Tag Archives: 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!

How to Get Hired Quickly in 2018

Make 2018 your year

The new year is a time for resolutions, both big and small. Maybe you’ve decided to spend more time with your kids, get to the gym more often, cook a new dish, or start a new hobby. And then there’s your biggest resolution of all—getting a new job.

The key to making good on resolutions is to have smaller resolutions that lead to your goals. For example, if your goal is just to “be healthier,” you probably aren’t going to achieve much. If you set smaller goals like cutting your diet by 500 calories, working out three times a week, etc., you’ll hit your goal in no time. The job search is no different.

Here are a few job search resolutions to ensure that you get that dream job in 2018.

Practice Writing Your Cover Letter

Cover letters aren’t required by all companies and industries, but bringing one to an interview (or submitting one with a resume) can be a gamechanger. A well-done cover letter shows how your skills and experience make you the perfect pick for the job. Physically visiting the business you’re applying to and dropping off a cover letter can be a great way to get noticed.

When you’re applying for jobs, ideally, you’ll want to cater each cover letter to the job you’re applying for. However, nothing is stopping you from basing each cover letter on a general cover letter for the industry you’re interested in. Now is the perfect time to start refining that letter.

A great cover letter shows two things: how what you’ve done is relevant to the position you’re applying for, and why you want to work for the company. Since you can’t focus on the latter in a general cover letter, focus on the former. Filter through your accomplishments and list your strongest ones. If you don’t have any experience in the industry, find experiences in your career that are relevant. Try to feature your soft skills as well.

And even if no one reads your cover letter, going through the process of writing it can clear your head and help you focus on what you’re really looking for in a new job.

Gain Skills or Learn More About Your Industry

One way to stand out to employers is to build up your skillset, whether that means going online to find free learning applications or gaining certifications in new technologies.

Really understanding your industry will grab the attention of hiring managers. One way to build that understanding is to start a personal blog where you write about new developments in the industry. Set goals for yourself, such as writing one or two blogs a week. After a few months, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge about your industry and a blog that showcases that knowledge.

Writing a blog is a great idea even if you aren’t a great writer. However, if you use spellcheck and Grammarly (there is a free edition), you might even become a better writer over time. And writing well is a skill that everyone can use.

And if you don’t have time for a blog? Subscribe to email newsletters about your industry. Industry blogs are good resources as well.

Ace Your Interviews

Obviously, you should want the job you’re applying for—otherwise there’s no point in interviewing. However, you should go into each interview having prepared in every conceivable manner. You should already know almost everything about the company and where you fit in.

Interviews can reveal more about the company and the culture. However, at the end of the day, learning about the company is not your end goal. You’re here to get a job. So do your homework.

Know the ins and outs of the job, know your skills, and prepare a list of questions ahead of time. This could be your only chance to show the company you’re the right person for the job.

Any questions about changing up your job search for 2018? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate Your 2017 Successes

Reflect on your accomplishments this year

2017 is almost over. You’ve followed all our blogs this year, prepped as hard as you could, and now all your tools are sharp. Your resume is rockin’, your network is newsworthy, and your industry knowledge is incredible. You’re ready for the job search in 2018.

And that’s worth celebrating. Looking for a job isn’t easy—getting everything up to date is a job in and of itself, albeit a job that doesn’t pay anything at first. And you’ve done it! Let’s take a look at all of the things you’ve checked off your list this year.

Your Resume Is Ready

Your resume is the most important tool in your job search arsenal. It gets you in the door with recruiters, can be passed out at networking events, and is a one-stop summary for everything that is you. Your resume isn’t just a list of the jobs you’ve held. It’s a monument to your achievements, filled to the brim with data showing how you’ve helped each and every company you’ve ever worked for succeed.

You’ve chosen your words carefully and analyzed job postings to find out what the industry lingo is. Each bullet uses new action verbs to show what you’ve done—no word is used twice. Your formatting is beautiful. Everything fits on one page, the margins are perfect, and the spacing isn’t distracting.

You update your resume regularly and have had friends and peers review it to make sure everything made sense. You even sent it off to a local recruiter to get their thoughts on it.

Your Network Has Grown

When you first started looking for a job, your network was relatively small. You had a few previous co-worker as connections on LinkedIn, as well as a few family members. But since then you’ve grown leaps and bounds. You’re active in your community, hold a position in a professional group, and keep up to date on all the latest industry trends. You receive email newsletters from your favorite blogs, and never miss a beat.

People like you for you. You haven’t run around begging for a job, but they’ve let you know about opportunities because of your relationship. That’s what networking really is. Becoming friendly (on some level) with people in your industry and sharing time with them. Then showing them how great you are at what you do. Leave it to them to put 2 and 2 together to realize you’re the perfect person for their job opening.

You’ve Developed Your Skillset

You’ve realized that some job listings mention skills you don’t have, or familiarity with programs you’ve never encountered. Not one to shy away from a challenge, you’ve found local or online classes that provide the training those companies crave. You haven’t let your existing skills dull as you’ve job searched either. You’ve found gig work where you can, and researched the latest trends in your industry to ensure you don’t fall by the wayside.

And for those of you who still have a few things left on your job search checklist? There’s still time! Read the articles linked in this blog to get started, and you’ll be ready in no time.

Have questions about how to get your job search kicked off in the new year? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t Let Your Resume Freeze

Melt the ice away with these helpful blogs!

Resumes are tough. They’re only a series of words on a page, but they’re the deciding factor on whether you get in the door for a job interview. If you start to improve your resume now, you’re more likely to succeed in the new year.

Here are a few of our past blogs jam-packed with resume renovation goodness you can use this holiday season.

30 Resume Power Words and Lucky Words for Your Resume

If your only way in the door is a series of words, then every word better count, right? Specific results-driven vocabulary can enhance your resume and help employers see that you have the soft skills they’re looking for.

Resume Tips to Impress Your Interviewer

Your resume needs to be uniquely tailored for whatever job you’re applying for—it should show why you’re right for the job, not just what you’ve done in the past. If you build your resume with these tips, you’ll hit the important points recruiters look for.

Creating an Organic Resume

Since there are only so many hours in a day, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that recruiters only spend about six seconds on each resume. If you have too much fluff and not enough substance, you’ll lose your reader fast. So cut out the less important information and focus on your experiences and hard facts. Formatting is also important. If it isn’t easy to read, nobody will go through the trouble of reading it.

Sizzling Hot Resume Tips

You can turn your resume into a warm cup of job search cheer with these hot tips. Take a break from the holiday bustle and review your resume. How is your spelling and grammar? Are your job descriptions both informative and concise?

Which is Better—Chronological or Functional Resume?

Still feel like there’s something off with your resume? Not sure that you’re really getting your point across? You may want to consider a functional resume. A chronological resume is perfect for a conventional career (you’ve gone from job to job with little downtime, and everything has been in the same industry), while a functional resume allows you to showcase your soft skills and experiences, rather than a string of continuous employment.

Not sure which soft skills to highlight? Check out this video on soft skills.

We’re happy to gift you answers for the holidays—just write your questions in the comments section below!

Holiday Job Tips

Sleigh bells are ringing—what are you waiting for?

Whether you’re unemployed and looking for work or employed but looking for a change, the holidays can be a great time to jump start your job search.

Seasonal jobs, for instance, can be both a way to pay the bills and stepping stones on the way to full-time employment. And with Black Friday looming on the horizon, businesses are rushing to fill their job openings. Although many holiday jobs were filled in October, there are still plenty of opportunities for work out there. The challenge is finding those opportunities and getting an interview.

The following are a few ways to enhance your holiday job search and get one step ahead of the competition.

Apply Everywhere

If what you need is a job, any job, don’t narrow your job search to one type of business. Although retail is hiring in spades, other businesses are just as busy. More people shopping means more people stopping by coffee shops for a latte or the gas station to refill their tank. Warehouses also need more employees to keep up with the huge amount of gifts being shipped back and forth. After a long day of deal-hunting, shoppers will flock to restaurants in droves, which means a need for more wait staff.

Drive around your area and see which restaurants or stores are hiring. Then go online and use job search websites like Indeed.com or Monster.com to find openings in your area. You can go to the specific business website as well.

You can also send your resume to local staffing companies (like Express Employment Professionals) so they can connect you with opportunities you wouldn’t hear of otherwise. With you and the staffing agency both job searching, you get two times the job search power without paying a dime.

Network

The holiday season is a time of celebration and coming together. Networking events and volunteer projects are plentiful. Use these events to connect with others in your industry. Just make sure to be tactful. For instance, don’t beg for a job at a Christmas party or desperately follow someone to every one of their volunteer projects. Be yourself and show that you’re a person worth knowing.

Once you’ve made these contacts, search on LinkedIn and connect with them. After that, feel free to send a positive letter thanking them for connecting with you and let them know that you’re looking for work. Also, be sure to mention how you’ve been productive during time without work. These connections could lead to seasonal work or even a full-time job in the future!

Make a List—and Check It Twice

What do you really want in a job? It’s fine if you’re just looking for something to pay the bills right now, but do you have a long-term career strategy? What do you enjoy? What do you hate? What kind of boss and business culture do you need to thrive? Answering questions like these can make your job search much clearer, paving the way for the New Year.

Looking for more holiday job search tips? Ask us your questions in the comments below!

 

Sizzling Hot Resume Tips

Tidy up resume_blogTake a break from the heat and update your resume.

If you’re not enjoying the sand and surf, why not take a few minutes to see if there are any changes you should make to your resume? A good cleaning every now and then (we recommend constant resume upkeep) is good for even the most storied of resumes. A look at our top resume advice couldn’t hurt either. So then, what can you do to spruce it up?

(more…)