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.

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.

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.

It’s Go Time. Be More Decisive at Work.

Being more decisive at workAlmost everyone has suffered “analysis paralysis” at some point in their lives – that moment when you spend too much time examining the possibilities and options of action and nothing is accomplished.

While most people have no problems making mundane decisions like where to eat, what to wear, or when to do chores, for many, the idea of being responsible for a decision that could end badly is a crippling fear. The fear can be even stronger when you start a new job. It’s easy to feel out of place and scared of making a wrong decision. In reality, going out of your way to avoid decisions can hold back your career more than you think.

Hesitations Bring Complications
Becoming decisive at work can help you prove yourself and demonstrate to leadership that you are an important asset. When you avoid or fail to make a decision, you’re missing out on a learning opportunity. Even if you make the wrong choice, you have still learned something new – and that’s what experience is all about.

Being indecisive is still a decision because you’ve chosen not to decide. You may feel like it’s being aggressive or too assertive to make a decision, but that’s only if you don’t learn from the experiences. Then it becomes stubbornness.

Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times, Anne O’Hare McCormick said, “The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out [uncertainty], and the effect of decisiveness itself ‘makes things go’ and creates confidence.”

Cultivate Courage
You may not be the Cowardly Lion on his way to Oz singing “If I only had the nerve,” but growing confidence and courage make a big difference when trying to make decisions. One way to help build bravery is to constantly try new things. You don’t have to work on being decisive outside of work either. Ask your manager if it’s possible to get different assignments that you’ve always wanted to try. Your work might have some groups or clubs that will let you try some new activities you’ve never done before.

When trying new things at work, start small, make it happen, and then expand on your success. When you see how things outside of your comfort zone are done, you can connect them to challenges with your job, which can help give you the confidence to make decisions when the need arises.

Practice Makes Perfect
Making decisions is a skill and needs to be practiced on a regular basis. It’s like a muscle in that the more you practice and the more you work at it, the stronger it gets. Next time you find yourself with a decision to make, time yourself and see how long it takes for it to get resolved. Next time, try to beat that time.

You can also practice by giving yourself deadlines. Depending on how difficult decisions are for you and how serious the decision is, you could give yourself three minutes to three days. Practice keeping to your time limits and avoid falling back into your normal routine. You don’t have to do this alone. Ask your boss and co-workers for advice, and get them to help you stay accountable, encourage you to keep going, and applaud your progress.

In the end, it’s better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and not be able to make a decision. What are some tricks you’ve used to be more decisive?

Tips on Managing Your Emotions at Work

Man Failing to Manage Emotions at WorkHave you ever been upset with a co-worker or boss? Have your emotions caused you to do or say something you regret? Everyone experiences emotions like frustration, anger, and worry in the workplace at times. Whether problems at home carry over to the office, tools aren’t working properly, deadlines are near, or a co-worker presses your buttons, it’s important to control your emotions and keep your reactions professional at work. Here are a few ideas on how to cope when feelings start to get out of hand.

Recognize your hot buttons.
If you’re frequently upset at work, you probably already know what emotions you need to control. Something that draws out a strong emotional response is called a hot button. Take time to understand what your hot buttons are, so you can be prepared ahead of time with how to handle situations that arise. Though you may not be able to change your internal feelings, you can control your reactions.

Create a strategy.
After you’ve identified your hot buttons, think about ways you can deal with your feelings. Create a plan of action to decide how you’re going to react when certain situations present themselves, especially if the same thing keeps bothering you. For example, you may need to take a walk, count to ten, or start on projects earlier if you stress about meeting deadlines. This strategy may include talking to your supervisor to help you create a plan or smooth out interpersonal frustrations.

Write down your feelings.
Some people find journaling their thoughts in a notebook offers a way to deal with intense emotions. Try jotting down how you’re feeling and why you feel that way. By writing out your thoughts, you can release some of your pent up emotions, and also deal with the issue personally without escalating it to others. Be sure to store your journal in a secure area or at home.

Listen to music.
If you feel like you’re constantly being bugged, slip on some headphones and listen to music or audio recordings. Ask others around you to not disturb you when you have them on, but be sure to have the volume turned low in case others need to speak with you. Simply listening to music can be a soothing way to calm your overwhelming emotions. But, be sure to avoid creating frustrations for others who may see your actions as a way of isolating yourself. Limit the time you put on your headphones, and always be available to a co-worker or manager when they need to talk.

Take a look at yourself.
When you still find yourself losing control of your emotions, you should always take personal responsibility to change yourself first, even after trying other ways to cope. If you think about why you’re upset and you can’t seem to change it, try considering a new perspective on it. You can change yourself for the better, and in the end you can change your emotional reaction.

Dealing with emotions in the workplace can be tricky, but many people face these challenges. Making the effort to control your own emotions before they get out of hand will not only enhance your ability to work, it will demonstrate your professionalism. Controlling your emotions might be difficult at first, but with a few tricks, you can recognize your triggers and move past them quicker.

3 Hot Jobs for the Summer

People from all walks of life look for temporary jobs each summer. Whatever your reason for getting a job this summer, here are three hot jobs with great benefits to consider as you begin your search.

Theme Parks – To contend with the high number of summer-time visitors, amusement parks need additional staff. Parks offer a variety of jobs and flexible schedules. Jobs include ticket takers, entertainers, food service providers, and more.

Many amusement parks offer a variety of benefits to their employees, including free park admission and discounts on food and merchandise. So, if you want to work outside, enjoy the thrill of an amusement park, and can’t get enough freebies and discounts, consider a summer job in the theme park industry.

Office or Clerical Work – Because many workers take extended vacations during the summer months, many offices have temporary openings during this time. These positions can vary from receptionist to data entry to filing and more. Most of these positions do not require work during the evenings or weekends.

One of the greatest benefits of working in a clerical position in the summer is the air conditioned environment. Working inside will keep you from suffering through the summer heat. These positions may also provide discounted health benefits, company discounts, and access to company events. You can also use these job opportunities to gain experience and network within a company for potential job leads after the summer ends.

Concerts and Sporting Events – In the summer, outdoor events are very popular. Positions in ticket sales, concessions, guest relations, event set-up, and more may be available.

One great benefit of working at events is attending the event for free. Though you’re actually working, you’ll still get to see some of the action up close without paying. You may also receive complimentary tickets to other events to enjoy when you’re not scheduled to work. Employees may also receive discounts on food and merchandise. By working at these events, you can gain marketing, event planning, and promotional experience, which looks great on any résumé.

Summer jobs offer more than just a diversion. Many come with great discounts and freebies. Or, you may benefit from the opportunity to try out new careers and network with potential employers. For help finding a job this summer, talk to the staffing consultant at your local Express office

Answer These 3 Questions to Discover Your Perfect Job

secrets to finding the right jobDo you ever feel a tad envious when you hear about people who absolutely love going to work every day because they’re so passionate about their jobs? Maybe you think only really lucky people land jobs like that. But finding a job you love involves more than luck – it’s about knowing yourself and what type of work you find most rewarding.

By answering the following three questions, you can discover what it will take for you to wake up every day excited about going to work.

What are you best at?
Research shows that you’re more likely to feel professionally satisfied when you work at a job you’re good at. In fact, the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, cites 2 million interviews and 30 years of research to confirm that fact.

While it’s possible to become proficient at almost any task if you’re given enough time or training, that doesn’t make the behavior a strength. Your true talents are in the areas where you naturally excel.

To determine your natural abilities, think about roles you’ve thrived in. Don’t limit yourself to thinking only in terms of work either. Brainstorm talents you use at home, in volunteer work, or for hobbies.

Knowing what you’re good at is essential to finding the career path that’s right for you. For example, recognizing that you excel at meeting new people or public speaking could point you in the direction of jobs that would use your natural talents such as a sales or hospitality position.

What gets you excited?
While determining your strengths helps you figure out which jobs you’ll have the natural abilities for, this next question aids you in narrowing down the fields or industries you’re most likely to thrive in. For instance, after examining your talents, you might decide that a role as a salesperson would best suit you. However, salespeople work in many different fields, so how do you determine which one is right for you? This is where understanding what energizes you becomes important.

To zero in on the field that’s right for you, think about the kinds of activities and types of environments that make you feel most alive. Do you feel your best doing hands-on projects in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? Or, does the prestige of wearing a slick business suit and working on a high profile project appeal to you more? Are you passionate about working with children, the stock market or environmental issues?

Spend some time thinking about what gets you going. Understanding the physical, mental and emotional atmosphere that you enjoy most can lead you to the industry that best matches your disposition and drive.

What matters most to you?
Answering this final question will assist you in discovering the types of employers you’d enjoy working for the most. Because companies’ cultures, values and structure vary widely, it’s important to evaluate what’s most important to you in a job.

Different employers appeal to people with different personal and professional goals. Some organizations require 70-hour work weeks but the pay-offs in financial rewards and status are high. Other employers offer flexible schedules and reduced stress but have less monetary perks. And many businesses offer a range of positions between the two extremes.

When thinking about what you want from an employer, consider the type of hours you’d like to work, a job’s distance from your home, the opportunities for growth within the company, and the organization’s values and culture. Knowing what matters most to you in a job will allow you to target employers that provide the things that are essential to your happiness.

Knowing your strengths, passions, and priorities will help you select a job that’s right for you. Then you too can be one of the “lucky” ones who wake up excited to go to work every day.

8 Ways to Move Into Management

move into manangement ready for promotionIf you’re looking to take the next step in your career and move into a management position, it’s important to show others that you can do the job.

A management role brings a new title and often a higher salary, but it also brings new responsibilities. How can you tell if you’re management material?

Executives look for certain traits and qualities when they’re reviewing candidates for a management position. Here are eight tips to give you the leg up as you look toward a role in management.

1. Model yourself after other managers and leaders. Look for managers, supervisors, and leaders in your workplace who are well-liked and respected. Observe how they interact with others, and duplicate their actions. They’re admired for a reason, so if you follow in their footsteps chances are, you’ll be favored too.

2. Display a solid work ethic. When you’re looking to move into another position, make sure you continue to fulfill your current position’s responsibilities. If you start slacking off on your duties when a higher position catches your eye, supervisors will take notice and may think you’ll demonstrate the same work ethic in a new role. Prove you’re a hard worker, and you’ll be recognized for your commitment and dependability. When you give 110% to your tasks, you’ll stand out and have the edge over equally qualified candidates.

3. Volunteer for extra work. Once you’ve completed all of your tasks, offer to take on a new task or help a co-worker complete a project. Taking on new responsibilities will help you familiarize yourself with other operations you may oversee as a manager. Then you’ll be able to add your new capabilities to your résumé.

4. Excel at working with others. Learn to play a variety of roles on your team, because there will be different times when you need to be a leader, participant, and supporter. As a coach, take the lead and guide others when they need assistance. As a team player, be cooperative and considerate of others without trying to overrule them. And as the team cheerleader, encourage and praise others for their efforts.

5. Keep your skills competitive. Take advantage of every opportunity to improve your skills. Participate in leadership classes, because as a manager you’ll need to know how to effectively lead. Also, enroll in training courses and seminars that cover topics related to your field. With a wider knowledge base and higher skill level, you’ll be a prime candidate for management positions.

6. Share your ambitions with your boss. Talk to your supervisor and let him or her know you’re interested in moving into a management position. Tell them why you think you’re ready to take the next step in your career, and ask for their help, suggestions, or feedback. Your supervisor can help you develop the necessary skills to become an effective manager and can act as a mentor during your career move. If you’re looking to move up within the company, you’ll probably need your boss’s approval anyway, so it’s best to get their support in advance.

7. Practice your management skills. Work on increasing your strengths and turning your weaknesses into strengths. Volunteer for an organization or civic group within your community so you can gain experience managing a small group. Make sure to practice the skills you’ll need as a manager, such as communication, scheduling projects, creating timelines, allocating resources, and budgeting funds.

8. Dress the part. For any manager to be taken seriously, they have to dress appropriately. Show the hiring manager and other executives that you can professionally represent the company by dressing the part. If you don’t make the right impression through your appearance, you might be passed up for the job for someone with equal qualifications with a more professional look. Remember, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

If it’s time to take the next step in your career and move into a management position, make sure that you are prepared to do so. Update your skills, put your experience to practice, and demonstrate your qualifications before you make the jump. Put yourself ahead of the other candidates and land the promotion you’re after by getting yourself ready for the job now.

5 Ways to Write a Stand-Out Résumé

Writing your résumé for the first time – or for the first time in a long time – can be a daunting task for anyone. How you write up your credentials can make or break your chance to get your foot in the door for an interview, so it’s important to have your résumé nearly perfect every time you apply for a job. Here are five big things to do every time you sit down to update your résumé.

Tailor it. The best way to write a perfect résumé is tailoring it to a specific job description. Clearly list each skill you possess that the position requires. If you’re a perfect match for the job, a tailored résumé will help potential employers see at a glance how your skills and talents match the position perfectly.

List unique skills. After you review a job description, you may notice that a skill you possess wasn’t included in the posting. If that skill relates to the job and would benefit your employer, include this skill on your résumé. Employers will take notice when you list unique skills, which can put you ahead of your competition, especially if no one else possesses those skills. If you have a skill that doesn’t relate to the job, don’t include it on your résumé. For example, if you’re applying for a data processing job, don’t list your cooking skills.

Practice. Writing a perfect résumé doesn’t happen in an instance, and if you’re learning new skills and gaining new experiences, what you can put on your résumé will constantly grow. The more practice you have writing your résumé, the better you’ll be at tailoring it to each job description and including just what employers are looking for. Try drafting your résumé in different formats, such as chronological and functional formats. This will help you figure out which style works best for each of the positions you’re applying for.

Proofread. When you make careless mistakes and they end up in a potential employer’s hands, your chances of landing an interview may disappear. So, carefully read and reread your résumé, checking for misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and misuse of similar sounding words that have a different meaning. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your résumé, too. They’re more likely to catch a mistake that you’ve overlooked. Taking the time to make sure your résumé is error-free keeps you from missing out on an opportunity because of an easily avoidable mistake.

Keep it short. Most hiring managers receive many résumés and cover letters for every job opening they post and don’t have time to read every résumé word for word. So, limit your résumé to two pages or less. This provides enough space to detail your education, skills, and talents to employers without overwhelming them with too much information. And because they’re often in a hurry when looking through a stack of résumés, use bulleted lists to facilitate quick and easy reading instead of writing in long paragraphs. It’s great to highlight your achievements and include your work history, but only describe your more current employment.

Résumés play a big role in whether or not you’ll land an interview, so take your time putting yours together before you apply for each job. You can write a stand-out résumé by practicing, proofreading, and tailoring it to each position. A near-perfect résumé will help your accomplishments stand out and sell you as a great candidate for the job.