Tag Archives: Résumés

Get Your Dream Job with These Online Resources

We’re living in a technological age. These days if you can think it, there’s probably a website for it.

So why not embrace that technology and employ these tools in your job search journey? A recent Forbes article listed several of these online job-search power boosters. Here are our favorites, as well as a suggestion of our own.

Resume Help

Ever felt like your resume lacked a certain something? Resumake and Resume.io exist to make that a non-issue. The sites are full of templates that come pre-arranged, so you don’t have to worry about typefaces or whether to bold or underline something.

Both sites offer free and paid options. All you have to do is select a template and then input your information. The app will do the rest, and you’ll end up with a resume you’re proud of.

And if you’re looking for great words to use in your resume, check out one of the blogs in our resume writing series:

Keep Track of Where You Applied

When you’re job search efforts are on fire, the number of positions you’ve applied to can really pile up. Multiple applications can make it difficult to remember what you’ve applied for and who you’ve applied with. And nothing’s more awkward than a phone interview where you don’t even remember what you applied for.

Get rid of those issues with Rake, what Forbes describes as a “personal job tracker.” It’s available both as an app for your phone and as a chrome extension (for use with the Google Chrome web browser). All you have to do is click and the job description gets saved to the app. And you don’t have to pay a dime.

And applying with Express solves this problem as well. One application with us gets sent out to multiple local businesses. And it’s free.

Interview Prep

We all dread getting an interview question we don’t know the answer to.

It could be anything from “what are your top five strengths and weaknesses?” to “what about our company interests you?”

Sure, you could make flashcards and study them before the interview. But what if you lose one, don’t prepare for it, and that’s the question you end up being asked in an interview?

Cram is a site that allows you to do just what it states: cram information as fast as possible.

You can create online flashcards or use others already prepared by savvy jobseekers.

And it’s free!

Job Genius

Job Genius is Express Employment Professionals’ educational job program and web series. We cover everything from the job market forecast and job opportunities, to the resumes, the interview process, and more. It’s stuff we learned from jobseekers just like you. And since we put nearly 550,000 people to work each year, we know what works and what doesn’t. And it’s free, too!

Do you have any favorite online job resources? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

What to Do When You Really Are Overqualified

Your interview felt perfect. You knew all the answers and your resume was shining with experience. But you didn’t get the job. They said you were “overqualified.” It wasn’t an excuse. They meant it. You really and truly were overqualified.

Think you may be overqualified for the jobs you’re applying for? Here are our top tips to help you ace your next interview regardless.

Make Sure You Want It

Before doing anything else, you need to figure out whether you actually want this job or not. There are two main reasons companies turn away overqualified applicants. The first is lack of funds. They don’t have enough money set aside to pay what your experience is worth. The second is that you could be a flight risk. A late career change may be seen as a risky hire. They don’t want your time at the company to be a short detour from your main career path.

So before even applying to a position you’re overqualified for, decide why you want the job. Is it because you’re ready for a career change? If so, make sure you realize it could mean a pay cut. What matters is where you are in your life now. What you want now. Not your past salary or education. And be prepared stay at this job for at least a few years. If this is what you want, you need to commit.

Leverage Your Network

Now that you know you truly want this, it’s time to let your network know. If your potential interviewers are skeptical of whether you actually want the job or not, it’s time to bring in backup. They are more likely to trust a mutual acquaintance over a faceless applicant.

Your network can also help you find job opportunities. You might have a contact out there with a friend who would love to hire someone overqualified, but just doesn’t have the budget. You’re a perfect fit, but your contact won’t ever know it if you don’t tell them!

Tailor Your Resume

A resume is usually a chance to go all out. It’s a chance to shine, to list all of your accomplishments for the world to see. But when you’re overqualified, perhaps not all of those accomplishments are related to the position you’re applying for. It can be difficult for human resources to sift through a packed resume to find which accomplishments match up to the position.

A resume tells a story. It paints a picture of you as a potential employee. But if there are too many brush strokes, the end result might be a painting that’s too fancy for the room in which it’s being placed. Consider your words carefully, and customize your resume for the position. Focus on skills first, then accomplishments.

This is where staffing agencies can help. Recruiters are your advocates and personal brand ambassadors. Their insider knowledge allows them to highlight and promote your most marketable skills. As noted by Bettye Taylor, a recruiter from a local Express office, “a recruiter can sell the transferable skills where they will be noticed, versus those skills being glossed over when submitting a resume to a website.”

And retooling your resume can show real results. “Many times I’ve had candidates reconstruct their resume from a chronological one to a functional one, highlighting those top three to five transferable skills and functions, and then list accomplishments and achievements under those,” she says. “You won’t believe what a difference that makes.”

Be Honest

When it comes to the actual interview, be honest. Address the elephant in the room. Let the interviewer know why you’re interested in the position. If it’s because of a career change, let them know why you’re making that change. Tell them that you’re really in this for the long haul.

And be positive! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by thinking they’ll just tell you you’re overqualified. Interviewers want to see that you’re an actual human being they would enjoy working with. So be real!

Have you ever been rejected due to being “overqualified?” Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

What will Resumes of the Future Look Like? Take Our Poll!

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollA recent article in The Seattle Times suggests that the future of job seeking won’t just be resumes and portfolios, but might include badges too. The nonprofit group Mozilla is leading this emerging trend with the website OpenBadges, which allows job seekers to display and share digital badges that represent skills and qualifications they possess. Major organizations like Disney-Pixar and NASA have already partnered with OpenBadges to create and design custom badges for job seekers to use.

With emerging trends in the job market like OpenBadges, we’d like to know what you think future resumes will look like. Let us know by taking our poll or sounding off with your own ideas about future resumes in the comments section below.

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.

Experience
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.

Education
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.

Use Your Military Experience to Find a Job

As tens of thousands of our brave men and women return home from defending our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and abroad, they face a staggering 11.7% unemployment rate for veterans. While the job market is improving, there is still a shortage of jobs to cover the rising workload. They have little time to train anyone, so the ideal new hire is someone who has done the exact job in a similar organization.

There is a pressing need for employers to hire these veterans and for their families become integral parts of our economy. Veterans have unique qualities that employers desire, which can give them an advantage in the job search. The problem is getting that message across. Here are some ways vets can use their military experience to become one of the most sought-after candidates in the workplace.

Unique Skills, Unique Environment
Veterans generally have a strong code of ethics. They’ve gone through detailed background checks and character evaluations to even join the armed forces. Now is the chance to utilize military ethics to market a vet job seeker as trustworthy and able to handle high-level, classified information, which can make them an asset to employers.

Veterans come from a culture and workplace that focuses on action and reliability. They have been trained to finish what they say they’ll do in the established time frame. The ability to finish projects in a timely manner is highly sought after in the private sector.

Speak in Civilian Terms
Veterans are a highly skilled and educated group of people. At any length of service, veterans have had hands-on training and education on technical and leadership skills. The problem many veterans face when looking for a job is getting employers to understand the value of their military experience.

The key is to put military terms, jargon, and information into something employers understand and desire. Look at interested companies and openings and research their needs and requirements. Then, tailor the résumé and interview answers to satisfy them. If vets need help explaining their skills, military.com has an excellent tool to translate military experience into civilian terminology.

Less is More
War is ugly. With many veterans coming back from dangerous combat zones, they have stories and experiences of the most admirable pursuits of a soldier. Unfortunately, those kinds of references can make employers uncomfortable and possibly squeamish. It’s best to tone down or remove references of the battlefield when explaining applicable skills from combat.

The office is also a much different environment than that of the military. The military has a strict line of authority and behavioral policies. The civilian workplace varies from employer to employer and is full of different personalities, cultures, and styles. While the “find the problem, fix-it, and move on” attitude of the military is a quality employers seek, fellow employees may be intimidated with military office culture. It’s best for veterans to find an employer that best fits their working style and attitude.

Put Your Résumé Through Civilian Boot Camp
Movin’ On Up has a Résumé Boot Camp to help job seekers make sure their résumé is most effective. Veterans looking to get back in the workplace should put their résumé through a strict regimen of civilian review. If veterans have an industry in mind, they should ask professionals to evaluate their résumé and find out what skills and experience employers in the industry are looking for. Not only will their résumé improve, but it will also give them a chance to network.

Those brave men and women who served our country shouldn’t have to feel frustrated and excluded from finding a job, settling back down, and enjoying the freedoms they fought to defend. As a veteran, what are some ways you’ve used your military experience to help your job search?

Master Résumé Writing in Three Easy Steps

MasterResumes_July2011_web Writing your résumé is one of the first and most difficult steps you will take in your job search. One of the toughest challenges in résumé writing is condensing all you want to say into a few, short sentences. But, in order to approach the task like the best of the résumé professionals, you’ll need to rethink the goals and rules of a résumé.

Don’t Focus on Your Responsibilities
A résumé is not your life story. The only thing you should include on your résumé is achievements. Think of it this way, anyone can do their job, but only a small percentage of the population can do their job well.

The best way to showcase that you did your job well is from your achievements. Strive to make your achievements quantifiable, meaning they can be measured. Your accomplishments should be specific to your former position but also valuable to your new employer.

It’s hard to see you were a “good team player” on your résumé unless you can say you “joined an under-performing team and helped that team beat production delivery dates by two weeks.”

Don’t feel pressure to put anything other than achievements on your résumé. Think of anything that isn’t an achievement as a waste of space. Because you don’t know what a hiring manager will look at first – and if you have 10 great achievements and three previous job descriptions, the hiring manager may only read those three lines and toss your résumé. Think big and remove non-achievement statements.

Think of Your Résumé as a Marketing Document
Your résumé doesn’t need to be a historical statement but, rather, a marketing document. The best marketing documents show the product in the very best light, which means using objective tactics to make you look great.

Here’s an example: You join a retail store that just launched a new product. The product, being new, has a multitude of problems and the company is forced to hire someone to handle customer questions and calls. You start fielding the calls, work quite a bit of overtime, and eventually increase customer service satisfaction by 10%.

When writing the résumé, market your ability to perform customer service, be flexible during company crises, and increase customer satisfaction. Notice how much more effective that is than simply saying you “answered phones for a retail company?”

Remember, marketing requires some creativity and thought. Although it is important to quantify your success, be sure not to exaggerate or lie during this process. You are marketable enough without needing to stretch the truth.

Don’t Give Everything Away
The point of a résumé is to get someone to call you. Although you want to show your best on a résumé, you don’t want to show it all.

Hopefully, your résumé is not the only chance you’ll have to sell yourself to a hiring manager. During an interview, you will have a much more in-depth opportunity to highlight your strengths, achievements, and goals.

Knowing this, only put your very best achievements on your résumé. Leave the hiring managers intrigued, with questions that still need to be answered. This is the perfect way to impress and snag that follow-up phone call.

Crafting the perfect résumé is not an overnight thing. Résumés should be updated and maintained throughout your career. Remember to focus on your greatest achievements, market yourself, and leave your audience wanting more, and you’ll be sure to land your next interview.

6 Ways to Advance Your Career in 60 Seconds or Less

Moving up the career ladder can sometimes seem like an impossible feat – more like climbing the highest mountain than reaching for the next step. But steps are exactly what it takes to get where you are going. With each step you take forward – even a little one – you’re that much closer to your goal. So, in honor of Career Development Month, here are seven steps you can take in 60 seconds or less to help you develop your career and move up the ladder.

1. Rehearse your elevator speech.
As the saying goes, practice does make perfect. So, take a minute to practice your elevator speech because you never know when you’re going to need a short, targeted message to grab the interest of a potential employer.

2. Get a professional e-mail address.
If you’re looking to advance your career in a new job, make sure you have a professional e-mail address to help your résumé make a great first impression to employers. You’ll be surprised by what a difference it makes.

3. Type out a quick e-mail to request a letter of reference from a past employer.
A glowing letter of recommendation is a must for job seekers. So, take just a moment to e-mail or call a past employer and request a letter of recommendation you can use in your job hunt. They can even post their reference on your LinkedIn page! 

4. Scan your résumé for typos.
Typos on a résumé are an absolute don’t. So, take the time to clean yours up by scanning your résumé for any errors before sending it out to potential employers. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to add some power words to give your résumé the punch it needs to get you noticed. 

5. Schedule a meeting to discuss a career path with your employer.
It may seem a little intimidating, but if you’re interested in climbing the ladder at your current company, schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss potential career path. It’s important to understand your options and to know what it will take to get you there. So, take the first step and get a meeting set up now.

6. Scan your Facebook page.
When you’re looking to advance your career with a new job, first impressions are everything. Many employers now search social media sites to find out what they can about potential applicants. So, if your Facebook page isn’t set to private or you don’t have a separate page for professional purposes, make sure you take a minute to scan your profile for any content or pictures that could be deemed unprofessional.  

There are lots of ways you can work to develop your career, whether it’s checking out some books on leadership at your local library or taking some classes at a local college. Get started today by taking a few quick steps forward, and you’ll be surprised how far you get.