Tag Archives: skills

3 Reasons Why You May Not Be Getting Hired

Doyoucounteroffer Recruiters and employers have seen their fair share of résumés in the last few years due to a highly competitive job market. So, do you feel like you’re working 8 to 5 trying to land an interview?

Employers are taking numerous factors into consideration when considering job applicants. Let’s take time to focus on three small ways you can improve your chances of getting a job.

Update your contact information. Do you have your most recent contact information listed on your résumé? Yes, it’s a small detail, but without the correct information, it can wreak havoc on your job search. It’s frustrating for a potential employer to try to reach you when the number you gave them doesn’t work. They won’t be able to contact you. So, be sure to include a working phone number on your résumé or job application because a call about a job offer is one that you definitely don’t want to miss.

Give an appropriate email address. You might not think that a potential employer will pass you over for a job because of your email address, but they might. A manager wants to know that you’re professional, and an e-mail address like partyharty@emailaddress.com may not present you in the best light. Ere on the side of caution and choose a safe email address that includes your name – for example, first name.last name@emailaddress.com. 
  
Share your relevant skills. In order to decide if you would be a good fit for a job, a hiring manager needs to know about your work experience. What are your skills and areas of expertise? Employers don’t want to just receive an email from you with your name and a brief paragraph outlining how you’re interested in the job. They want to know what you can bring to their business, so be sure to include your skills that are relevant to the job opening.

It’s important to keep in mind that employers are looking through job applications with a fine tooth comb. Be sure that your information passes the test and gets you through the company’s doors and into the interview seat. Knowing that even the smallest of details are being considered will help you be better prepared with your career search.

Less Than Perfect is Perfectly OK

I am a runner. I am competitive. I especially enjoy running outside on a nice day, feeling the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair, and hearing the sound of my running shoes on the pavement. Once I know what distance I’m capable of running, I push myself to improve my time. I start thinking, how can I improve my stride? My pace? My breathing and posture? For me, it’s a challenge of setting a new personal record. Then, I think to myself, wait a minute ….

Like me and running, do you find yourself striving for perfection in the day-to-day activities of your job and in life? It takes a lot of energy and effort. And when it comes down to the bottom line, all you’re really doing is striving to get somewhere you think you should be. Perfection is hard to achieve because it’s nearly impossible to obtain. But what you probably achieve in the process is a lot of stress, feelings of unmet expectations and failure, and a wandering mind that can’t stop thinking of things that went wrong or what you could have done differently.

Being less than perfect is OK. You’re only human and can only do so much. Sometimes it’s not about being the best, but learning and developing your skills to help you become better. So, the next time you feel yourself sweating the small stuff in an attempt to be the best of the best at your job, try following these tips.

Discover what you love. Find what it is that brings you joy. When you have a passion for something, you will find that you don’t have to work so hard to get things accomplished. You will be more of a natural at it, not needing to put so much effort into becoming the best.   

Learn from your mistakes – and move on. Everyone makes mistakes. But the grand thing is, life goes on. So, learn something from the situation and become better because of it. Don’t dwell on what you did wrong because you’ll spend so much time in the past that you’ll miss out on the present.

Set limits for yourself. Attempting to achieve perfection can be a time waster. Be realistic in the goals you set. Along with your manager, create deadlines for your projects. Knowing when things are due will help you adjust your schedule accordingly to get things done. Also, here are a few tips to help you finish your work week strong.

Seek out experts in your field. Is there someone in your field that would be a great source for ideas and brainstorming? When you have someone to help you talk out a project, you will find that it goes a lot smoother than trying to do all of it by yourself. Seek input – it’s not a bad thing to have some help along the way.

Take a break. At the end of the day, shut everything down and go home. Learn to leave work at work so you’re not tempted to tweak things on a project when you go home. Use that time to pursue other interests that make you happy.
  
Achieving the perfect run would involve a lot of time – cross training, eating healthy all the time, getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, correct warm-ups and cool-downs, stretching, etc. Being focused on this ALL the time would not make running the break I need and enjoy now. So, instead, I’m just going to enjoy the moment and take in the sights along the way.

The Building Blocks of a Successful, Professional Résumé

Resume BuildingWhen it comes to building a résumé, it’s important to know what to include and how to get an employer to notice yours. Typically, a hiring manager will form an opinion about you and your résumé within about 10 minutes, so your résumé needs to grab someone’s attention … and fast.

So, what does a great résumé include? Make sure you include these items to maximize your job search results.

The Basics. The basics for any résumé include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. And when it comes to listing an address, be sure to include a permanent address to ensure that if an employer sends you something, you will receive it. Also, for e-mail addresses, think professional. A great way to get overlooked for a job opportunity is to include a non-professional e-mail address, such as love2party@gmail.com. Instead, have a more professional e-mail address to include, such as jane.doe@gmail.com. Employers look at every detail on your résumé when deciding if you’re the right employee for them.

Educational Background and Experience. Include what your major is or what certifications and training you have received. The more you include the better. Also, list which school or votech you graduated from or that you’re attending. However, when it comes to your grade point average, only list it if it’s 3.5 or higher.

Objective and Summary of Skills. It’s never a bad idea to include a clear, direct objective and summary of what you’re looking for and what you can offer an employer. Remember, when it comes to a résumé, your ultimate goal is to tell them what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

For example, if you’re applying for an ad copy writer position, list your top skills that would showcase to the employer why you are the best choice for the job. Keep this object short – only a few sentences at most – and communicate your passion for the job. Grab their attention early on in the résumé.

List of Achievements. Once you’ve told an employer in your objective and summary why they should hire you, you have to show them why. This is the section where you can go more in depth about your skills and abilities. It’s also OK to brag on yourself a little here. Tell them about honors, awards, and recognition you’ve received regarding your area of study. List internships or major projects you worked on that got rave reviews? Did you showcase a major community project for your school?

If you received an award for being the best of the best, include that too. Let a potential employer know what you’re able to do! The more impressive you appear, the better. But remember, a cardinal rule of creating a résumé is to keep everything truthful. Don’t fudge the truth even a little to seem more impressive. If an employer ever finds out you did, your career with them would be over before it ever gets started.

Community and Extracurricular Activities. Be sure to list all the organizations you have been involved in at school and outside of school. Since you don’t have a lot of on-the-job experience yet, this is a great way to show how you’re putting your skills to use.

These are some basic must-haves that every résumé should include. One other thing to keep in mind is the format you use. Usually for recent college grads, a combination of a chronological and functional format  is a good choice. The chronological format lists your experience in a timely order, while the functional format focuses more on just your skills and abilities overall. Also, check out additional tips for getting past resume gaps.

Finally keep the overall design basic and try to keep your résumé to one page in length. The busier your résumé appears, the more distracting it will be. When it comes to the design, less is more. Also, create your résumé in Microsoft Word, but save your final copy as a PDF version.

Follow these tips to make sure you start your job search off on the right foot. Tune in next week for information on creating a list of references.

The Silent Clues – How to Make Your Nonverbal Signals Send the Right Message

In a recent article featured on ABC News.com, a survey revealed that 55% of people are unhappy in their current jobs. This paired with our recent poll that showed 82% of readers would job hop in 2010 indicates that people are ready for a change in their work life. Based on these findings, competition may stay fierce as people look for new jobs. So, here are some tips to help you brush up on your nonverbal skills to ensure you outshine the competition and send all the right messages once you’ve landed an interview.

  • Always Smile. When you first meet an interviewer, give them a big smile. A sincere smile communicates warmth and friendliness, and helps put everyone at ease. Also, it’s a great way to break the ice and help relieve any tension about the interview.
  • Give a Firm Handshake. Extend your hand first to greet your interviewer. Doing so shows that you are a go-getter and you take the initiative – both of which are good qualities employers like to see. Be firm with your handshake, but not too firm. You don’t want to inflict any pain on your interviewer.

  • Balance Eye Contact. Too little eye contact during an interview can give the impression that you lack confidence or have something you are trying to hide. Give too much eye contact, and you might be displaying aggression. During your interview, look the interviewer in the eye, but be sure to occasionally break eye contact at appropriate times.

  • Lean Forward. When you sit down in the interview chair, don’t lean back too far. Instead, sit closer to the front of the chair and lean slightly forward to communicate your interest in the job. Leaning back may cause you to look too casual, making it hard for an interviewer to see your drive or passion.
  • Be Aware of Your Arms. Crossed arms send the message that you are standoffish, insecure, defensive, and want others to stay away. During your interview, keep your arms relaxed on the table or in your lap to show that you are approachable and open.
  • Control Your Nerves. Your nervousness can come across in an interview if you use excessive hand gestures or facial expressions, or if you are jittery. Its fine to use some gestures and facial expressions – especially if that is part of your personality – but just don’t overdo it. Tapping your fingers on the table, clicking a pen, or wiggling your feet and legs can be seen as a distraction, so try not to do them. Those cues could give the interviewer the impression that you don’t want to be there.

Now that you have these tips, try a practice interview to help you prepare for the real deal. Your nonverbals say a lot about who you are. They are part of the first impression that you make, and remember, a first impression is made quickly and you don’t get a second chance at it. Make the most of it and make it count!