Tuesday, July 16, 2013

50¢ Newspaper Tips That Make A Winning $100K Resume

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” That’s what newspaper sellers used to shout out to passers-by in order to get their attention. Then, once people saw the paper’s main story above the fold, the hope was everyone would buy a copy. But since no one shouts in order to get people to buying newspapers today, the headlines and layouts above the fold have to do the job. Similarly, you’re not there to shout about your resume in order to get the recruiter to notice you, so what your resume presents above the fold has to capture attention all on its own.

“Above the fold,” when applied to resumes, means the initial one-third of the page. This is where the reader’s eye lands on your resume in the first ten seconds – and this is when the person makes up his mind to either delete your resume or call you. Particularly at the six-figure executive level, this should be the space dedicated to your summary, profile, or qualifications section. Let’s talk about the key resume elements of a winning above the fold presentation.

1) Readability. Too many times, executive resumes present what I call “thick” text. Thick means the text is situated in a long paragraph. It’s an immediate turnoff because it looks like it requires too much effort. A paragraph anywhere on a resume, especially above the fold, should be no longer than five lines. If you have more information than that, break things down into two paragraphs. You can see examples of how that should look here.

2) Originality. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s position for a moment. He is reading 499 resumes every single day in which candidates begin by describing themselves as, “Experienced,” “Aggressive,” or “Professional.” You should be experienced or professional, so stating that word is a waste of space. Furthermore, “aggressive” doesn’t hold any weight. Instead, describe yourself in terms that convey meaning in your industry. For example, a government relations specialist who represents corporate clients could begin with, “Politically-savvy and ethical strategist.” Here are examples from other fields.

3) Significance. This applies to the expertise presented above the fold in your summary. Avoid terms that virtually all your competitors could say, such as “Organizational Skills,” and “Self-Motivation.” Apply this best practice instead: focus on key words that are meaningful in your specific field. For example, a marketing executive’s significant areas of expertise could be, “Branding & Messaging,” “Campaign Execution,” and “Competitive Positioning.” See examples for other types of professionals here.

In resume writing, being mindful of readability, then strengthening your summary with original content and significant expertise, all add up to a highly-attractive above the fold presentation. These are the elements that will prompt the hiring manager to read for longer than ten sections. This could definitely make the difference in getting more calls for the ideal jobs you want, therefore, making your job search that much shorter.

Jewel Bracy DeMaio has specialized for 15 years in how to get employers & recruiters to call you (instead of you chasing them). She just released “Resumes That Rock,” a free guide with resume samples, exact templates for how to write a resume, and resume words to avoid in order to skyrocket your job search.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keywords – Writing a Successful Veteran’s Resume for Corporate Jobs, Part 2

Writing A Successful Veteran’s Resume for Corporate Jobs, Part 1

Many veterans are drawn to federal government jobs because of their desire to continue serving their country, because of the benefits, because of veterans’ preference hiring initiatives, and – at least in some cases – translating military skill-sets to federal civilian work makes sense.  But in the era of sequestration, many veterans are finding that the federal job market has become increasingly competitive.  In such an environment, it makes sense to broaden the job search to private sector companies.  And, yes, military veterans can be competitive in applying for corporate jobs.
Here are a few tips for veterans seeking to expand their job search:

Corporate America wants to hire you.

The Top 100 Military-Friendly Corporations listed by GI Jobs are certified by Ernst & Young.  And they really do want to hire veterans!  Many of these corporations use online application systems, and veterans need to understand the importance of conveying military experience in terms of corporate job qualifications.  Recruiters need to possess a clear picture of how you can contribute to their company, and find the right “fit” for you based on the skills and abilities you developed during military service.

Your resume must use corporate terminology.

Your resume is key to demonstrating your skills and abilities to the corporate world.  But, to be effective, your resume cannot use military-speak (or military acronyms).  You need to translate your experience into something that the private sector will understand.  Your resume must clearly introduce your skills and abilities while demonstrating that they are transferable to the corporate mission, services, and programs.  If you use their terminology to show your experience, you’ll be well on your way to having an impressive resume that can get you hired into a new career.
Here are some tips for building your corporate resume:

Your resume is the most important document after leaving military service.

As a veteran, you are familiar with the importance of documentation.  Once you leave the military world and enter the private sector context, your most important document is your resume.  No question.  Your resume is what makes the difference between employment and unemployment.  It is the key document that shows private sector employers who you are, what qualifications you possess, and why you would be an asset to their organization.  Since this is such an important document – a document essential to your future – great care and attention must be placed on crafting a resume that accurately reflects your military career in private sector terminology.  This can be challenging, as military language and experience is often hard to translate.  Consider professional writing help by an expert resume writer to help you make your case.

Your private sector resume must be targeted.

Regardless of context, a one-size-fits-all approach to resumes simply doesn’t work in a competitive job market.  Your resume simply must be targeted to the job: it has to match the qualifications and skills required.  And you must convey your experiences, skills, abilities, and qualifications without military acronyms and in easy-to-understand plain language.  If you use a general resume that employs military-speak, you will NOT get interviewed.  Review specific job announcements and craft your resume to reflect the announcements. 
Part 2 of this series will focus on specific examples of how to translate military experience in a way the private sector can understand…
- See more at: http://www.resume-place.com/2013/06/writing-a-success-veterans-resume-for-corporate-jobs-part-1/#sthash.a9oAmoVo.dpuf

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Don’t Fall Into the Black Hole
How to avoid getting lost in the applicant tracking system

By Annette Richmond 

Among jobseekers there’s a lot of talk, actually a lot of complaining, about the black hole. It’s faraway place where resumes go when they’re posted to the ATS (applicant tracking system) on a company website.  Many jobseekers blame the black hole as the reason they don’t get called for an interview.

Well, in some respect this is true. The ATS systems are designed to filter resumes so that only the most qualified applicants are forwarded to recruiters. It’s a great idea in theory but not always in practice. However with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people applying for one position employers often don’t have a choice.

The idea of the black hole has spawned a ton of articles on how to beat the ATS system. Some suggest packing your resume with keywords found in the job description. Other’s recommend choosing software-friendly fonts like Verdana or Arial. The list goes on and on.

The very best way to not fall into the clutches of the ATS system, aka the black hole, is to avoid the system completely. How can you do that? By working directly with a recruiter (in-house or contract) or hiring manager who will actually look at your resume to see if you’re qualified. Here are six ways to do that.

Target companies not jobs. If you have a list of target companies you have a better chance of networking your way in. Some have Facebook pages where you can meet and interact with recruiters. That way you can bypass the ATS system when you see jobs posted on the company website. You’ll be able to go straight to the recruiter.

Develop relationships. The best time to meet recruiters is before you need a job. So if one contacts you respond even if you’re not looking.  If the job isn’t right for you tell them what you are looking for or suggest someone else for the role. The purpose is to keep the dialog going so when you are looking they will remember you. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Apply online strategically. When searching job boards look for jobs that include the company name (so you can network your way in) or have been posted by recruiters. You also can go directly to sites like BullhornReach where many recruiters post open positions. The key is to connect with an actual person.

Network online and off. Many industries have local chapters which meet monthly. Often the meetings consist of dinner and a speaker which gives you time to network and the added bonus of something to talk about. A great way to meet people online is by joining LinkedIn groups and participating in the discussions. You’ll find recruiters in LinkedIn groups that focus on their industry. You can also meet them on Twitter chats.

Utilize your Alumni association. Many colleges and universities have alumni groups which are happy to help you in any way they can. Sometimes that means holding alumni networking events. However, that can also mean making introductions to other alumni who are working at one, or more, of your target companies.

Contact friends and family. You never know who knows who – that includes friends and family. The best way to find out if they know someone who works in your industry or at one of your target companies is to ask them. Folks who are outside of your immediate circle are more likely to know people you don’t. That makes them the best source of new connections.

Getting your resume in front of a recruiter or hiring manager doesn't ensure that you’ll get the job, or even an interview.  There’s no substitute for having the skills and experience the employer is seeking. Still, having a pair of eyes instead of a software application review your resume can increase your chances. Having a personal relationship with the reader is better yet.

Friday, April 12, 2013


 By: Chrissy Scivicque
Career Coach and Professional Development Strategist

As many of you know, I talk a lot about professional passion. I believe it IS possible to love your job and really feel a fire in your belly when you think about the contribution you’re making at work everyday.

I’m always careful to note though that work passion is very different from passion passion…you know, the kind that gets you all hot and bothered…? Professional passion is NOT the same as romantic passion.
However, as odd as it sounds, the two actually do have a lot in common. Some things about passion are the same whether at the office or in the bedroom. Crazy? Nope.
To see what I mean, read on.
Work at It
Relationships are easy and fun in the beginning. The passion often comes quite naturally…for a while. But, as any of you who are married or in long-term relationships know, at some point, it becomes harder to keep that passion alive. You have to actually put some effort in. If you aren’t willing to exert some energy, the passion will eventually fizzle out.
The same is true for your relationship with work. At first, it’s exciting. The passion is there and you can’t imagine it ever going away. But then, the day-to-day routine sets in, and you slowly become complacent.
This kind of fizzle-out isn’t necessarily a given. It doesn’t have to happen. But passion doesn’t stick around on its own. You have to buy some sexy lingerie* every now and again. In work terms, you have to take some risks and try new things. Put yourself out there. Get out of your comfort zone and see what happens.
Don’t Rely on Your Partner to Make You Happy
Your romantic partner isn’t responsible for your happiness. YOU, and you alone, are the only one who controls how you feel about yourself and your life. Sure, it’s nice to hear that you’re pretty and loved, but your partner can’t give you confidence you don’t have. Others can influence you, but ultimately, your feelings are totally within your control.
The same is true about work. Having a great job that pays well and has endless opportunity is certainly helpful. But your employer doesn’t determine whether or not you’re happy doing what you do. You choose how you respond to the situations in your life. If you choose to stay at your job, choose to see the good in it and don’t dwell on the bad. If you choose to stay with your romantic partner, do the same.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to improve the things you don’t like (whether at home or in the office) and here’s what I mean by that…
Ask for What You Want
Your partner can’t read your mind and neither can your employer. If there’s something that isn’t working for you and it’s reasonable enough to change, ask for it. But be specific and 100% straightforward. If you try to be coy and beat around the bush, it’s easy for your signals to get crossed, and miscommunication is a sure-fire way to kill the passion.
If you want your partner to open the car door for you, tell him. If it really matters to you, I’m sure he’d rather know so he can do something about it. It’s easy enough! He might still forget to do it, of course, and at that point you can re-evaluate how much it really matters.
Likewise, if your employer can resolve some underlying irritation you have, in many cases (though admittedly not all), it’s worthwhile doing so. They’ve already invested in you so simple things—like a new office chair or a slight shift in schedule—might make sense if it keeps you happy and working hard. Again, it won’t always work, but at least you’ve made an honest effort. And, as I said before, you can re-evaluate at that point.
Stay Mentally Engaged
Presence isn’t just about physically being there—at work or at home. It’s about being truly mentally engaged. It’s about caring, inquiring, listening and connecting.
We’ve all seen those couples at restaurants who barely make eye contact and spend most of their time looking at their cell phones or gazing longingly at the couple on their first date next to them. They’re there, but not really. Part of them is somewhere else.
This same thing happens all the time in workplaces around the world. People are there, but not really.
When you’re at work, you have to be there 100%. Otherwise, it shows and you feel it. Time drags by. You leave the office wondering what the heck you just accomplished…if anything. You feel like a zombie walking through the week holding out hope that the weekend will bring some kind of excitement.
All you have to do is engage your brain and work will become exciting again. Believe me on this. Everyone enjoys feeling mentally stimulated, but again, you sometimes have to work at it. Find the challenge again. Seek out new information. Learn new skills.
Know When to Leave
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the passion just can’t be reignited. There’s no sense sticking around forever trying to fix something that’s irreparably broken. Get out while you can, but leave with dignity and grace. Remember that the time you shared together was, at least for a while, a good thing. It probably wasn’t perfect, but then, you probably weren’t either.
Bring Yourself to It
This last one might sound odd but here’s what I mean: YOU are in this relationship. Whether with work or with a romantic partner, YOU are half the equation. That means you have to share who you really are and what you’re really capable of.  You can’t hide or pretend to be something you’re not.Authenticity is the most attractive quality in people, professionally and personally. Be real and you’ll have more to offer your employer and your partner.
That doesn’t mean you should toss all social decorum out the window though! If your “real” self wants to throw a temper tantrum, rein it in and consider whether that’s the right move for the relationship. Remember that it’s also about respect. Tact and diplomacy go a long way. Adapt to the needs of others from time to time and they’ll do the same for you.
I know you questioned my take on this topic when you first started reading this article…so what do you think? Do you see the correlation now between professional passion and personal passion? Or have I just been reading too many romance novels?
*Note: Sexy lingerie should not to be worn at work. Unless you have some kind of…”nontraditional”…workplace. In which case, good for you.
Photo Credit: John Curley (Flickr)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Ten Worst Things to Put on Your Resume

By Kelly Eggers

According to a 2010 Accountemps survey, 28% of executives say the resume is where most job seekers make mistakes in the application process. But what exactly constitutes a mistake?

We talked with career coaches and resume writers to find ten gaffes that will guarantee that your resume never makes it past round one.

1. Unnecessary Details About Your Life
There are a few personal details you should include on a resume: full name and contact information, including email, phone number and address. But beyond that, personal details should be kept to a minimum. If the prospective employer wants to know more than the minimum, they will ask you or figure it out for themselves.

"Your age, race, political affiliation, anything about your family members, and home ownership status should all be left off your resume," says Ann Baehr, a certified professional resume writer and president of New York-based Best Resumes. "What's confusing is that [a lot of personal information is] included on international CVs. In the U.S., including [personal data] is a no-no because it leaves the job-seeker open to discrimination."

The exception to the rule: If you're looking to work for an organization closely tied to a cause, you may consider including your race, political party, or religious beliefs.

"Personal data may suggest a bias, unless what you want to do next is directly tied to one of those categories, because it shows aligned interest," says Roy Cohen, a New York City career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. So, unless you're looking to work for a religious, political, or social organization, you're better off keeping personal philosophies to yourself.

2. Your Work Responsibilities as a Lifeguard When You Were 16...
"Don't include information that will not advance you in your work goals," says Rena Nisonoff, president of The Last Word, a resume-writing and job-coaching company in Boston. "Anything extraneous should be left off your resume." That includes hobbies and irrelevant jobs you held many years ago.

Unless you're an undergraduate student or a freshly minted professional, limit your work history to professional experience you've had in the past 10 to 15 years (or greater, if it was a C-level position).

3. A Headshot
In some industries, being asked for and including a headshot is commonplace, but unless you're a model, actor, or Miss America, the general rule of thumb is that photos should be left out.

"To many [hiring managers], including a headshot feels hokey," says Cohen. It can give off the wrong impression, and isn't a job-seeking tactic that's customarily received well.

Furthermore, it's illegal for employers to discriminate against job candidates based on appearance, so attaching a headshot can put employers in an awkward position, says Nisonoff. Unless it's specifically requested, and it's relevant to the job at hand, keep your appearance out of it.

4. Salary Expectations
Most job candidates feel uneasy discussing salary requirements. For good reason: Giving a number that's too high or too low can cost you the job. You should keep it out of your application materials entirely, unless the hiring manager asks for it.

"If they specifically ask for it, you should give them a range," says Nisonoff, but even still, that information should be reserved for the cover letter and not put on the resume. If you have the option, save that discussion for a later stage of the interviewing process, ideally once the interviewer brings it up.

5. Lies
This should really go without saying, but career coaches and resume writers alike report that the line between embellishment and fabrication is often crossed by job applicants -- and that they've seen it cost their clients jobs.

One of the most common areas in which people fudge the facts is the timeline of their work history.

"A client of mine who worked for a Wall Street firm had moved around quite a bit," says Cohen. The client, who was a registered representative, intentionally excluded a former employer from his resume, and covered it up by altering the dates of employment at other firms. "Registered representatives leave a FINRA trail, and when his resume was checked against his FINRA trail, [the company] saw he had left off a firm and they pulled the offer," Cohen explains.

Whether it's using false information to cover a blemish or exaggerate success, there's no room to lie on your resume. No matter how miniscule the chance is that you'll be caught, you should always represent yourself as accurately as possible.

6. Things That Were Once Labeled "Confidential"
In many jobs, you will handle proprietary information. Having inside information from your positions at previous employers might make you feel important -- but if you use that information to pad your resume, chances are it will raise a red flag.

"Confidential information should never be shared, it shows poor judgment," says Cohen.

If you're sharing the names of your clients, in-house financial dealings, or anything else that might be for your eyes only, it can backfire in two ways. The prospective employer will know that you can't be trusted with sensitive information; and your current (or former) employer might find out what you have been sharing and it could be grounds for dismissal or even a lawsuit.

7. If You Were Fired From a Job -- and What You Were Fired For
Your resume should put you in a positive light. Including that you were let go for poor performance, stealing from the company, or any other fault of your own will have the exact opposite effect.

"Leave out information about a situation that positions you negatively, such as 'I got fired' or 'I mishandled funds,'" says Cohen. "Anything that suggests you used poor judgment in your current or former job."

Following this advice does not violate the rule about lying (No. 5). If you're asked to explain why you left a job, you need to bite the bullet and be straightforward, but until then, make sure you're putting your best foot forward.

8. Overly Verbose Statements
There is a pretty fine line between selling yourself and overselling yourself. Too many resumes overstate the importance of job responsibilities.

"Job seekers with limited experience [try] to put themselves in a 'management' light," says Baehr, using phrases like "'Spearheaded high-profile projects through supervision of others, leading by example.'" Keep your flair for the dramatic to a minimum, so resume readers can get a picture of what your real responsibilities were with your past or current company.

9. "References Available Upon Request" and Your Objective
The age-old "references available upon request" has become archaic. You should have solid references lined up from the get-go, so when the hiring manager asks for them, you're ready to share them.

"It's not really an option," says Baehr. "If they want your references, they're going to get them."

Also nix the objective statement. It's not really necessary to explain your career goals unless you are a recent graduate or are switching careers. If necessary, work your objective into a summary of your qualifications, says Cohen.

"It explains what you want, which may not be readily apparent from the resume," he says, "and it also tells a story to explain why you want to make the career change."

10. TMI
Too much information is almost never a good idea. It's particularly bad when it's put in front of hiring managers who are busy, tired, and quite frankly, probably not going to read your resume word-for-word. If you put too much information in your resume, recruiters will likely not read it at all or just scan it quickly.

"Far too much detail is damaging because it won't get read," says Cohen. "It suggests that you get lost in seeing the forest for the trees and also suggests an attachment to information. It's a burden to the reader, and these days, readers of resumes don't want to be burdened."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who Knows You?

Three ways to help recruiters find you online

By Annette Richmond

Even in today’s economy companies are having a tough time finding qualified candidates to fill open positions. Yes, job boards are still popular and ads generate a ton of responses. Unfortunately, many of the respondents are still using the “spray and pray” method not a targeted approach. The result is that most are not even remotely qualified for the job.

For this reason, recruiters, both internal and third party, still have to search for qualified candidates. While recruiters use a variety of methods they generally spend a lot of time online. So the more visible you are the better your chances of being discovered. Here are three ways to make it easier for them to find you.

Your Own Website

An often overlooked way to increase your visibility online is to create your own website. One of the techniques recruiters use to find potential candidates is doing Boolean Searches on Google. Their search criteria might include job titles, particular skills and geographical areas. Having your own website is a great way to come up in their search results.

Yes, having your resume on any site will give you some visibility but having your own website allows you to truly sell yourself. In addition to a resume you can include a brief bio and picture. You may want to include a blog where you can share your industry knowledge. If you’re a creative type it’s also an opportunity to showcase your work.

Twitter Chats

Today Twitter should be part of every job search strategy. But, having a Twitter account is not enough; you need to be part of the conversation. One of the best ways to meet people is by taking part in Twitter chats which allow you to actually “talk” to people in real time. While there’s no substitute for meeting people at live events Twitter chats are the next best thing.

The good news is that meeting people in chats is easy. First, chats have moderators or hosts who keep the conversation going and welcome newcomers. Second, it’s perfectly acceptable to “lurk” until you feel comfortable enough to jump in. Third, when you do want to join the conversation you have a few minutes time to compose your response.

Participating in Twitter chats gives you the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people. If you’d like to connect with recruiters (both internal and third-party) join career-focused chats like #jobhuntchat or #OMCchat. If you want to meet people in your industry there’s probably a chat for that as well. There are hundreds of chats taking place on Twitter every week. Whether you want to talk about social media or photography there’s a chat for that.

LinkedIn Groups

Being on LinkedIn is about more than creating a profile. While you can’t connect with people in “real time” like you can on Twitter, it’s important to participate. Yes, you can Share an update to stay in front of your contacts but that’s not enough. Joining and contributing to LinkedIn groups can help you increase your visibility.

Joining groups is a start. But if you want to be noticed by other members start a discussion and comment on other people’s discussions as well. What can you post? Articles of interest to the group are generally welcome. Posting blogs you’ve written is a wonderful way to share your knowledge. But don’t stop there. Spend a few minutes reading and commenting on other discussions. Offer help when you can.

As a bonus LinkedIn allows you to message others in the group for free. Also, many members will be open to connecting when you belong to the same group.

Beat the Competition

Even when the economy is thriving finding the right position isn’t easy. It a tight job market it gets even tougher. If you want to stay ahead of the competition it’s crucial to build your professional brand. Creating your own website is a great way to showcase yourself and your talents. Participating in social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can increase your odds of getting noticed.

In today’s competitive job market increasing your visibility is essential. A popular old adage is “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.” But the truth is it’s really all about who knows you.