Tag Archives: resume

New Year’s Job Resolutions and Sticking to Them

Start off strong and don’t let your foot off the gas.

It’s 2019 folks. The new year is a time to celebrate everything that happened in the previous year and to then turn to a whole new year of goals.

That’s when we start making New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I’ll live a healthier lifestyle. This year, I’ll be a better person. This year, I’ll read more books.

Making resolutions is easy to do, but it’s much harder to keep them. Especially when it applies to your job search.

We’re here to help. Here are tips on setting job resolutions you can keep.

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Santa Checks His List Twice; Have You Looked at Your Resume?

Don’t get coal in your job search stocking.

Interviews are scary. But if you have a great resume, interviewers better watch out, because a well-qualified applicant is coming to town.

A good resume does half of the work for you. Your interviewer will know your skills and accomplishments, so all you have to do in the formal interview is show that your personality and preferred workplace culture are in line with those of the company.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your resume for the new year. (more…)

Scary-Cool Words for Your Resume

Scare off the competition with your newly expanded vocabulary

Ghosts and ghouls are garish and ghastly. Zombies are zealous in their pursuit of brains. And warlocks are wild in their suspiciously suspect spellcasting.

But there is one creature more frightening, foul, and fatal than all the rest:

Your resume.

Only a select few enjoy resume-writing. For the rest of us, the onerous activity can seem like an exercise in futility, akin to trying to melt a witch wearing a water-resistant wetsuit.

You must get your foot in the door to score a job, and, unless you’re a zombie with the ability to throw your actual foot through the literal door, you’ll need a tip-top resume to get past the scanning robots and secure an interview.

Here are the tastiest words to make sure you don’t get eaten by the competition.

Words That Show You Take Initiative

You want to show your potential employer you didn’t twiddle your thumbs and do the bare minimum in your previous positions. Use these words to show you’re eerily experienced, and that you originated new and complex programs:

  • Redesigned
  • Revamped
  • Launched (a new project, blog, program, team activity, regular event, etc).
  • Established
  • Introduced
  • Pioneered
  • Spearheaded

Words That Show You Are Results-Driven

Employers want results. Would you hire a ghost that scared “a bunch” of people or a ghoul that increased the individuals frightened by 72% within 2 years? Be specific with the following words:

  • Generated
  • Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. (Again, be specific!)
  • Dollars and cents; as exact as you can get
  • Improved
  • Increased good thing (gross margin, sales, customer satisfaction) by ___%.
  • Decreased bad things (customer complaints, workplace accidents, etc.) by ___ %.

Words That Show You Are a Team Leader

A true werewolf king is the leader of his pack. But that doesn’t mean he needs to repeat the word “led” five hundred times on his resume. Instead of saying you “led” a team, show you went above and beyond with these words:

  • Managed
  • Directed
  • Coached
  • Oversaw
  • Mentored
  • Motivated
  • Supervised
  • Cultivated
  • United

And that’s it! Now that you have plenty of words in your resume pumpkin, you’re ready to turn it into a ferociously fresh job search jack-o’-lantern. So, get carving!

Any other “boo-tiful” words you’ve found effective in getting your resume noticed? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Spring Clean Your Resume

From top to bottom: out with the old, in with the new

For college seniors, graduation is right around the corner. For the rest of us, a change in weather might inspire a change of career. Regardless of the reason, spring is a great time to modify your resume to get rid of anything that isn’t working. Plenty of people clean out their houses this time of year; why not spiff up your resume?

Mop Up Your Address and Contact Information

Starting at the top, we have your name, address, phone number, and email. These are the first things your potential employer is going to see, so make sure they’re updated! Nobody will contact you if your contact information is wrong. And you most definitely don’t want your college or previous address on there. Companies want to know that you’re in their area and ready to work (unless you plan on relocating, which should be noted in your cover letter).

Clear the Cobwebs Off Your Experiences

Do you have anything new to add to your experiences? An outdated resume is an easy way to reject a candidate. If you still have your high school fast food experience on your resume, now might be a good time to remove it (unless it’s one of the few experiences you have, of course). Keep everything to one page. And if your work experience is lacking, don’t be afraid to put down involvement in charities or professional groups.

Verb tense matters. If you still have your last job listed with verbs in the present tense (oversees, leads, conducts, etc.), change those to the past tense (oversaw, lead, conducted, etc.) And if your current job duties are listed with verbs in the past tense, change those to the present tense. This may seem like a small thing, but it’s a big pet peeve among the HR community.

If you haven’t looked at your resume in a while, consider a revamp of the way you present your experiences. Change boring words like “did” and “saw” to action verbs like “presented” and “oversaw.” Have peers and professionals review your resume to make sure you present yourself in the best way possible.

Polish Your References

Remember how you used that professor you loved as a reference because you performed well as a leader in the big capstone group project? That’s great to include if you’re graduating this year, but not so great if you’ve been working for five years. The references you choose should be not only relevant, but also timely.

Take the time to contact your references and make sure their phone number or email is up to date. While you’re at it, send thank-you letters to references you’ve provided in the past.

Dust Off Your Cover Letter

A cover letter provides a chance to show that you’re more than a number or words on a page. It is by no means extinct. You’re a person, with your own thoughts, values, and experience that show you’re the right person for the job.

Your cover letter should be a living document. That means changing it depending on the company you’re sending an application to. It’s great to have a standard cover letter, but use that as a base and adapt it to each new company. If you’ve been using the same cover letter for years, update it and remove unnecessary information (e.g. old experiences, outdated references, etc).

Vacuum Your Social Media

Social media may feel anonymous, but it’s not. Your face and name are there for all the world to see. Social media is the first place recruiters go after you’ve impressed them with your resume. If your page is full of activities that aren’t exactly work safe, you won’t look right for the job. Same goes for extensive posts about your political views.

Set your social pages to “private,” and create business pages where appropriate. If most of your Facebook and Twitter information is hidden, the recruiter will settle for your LinkedIn page. That’s what you want them to see—the professional version of yourself they need to hire.

For more on resume re-education:

Resume Tips to Impress Your Interviewer

Sizzling Hot Resume Tips

Have any other questions about revamping your resume? Let us know in the comments below!

Go-to Words to Get Your Resume Noticed

Retool your resume with these witty words

Your resume is the first thing HR looks at, and unfortunately, you don’t get a chance to talk to them or show them who you are as a person before the interview. All you have are the words on the page. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you use the right ones.

Resumes can be frustrating. You’re spending hours working on a document when you know that if you could just meet your interviewer, you’d land the job. But it’s something we all must deal with. It’s not possible to interview every single applicant, so companies need to have some way to narrow down the competition. That’s why they have software that picks out certain words as more pertinent to the job than others.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t get thrown out of consideration.

Employ Metrics-Focused Verbs

Your resume should be full of accomplishments. When you list what you’ve successfully done (number of reports sent, projects completed in a finite time-span, etc), use action verbs:

  • established
  • secured
  • maintained
  • created
  • reviewed
  • achieved
  • accomplished
  • produced
  • identified
  • pitched
  • successfully converted

Use Team Player Words

Instead of saying you’re a team player, show you directed a team and achieved results:

  • collaborated
  • coordinated
  • cooperated

Opt for Management Words

Instead of saying you “led” a team, show you went above and beyond with these words:

  • managed
  • directed
  • coached
  • oversaw

What NOT to Write

In addition to the words you should use, there are some words and concepts you’re better off staying away from.

  • Don’t use the wrong tense. If it’s your current job, use the present tense. If it’s about a previous job, use the past tense. Realize that not all words are going to be right for every situation. If you were never a team leader or a manager, you probably shouldn’t use something like “oversaw” or “orchestrated.” The perfect words will vary depending on your industry and position.
  • Don’t use mundane words like ‘did,’ ‘saw’ or ‘typed.’ Instead of focusing on something you can find in a job description, list out your accomplishments.
  • Don’t talk about soft skills, like being a “people person,” a “team player,” “responsible,” or “kind.” These qualities are expected of a qualified candidate. This type of information is more well-suited to a cover letter or interview.
  • Don’t mention that you “met deadlines.” Instead, you “achieved ___ in a deadline-driven environment.”
  • Don’t use the first person. It’s unprofessional and can be confusing for the HR person because first person refers to them as they read it.

Any other words you love to use in your resume? Questions about the perfect term for a given situation? Let us know in the comments below!

See Also: 

Lucky Words for Your Resume

 

 

 

Poll Results: Achieving Your Career Dreams in 2018

Last month we conducted a Movin’ On Up poll asking readers which part of their career they plan to focus on this year. Check out the results below!

Getting Hired

Just over 18% of respondents indicated they want to get hired in 2018. How do you get the job? Hard work and dedication.

If you are not currently employed, the job search should become your new full-time job. First, create a career development plan to organize your thoughts about the job search and where you want your career to go. Next, update your resume. Then, contact anyone in your network who might be able to help. Attend professional groups in your area that are related to your industry.

Once you prepare all your tools and leverage your network, start the job search. Remember, you are one of many applicants. Your goal is to stand out above the rest. When you have interviews, ask pertinent questions to show interest. Do your research and know who the company is and what they stand for. Find out how you fit into the company culture. After the interview, write a handwritten thank you note. Not everyone does, and it makes you stand out.

Getting a Raise

Coming in second place with 17% of the vote was aiming to get a raise.

The hardest part of getting a raise you feel you deserve is figuring out when and how to ask for one. To eliminate the ‘when’ part of that equation, think about a raise the second you walk in the door. Set goals and track your progress toward those goals. Have metrics handy. Once you’ve met your major goals (and made sure the company isn’t floundering and the economy isn’t spiraling), ask. Odds are, given your incredible work history, your boss expects you to pop the question anyway.

And as for the how? Be confident. Know what you want, and have a presentation planned that shows why you deserve it. Be kind and smile, but also get your point across. Bring visual aids that prove your success.

Updating My Resume

Coming in third with 16% of the vote, “Updating My Resume” was another top choice.

Everything starts with your resume. Do the words on the page paint an accurate picture of your experiences as they apply to the specific position and company you’re applying for? If not, it’s time to make some adjustments.

Focus on meaningful accomplishments rather than a list of what you did. How did you benefit the company? Did you increase ROI? Cause a surge in viewers? Free up time in your managers schedule so they could make their deadline? If you don’t have any relevant experience, share your accomplishments and how they apply to the position.

The Rest

“Getting a promotion” came in fourth with just under 14% of the vote, while “More interviews,” “Quitting my job,” and “Other” all tied for fifth with 9.5% of the vote. “Updating my cover letter” rounded out the group with just over 6% of the vote. “Other” included responses such as “Improving my results in total,” “Gracefully retiring,” and “Training.”

Anything else you plan to accomplish in 2018? How do you plan on doing it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Getting Back Into the Job Search After a Gap

New year, new you.

Maybe you’ve been staying at home taking care of the kids for the past decade. Perhaps you dropped out of the workforce to care for your ailing parents. Whatever the reason, you’ve been out of the workforce for an extended amount of time, and now you’re ready to jump back in.

But how do you fill that gap on your resume? Although the details will differ depending on the industry you’re trying to rejoin, there are a few things to always keep in mind.

1. Acknowledge the Gap
Companies want to hear you tell them why you’re right for the position. They don’t want to hear your reasons for being out of the workforce—as far as the job search is concerned, those are irrelevant excuses. The first step to getting back into the workforce is accepting that you were out of it, and employers are going to notice that. Don’t try to beat around the bush or fill the gap with fluff.

Having a blank space on your resume is not a negative. It’s an opportunity to do something more.

2. Revamp Your Accomplishments
Turn your excuses into accomplishments. Show off who you are as an individual. Why did you get out of the workforce in the first place? What goal were you trying to accomplish? You have achieved that goal, so don’t be afraid to mention it. Tell prospective employers that you have realized that dream (whether it be raising your children, caring for your parents or other relatives, or traveling the world), and now you’re ready to bring all that passion to a new challenge.

What else were you doing while you were out of the workforce? If you volunteered in any capacity, include it. Even volunteering at your child’s school is something worth noting. If you were in the PTA, put that down, too. Any side projects you worked on are fair game as well.

3. Have a Plan
How do you want to portray yourself to employers? Once you’ve decided, use your resume to accomplish it. If you want a job in childcare, use your experience with your own children to show you can do the job. Taking care of your kids is a job after all.

Think of your gap as a job. What did you do? How many years did you do it for? What were your responsibilities? Apply that methodology to all your accomplishments and your resume will start to take shape.

Set a timeframe for finding a job and plan the milestones required to get there. What skills does your desired job require? What do you need to do to develop those skills? How long will that take? You need to treat your job search like a job. That means setting goals and following through on those goals.

4. Be Willing to Learn
Passion and drive alone aren’t going to get you the job. It’s a competitive job market, so you’ll need to play catch up. Enroll in online classes or check out your nearest CareerTech. You can even enroll in a community college if you have the time. Regardless of method, you need to do something to increase your skillset, and show that you’ve already been doing what it takes to succeed.

A great way to build experience and learn at the same time is volunteering at your local library. Volunteering gives you something to put on your resume, while the numerous books, programs, and meetings available at the library provide opportunities to learn.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Above all else, don’t try to equate your accomplishments to those of others. Everyone’s path is different. Just because your friend Sally could be a company vice president and mother of two doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Your cousin Tom starting a million-dollar tech startup has nothing to do with your own life.

A prolonged job search can be frustrating, especially after a gap. You’ll be tempted to compare yourself to everyone else and where they are on their career path. Don’t! You don’t know their story, and, to be frank, their story has little to do with yours. Focus on yourself and your own goals. What do you want? What makes you happy?

How have you dealt with resume gaps in your career? Let us know in the comments below!