Tag Archives: Tips

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!

How to Ace a Phone Interview

photo_18375_20100618Phone interviews. To some the thought is horrifying, to others it seems like a waste of time, the first step in a long process. Realistically, phone interviews are a very important first step, if you don’t succeed here, there won’t be additional interviews. Here are some phone interview tips to ensure you are on the path to a face-to-face interview:

  1. Be prepared! Have a copy of your resume long with the job description in front of you during the call. Prepare to have questions written up and in front of you before the conversation starts. In addition, have the company information in front of you so you are prepared to discuss in full what products/services they offer.
  2. Restrict phone features. Whether it’s call waiting or an answering machine for an additional phone line, turn off all your phone accessories. These noises can be a total distraction.
  3. Use a landline if possible. Remove the chance of experiencing choppy cell service. Making the call from a landline leaves less room for misinterpretation and cuts the odds of disconnection to a minimum. Also be sure to use a high-quality phone.
  4. Call from home. Making the call from a comfortable, controlled environment will allow you to keep noise to a minimum, speak at a reasonable volume and give you fewer distractions. Be sure to have your pets or kids (or any other noise makers) in the care of someone else during this time.
  5. Make the time for a full interview. Many job seekers make the mistake of trying to fit a phone interview during their lunch hour at work. Disaster could strike if the interviewer is running a few minutes late. Also, the longer the call, the better you’re doing! Most phone interviews last only a few minutes, but if you end up hitting it off with the interviewer, the last thing you want to do is have to cut them off.
  6. Answer the phone professionally and use your name. Avoid an awkward start to the call; take charge by answering the phone by stating your name. This lets the person on the other line know exactly who you are and saves them the trouble of asking for you. Know exactly how you will greet the caller and start the conversation.
  7. Smile while you talk. Smiling when you speak brings energy and excitement to your voice. When speaking on the phone, your voice actually loses about half of its energy during transmission. Make sure your enthusiasm gets across by overcompensating.
  8. Watch your movements. We each have our own phone habits. Some pace, some stand like statues, some may even lounge on the couch. During a phone interview hold your body in an upright position and don’t be afraid to use your hands to be expressive. If you are the type of person who is on the move when on the phone, give yourself an enclosed area that is large enough so you avoid wondering around the house.
  9. Use the mute button. If you need to take a sip of water or handle a situation outside of the interview, the mute button can be your best friend. On most phones, the person on the other line will never know you hit the button. However, it’s always a good idea to test “mute” before the call to see if the person on the other line gets an indication that it’s been activated.
  10. Honesty is the best policy. If a major distraction occurs during the phone interview, mention it. Your honesty will likely be appreciated; after all, the person on the other line is human too and has likely encountered a similar situation. The worst thing you can do is attempt to cover up something that takes you out of the moment, because it could make you look like you weren’t paying attention.
  11. Ask. The interviewer is closing the call but there has been no talk of a next step. Speak up! Express your enthusiasm for moving forward and ask about the next step. If an in-person interview is not scheduled at the end of the call, find out when you can follow up with the employer. Be sure to ask for contact information (name, phone number, and email address) of the person who will be your contact.
  12. Speak and write your gratitude. Unlike a face-to-face interview, there’s no commute afterwards. Send a thank-you note an hour or two after the phone interview. The goal of a phone interview is to get a face-to-face meeting; don’t be bashful about making this request. If you can’t send the email right away, make several notes about the call while they’re fresh in your mind. These will come in handy when you send the thank-you note later in the day.
  13. Avoid benefit and money questions. Now is not the time to ask about benefits or salary. However, the interviewer knows you might attempt to do this and may try to force the issue. After all, determining an employee’s desired salary is part of the filtering process, which is why they are conducting a phone interview in the first place. Try to keep your answer vague by telling the employer that you need a better understanding of the total compensation package until you can state your desired salary. Phrases like, “I’m negotiable,” “I’d rather discuss compensation in person,” or “I currently make X but am looking to make Y” can often get the interviewer to move on.

While keeping all of these tips in mind, don’t lose sight of your phone interview mission: to earn an in-person meeting!

Source: 17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview, by George Arms; Acing the Phone Interview: Preparation Is Key, by Marc Cenedella; Phone Interview Etiquette Can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process, by Maureen Crawford Hentz

Bring Your Power to Your Job Search

Quote-LauTzuYou are job searching, there is power in that. This is the opportunity to polish yourself and be the person you want. Develop your skills, refine your resume and grow your network. Here are some tips to find your power on the road to job search success.

Get your resume out there to be seen, but don’t spam it.

Applying for every job that you see may feel productive, but quality over quantity is very important in a job search. With CareerBum.com you can set up job alerts that notify you when a job matching your keywords has been posted, and then you can easily apply. Of course, we do recommend frequently reviewing the site as well.

Utilize your online resources to research the companies you are interested in working for and positions that you are qualified for. However, do not apply for multiple positions within a single company, keep your search focused.

Keep your resume fresh.

When job searching, it is an absolute must to have your resume online to easily send off in the digital world. With CareerBum.com we offer an easy resume upload, or you can enter your information for your profile. Either method makes it convenient to apply for multiple positions.

Include keywords in your resume that match the job description you are applying for. Make it easy for hiring managers to connect the dots between the position and your ability to excel in it. In addition to keywords, add your job skills and accomplishments that are being sought in the position you are applying for.

Be an online presence.

Hiring companies expect established professionals to have an online presence that is easy to find. If you have a history in the industry, but your online presence is not there, more than likely companies won’t be interested.

LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly important site to be an active member of.  Keep your profile updated with relevant industrial accomplishments, organizational involvement and portfolio pieces.

Keep your online image clean

Do a search on yourself and see what comes up, because more than likely that is what a hiring manager will do. Look at the images that show and if any of them are questionable or embarrassing, work to get rid of them. Change your Facebook privacy, untag yourself from questionable images or try burying it with positive content.

Keep these tips in mind when conducting a job search. In today’s world your online presences is vital to landing that dream job!

Interview Tips for Recent College Graduates

by Andy Chan

  We teach college students how to interview all the time. I was recently asked for the unique things that today’s college student must know and do to succeed in interviews. What I realized is that because students have almost no job interview experience, students don’t know what they don’t know. With help from our career counselors, here’s my list of Top 10 interview tips for college students.

1. Do your homework on the job, the organization, the competition and the industry. Reading the website is the minimum. Tap your college and/or high school alumni network and your parents’ network to get the inside scoop. Most students don’t read business magazines, newspapers or trade journals, so when you do, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Doing this homework will prevent you from asking really obvious — and naïve — questions.

2. Anticipate and prepare for the typical questions with strong personal answers. “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Tell me about your greatest accomplishments.” “Share a time you failed and how you responded to the situation.” “Why do you want this job?” “Why this organization?” Have your answers and examples so well rehearsed that it’s natural.

3. Develop 5-7 adaptable stories from your resume related to the job you’re seeking. Start with the situation by describing the context and problem. Then explain what you did to improve the situation and describe the results in quantifiable terms. This demonstrates that you understand the importance and the impact of your personal contributions. With these stories prepared in advance, you can adapt them to various questions.

4. Frame your answers to show how you will add value to the organization. Many students too often focus on why they want the job, what they will get out of it, and why it will be good for them. Turn the tables and explain how and why you can and will benefit the organization. Find ways to tactfully mention what they’d gain if they hired you (or how much they’d miss out on if they didn’t).

5. Use the right vocabulary. Surprise an employer by actually being able to translate how your academic or extracurricular experiences have helped to prepare you for the role you’re interviewing for — using words in the job description. Very few students can do this. For example, if you’re a theatre major, describe how you managed and promoted a play or musical production using your project management, creativity and sales skills.

6. Prepare two or three ‘go-to’ questions that demonstrate you prepared in advance and your strategic thinking. There’s a difference between “Tell me about the culture” and “Tell me about how major decisions are made here and provide an example of a recent decision and the process used.” Or, “I read that the organization is changing its strategic direction. How will that affect this business unit?” Avoid questions where answers are on the website.

7. Practice interviewing out loud with mentors, adult fans or even in the mirror. Most students have not done many (if any) job interviews – and definitely not when under pressure. It’s important to hear the words you intend to speak, including the tone, emphasis, inflections and facial impressions, so that you don’t blow it when it really counts. It’s rare to get a second chance.

8. Demeanor, humble self-confidence, personality and enthusiasm really matter. Smile! Allow your voice tone, words and body language to communicate your genuine excitement about the opportunity. It will be a significant decision factor for your interviewer. If you don’t, your interviewer will question if you really want the job or if you’re going to be committed to the organization. This is one of the top reasons why people do not get job offers.

9. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Many students have difficulty getting excited about entry-level jobs because they feel overqualified or discouraged that the work will not be fulfilling. In each interview, your primary objective is to get invited back for another interview and to eventually secure an offer. As you progress through the process, many find that the job and organization are much more interesting than they originally thought.

10. Finish strong and follow up. Always close with a final statement that makes it crystal clear that you are genuinely excited and interested in the opportunity, including why you’d be a great hire and fit for the job and organization. Clarify next steps and the timeline. Email a thank you note less than 24 hours after the interview while it is still fresh on your mind. Articulate your fit and why they should hire you specific to the interview conversations. Every interviewer expects a thank you note from each candidate, so no note is a sign of no interest and no professionalism. To really stand out, also send a neatly hand-written thank you note soon after the interview.

Source: Huffington Post College: Top 10 Interview Tips for New College Graduates, by Andy Chan

Job Search Trends, Tips and Strategies

By Arnie Fertig, US News, Money Careers

The changing nature of résumés, use of applicant tracking systems, LinkedIn and other social media sites, Skype video conferencing, big data applications and more are all impacting the way employers and hope-to-be-employees find, communicate and interact with each other.

Employers have ever more candidates to evaluate in their search for the perfect fit solution to their need for talent. And in the continuing wake of the Great Recession, career expectations have changed for new grads trying to get a career started, baby boomers with dated skills and just about everyone in between.

With so much chatter online and elsewhere about the changing landscape, it can be difficult to determine what the real story is, what trends are newly emerging and where we are all heading.

To document and make sense of it all, the Career Thought Leaders Consortium conducts a Global Career Brainstorming Day annually. Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, co-executive directors, gathered more than 150 of the top career professionals from the U.S. and five other countries for 15 live and virtual concurrent sessions for the 2013 event. The white paper detailing the discussions of that day has just been published, and it contains hundreds of valuable facts, insights and tips. The following 10 points are excerpted from the report with permission from the Career Thought Leaders Consortium:

1. There is increased use of targeting to build company brand as an employer of choice to ideal candidates. Online and offline tools are being used to actively engage with potential candidates, and helping prospects navigate the organization to create interest and determine fit.

2. Mobile apps will be the next big thing for applying for jobs. This trend has already emerged and is projected to grow rapidly.

3. Younger job seekers approach career communications differently. Millennials are more comfortable with video and online representation. They think a paper resume is stagnant; they can’t “post or tweet” it. They are shunning email.

4. Recruiters are crunched for time. The average resume review time was 20–30 seconds. Now, six seconds is the reported norm.  You must make those seconds count.

5. Resumes will become an aggregation of social media. Some project less content but with more links to work, social media, video bios, contact options, infographics, and other online bio bits.

6. LinkedIn is a complement to the resume, not a mirror. LinkedIn profiles should be more personal and more engaging than a resume. And as LinkedIn has become more robust, with the capability to link files, videos, portfolios, and other beneficial information, it often provides a portrait that is richer and deeper than a resume. Multimedia presentations, projects, and videos are more common elements of LI profiles. Summaries continue to become more creative in presenting motivation, passion, and individuality.

7. Twitter is valuable for following companies and searching for job postings. Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, recruiters on a low budget can post opportunities for free.

8. Group interviews are commonplace, and candidates need to prepare for both scenarios: either responding to a team of interviewers, or being one of several candidates being interviewed in the same session.

9. Companies are using writing exercises. Candidates may be asked to write emails introducing themselves to the company – or be required to discuss what they will accomplish in the first few weeks in the job. Even for internships, writing samples are being required.

10. Follow-up/thank-you notes are most commonly sent by email, ideally within 24 hours of an interview. Candidates should reference key points uncovered during the interview and provide evidence about how they would approach these challenges.

When you keep these insights in mind as you create your own job search strategy, you will have a better understanding of the process as a whole, and you will be able act on tips that will foster your success.

Happy hunting!

Networking Tips for Job Seekers

networkingNetworking is a vital part of the job searching process. In many ways, finding a job is more about who you know and not what you know. Having a list of the latest job openings can certainly help you in your job search, but networking with the right people can help you land a job without ever having to dig through the “Help Wanted” ads. If you are new to networking or are looking to enhance your networking skills, use the tips below to improve your efforts.

1. Know Your Audience

Before a networking event, take the time to get to know your audience. These events sometimes have dozens of different company recruiters attending. Rather than trying to network with every recruiter, try finding out which companies will be represented. From here, you can narrow the list down to a handful of companies you would be interested in working with.

To really make an impression, research these companies and get to know them. This will ensure that your questions and your comments are informed. If you know nothing about the company, the recruiter will get the impression you are not serious about working for them. Putting in the time to research the company will not only help improve your chances of landing a job, but will also help you determine whether or not the company is a good fit for you.

2. Make a Connection

Find a way to connect with every recruiter you meet. These events are held in social settings and are not formal interviews. There is more to networking than handing over resumes and business cards. Start a conversation with the recruiter and find a way to connect with him or her. This connection will leave a lasting impression and the recruiter will be far more likely to remember you.

3. Make the Conversation About Them

Another way to make a lasting impression is to take the focus off of yourself and allow the recruiter to share their experiences and stories. Every person likes to talk about themselves, so shifting the focus to them will automatically create a positive impression of you. This also gives you a chance to ask some great questions about the company. Find out what they like most about working for the company or how they are able to balance work and life during busy times of the year.

4. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

Networking events may not have a time limit, but you need to know when to end the conversation. If you can sense that the recruiter is losing interest or ready to move on, wrap things up. Hopefully, you have made a connection with them and made yourself memorable. Let them know you are interested in working for them. Ask if you can give the recruiter your resume and don’t forget to ask for a business card as well.

5. Don’t Burn Yourself Out

When you speak with recruiters, you want to make a positive impression. Spending an entire day networking can be incredibly exhausting. Take some breaks in between conversations. This will give you a chance to refresh, recharge and regain your enthusiasm. If you continue to push yourself, you may wind up making a poor impression.

Source:  Examiner.com

Make Your Job Posting Count

Make the most out of your time, effort and money while ensuring that you will find the best candidate for your position.  These simple tips will help you find the perfect candidate for your jobs:

  1. Use common titles.  While many companies are coming up with creative and fun titles for their employees, the job posting isn’t the place to implement this.  Use clear and concise titles to show specific functions of the position.  For instance use the title Sales Associate as opposed to the futuristic possibility of Retail Jedi.
  2. Have clear and detailed job postings.  Use easy to understand language to write your job postings, but make it exciting and enticing.  Break up the text with bullet points.  Use underlining, bold type and italics to highlight the most important aspects of the job.
  3. Use keywords in your postings.  Be sure to utilize as many keywords as possible that relate to the position for search engines to use.  For instance, if you were posting an elementary school science teaching position some keywords would be:  education, classroom, K-12, curriculum, and science.
  4. Set-up alerts to be notified when a potential candidate uploads a resume with the skill set you are interested in.  Be proactive and contact these applicants if they appear that they will be a good fit for your company and position.
  5. Share your job postings on your social media sites and invite your fans to share them.  The more you spread the news the more likely you will be to find multiple good candidates to choose from.

Remember, it is all about informing possible candidates and standing out from the masses.

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.