Resumes and Cover Letters

The Resume Issue: Our Top Resume Advice

Resume_yellowOver the years on Movin’ On Up, we’ve offered a lot of advice to job seekers and those new to the career world. And oftentimes, we choose to write about resumes, because they’re a very important element in landing your next job. Your resume is usually the first impression and can make or break your chances at landing that dream job. So, we’ve compiled a list of our top resume-related articles to help you set yourself apart.

30 Power Words to Power Up Your Resume and Boost Your Job Search
When you’re looking for a job, it’s important to make sure your resume stands out among the sea of other applicants. One way to help you get noticed is by enhancing your resume with words that pack a punch. Using words that convey work ethic, positive attitude, and communication skills can help your resume stand out for the right reasons. Powering up the vocabulary in your resume may be just the thing your job search needs, so check out these 30 power words to boost your resume and job search.

3 Times When a Functional Resume is Your Best Bet
Sure, everyone would love to get their foot in the door of a company so they can personally introduce themselves. But in reality, it’s just not always possible. Instead, you have to find a way to get ahead of the competition without actually meeting a hiring manager. And, one of the best ways to do that is with your resume. With so many styles of resumes out there, it’s important to find the right one to complement your work history and skill sets. Sometimes, that right choice is a functional resume. Here are three times when a functional resume is your best bet.

Creating an Organic Resume
When you think of “organic,” you probably think of food. If something is labeled organic, it simply means there are no added ingredients, artificial chemicals, or hormones. And, just like organic food doesn’t have any additives, neither should your resume. It’s important to make sure your resume has exactly what the hiring manager wants to see, so cut the additives, highlight a few skills, and format your resume for a great presentation. By applying some simple organic concepts to your resume, you can help yourself stand out to hiring managers.

Lucky Words for Your Resume
A hiring manager will look over a resume for only six seconds on average. If they don’t see something that stands out, you may not end up landing an interview. Employers are not only looking for skills on your resume, but also for certifications, degrees, job titles, and company names. So, be sure to use keywords that highlight your experience, personality, and abilities. If you want a better chance at landing that next job interview, consider using some of these lucky words in your resume.

5 Resume Resolutions to Keep in 2014
It doesn’t have to be a new year to start making goals and sticking to them. If one of your goals is to get a new job, explore a new career path, or land a promotion, it’s important to focus on the smaller steps that will lead to your goal. Keeping your resume updated, making sure your references are accurate, and checking your resume and cover letter for grammar mistakes are a few of the ways you can help ensure your big picture goal stays on track. And, at the halfway point in the calendar year, there’s no better time to make your resolutions a reality. So, check out these 5 resume resolutions to keep in 2014.

Making sure you have an effective, clean, and practical resume can help you get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters who will decide whether or not you’ll get an interview. So, keep these tips in mind when you create your resume to increase your chances of landing that next big interview.

What tips do you have for creating a strong, effective resume? Share with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Six Resume Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

SixResumeMistakes_June2014_webWith so many people vying for jobs, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you don’t get called for an interview or selected for the position by every employer who receives your resume. However, if you notice a trend of being rejected for positions that you were truly a good fit for, you need to ask yourself this question: “Is my resume effective?”

A resume serves one purpose – to help get you get an interview. If it’s not fulfilling that purpose, then it stinks. In a survey of hiring managers last year, CareerBuilder learned of some resumes that were obviously bad, including a resume written like a text, one consisting of a single sentence, another linking online video gaming to leadership experience, and a resume written in the Star Trek language of Klingon. Although your resume may not be like these extreme examples, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
It can be difficult to critique your own work, and sometimes you just don’t know what employers want to see on your resume. So here are the most common resume mistakes that result in employers dismissing the applicant, according to CareerBuilder’s research.

Mistake #1: Typos
There is absolutely no reason for a resume to have grammar, spelling, or formatting mistakes. More than 50% of the hiring managers said that typos meant an automatic no.

Mistake #2: Too Generic
Nearly 40% of employers said they tossed resumes that weren’t personalized for that specific position.

Mistake #3: Lack of Skills
It’s not that the applicants weren’t skilled; those skills just weren’t listed in the resume, which meant 35% of the employers dismissed them right away.

Mistake #4: No Originality
Resumes that reflect the skills and experiences listed in the job posting are good. However, resumes that match the job listing word-for-word aren’t recommended. One out of three hiring managers cited it as a reason to reject candidates.

Mistake #5: Unprofessional Email
Employers expect a certain level of professionalism from their employees, and when the email address listed on the resume is unprofessional, 31% said no thank you.

Mistake #6: Missing Dates
More than a quarter of the managers dismissed candidates who failed to specify exact dates of employment within their resumes.

It’s easy to assume that resumes really aren’t that big of a deal anymore. But as Matt Tarpey, a career adviser with CareerBuilder, told Forbes, “Even as technology has advanced and changed the way job seekers find open positions, the resume remains an integral part of the hiring process.” If your resume contains any of these mistakes, it may be holding you back from the position and career you want. Make the effort to learn how to improve your resume, and then take the time to shape it up. It will give you a greater chance for potential employers to call you in for an interview.

Has your resume kept you from getting interviews? What have you done to help make your resume stand out among the rest? Let us know in the comments section below!

Written by Ashlie Turley

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Read This, Write That. Matching Your Resume to the Job Description

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By Ashley Turley

If you want to get noticed by potential employers, sending out your resume to anyone without tailoring it won’t cut it anymore. Not only are you now in competition with more job seekers, but chances are, your resume will first be filtered through a scanning program that will determine if an actual person will even see it. And, that means generic, cookie-cutter resumes are a thing of the past.

One of the best ways to differentiate and tailor your resume is to match it to the job description of each position you’re applying for. That doesn’t mean dropping in a few keywords here and there. You need to decipher what qualities an employer really wants and then show how you’ve demonstrated those qualities in the past. It’s especially important to do this with soft skills. Recent research from CareerBuilder showed that more than three-fourths of employers “believe that soft skills (less tangible skills associated with one’s personality) are just as important as hard skills (skills that are learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured).”

Describing how you have exemplified some of the soft skills listed in the job description can be difficult. So to help you get started, here are some of the most-sought-after soft skills identified by CareerBuilder and some examples of how you can actually show these intangibles on your resume.

Confident – Emphasize any leadership roles you’ve held, ranging from positions within formal workplace management or professional organizations, to group projects or committees.

Flexible – Point out your wide range of skills and your ability to interact with a variety of audiences, such as co-workers, vendors, customers, and the general public. You can also identify times you’ve been flexible with your time, such as working various shifts or participating in work-related activities on the weekends.

Organized – Prove you’re organized by citing how you’ve successfully juggled multiple priorities, simultaneously managed several projects, or integrated employee management into your existing workload.

Team-Oriented – Highlight some group projects you’ve been a part of, times you’ve worked with others outside your department, committees you’ve participated in, or your contribution to the achievement of a team goal.

Self-motivated – Draw attention to extra training or knowledge you’ve pursued, especially any that were motivated by your own desire to learn and not just a necessity for your job.

Positive Attitude – Demonstrate your positive attitude by pointing out the things you learned from even the most menial jobs, refraining from painting former employers in a negative light, and being optimistic in your objective statement, if you have one.

By taking the time to tailor your resume to each job description, you’ll get ahead of the competition, making it more likely you’ll get noticed and land an interview. You’ll show employers that you are perceptive, understand the job requirements, and are willing to put in extra effort. And, you’ll affirm early-on that the position, and the employer, are a good match for you.

Do you tailor your resume to each position you’re applying for? Which qualities and skills listed in the job description do you make sure to highlight in your resume? Join in the conversation by sharing in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview

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“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Glassdoor
Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

MonsterInterviews
A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

How-to-tie-a-tie
An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Inside an Employer’s Mind: What They Look for in a Resume

Insidean_Employers_Mind_ResumeResumes can make or break a job search. It’s a critical element in getting an interview, which is a necessary step in landing the job. We asked a few current and former recruiters what stands out most to them in reviewing resumes and we want to share that insight with you. We’ve also linked to a few great articles on crafting the perfect resume to make this your one-stop shop for job search success.

Read on for the three most common things employers look for in a resume.

Is this resume a match?
The single most important factor in reviewing resumes for David Lewis, an expert in the recruiting industry with more than 10 years’ experience is, “Does the resume ‘resonate’ with the actual job description?”  He advises job seekers to submit a customized resume to each job that is tailored to mirror the job description.

Keep in mind, hiring managers are reading your resume along with a stack of others at the same time. This environment lends to them scanning and looking for similar keywords and skill statements that are resonate with the job requirements. It’s important that you are using standard terms to describe your abilities so your resume stands out as a match. Creatively describing your abilities can hurt you in this instance, not to mention if the company is using an applicant tracking system to screen your resume the keywords will need to be identical.

Casie VanRuymbeke, a contract and search specialist, said “Make it clear that your experience is a match – don’t assume the person reading your resume will infer that you have the right skills based on your previous job titles.”

What is the work history on this resume?
Having the skills required for the job is essential, but your experience can be the most important part of your resume. Blake Whisenant, a former recruiter, said “I checked resumes to see who they worked for in the past, this can make the candidate more or less desirable considering the reputation of that company.”

Another thing employers look at it is your longevity in past positions. If you’ve experienced several short-term jobs, you may want to consider a functional resume format to draw less attention to your timeline while still showcasing your abilities.

Jonathan Thom, a professional with more than 20 years in staffing and recruiting, says he looks at the work history on a resume to demonstrate a “consistent direction in title growth” as well as “stability and tenure.” One thing he advises job seekers leave off their resume is personal information, like irrelevant hobbies.

Besides just the length of time worked in a position, highlight specific accomplishments within that job. Demonstrate your capabilities by sharing examples or milestones to paint a picture of how you can impact a potential new workplace.

Is this resume formatted clearly?

If you have the skills and the experience that make you the perfect person for the job, make sure your resume presents all this information in an easy to read manner. Keeping your formatting clean and simple is important. Check out this information on trimming up your resume.

If you are customizing resumes to shine a light on your relevant qualities for each job opening, make sure you are reviewing each resume and making necessary edits before submission. Keeping your resume free of typos and grammatical errors is an ongoing process and it should be reviewed each time you alter it.

In closing, check out our article 3 Resume Elements to Land an Interview for more tips on perfecting your resume.

What advice have you received to help make your resume stand out? Share with us in the comments section below.

3 Times When a Functional Resume is Your Best Bet

Let’s face it, if everyone could get a foot in the door and personally introduce themselves to the employer they want to work for, then everyone would have the job of their dreams. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. So what can we rely on to incite interest from hiring managers and get ahead of the competition?

The answer is – a resume. This document has been known to make or break your chances at landing that job you desire. It’s often your first impression and the emissary that chronicles your work history and skills. But there is more than just one style of resume. The key to finding the right one is to figure out what compliments your work history and skill set. If you want to really flex the skills you have acquired then a functional resume is the right format for you. Below are three reasons to choose function over form.

  1. When You’re New to the Job Market
    College grads typically have little to no experience in the field of their studies. A functional resume allows you to show off what you know, what you’ve learned, and show that you have the know-how to get the job done. Remember to tailor the skills on your resume for each employer. Different aspects of your diversity or knowledge may be beneficial to some and not to others.
  2. When You Have Gaps in Your Work History
    Sometimes gaps in our work history are out of our control, and without an explanation they may give the wrong impression of your work ethic, or the appearance of a “job hopper.” Many companies may see the value in your experience but may not want to invest time and money to train you only to have you leave months later. A functional resume takes the focus off of when and where, and places it on the value you received from your time there.
  3. When You Don’t Have Relevant Work Experience
    Not all past experience will relate to the job you want. If you’re looking at beginning an advertising career, your accounting experience is probably not going to sell your creative side. A functional resume allows you to focus on the soft and hard skills that are more related to the position you want.

A functional resume may not be for everyone. If you don’t know what is best for you, look at your work history and put yourself in employers’ shoes. If your skills are valuable to the position but your years of unrelated employment aren’t, a functional resume is the way to go. Have any tips on how the functional format helped you land a job? Tell us in the comments section below.

Are You Missing a Step in Your Job Search?

MissingPiece_Refrences_August2013_webSo, you’re looking for a new job.

  • Did you update your resume?
  • Outline an easily customized cover letter?
  • Find the perfect interview power suit?
  • Make a list of jobs to apply for?
  • Compile a list of quality references?

If your answer to that last question is no, then you’re missing a step in the hunt for your next job. Most employers will ask for references, and, while it’s debatable how many actually check the list, to not have a list is a serious no-no. But creating a list of references is really fairly simple, especially if you follow these five steps.

  1. Decide who to ask.
    There are three types of references: professional, academic, and personal. Employers are most interested in the first, which can include former managers, co-workers, and vendors. Just keep in mind – the higher the ranking, the better. Only include academic references if you’ve been out of school for less than 4 years and personal references if you’ve played a significant role in volunteer projects or you are new to the working world. If you’re having trouble thinking of people, check out this top ten list.
  2. Determine the best way to communicate.
    Each person on your list and the relationship you have with that individual is unique, which means your method of communication may not be the same for everyone. Asking in-person or over the phone are more personal, but an email can be just as effective. Think about it from the perspective of the person you’re asking – what would they prefer?
  3. Craft your message.
    The basic question really is simple – can I list you as a reference? But it’s also a good idea to preface your question with a brief explanation of why you’re on the job hunt and what types of positions you’re seeking.
  4. Help them prepare.
    Make your references’ lives a little easier and send them your resume. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve worked together, they may need a refresher on your work experience and abilities. Plus, they will be better prepared to answer any questions the hiring manager might have.
  5. Follow up.
    Your references are doing you a favor, so it’s considerate and professional to send them thank-you notes expressing your appreciation. It’s also a good idea to stay in touch and keep them informed of possible employers that could be contacting them. And, once you land a job, let them know about your new position and say thank you one more time.

You’ve invested a lot in your job search, so it’s well-worth the little bit of additional effort it takes to compile a reference list. What’s been your experience in asking for references? Have you ever had a reference that was the deciding factor in whether you were hired or not? Let us know in the comments section below.