3 Resume Elements to Land an Interview

Your resume is a critical part of the job search because it is often the one thing standing between you and an interview. Tailor your resume for each job you apply for, using your skills, experience, and education to show your qualifications for the position. Here are three basic sections to include on any resume.

Skills Summary
Carefully read the job description for the position you’re applying for, and compare the qualifications required for the job to the skills you possess. For each of your skills that match a requirement of the job, list that skill in bullet point format under the skills summary section of your resume. For example, if the position requires typing 50 words per minute and you have that skill, include “Accurately types 50 words per minute.”

If you’ve acquired any skills from participating in activities outside of work, from volunteering for example, include those skills in this section. But make sure they’re relevant and relate to the job or are listed in the job description. For instance, if one of your hobbies is photography, and the job you’re applying for requires that skill, include it in your bulleted list. Creating this list will clearly show employers the skills you’ve acquired from previous employment as well as your interests and how they match the position’s requirements.

This section of a resume gives you the opportunity to show where and how you’ve gained experience. Whether in past jobs, volunteer work, or school, this section enables you to showcase your talents and how you worked to create successful outcomes in real-life situations. Make sure any information you include in this section is relevant and relates to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a job that states multi-tasking as a requirement, and you previously worked as a customer service representative, you can write “Answered multiple phone-line system, handling 400 calls per day while greeting customers in person.”

If you’ve volunteered in the community and received valuable work experience, and your experiences match the job description, include this information on your resume. For instance, if you supervised a team or coordinated a fundraiser, listing these experiences will demonstrate that you have the ability and expertise to lead a group and orchestrate a project.

List the highest level of education you’ve completed, including the school you attended and type of degree you received, but leave off the date of your graduation. Including the date will clue in employers to how old you are, and can open the door to age discrimination. The year you graduated is irrelevant in the workforce, so it’s not necessary to include it.

If you started a degree program, but didn’t finish it, or are currently enrolled in a program, consider including that information on your resume in addition to the highest degree you’ve received. Depending on how much of the program you’ve completed, and your reasons for not finishing it, it may be beneficial to show employers that you’ve worked toward continuing your education. For example, if you attended college for a few years but were unable to finish due to financial reasons, you want to include your college information along with your high school degree. Your resume may state, “High school diploma – City, State,” and “State University – City, State, completed 2 years of undergraduate coursework.”

Also, if you’ve attended any vocational or technical classes, seminars, or conferences that relate to the job you’re applying for and would help you in your new position, list them in this section to show that you continually work to develop your education and skills.

Take the time to create a well-written resume, and include important, relevant information to help you land an interview. Relate your skills, experiences, and education to the position you’re applying for and your resume will stand out among competitors to potential employers.

Get Employment Health with Career Fitness!

Career Fitness with Skills MastersonAre you at the entry level or are you at the NEXT LEVEL! Be smarter, better, and sharper in your career to help keep your job and get promoted! If you want a skill set that’s ready for anything, you’re going to have to work on not only your talents, but also your knowledge and connections. You’ll need to be a CAREER MASTER!

One of the best ways to master your career goals is to continually improve. How do you do that? Well, working your skills is a lot like working your muscles. Without continual practice, they become weak and flabby. Check out our extreme video where career fitness expert, Skills Masterson, gives you the power to trim your flabby skills into a set of ripped competencies for career success!

Toot Your Own Horn Bigger, Better, and Louder – How to Self-Promote Better

The Art of Self PromotionWhether you’re looking for a job or climbing the corporate ladder, others are going to have to know about your accomplishments and what you can do. Odds are, no one will know how valuable you are unless you speak up and talk about yourself.

For many, self-promotion feels awkward and sounds like bragging. No one wants to hear someone talk endlessly about how awesome they are, but if no one knows about your skills and abilities, you could miss out on several opportunities to work or get promoted. Here are ways you can effectively self-promote without sounding like a loudmouth.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Becoming known doesn’t happen overnight. Self-promotion is about building lasting relationships that develop over time. A reputation isn’t instantaneous, it’s earned. You need to take your time to let your creativity flourish. Despite what people say, your best, most creative work doesn’t come under pressure. You have to establish trust and respect, and you can’t do that quickly or with sloppy work.

Start slowly by placing small, easily achievable goals for self-promotion. Things like going to an industry event, meeting an influencer or industry leader for lunch, or writing a blog or guest column in a publication are great ways to get started. Make sure you track your progress so you can have something to measure as the months go by.

Know When to Hold ‘Em, and Know When to Fold ‘Em
The importance of self-promotion isn’t just in what you say, but it’s also in what you don’t say. You are trying to establish a personal brand,  and now that you have goals established, you have to do what will achieve those goals. If you work construction, you may want to make bold statements about a new type of material that could strengthen bases or a new tool that could speed up production on tile installation. But being vocal about your opinions on internal politics, labor disputes, or gossip doesn’t help you become known for your skills, creative ideas, or accomplishments. Talking about things not pertinent to your area of expertise won’t help you meet your goals.

Know What you Can’t Do
The more general you try to be, the more forgettable you’ll be. That’s why it’s important to specialize when self-promoting. When branding yourself, find one to three specific skills that are your best, develop and work on those skills, and then promote them. When you become an expert in a few areas, you will stand out among your peers and leaders. Most of the time, generalists look weak or lacking in direction while specialists are seen as committed to what they are good at.

When you specialize, you don’t even have to focus on your strongest abilities. Sometimes you will notice a need in your field or company that needs to be met and no one is filling it. That way, you won’t be bragging as much as you’re trying to fill a gap in your industry or with your employer.

Self-promotion can be scary and feel self-centered, but you have to get your name out there if you want leaders and decision makers to remember you when opportunity knocks. What are your strengths? How can you tell others about your accomplishments? Let us know in the comments below.

Drive to Survive With Forklift Safety

Worker practicing forklift safetyYou get to drive a forklift at work. How awesome is that – you’re behind the wheel of a 14,000 pound beast that can lift an average of one to five tons. The warehouse is your highway. But, with such great power comes the potential danger that could possibly injure or kill you or those around you.

There are nearly 100 fatalities and more than 95,000 injuries every year from accidents while operating forklifts. According to the Industrial Truck Association, 90% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident during their useful life. With so much power and likely danger at your fingertips, here are some ways you can stay safe while operating forklifts.

Before You Start Your Engines
Being properly trained in operating a forklift should be done before ever climbing into one. It’s illegal for anyone younger than 18 to operate a forklift, and some states require proper training and certification before anyone can operate a lift truck. Make sure you have all of the proper qualifications before handling heavy equipment. If you don’t, get with your supervisor to set up training times.

Your employer should also have a checklist of things to look for before starting a forklift. Things like fuel/battery power levels, tire conditions, control panel testing, etc. should be checked before every shift and logged. If anything isn’t working properly, make sure a manager knows immediately. Also, honk your horn to make sure it works, check to see if safety lights are working, and confirm the backup alert works once you have cleared everything else.

Know Where to Go
You really need to see where you are going. Make sure your path is always clear, dry, and open. Some forklifts can be going 10 mph, which takes about 22 feet to come to a complete stop. That’s why you don’t want to have anybody between the forklift and a hard surface like a table, bench, or wall. The same goes for passing a slower forklift. You don’t know what’s ahead and you might not have the stopping distance to avoid a collision.

If the load blocks your view, drive in reverse unless you’re going up a slope. In that case, have a spotter with you on the side to help guide you. The spotter shouldn’t be in the forklift with you because that extra weight can cause the forklift to tip over, which is the most common forklift accident.

Maneuvering slopes and inclines can be tricky when operating forklifts. If you come to an incline with a load, always travel with the load pointing uphill. But if you don’t have a load, always travel with the forks pointing downhill.

You’ll Take the Slow Road, and I’ll Take the Low Road
Almost every worker faces deadlines and time limits for projects, but that doesn’t mean you can cut corners – literally. Always turn corners slowly and honk your horn so anyone on the other side will know you’re coming. Honking the horn should be done when entering or exiting any area like going from outside to inside or going through any open doorways in order to access a different part of the building. You may be in a rush, but quick corners lead to quick tipovers and serious injuries.

Another way of keeping your forklift from tipping over is to keep your forks as low to the ground as possible when moving. Keeping the weight of your lift toward the bottom will give you a better center of gravity and more stability.

Forklifts can be a very useful and necessary tool to do your job, but remember these safety lessons so that you can keep riding your forklift free of injury and danger.

It’s Go Time. Be More Decisive at Work.

Being more decisive at workAlmost everyone has suffered “analysis paralysis” at some point in their lives – that moment when you spend too much time examining the possibilities and options of action and nothing is accomplished.

While most people have no problems making mundane decisions like where to eat, what to wear, or when to do chores, for many, the idea of being responsible for a decision that could end badly is a crippling fear. The fear can be even stronger when you start a new job. It’s easy to feel out of place and scared of making a wrong decision. In reality, going out of your way to avoid decisions can hold back your career more than you think.

Hesitations Bring Complications
Becoming decisive at work can help you prove yourself and demonstrate to leadership that you are an important asset. When you avoid or fail to make a decision, you’re missing out on a learning opportunity. Even if you make the wrong choice, you have still learned something new – and that’s what experience is all about.

Being indecisive is still a decision because you’ve chosen not to decide. You may feel like it’s being aggressive or too assertive to make a decision, but that’s only if you don’t learn from the experiences. Then it becomes stubbornness.

Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times, Anne O’Hare McCormick said, “The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out [uncertainty], and the effect of decisiveness itself ‘makes things go’ and creates confidence.”

Cultivate Courage
You may not be the Cowardly Lion on his way to Oz singing “If I only had the nerve,” but growing confidence and courage make a big difference when trying to make decisions. One way to help build bravery is to constantly try new things. You don’t have to work on being decisive outside of work either. Ask your manager if it’s possible to get different assignments that you’ve always wanted to try. Your work might have some groups or clubs that will let you try some new activities you’ve never done before.

When trying new things at work, start small, make it happen, and then expand on your success. When you see how things outside of your comfort zone are done, you can connect them to challenges with your job, which can help give you the confidence to make decisions when the need arises.

Practice Makes Perfect
Making decisions is a skill and needs to be practiced on a regular basis. It’s like a muscle in that the more you practice and the more you work at it, the stronger it gets. Next time you find yourself with a decision to make, time yourself and see how long it takes for it to get resolved. Next time, try to beat that time.

You can also practice by giving yourself deadlines. Depending on how difficult decisions are for you and how serious the decision is, you could give yourself three minutes to three days. Practice keeping to your time limits and avoid falling back into your normal routine. You don’t have to do this alone. Ask your boss and co-workers for advice, and get them to help you stay accountable, encourage you to keep going, and applaud your progress.

In the end, it’s better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and not be able to make a decision. What are some tricks you’ve used to be more decisive?

Tips on Managing Your Emotions at Work

Man Failing to Manage Emotions at WorkHave you ever been upset with a co-worker or boss? Have your emotions caused you to do or say something you regret? Everyone experiences emotions like frustration, anger, and worry in the workplace at times. Whether problems at home carry over to the office, tools aren’t working properly, deadlines are near, or a co-worker presses your buttons, it’s important to control your emotions and keep your reactions professional at work. Here are a few ideas on how to cope when feelings start to get out of hand.

Recognize your hot buttons.
If you’re frequently upset at work, you probably already know what emotions you need to control. Something that draws out a strong emotional response is called a hot button. Take time to understand what your hot buttons are, so you can be prepared ahead of time with how to handle situations that arise. Though you may not be able to change your internal feelings, you can control your reactions.

Create a strategy.
After you’ve identified your hot buttons, think about ways you can deal with your feelings. Create a plan of action to decide how you’re going to react when certain situations present themselves, especially if the same thing keeps bothering you. For example, you may need to take a walk, count to ten, or start on projects earlier if you stress about meeting deadlines. This strategy may include talking to your supervisor to help you create a plan or smooth out interpersonal frustrations.

Write down your feelings.
Some people find journaling their thoughts in a notebook offers a way to deal with intense emotions. Try jotting down how you’re feeling and why you feel that way. By writing out your thoughts, you can release some of your pent up emotions, and also deal with the issue personally without escalating it to others. Be sure to store your journal in a secure area or at home.

Listen to music.
If you feel like you’re constantly being bugged, slip on some headphones and listen to music or audio recordings. Ask others around you to not disturb you when you have them on, but be sure to have the volume turned low in case others need to speak with you. Simply listening to music can be a soothing way to calm your overwhelming emotions. But, be sure to avoid creating frustrations for others who may see your actions as a way of isolating yourself. Limit the time you put on your headphones, and always be available to a co-worker or manager when they need to talk.

Take a look at yourself.
When you still find yourself losing control of your emotions, you should always take personal responsibility to change yourself first, even after trying other ways to cope. If you think about why you’re upset and you can’t seem to change it, try considering a new perspective on it. You can change yourself for the better, and in the end you can change your emotional reaction.

Dealing with emotions in the workplace can be tricky, but many people face these challenges. Making the effort to control your own emotions before they get out of hand will not only enhance your ability to work, it will demonstrate your professionalism. Controlling your emotions might be difficult at first, but with a few tricks, you can recognize your triggers and move past them quicker.

How to Rock a Group Interview

Interviewing can be scary but group interviews can be a nightmare. Answering rapid-fire questions, navigating group dynamics, and carrying a clear conversation can be intimidating. Here’s some advice on how to impress during a group interview.

Meet and Greet
It’s great if you know in advance you’ll be in a group interview – even better if you get the names of those involved. However, if you don’t, make sure to take this part of the conversation slowly. Shake hands and greet each person, jot down their name, and ask what their role is and how it interacts with the position you are applying for. This is a good time to get your footing and observe group dynamics, so don’t rush introductions.

Facilitate Questions
In a group interview it’s easy to fall victim to poor planning on the part of the interviewers. If they don’t jump right in with questions after introductions, offer a brief overview of your work history and point out a few key skills or experiences that you believe make you a good candidate. Make sure to actively listen to the questions being asked. Chances are, you’ll be nervous, and if two people are talking over each other a question could get lost. You may need to take notes to capture all the questions so that you can do a better job answering. As in any interview, restating the question for your own clarity is acceptable and will allow you some time to formulate an answer. Allow for questions from everyone involved, and if someone in the group hasn’t had a chance to ask a question, address them by name and ask if there’s anything they would like to know from you.

Seek Information
Often a group interview can allow you to experience group dynamics and workplace culture. Use your time to ask a few questions about the environment and team projects. Not only is this a good time to learn, but keep your eyes open because there may be body language or internal communication here that gives you a deeper glimpse into the workplace. If something deeper does seem to be brewing about a particular topic or question, remain neutral, this isn’t the time to align with a possible future co-worker or pick sides on an issue. This style of interview gives you a glimpse into company culture and dynamics, adding some food for thought to your decision about accepting a job if it’s offered.

Group interviews can be intimidating, but they can also be fun. It’s a chance to understand the team you are considering joining and show off your communication skills. What are some ways you’ve excelled during a group interview? Let us know in the comment section below.