Posted tagged ‘Resume’

Job Seeker Advice

February 2, 2010

A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal by Sarah E. Needleman says,

“There’s been no shortage of warnings about the career dangers of posting racy content on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Yet many job hunters still don’t heed that advice, and others don’t realize they’re doing just as much damage by doing things like bending the truth or spamming their résumés. Recruiters say such faux-pas can result in immediate and lasting career damage.”

In this highly competitive job market, you should do all you can to make yourself presentable to prospective employers. Help yourself by avoiding common internet errors made by job seekers.

Read the full article here.

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The Obvious Interview Question

October 29, 2009

When going into an interview, it is very important to intimately know the company. An interviewer can ask a multitude of questions that will determine if you have done your homework or not. One of these common questions is this: “Why are you interested in this company?” Andrea Rice, a respected career blogger says that people generally make one of these two classic mistakes;

“1)    They give generic answers that communicate I haven’t done my homework and don’t know how you differ from your competition; and

2)    They don’t tie the differentiating features about the company to their own strengths or interests.”

She gives two different examples of answering this question, one generic, and the other a solid answer.

“Karen; “Widget Inc. is an exciting emerging leader in the industry. The company attracts really sharp people and has a great reputation for its employee development and culture. I’m sure I would learn a lot at Widget and could make a valuable contribution.

Julia; “I’ve been following Widget Inc for the past 3 years since I first used the company’s product after seeing an ad. Even though the brand wasn’t as well established then, the product was so much faster and more intuitive for a user. I told my friends, and clearly others told theirs. It’s not surprising to me that the company’s market share has doubled to 28% in the past 2 years and international expansion efforts are underway. As you see on my resume, I’ve had multiple opportunities to develop and demonstrate my sales skills in various initiatives over the last few years. I believe I could immediately put those skills to use at Widget.”

Whether you are asked this specific question or not, it is imperative that you communicate accurately your interest in the company without generic, cliche answers.

For Andrea Rice’s full blog post on this subject click here.

How to Ace a Telephone Interview

June 9, 2009

by Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy, on Wed May 27, 2009

When employers want to narrow a pool of candidates, they frequently use telephone interviews to decide whom to bring in for in-person interviews. Telephone  interviews are also becoming more popular as employers continue to tighten their belts.  And while phone interviews are a cheap and efficient way to find a candidate, they can also feel overly casual and detached. So if you know you are going to have one, it’s important to give it some thought and not let the medium trip you up.

Here are some tips for making the best impression during a telephone interview:

Be prepared. Since a telephone interview is usually a test to see if you will make it to the next round, be as prepared for a phone interview as you would for one in person. That means, do all your research about the company or organization as well as the people you’ll be speaking with during the call. And of course, work on your pitch for why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Dress up. Really. There’s lots of evidence showing that how we dress affects how we work. So, if you’re home and tempted to do the call in your pajamas, take it up a notch.

Find a quiet and private place for the call. Control the environment where you take the call as much as possible.  If you’re at home, think about crying babies and construction noise.  I work at home with my dog, a French bulldog who snores loudly.  When I know I have an important call, I always put him in another room or send him to work with my partner that day.

Do not do anything else while on the call. Telephone interviews are not an ideal time to show off your multitasking abilities. Close all the windows on your computer, unless there is something on your computer you want to reference — like the web site of the organization you’re interviewing with. Close your email. And definitely don’t eat, drink, chew gum or do anything else that would hamper your speech or create a distraction.

Control the technology. The more advanced we get with telephone technology, the more we seem to hamper the quality of our connections.  Avoid using a cell phone since calls can get dropped. Disable call-waiting if you have that service.

Keep notes and documents handy. One advantage to a telephone interview is that you can have any papers you want to look at nearby.  Also, have a pen and paper handy to take notes.

Practice. Have a friend call you and see how you sound. Ask whether you sound better standing or sitting. I’ve taken some classes on public speaking and learned that I sound much more relaxed when standing, or even pacing. So that’s what I do when I take an important call.

Find out who will be in the call. If possible, get the names in advance of who will be on the call and know what roles they play. If there are multiple people on the call and you think you might not be able to distinguish their voices, ask them to identify themselves the first few times they speak.

Don’t worry about brief silences. In fact, it’s better to take a moment to digest the question than jump in and answer before you’ve thought about what you want to say. Plus, people pay attention to those who know how to listen.

Ten Tips for a Successful Online Job Search

May 26, 2009

Use these tips to search for jobs more effectively and increase your odds of getting hired:

1. Choose Job Sites Carefully

Jobs are listed on thousands of different websites, so be selective about which ones you use. As comprehensive search engines for jobs, Indeed.com or CareerBuilder.com can help you find specialized job boards or employer career sites that fit your interests. Job search engines will also save you time and steer you to jobs you won’t otherwise find.

2. Refine Your Job Search

Search using keywords and add more terms to narrow your search. Don’t forget to specify your location; your zip code normally works fine. Most job sites also have an Advanced Job Search so you can narrow your results using, for example, a particular company name, job title, or commuting distance.

3. Set up Email Job Alerts

Save your job searches to receive email job alerts including new jobs matching your criteria. Many sites also let you save any job search as an RSS feed. This will help you apply for jobs as soon as they are posted, making it more likely employers will notice you.

4. Keep it Focused

Only apply to jobs you are qualified for. Companies notice candidates with the skills and experience they’re looking for. If you don’t have these, your resume will be ignored.

5. Watch Out for Scam Job Listings

Be careful if you see job listings promising quick and easy income, or requiring a fee or your social security number in order to apply – they’re likely to be scams.

6. Write a Customized Cover Letter

A well-written cover letter that is customized to the company or individual recipient shows you are serious. Try to show how your qualifications and experience relate to the company’s needs.

7. Post Your Resume

Posting your resume to job boards helps companies find you online. Bear in mind that anyone may be able to see it, including your current employer. Most job sites give you the option of posting anonymously, although companies may then be less likely to contact you.

8. Clean Up Your Act

Check your resume and cover letters for typos and grammatical errors. Use consistent font sizes and formatting in your resume. Potential employers may look at any online profile of yours, so keep them up-to-date and free of content that would embarrass you.

9. Do Your Research

Spend time on the company’s website and learn as much as you can about the firm’s products and services. Read up on company news and trends in the industry – use sites like Wikipedia and ZoomInfo. Find out who is interviewing and Google their names to learn about them. If you know anyone who works at a company you are applying to, try to speak with them first for advice.

10. Know Your Salary

Once companies are ready to make you an offer, they’re likely to discuss your salary needs. If you’re armed with objective salary information, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate. Try to let the employer name a figure first – this will make it easier to negotiate a salary that is right for you.

The Final Check of Your Resume

May 11, 2009

Read your completed resume carefully.  Use spell check and have others spell check it, too.  Frequently!  Many typos manage to escape detection.  Ask others to critique it.  You don’t necessarily need to pay attention to what they say—it’s your resume—but you might find something of interest to you.

Ask others to answer these questions:

  1. Is it attractive and does it appear easy to read?
  2. Is it neat with white areas?  Is the type clear?  Are special fonts and highlights overdone or distracting?
  3. Can the same information be stated more succinctly?  Are there any repetitions?
  4. Is everything that is stated relevant to this particular job?
  5. Do your attributes and characteristics stand out, or do they get lost among extraneous material?
  6. Have you avoided personal pronouns and used past tense active verbs in short, meaningful phrases?
  7. Have you given specific information about experiences?  Have you quantified where you can to show past successes?  Any generalities you can specify or eliminate?
  8. Have you emphasized your skills and accomplishments, and not reiterated what you should have/could have done?
  9. Have you included everything you can think of that is important?  Is everything you have said factually true?
  10. Does your resume make you so interesting that the employer will be compelled to ask you to come in for an interview?
  11. Omit personal information that by reason of law an employer is not to use in a hiring decision: age, ethnic origin, height/weight, marital status, religious preference, and photograph.

Quick Resume Tips!

May 6, 2009

DO

• Do make sure your resume is absolutely perfect in spelling and grammar, and that it is easy to read.
• Do write only what enhances your attractiveness.
• Do be truthful! (Perhaps 25 percent of resumes contain false information.)
• Do prepare a separate resume for each job. Use the language of your proposed employer.
• Do be concise. More than one page is ok, but make all of your entries useful.
• Do stress your accomplishments and the skills you have demonstrated.
• Do write in brief, powerful phrases (not sentences), using past tense action verbs to begin statements (not pronouns “I” or “we”).
• Do attach a cover letter if you mail the resume.

DON’T

• Don’t write anything that detracts from your attractiveness as an applicant.
• Don’t include your salary history or reasons for leaving a previous job.
• Don’t say at the top that this is a resume. If they don’t know what it is, you don’t want to work there.
• Don’t say “references available on request.” It’s assumed.
• Don’t include a photograph. They may not like your looks. Give them a chance to get to know you and they’ll overlook your looks.
• Don’t stretch the truth. Embellishment by using grand language is one thing, but falsifications are something else.
• Don’t mention hobbies, activities and religious affiliations that are not job related, or have no application to your career goals or objectives.

Most Common Resume Errors

April 30, 2009

A recent survey by Nichols College (Massachusetts) of 780 employers revealed the following errors most commonly observed in applicant resumes.  (The percentages are of employers reporting, not of the percent of resumes found with these errors.)

  • 78% – Grammatical/spelling errors
  • 71% – Resume not directed to the specific position/generic resume
  • 59% – Objective not specific to the job
  • 43% – Too much information
  • 32% – Unexplained gaps in experience
  • 31% – Accomplishments not identified
  • 29% – Inappropriate email addresses
  • 21% – Poor resume format
  • 8% – Education or GPA not listed