 
Giving certificates of appreciation or reward is a great way to show value to the people in your life. Certificates can benefit people in a variety of situations and professions. Take a teacher for example. All teachers know that it is important that kids are esteemed throughout their learning years. Think about the ways that rewarding your students with unique certificates could inspire learning and help kids to be proud of working hard in your class. Students who have never liked to work on spelling words will be taking the time to practice them if they can be rewarded with certificates each time they get a perfect score on the spelling test.

Consider the struggle that parents often have in teaching their children to be responsible and to accomplish their chores without complaint. Perhaps instituting a system of rewarding children with colorful certificates for jobs they do well or for behaviors they perform well could be a way to encourage children to do their best in fun ways. Children will be much more likely to brush their teeth every night and each morning if they know certificates will be given out at the end of the week to whoever has successfully brushed.

It may sound too simple, but using certificates really is an incredible motivator for people. It is proven that young and old alike do better when they have reason to work hard. Parents or supervisors often think that rewards have to be large or monetary in order to see results, but that often is not the case. Often simply showing appreciation or value with something as small as certificates can do the trick.

Employees will be inspired to work harder and better if they are sure that their bosses will see the difference and care. Employees quickly lose their desire to work hard when they feel like they are underappreciated. Learn to value your employees with certificates and other small rewards and watch the environment of your office become increasingly more positive and productive.

No matter what your situation in life, look for ways to reward the people around you by using certificates. They will feel better and so will you.

7 Reasons To Search Online For Your Next Job

A job search can be hard and sometimes frustrating. In case you are considering changing your job you should consider using an online search. This will help you expand your horizons and your search for your next job can become world wide and not restricted to any one area.

1.If you are keen in continuing in your present line of work with say a better location or opportunities. Then explore the web sites of companies similar to yours. Check out their human resources pages or career links. Employer web sites are often listed at sites like Academic360, a directory of employment opportunities.

2. Undertake a search engine search. Ask any major search engine like Google to help you locate possible employers or job sites that specialize in your field of work.

3. Explore the web sites of professional associations. Being a member of an association is a great way to network with peers and many a time it is successful networking that can land you your next job.

4. You can register at an online employment site like or and reap the many benefits. They will send you possible opportunities to your e-mail, blast your resume to several recruitment personnel all over the world, offer you a professional evaluation of your resume, and you will be able to browse through all the postings on their site and apply to vacancies that interest you.

5. By opting for an online search you can be sure your application is not lost in the post or courier. When you click apply, the resume immediately goes to the email box of a possible employer. And, the job site will give you a confirmation message of your application.

6. The convenience of online means you can store your resume as well as several versions of a covering letter for use. The site will also maintain a record of applications made by you with details. This means that you will never make the mistake of applying for the same job twice.

7. Applying online means you curtail costs of postage, courier, and faxes.

Looking online for your next job means you can explore several possibilities. By surfing through several job sites you can even consider changing your line of work, moving to a new country with several new opportunities, or even starting your own enterprise. Often the World Wide Web has brought together several professionals from different fields n search of new opportunity and they have begun a business of their own quite successfully.

Another positive aspect of the web is that it allows you to research comprehensively on your new employer and the in depth information you gather on the company will help you during the interviews.

You can take expert advice in writing out your resume and ensure that it has the right key words that will place it ahead of zillion others, that the resume highlights your strengths and presents in a comprehensive way your experience.

The internet has changed the way people look for new jobs and job search has taken giant strides.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Five Creative Ways To Find A Job

Okay, you have posted to every internet job board and every job on Monster, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs. You’ve followed up with calls and networked until you are blue in the face. Each Sunday you take the newspaper and apply for every job in your field with little to no results. Well try some unique ways to find a job. 

Send Half of Your Resume

Find a company you want to work. Write a great cover letter on why you are a good fit, pointing to the enclosed resume. Don’t seal the envelope and don’t enclose a resume. They’ll think the resume fell out in the mail. They will call and engage in a conversation. Sell yourself shamelessly.

Write A Prospecting Letter

Make use of the power of direct mail. Locate 5-10companies. Write up a letter to your contact network and ask them if they know anyone who works at any of the companies on your list. When a contact says they know someone on your list, send them your resume and ask them to forward it their contact or ask permission to send it yourself.

E-Mail Chain Letter

Create a list of 20 companies you want to work for and send an email to everyone you know to see if they know anyone who works at these companies. Ask them to contact you if they do, so that you can ask for a referral. Finally, ask them to forward your email to 10 more people. However don’t do this if you’re currently employed!

Distribute A Booklet

Write a booklet with information relevant to your industry and give it away. Everyone loves free information and this demonstrates your expertise. Give the booklet away electronically and advertise it to newsgroups where hiring managers will see it.

Call Human Resources

Sounds crazy, right? Call the human resources department. Ask them what outside agency or third-party recruiting firm they use. They will ask you why do you want to know. Tell them that their company is not currently looking for someone with your skill set right now the agency may be dealing with other firms, so you are looking for a recommendation. They may very well ask you for an interview. If not at least you do get a lead. They would love to save the agency fees. Also being recommended gives you special attention. Send them a thank you note.

These are guerrilla tactics that can give you better results. Be sure to stay toned for another 5 creative tips.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

3 Essential Boundaries For Mom Entrepreneurs And Their Husbands

In the beginning, you thought it was going to be a breeze when your other hald wanted to join you working full-time in your business. If anyone could do it, you could! You already had a healthy relationship built on trust and respect. You communicated well. You both strongly believed in what we were doing. You understood the need to help each other with the children, keeping the house, and with the business. You planned to allow for fluctuations in income to keep stresses over money to a minimum. Yet you still wasn’t prepared.

For anyone considering working with your spouse, here are 3 Essential Boundaries for Entrepreneurial Couples to help to ease your transition:

1. Clarify expectations for work/home. 

Nothing can prepare you for the blurring of boundaries and turf that occur as you transition into working together. When you join together with your spouse, most likely, both of you have experienced success throughout your careers, and have developed your own working style. Suddenly you have a whole new dynamic in your relationship with your spouse you must learn to work through. I always knew that we

had different gifts and talents: Terry is very techie and he loves to write, and I am a people person who is an administrative whiz. Even though I should have probably seen it coming, I was still surprised at the difference in our work styles. I multi-task all day long, and he prefers to work on one project at a time. Just like being newlyweds all over again, we had to put some effort into getting to know each other on a whole new level to be able to work well together.

Beth Butler, creator of the Boca Beth Program has some helpful tips for clarifying expectations with your spouse. “I make us lunch each day and we try to talk about BOCA BETH items that are pressing. It’s our time to reconnect – he works from home for the wine company he represents and I work from home sharing my passion for second language learning with young children. A funny mix, but it works! We talk about what each of us has planned the next day so there are no surprises – and I use that time to ask for his help. I can’t expect him to guess what I need so I have learned to be very specific.”

2. Schedule time for love.

Most entrepreneurial couples complain they have less time together than before. It is possible to work beside your spouse in the same office all day long and barely speak on a personal level. How difficult is it to turn off your cell phone and talk a walk with your love? It is imperative to make it a point to schedule time for your relationship so that the business does not overtake it. Terry and I plan ahead to sneak away for lunch or to take a break at Starbucks. We have found if we don’t take the time to schedule in these lunch or coffee dates, then they are less likely to happen as we work to meet deadlines or get a project done. We haven’t yet been able to master scheduling “regular dates”, but its next on our list of priorities in order to help keep our close relationship.

3. Schedule time for yourself. 

It can be a shock when you suddenly have so much time with your spouse. In your previous life, they left at 7 AM and came home at 6 PM, and then you discussed your day during dinner. Now you spend most (if not all) of the day with them, and during dinner, there is nothing new to discuss. Where is the time for you? Karyn Fagan, Founder of Team Women, tells “We both have hobbies that we love outside of the house so we have that important away time.”

Terry and I certainly have a long way to go as an Entrepreneurial Couple, but we have made it through our entrepreneurial “honeymoon” period. Each day, we work together to reach our goals and dreams. We understand when we help each other we will reach our dreams sooner, so we help each wherever its needed!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Job Hopping How It Affects Your Career Success

Is job-hopping and career success related to each other? What is the effect of one on the other? How long is too long for staying in a company? I must admit, the resumes that pass by my desk makes me conclude that job-hopping is far too common.

Job hoppers do it for various reasons. More often than not they may not know what they are getting into. Sometimes, it is because they do not know what they want and hence are not ready for the challenges that lay ahead of them. Job-hopping and career success is related to one another.

In my opinion, job-hopping affects career success in a negative manner. Consider this, what signals are you sending to your potential employer if you job-hop too often? 

The Two-Year Rule 

I have a two-year rule that I tell my staff and potential employees. The two-year rule is this – you must be willing to commit mentally to spend at least two years in the company before you quit. The reason is this; you need to deal with the learning curve. If you job-hop too often, you learn nothing substantial.

For me, it takes you at least a year to know the ins and outs of the company. Then another year before you can eventually be truly productive in adding value to the company. To see the true results of your contribution to the company, for me it takes at least two years. So, if you are prone to job-hopping and career success is on your mind, then it is time to rethink.

Training You 

Many well-established companies have training programs. They are willing to invest in fresh graduates and newbies. However, in order for them to make that decision they need to look at past track records. Ask yourself, if you are a manager -who are you more likely to invest training time and money on? Someone who is job-hopper and shows tendency to job-hop or someone who is stable? Companies are more likely to invest in people who are stable. The reason is simple. They are able to contribute back into the company. Everybody wins. If you are constantly job-hopping, you send a signal that you are not ready to commit.

Companies like to invest in people who see their career goals align with their corporate goals. Job-hoppers usually cannot see their career path beyond the next year.

Decreasing the Incidence of Job-Hopping 

One of the best ways to quit job-hopping is to truly know what you want. Once you know that, you will have singular focus in the pursuit of your career goals. Of course, it is understandable that as a fresh graduate or newbie at work it is tough to know that. You may be interested in some other industries.

If there are other fields that you are interested in then make a plan to find out about them. Start with the Internet, and then ask friends who may know people in those fields. Speak to them; ask them about the expectations of the company and the role of the position you are interested in.

You may not have all the answers but at least you get some idea. That would decrease the chances of you job-hopping.

Make Learning a Key Objective 

If you are new in the work force and have been job-hopping quite a bit, my advice to you is this – truly find out what you want. Once you know that, find a company that is willing to train or how they are willing to commit to their employees’ career in the long term. If they have structured training programs, join them.

Make learning the relevant skills and knowledge in that industry your key objective. The skills and knowledge that you learn will contribute to your career success in the long term. It is something that you can bring with you the rest of your life. Once you see the benefits of committing to a company who is willing to train you for more than two years, hopefully you won’t be job-hopping often anymore.