Tag Archives: Resume

Put Your Best Self Forward

photo_32260_20140621When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.

Your Resume is a Hiring Manager’s First Look at You

Your resume is the first representation of yourself a hiring manager will see. This simple piece of paper with words written to describe who you are at work and the skills you can bring to the company is your first step to a new job. With this paper, you have only a few seconds to grab the attention of the reader and make him/her want to learn more about you and how you could contribute to their team.

Before sending out your resume, ask yourself: Is this compelling? Have I properly highlighted my skills and accomplishments? How will I differentiate myself from other applicants? Can the hiring manager understand how I will add value to the team?

Study the job posting and identify the skills the company is seeking as well as possible skills inferred from the listing. Make it simple for the hiring manager to see how your skill set would be a perfect fit for this position. If you don’t have the exact skills they are seeking, look at transferable skills obtained from previous work that could relate to the job you are applying for.

Every employer wants to hire an accomplished problem-solver. Be sure to emphasize your past accomplishments, both team and individual, and highlight the positive outcomes. Use words that show initiative and value add. Examples include: exceeded, increased, decreased, eliminated, developed, launched, and spearheaded.

Stay away from vague claims about attitude and personal strength. Examples of this: reliable, responsible, self-starter. Use the interview time to show your motivation and discuss your tenacity for timeliness.

The most important resume tip is to review your resume and proofread, proofread, proofread!  This is the first impression a hiring manager will have, don’t waste it!

Stand Out on Paper and in Person

When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.

Stand Out in a Pile of Applications

You are ready for a change.  You have your sights set on a career, and you have found that the job you have been waiting for is available.  What’s next?  How can you stack the deck in your favor?  Here are a few tips for modern job seekers.

Update your resume.  Make your resume job specific and easy to read.  Don’t be tossed aside by the hiring personnel due to a lengthy resume; take out the irrelevant job skills that you have and only include those that will benefit you in your current search.  Also make sure you include transferable skills that may have worked for you in one way at your current position but can set you apart in the position you are applying for.  For example, if you are currently a customer service representative and deal with a variety of personalities and issues you could easily relate that to your new goal, outside sales.

Do not underestimate the cover letter!  It is very important to showcase yourself and should not be overlooked.  The cover letter is where you can show a little personality.  Keep it simple and direct, but use the opportunity to introduce yourself, explain how you heard about the opening and why you are the perfect choice for the job.  Don’t forget to add your contact information and thank the hiring professional for his/her time and consideration.

This is the age of social media.  Most job seekers have a Twitter, Klout, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, etc. account.  Before you put your resume out there, make sure your sites are clean.  Remove any pictures that could prove to be detrimental to a possible hire, remove any negative feeds, notes or comments.  Keep your pages professional and appealing to a hiring manager.

Last of all think about designing a personal website to showcase your professional traits.  Very few people have personal websites, and the use of one can really help you showcase your strengths and stand out from the crowd.  Make sure your website is 100% developed and you have proofread it (twice) before making it live and putting it on your resume.  A poorly done site could negatively impact you and that is obviously not the goal.

Using these tips you are sure to land that dream job you have been thinking about!

Résumé Tips to Get You Noticed

When a hiring manager is looking through résumés, what is going to make yours stand out?  The average amount of time a hiring manager looks at a résumé before putting it in the either the must call pile or the never call pile is literally seconds.  You need to make the most out of your résumé to make the most out of that time!  Here are some tricks to having a polished résumé.

  1. Use a consistent look throughout the document; including font style and sizes, indentation, text color, and paragraph or bullet format.
  2. Keep your most relevant education or experience at the top.  If you are applying for a job that is applicable to your education, but not as much to your work history, list your education first.
  3. Make sure you have all of your contact information listed.  If your email address is more for fun than business, create a new account with a professional sound to it.
  4. Have someone proofread your résumé.  You should have zero mistakes, misspellings, typos, and punctuation errors on your résumé.
  5. Keep your résumé clean and simple.  Take out information that will not benefit you for the position you are applying for.  Keep your résumé free of graphics and keep the document to as near one page as possible.

One strategic method to use to keep your résumé sharp is to update it regularly so that when you are ready to use it, it will be ready for you!

What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate

by Jeff Haden

In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer.

But there are a few things interviewers would like to tell job candidates well before the interview starts.

1. I want you to be likeable.

Obvious? Sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who in turn like me.

So: I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before.)

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond. You may have solid qualifications, but if I don’t think I’ll enjoy working with you, I’m probably not going to hire you.

2. I don’t want you to immediately say you want the job.

Oh, I do want you to want the job — but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so sit tight for a bit.

No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out….

A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the bizarre stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the gentleman who grew up in Lichtenstein.”

In short, I may remember you by “hooks” – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time or the huge sale you made.

4. … but not for being negative.

There’s no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially the negative ones – like the candidates who complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, or their customers.

So if for example you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.

And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a real treat to be around in a few months.

5. I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…

I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.

So I want you to ask lots of questions: What I expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated… all the things that matter to you and to me and my business.

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. I don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

6. … but only if the majority of those questions relate to real work.

I know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.

First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.

Then we can talk about the rest.

7. I love when you bring a “project.”

I expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s a given.

To really impress me, use the research you’ve done to describe how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away – the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how I can leverage that skill immediately.

Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

8. At the end I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why.

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so and let’s figure out how to get what you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.

I’ll like the fact you asked. I want you to really want the job — but I also want to know why you want the job. So tell me why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel.

Ask me for the job and prove to me, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

9. I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting me and are happy to answer any other questions is nice.

But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.

What I really like – and remember – is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques and you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality and you send me a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in my company. Or maybe we both like cycling, so you send me a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and I’m totally jealous.)

The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, we’re starting a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.

Things to Avoid as a Job Seeker

When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.