Tag Archives: resume

The Difference a Day Makes

Today’s my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday like sweet 16, 21, or the hill surpassing 50. It’s just a regular, somewhere-in-the-middle birthday. In fact, it seems fairly insignificant as far as birthday’s go, but to tell the truth, I’m a little sad to see the additional candle on the cake.

I’m not worried about getting older. I’m old enough to know that aging is a natural part of life, and much preferred to the alternative, as the Curious Case of Benjamin Button so strongly convinced me. I just thought I would be a little further along when I got here. I thought I’d be a little more grown-up for this “somewhere-in-the-middle” grown-up age.

Have you ever gotten somewhere only to find your destination did not meet your expectations?  Maybe the endless opportunities you expected to greet you after college aren’t quite so infinite. Maybe you thought you’d have a different job, a different title, or an entirely different career. Maybe this year, instead of retiring off your 401(k), you’re faced with rebuilding it. Maybe you’ve discovered that being your own boss is more overwhelming than freeing.

Life is rarely everything we expect it to be. It’s unpredictable and changing. It has turns, twists, and forks in the most unexpected places. While we can’t foresee the outcome of our future, or even the outcome of tomorrow, we can take steps and choose paths that shape and change our lives.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” So, if today you’ve found yourself somewhere unexpected, or a little off course, take it in stride, and start changing your life one day at a time. Don’t wait for the beginning of a new year, or a milestone birthday, start today.

Start small. If you’re looking for a job, send out one more résumé today than you did yesterday, write one more thank-you note to a potential employer, or call one more contact for a possible job opportunity. If you’re rebuilding your savings or 401(k), begin by forgoing your daily Starbucks stop or canceling your cable. If you’re an overwhelmed entrepreneur, use temporary staffing to help lighten your workload, simplify a process, or take a well-deserved day to just clear your head. 

Today’s a new day. Every passing moment your present meets your future. So, make each day count, and it will make all the difference. You may not be able to predict your future, but you can certainly shape it.

Who’s Hiring, Who Isn’t, and How to Get the Job

While some industries continue to see sharp declines in job losses, other industries have remained strong during the recession, and some have even started to bounce back.

According to a recent report released by Beyond.com, Inc., a network of online communities for niche careers, healthcare and information technology are two industries that continue to add jobs at a steady pace. Their third quarter Career Trend Report for 2009 also indicated that sales, sales management, manufacturing, and production industries experienced slight increases in job gains in the third quarter of 2009, while professional services including accounting, finance, engineering, and architecture are experiencing declines in job loss.

For those looking for employment opportunities or looking to change careers, it’s important to market yourself, tailor your résumé to reflect the industry and the job you’re applying for, and research the company before the interview. There are several ways to make sure your résumé is top of mind when decision makers are sifting through piles of applicants.

  1. Identify your transferable skills. It’s important that you look at your skills and evaluate how to translate them on your résumé to reflect the job you’re applying for.
  2. Market your transferable skills in your job search. Once you have identified your transferable skills, tailor your résumé for each specific job.
  3. Network in industry-specific arenas. A key element to finding a job is who you know. By integrating yourself with key players in the industry, you’ll increase your chances of landing an interview or even a job offer. 
  4. Research a potential employer. You don’t want to miss out on the job because you didn’t know anything about the company. Research will also help you when you’re preparing a tailored résumé.

Knowing what industries are hiring is important when looking for a job or making a career change. Once you have an idea of what areas are expanding, tailoring your résumé and making the right decisions on how you prepare can influence the hiring manager’s decision on whether or not you get the job.

3 Risky Job Search Tactics

With the national unemployment rate reaching 9.8% in September, competition in the job market feels fiercer than high school cheerleading tryouts. With all that opposition, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. But, standing too far out can be risky business. So, before you resort to a showy song and dance routine (unless of course your next interview is on Broadway, in which case, break a leg) or any of these three job search tactics, make sure you weigh the risks so you don’t set yourself too far apart in your next interview and risk losing the job.

1. The unconventional résumé. Non-traditional résumés like website portfolios, podcasts and video résumés might be the wave of the future, but not every business or industry is suited for them. So, whatever résumé form you choose to submit, make sure it’s smart, relevant, and effective with your industry and audience when you interview. If you do use an unconventional résumé, consider pairing it with a traditional one for more conservative fields.

2. The statement wardrobe choice. First impressions are made within three to five seconds, so what you wear says a lot about who you are. A Lady Gaga-sense of style may win you rave reviews at fashion week, but professional dress is more appropriate for most interviews (unless you’re applying for a job as a stylist). While you should always be yourself, be a toned-down version of you in the interview, especially if you’re the type to rock fuchsia pumps or a yellow bow tie. Before your interview, learn about the company culture and atmosphere to determine how you should dress.

3. The overly confident boaster. Confidence allows potential employers to see your ability, enthusiasm, and drive. It’s important to present your past experiences and accomplishments with assurance. But, when you discuss your successes and achievements, be sure to give specific and quantifiable examples. And, back your examples with solid references who will do the talking for you. You run the risk of seeming pretentious and arrogant if you give only vague statements of your triumphs.

When you’re looking for a job, consider each risk carefully. Of course you need to stand out, but in the right way. Be brave by being you in a way that demonstrates your skills, attitude, and character. A sincere job applicant can be the diamond in the rough that employers are looking for.

Getting a Good Job Reference After You’ve Been Laid Off

No one wants to hear the dreaded words, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you go.” But, if you’ve been let go, these words don’t mean it’s the end of your career life. As difficult as it might be, you have to shake off the blues, get your résumé handy, and set out on a job search for a new start.

As you search for a new career, you’re going to need some references to help you out. How do you get good references after a layoff? Where do you look? Check out these categories to help you in your reference search.

  1. Previous managers – If you were laid off for a non-performance related work issue, you can go back to your previous manager for a reference. If the only reason they let you go was because of cutbacks, they should be willing to recommend you and your work.
  2. Former co-workers – Your co-workers work closely with you on a daily basis. They know what your work ethic, abilities, and attitude are like. Although they can’t provide you with an official recommendation on behalf of your previous company, they can provide you with a personal reference at their own will. Consider asking a former co-worker that you had a good relationship with.
  3. Business Acquaintances – In your career, you have more than likely come in contact with others in your industry through professional meetings and networking functions. Look to  those individuals who know you and have a relationship with you.
  4. Former customers – If you interacted with clients and customers in a previous job, you can ask them for a reference about your abilities and professionalism. They can recommend you on a specific project you did well for them and the positive impact you made on their business.
  5. Former professor or instructor – If you haven’t been in the working world for very long, you can refer back to a former professor to aid in your career search. They can tell prospective employers about your academic abilities, work ethic, previous internships, etc.
  6. Volunteer manager – Volunteering is a great way to build your résumé when you’re between jobs. Seek out those positions that relate to your skills and background, so you can showcase your abilities. The volunteer manager can recommend any good work that you do. Although you aren’t getting a salary for doing volunteer work, you are still doing valuable work.

If you’re currently seeking a new job, view this as an opportunity to have a fresh start and seek something you want to do and will enjoy. Take these six reference possibilities into consideration as you embark on your search. Just remember to get their permission before you list someone as a reference and always send a thank you note for offering their help.

3 Tips for Interviewing with a Staffing Company

When you interview with a prospective employer, you’re taught to put your best foot forward and present your best side. But what about when you go to a staffing company for help finding a job? Are you supposed to treat it like a real interview?

Interviewing with a staffing company is just like interviewing with any other potential employer. You must be prepared, professional, and informative.

Be Prepared. Before you go to an interview at a staffing agency, make sure your résumé and references are in order. If you’re looking for a job in a particular industry, make sure your résumé reflects that. Also, confirm that your contact information for your references, including phone numbers, job titles, and companies, are correct so your interviewer can quickly check references with your previous employers. You will make it easier for the staffing consultant to find you a job if you’re prepared for the interview with up-to-date and accurate information. 

Be Professional. Even though you aren’t interviewing to work at the staffing company, you still want to act and dress appropriately. Staffing consultants make their recommendations to hiring companies based on your résumé, demeanor, and experience. So, make sure to wear your best interview attire and act professional.

Be Informative. The one slight difference between interviewing with a staffing agency and interviewing with a potential employer is the kind of information you tell the interviewer. During an interview at a staffing agency, it is OK to talk about the kinds of jobs you are and are not interested in and what types of employers you might like to work for. You can speak a little more freely in a staffing interview, but remember, you still need to be professional. Too much information about your personal business, past employers, or mistakes in the past can be a bad thing and could even decrease your chances of finding a satisfying career.

Interviewing at a staffing company can be a great way to find a job, but you have to treat it like any other job opportunity. Being prepared, professional, and informative is essential in getting the most out of your staffing company interview experience. 

Have a question? Share it in the comments section.

Top 10 Job Search Tips of All Time

No.10Sign A successful job search is definitely not easy. First, you have to find a job you’re interested in. Next, you have to apply and wait for an invitation to interview. After that, you have to prepare for the interview, and then you have to follow up. And, that’s just the basics – there are many more small steps along the way that make things complicated and sometimes overwhelming. So, we put together our top 10 job search tips of all time – to keep you from forgetting an important step along the way.

1. Broaden your job search

2. Build a network

3. Write a top-notch résumé

4. Submit a cover letter with your résumé, every time

5. Research your potential employer’s company

6. Practice answering common interview questions

7. Prepare to ask the interviewer questions

8. Be sure to dress for success

9. Bring the proper items to an interview

10. Follow up after an interview

Landing the job you want takes time and effort. Rarely does the perfect opportunity just fall in your lap. But, you can make your job search process simpler by following these top 10 tips of all time.

Tell us what you think – did we miss one? Share your job search tips in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

6 Things to Bring to an Interview

As you prepare for an interview, you might be thinking about what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to say, and how you’d love to land the job. But, have you thought about what you need to bring? Before you head out the door for your next interview, make sure you have these six things in hand.

Good attitude.

Many employers hire attitude over skills, so it’s imperative that you bring a good attitude to every interview. If you’re pessimistic during the meeting, potential employers might fear that this attitude will carry over into the workplace.

Copies of your résumé.

Even though you already submitted your résumé to your potential employer, bring a few extra copies printed on nice résumé paper just in case you need one. You never know – another person other than the interviewer might want to sit it on your interview, or the interviewer might request another copy for their records.

Knowledge of the company and position.

Before any interview, make sure you’re knowledgeable about the company and the position you’re applying for. If you’re unprepared, employers will notice and think you’re apathetic about the job itself, a quality that may translate into laziness in the workplace.

Portfolio.

Depending on your type of work, you might have examples of your previous projects or tasks. If so, make sure to bring a few samples with you to demonstrate – not just talk about – your skills, from design work to writing.

Copies of your reference list.

Take a couple copies of your reference list printed on nice paper just in case the interviewer requests this information from you. If they don’t request it, make sure you offer to leave a copy behind.

 

Manners.

Displaying appropriate manners shows you’re courteous of others and that you respect authority. Be sure to say “please” and “thank you” at the appropriate times before, during, and after your interview. Also, make sure not to chew gum, roll your eyes, or talk bad about your former employers.

Acing any interview takes more than wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and having the right connections. So, make sure to take your interview preparation to the next level, and bring these six things with you every time.

Need more help preparing for an interview? Check out these posts:

Responding to the Top 7 Interview Questions
5 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview
4 Job Interview Musts
Ace the Interview by Asking Great Questions
3 Interview Mistakes to Avoid