Tag Archives: careers

Resume Tips To Help You Get Lucky

Lucky_Resume_March2014When you’re trying to catch a potential employer’s eye, your resume has to stand out from the crowd. It has to have something extra, a little bit of magic that no other resume has. But, sometimes magic is hard to come by, and it can be difficult to find ways to make your resume distinct. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are seven tactics to add some luck to your job search.

Give Your Resume a Pinch
Less is more, so cut unnecessary content, eliminate meaningless phrases, and shape it to fit each job opening in order to get noticed.

Find the Pot o’ Gold with the Right Style
What you bring to the job is unique, which means you need to pick the resume style that best matches your work history, skills, and qualifications.

Show What You Have to Offer
Apply some eloquence to that meaningless objective statement and shift the focus to what you’ll bring to the job.

Make Your Competition Green With Envy
Your work history is the core of your resume, so make sure it’s strong and sculpted for the most attractive resume possible.

Treat Your References Like 4-Leaf Clovers
If you say “references available upon request” in your resume, make sure you have great references prepped and ready to vouch for you.

Follow the Rainbow to the Perfect Format
Do your research to ensure you know which electronic resume format – Word or PDF – works best for you and the job opening.

Check for Overlooked Shamrocks
Hiring managers expect a resume to contain certain elements, so give it one final look to ensure nothing’s missing.

Getting lucky in your job search starts with taking the time to fix up your resume so it can work it’s magic. After all, employers will never know what an amazing job candidate you are if your resume doesn’t grab their attention.

What have you done to make your resume stand out?  Share your own tips for building a golden resume in the comments section below.

Cut the Fat In Your Resume

ManHandingOverResumeChances are if you wrote out your 2014 resolutions, “cut down,” “trim,” or “shape up” appeared somewhere, in some form or another on your list. Most people apply those words and phrases to bodily health, but they are also great concepts you should be applying to your resume this year! With the high number of resumes hiring managers receive every day, it’s vital to your job search that you shape up your resume so you’ll get more than just a first glance.

Less is usually more, and in the realm of resumes you want less fluff and more differentiating information. As stated in a Forbes article, “Every word—yes, every word—on that page should be working hard to highlight your talents and skills. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be on there.” So, trim the sugar-coating off your resume and consider these tips.

Slim Down
If the average hiring manager looks at a resume for a minute before deciding whether to keep it or discard it, then you want yours to be as pleasing to the eye as possible. While this involves using the proper layout, font, and text size, it also means you need to keep it focused and cut out unnecessary parts. Yahoo Small Business recommends deleting such areas as the career objective, previous salaries, and that famous final line “References available upon request.” The article also pointed out that “a general rule of thumb is to include employment history dating back 10 years. If you have anything relevant to include beyond this, you can list it under “additional experience,” but only include the company, years, and job title.

Tone Up
Your resume should convey the maximum amount of relevant information in the most compact way possible. That means you need to tighten up your language and avoid certain words. “The average resume is chock-full of sorely outdated, essentially meaningless phrases that take up valuable space on the page,” as detailed in the Forbes article. “Eliminate them, and you’ll come off as a better, more substantial candidate.” Some of the top phrases to cut include experienced, team-player, people-person, energetic, seasoned, well-versed, and dynamic.

Be Flexible
Even once you’ve done all this cutting out and trimming up of your resume, your work still isn’t finished. Every time you apply for a different job, you need to tweak and sculpt your resume to fit the position and company. Highlighting your skills and experiences that align with what the employer is looking for is how you will stand out from the crowd. You’re not changing your work history or misrepresenting yourself – you’re simply showing how things you’ve done in the past relate to this particular job opportunity.

5 Resume Resolutions to Keep in 2014

5_Resume_Resolutions_Jan20142014 is here, and for many people, with a new year comes new resolutions. To achieve the goals you’ve set, make sure you have a clear plan for success. Start with small changes that can make a difference in the long run.
If one of your goals is to get a new job, explore a different career path, or get a promotion, this information is for you. Here are five resume resolutions to keep this year.

1.    Stay Up-To-Date
It’s important to keep your resume updated. Adding your current experience is much easier to do when you’re in a specific position than when you’re looking back and trying to remember. Also, you may forget important information if you don’t update your resume on a regular basis. If you’ve recently completed your annual review, consider moving some of your high points into achievements on your resume.

2.    Keep It customized
Since every company and job you’re applying for may be different, you need to tailor your resume for each specific job. For example, if you’re applying for an administrative job you’ll need to have a resume targeted toward that position.

3.    Have Relevant References
Make sure contact information for the people you have listed as your references is still accurate and up-to-date. When you look for references, be sure to select people who can speak to some aspect of your work abilities, character, leadership, work ethic, or knowledge.

4.    Easy To Read
If your resume is too “wordy” or not focused on the specific job you’re applying for, the person reading it may not think you’re qualified and may toss it out. Great resumes are easy to read and worded to target specific opportunities. Sharing numbers is another way to make your resume easy to read. For example, share how many words per minute you can type. By putting numbers in your resume the interviewer can define your capabilities easier.

5.    Always Proof Your Resume
After you’ve made changes to your resume, you should always check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Typos and other slip-ups are small mistakes that are very costly. After you’ve worked on your resume for a while it’s easy to miss little mess ups, so take a break and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. You may be able to catch something you missed the first time.

What are some resolutions you’ve made this year to help further your job search? Share with us in the comments section below.

And what are the odds of you keeping those resolutions? Share with us in our poll.

Holiday Jobs – Could Lead to Full-Time Work

Holiay_Jobs_Oct2013Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, is going on a hiring binge according to USAToday. The electronic-commerce pioneer is planning to add more than 70,000 full-time seasonal U.S. jobs. The positions will be located within Amazon’s fulfillment centers for the holidays and are intended to meet increased seasonal retail demand.
“So far this year, we have converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the U.S. into full-time, regular roles and we’re looking forward to converting thousands more after this holiday season,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice-president.

Helpful Holiday Job Hints
When looking for employment, some people favor waiting for a full-time job versus taking a temporary role. However, what many people don’t realize is that most temporary and seasonal positions offer a chance at full-time employment and much more.

Not only can temporary jobs provide you with extra money during the holiday season, they also give you the opportunity to quick start your career and the chance to make additional professional connections. Holiday jobs also have the potential to help with seasonal expenses. Is applying for a holiday job part of your plan to handle holiday expenses? Answer us in our poll: How Do You Plan To Handle Holiday Expenses? 

Persistence in the Job Search

Persistence_In_Job_Search_webimageWhether you’ve been searching for a job for just a few days or more than a year, it’s easy to become discouraged. The continual hunt for new openings, tweaking your resume over and over, rewriting your cover letter for the hundredth-time, and going through the roller coaster of emotions is enough to make anyone want to give up. But giving up isn’t how you land a job.

Unfortunately, millions of other Americans have stopped being persistent and have fallen into defeat. This current phenomenon is the focus of a recent Express Employment Professionals white paper. The Great Shift highlights the recent decline in America’s labor force participation rate, which describes the percentage of working-age adults that are either actively searching for a job or currently working. Today, the rate stands at 63.4%, a level not seen since the 1970s. As the white paper points out, that rate means “among the estimated 89.9 million Americans not in the labor force as of July 2013, at least 6.6 million still want a job.”

Those are some pretty bleak numbers. To get the full picture of the situation and learn why it’s happening, you can check out Express white paper.

It would be easy to let these facts dissuade you from continuing your hunt. However there is something that sets you apart from those millions of Americans, and that one thing is you. While you may not be able to give yourself a job, you do have the ability to NOT give up. Staying hopeful and remaining persistent is the name of the game, and there are some practical ways to keep yourself from losing momentum.

Set Goals
Searching for a job is practically a full-time job in its own rite, so treat it like one. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself, such as spending a certain amount of time each day looking through online job boards or applying for a specific number of positions per week. This will keep you moving forward and give you achievable short-term targets to hit along the way.

Review Your Skills
If you haven’t already, take an inventory of your skills. Consider both your hard skills, like education and work experiences, and your soft skills, such as time management and flexibility. Are there skills listed in the jobs you’ve been applying for that you lack? Do you have the top three hard skills employers want to see in a job candidate? If there are areas you need to work on, make a plan to grow those specific skills as you continue the hunt.

Check Your Expectations
No one wants to be in a job they’re over-qualified for, but turning down a job when you’re out of work just because it doesn’t meet your expectations isn’t the best move. In the argument between underemployed and unemployed, underemployed wins out. So don’t derail your job search by saying “no thank you” to a legitimate job and then buying into the idea that there is nothing out there. You can always take the job and still keep looking.

Don’t let yourself become another worker who’s given up and called it quits. Being persistent will pay off in the end. Share your ideas for staying positive and persistent during a job search in the comments section below.

The Cost of a College Education

Gust Post: Marcela De Vivo

It seems like no matter how good the job market is, it’s still nearly impossible to sail through the interview process and land the job of your dreams. Between never knowing what employers really want, and making yourself memorable among all the competition, getting a job can be brutal. But what might be even more difficult is actually earning a degree that will help you get noticed. A college degree is quickly becoming a necessity in the job world, but when college is so expensive, what should you do?

Unfortunately, far too many students borrow money, and suddenly, they are so deep in loan debt, they can’t even see past their next paycheck. Studies have shown that 37 million people in America carry debt that they accumulated in college, due to the amount of loans they took out. Without being educated on a better financial plan to pay for college, students get stuck with debt they have no way of paying back. So, before you jump into the world of loans, educate yourself on the cost of a college education.  It’s always better to be informed.

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Is It Time for a New Job?

TimeForNewJob_Sept2013_WebEarlier this year, Inc. Magazine reported that 86% of employees plan to search for a new job in 2013. Maybe you’re in that 86% majority. Or maybe you’re in the 14% who aren’t actively seeking other employment but wondering if you should be. Either way, before you commit your time and energy to a new job hunt, you need to know if it’s the right time for a change.

Any time you change employers, there are a lot of factors involved. Changing jobs means you’re entering into a brand new environment with new people, new expectations, rules, responsibilities, and a new culture. You’ll want to make sure you’re leaving your current job for the right reasons.

You’re Ready for Career Growth
When it comes to your career, you should be in the driver’s seat, so it’s important to know when you’re on the right path and when you’ve taken a detour.  If your desire is to move up into a management position and you feel you’re ready to go to the next level, try having a conversation with your current  manager or boss and let them know your goals. Remember, communication is key. Before leaving any company it’s important to understand your options. If you are unhappy and stressed out all the time maybe some things need to change. Don’t mistake being stressed out for being burned out. Here are a few scenarios to help you determine the difference.  If you find there is no room for growth, it may be time to find something new. As you’re looking, just remember to continue to find ways to grow your knowledge and skills no matter where you are. The same goes for when you want new responsibilities, to move into another area of work, or receive a fair compensation increase.  Always be sure you’ve communicated with your employer about your desire, and not just assumed something’s not possible.

You’re Experiencing Toxic Relationships
The people you work with every day can make or break a job. No matter where you work, there may be conflict from time to time, so you shouldn’t decide to leave just because you don’t get along with someone. But, if the overall attitudes of your coworkers are negative, or you have a bad boss, it may be time to consider moving on. Relationships play a big role in how engaged, fulfilled, and happy you are in your workplace.

You Don’t Feel It’s a Good Culture Fit
How you mesh with your employer’s culture, including their values, work pace, and expectations, is another important factor in charting your career plan. If you’re finding yourself constantly at odds or frustrated with your company, ask yourself a question. Have you changed, has the employer changed, or has it always been this way? If something has changed recently, like a shift in what you value in an employer or a change in direction from corporate leadership, then you need to weigh the pros and cons of leaving. If nothing’s changed, and you came on board with the company knowing about your differences, then try thinking back and remembering why you took the job in the first place. This will help you make the best decision, whatever it may be.

Changing jobs can be exciting, rewarding, and a great step for your career, but breaking up with your employer isn’t something to be taken lightly. You should always check your motives. If you’re sure that you’re doing the right thing, go ahead. Just remember to not burn any bridges along the way because you never know where they can lead, stay classy.

How did you know it was time to change jobs? Share your story below.