Friday, April 12, 2013
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.
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."
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 onlineBy 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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Resume Not Getting Results? Here Are A Few Common Mistakes
Resume tips for experienced professionals and new grads.
By Jaime A. Heidel
These days, the job market is incredibly competitive. Former managers with decades of experience are having just as much trouble being offered positions as recent college graduates. If your phone isn’t ringing maybe it’s time to revamp your resume.
Here are a few resume tips to help you stand out from the crowd whether you’re a seasoned professional trying to address being “overqualified” or a new grad just starting out.
Avoid These Common Resume Errors
You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect resume. You’ve formatted it, spell-checked it and even had a few friends give you tips on polishing it to perfection. It looks great! It lists all jobs you’ve had in the past ten years including supervisor names, contact information and duties.
So why isn’t your phone ringing off the hook with interview requests? You’re making one of the most common resume errors: Listing duties instead of accomplishments!
Kelly Donovan, Certified Resume Writer explains it this way:
“The most common problems I see are focusing on job duties instead of specific accomplishments, leaving out important keywords and making the resume too broad instead of targeting it.
A resume should highlight detailed examples of professional achievements, like improving efficiency 25 percent by streamlining a particular process. Most job seekers hesitate to identify specific accomplishments, usually out of modesty, and as a result, their resumes all sound the same as other applicants who have similar qualifications.”
So there you have it. Get specific and your resume will stand out on a desk (or email inbox) of hundreds!
Five Things to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Though it may be tempting in an exhaustive job search to type out one professionally-crafted resume and send it out to all prospective employers, it is very important to tailor your resume by making slight adjustments based on the position you’re applying for.
Focus on Your Accomplishments
As mentioned above, the most common mistake employers see on resumes is a focus on job duties, instead of specific accomplishments. Citing real numbers is a great way to impress a prospective employer and make your resume stand out. Now is not the time to be modest. If you saved the company $3,000 last quarter, mention it. If you devised a new way to improve customer service, let it be known on your resume. Even if you only managed a team of three, showcase these leadership skills.
Short and Concise
Don’t go back more than ten years on a resume. Most HR personnel have only five minutes at best to look skim your resume looking for relevant skills before moving on to the next. If they have to weed through more than one or two pages, they’ll set it down and move on. Be sure to note relevant skills and accomplishments in no more than a few short, easy-to-read sentences.
You may think pink resume paper and a fancy font is the best way to capture the attention of a prospective employer. It’s not. Instead, use traditional white or cream-colored resume paper and familiar, easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman. Double-space between jobs and bold job titles to make skimming easier. If you’re sending your resume in an email, these same rules apply.
Proper Spelling and Grammar
Hitting spell-check is not always the way to ensure your resume is error-free. There are certain words and sentences that won’t be picked by editing software. That’s why it’s important to look it over carefully before submitting or you may end up boasting to the hiring manager that you’re a “1-year-old Marketing Executive” or a “Rabid Typist”. To read more funny examples of resume mistakes, click here. (Just be sure your resume never ends up among them.)
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Dressing the Part at Job Fairs
Curtis Burk -- Job fairs can be your first opportunity to interact one-on-one with employers. But in order to be perceived as a potential job prospect, you need to look and act the part.
Here's what to wear:
Your guide to job fair preparation
Job fairs are a wonderful place to make contact with a multitude of industry professionals. You can meet members of prominent government offices at a DC fair, for example. But in order to be perceived as a potential job prospect, you need to look and act the part. The following is a guide to dressing the part at fairs.
While they impart a sense of authority and responsibility in a way that no other article of clothing can batch, wearing a blazer can, unfortunately, be subject to the temperature. If you are attending a Boston fair in January, a blazer is definitely a viable option. And even if you are attending an LA job fair in August, there's always the chance that the venue is well air-conditioned. But nobody likes a sweaty job applicant, so if you feel remotely uncomfortable wearing a blazer, you shouldn't feel bad about taking it off to maintain a polished appearance. Just make sure the rest of your ensemble "works" without the blazer.
Women have a lot more leeway when it comes to clothing in general, so it comes as no surprise that women can wear a number of different tops... underneath a blazer. If, as mentioned above, a blazer is impractical, women will need to try a little harder. Even LA fair attendees shouldn't wear a camisole to a fair. A button-down top is always an option, as is a modest blouse in a neutral color. Men, of course, have it easy -- just wear an ironed button-down top and a conservative tie. Make sure all clothing fits properly, even if this means visiting a tailor before a job. Baggy clothes look sloppy and tight clothes are inappropriate for most professional environments.
Men can wear slacks in black or another dark, neutral color. Women may wear trousers or skirts in a neutral color. Make sure skirts are not too short -- they should hit around the knee. If you are attending a Boston fair during the colder months, make sure you wear stockings so you legs don't freeze between your car and the career fair.
Wear shoes that are polished and completely unscuffed. Women should limit heel heights to one or two inches.
Bring several copies of your résumé, carried either in a briefcase or a folder. Bring a legal pad to take notes. And smile -- likeability can go a long way toward getting your foot in the door.
Attend United Career Fairs and meet with hiring companies and their decision makers in a Boston job fair. We are also provide DC job fairs and LA job fairs for job seekers. Set yourself apart from other candidates and enjoy the career of your dreams.
© 2013 Curtis Burk
Monday, January 14, 2013
It's important for employees to respect the rules that govern employment, but employers must also do their part by having sensible, clear, and updated polices.
What's it cost? A 2011 Cisco survey showed that 70% of employees broke company IT rules. One third said they didn't understand the rules. Another fifth of them said they expected no consequences or rewards for breaking or following the rules.
There are valid reasons behind your rules and policies. Establish respect for them. Here are a few steps you can use to get your employees to conduct themselves "by the book":
1. Clarify the expectations up front. Introduce the rules in the hiring phase. For existing employees, announce rules and consequences in company meetings. Creating a new rule or enforcing an old one, especially one that's been abused for some time, starts with clarity.
2. Establish the rules' relevance. Explain the reasoning behind your rule, and be prepared to back it up statistically or, at least, anecdotally. Show how the rules are not just arbitrary, but help the company maintain its profits and its brand as well as fairness among employees.
3. Mentor employees throughout the process. The more you explain, illustrate, demonstrate, and model compliance with the rules, the more likely employees are to adhere to them. If you just hand them a document with the rules, they will likely apply their own interpretation to which are necessary and which aren't.
4. Reward Compliance. Your policies should cover the consequences for breaking the rules. But you should be equally prepared to reward compliance. Acknowledge an individual's respect for the rules by thanking him or rewarding him. On a grander scale, you could create positive peer compliance by scheduling celebrations for periods without an infraction and providing doughnuts, pizza, etc.
(Hint: Be sure to use the "platinum" rule for #4. Instead of rewarding others as YOU would want to be rewarded, reward others as THEY would want to be rewarded. A gift card to a coffee shop is useless to someone who doesn't drink coffee. And pizza won't be much good to someone who is on a diet. Know what motivates and is appreciated by those you work with. This will help your acknowledgements go much further.)
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Employers should expect employees to follow the rules. Employees should expect that rules and consequences be clear, relevant, and sensible. Employees also deserve to have the rules explained and modeled by their supervisors.
Someone once said... "We have the means to change the laws we find unjust or onerous. We cannot, as citizens, pick and choose the laws we will or will not obey." - Ronald Regan
___________________________________________________________________________________ The Center for Work Ethic Development 2525 16th Street, Suite 214 Denver, Colorado 80211 United States (303) 433-3243