Top Resume Tips for 2017

By Natalya Khaykis, ZipJob 

The way resumes are written has changed over the decades. The once widely accepted objective statement is now discouraged by most hiring managers. Resumes also need to be written and formatted to pass the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) most employers use.

An ATS is a software that screens your resume before it’s ever seen by a human. It looks for keywords and other information that match what the employer is looking for. This has replaced the need of manually sorting through hundreds of resumes and has saved companies time and money.

The average corporate position in the United States receives an average of 250 resumes. We’ll show you the top 5 tips for your resume in 2017 which will help you kick-start your job search.

Top 5 Resume Tips for 2017

1.  Accomplishments Over Duties – One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when writing a resume is simply listing out their job duties. With all that competition, you need to show the employer specific achievements where you went above and beyond.

For example, instead of saying:

“Managed the sales team to ensure sales quotas were met”

Go for something that’s more achievement based:

“Managed a sales team of 8 and developed new marketing campaigns which saw a 34% increase in sales”.

Doesn’t that sound so much better?

One of the best ways to catch the employer’s attention is to use quantifiable achievements. Hiring managers love to see numbers on a resume. It catches their attention and makes your experience look more believable and tangible.

2.  ATS Optimization – Most employers use an automated resume scanner called an Applicant Tracking System. These systems pull information from your resume and determine if you’re a good match for the position.

On average, 75% of resumes are weeded out and never seen by human eyes. The problem is that many candidates are qualified but their resume just isn’t optimized for the ATS.

So how do you optimize your resume?

The first thing you need to do is use a standard resume format. Avoid any fancy colors, graphs, tables, fonts and images which the ATS will have difficulty processing.

You also want to ensure you use the keywords the ATS is looking for. It looks for keywords that relate to the position or qualifications the position seeks. The best place to look for keywords is the job posting itself. Look at some relevant keywords from the job posting and incorporate them in your resume. You need to tell the ATS that you have the skills and qualifications needed for the job.

It’s also a good idea to have your resume reviewed to see how it does in an ATS.

3.  Ditch the Objective – The resume objective was once widely accepted and appeared on almost every resume, not anymore. The objective basically says “Hi, here is what I want out of this job and my career”.

The hiring manager or employer isn’t looking for what you want, but what they need and how you benefit them.

This is best expressed with a resume summary. The resume summary should be a bit about your background, skills and why you’re a great candidate for the position. You can check out this guide for writing a good resume summary.

4.  Skills – This is one of the most important sections job seekers leave off their resume. Your resume should have a “Skills” or “Qualifications” listed in short bullet points. This allows a hiring manager to quickly see relevant qualifications, and it’s also great for including relevant keywords for an ATS. You can easily tailor your resume for each position by swapping relevant keywords.

Here is an example of a skills section on a resume:

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5.  Include a Cover Letter – There has been much debate as to whether cover letters are effective, or even read anymore. The answer is that it depends on the hiring manager but many still do put a lot of emphasis on a cover letter. The cover letter allows you to speak in a more conversational tone and tell the employer your qualifications and why you’d make a good fit for the position.

A well written cover letter would never hurt your chances of landing an interview, and it actually may be the deciding factor.

The best practices for writing a resume are always evolving. We now need to write resumes for both humans and machines. Keep these tips in mind when writing your resume and good luck with your job search!

Ready to get a resume that’s guaranteed to get past the ATS and in to the hiring manager’s hands?  Check out ZipJob!  ZipJob uses professional writers and technology to ensure your resume gets noticed.  Learn More.

It’s Called a Life, Not a Life Sentence! How to Move Forward When You Feel Stuck

By Michaela Alexis, LinkedIn 

If I never let go of my first dream job, I’d still be a can of beans.

Don’t believe me? Here’s proof (no, I wasn’t being cheeky, my hand just moved as this was shot)! This was my very first day of my first marketing job, and I had to walk around a local market like this on Mardi Gras, handing out flyers.

Oh, and at one point, THIS was my dream job, too, when I worked as a bartender at a country bar!

I’ve worked in all sorts of jobs, from a grocery store clerk, professional bubble blower, Disney cast member, and a can of beans, to a legal studies teaching assistant and Marketing Director. Heck, I’ve even spent a few days cleaning carpets and urinals. I have had a spectrum of experiences, ranging from neat-o to nightmare-ish.

We all have to start somewhere. And for some, those experiences shape you, refine you, help you to become a kinder, more compassionate human being. You can talk about them (like I am right now) with humour, fondness, and a little bit of “What was I thinking???”

But what happens when you can’t let go? When you’ve settled into a career that should have been abandoned long ago, but you’re holding on for dear life in fear that you won’t find anything better, that you’re not worthy of your career dreams, or, worst of all, that you deserve unhappiness.

I have never been happier career-wise in my entire life. But not only did it take scrubbing toilets and dressing up as a can of beans to get to this place, it also took willingness to let go, move on, and trust in my abilities when the dream changed.

The most important thing I’ve learned over time is this:

There is nothing more excruciatingly painful than feeling trapped in a life that you’ve drifted into.

So, if it feels impossible to move forward, let’s tackle what’s going on behind those feelings, shall we? Here are the top 5 reasons why you are feeling stuck!

1) You don’t recognize that a career is a relationship, not a task separate from your being.

A career is a relationship. Most of us aren’t fortunate to find “the one” on the first try. It takes time and patience to figure out what your needs are as an employee. I know that I thought I’d love working in an open concept style office, but when I was actually put into that situation, I quickly realized how much I valued my privacy and peace.

The other issue I see popping up with my Linkedin connections is the belief that the culture will change. If the company doesn’t value its employees, if gossip and bullying is the norm, or if the job feels like you’re serving hard time, it’s not going to magically change tomorrow. Focus on the things that you can control, and start examining your wants and needs.

2) You are too busy to focus on what you actually need to

We, as a society, need to stop the glorification of “busy”. Being busy makes you feel important and valued while you’re in the zone, but ends up depleting you of the energy you need to build the life you want. It becomes a vicious, addictive cycle. I remember feeling like I just needed to do more to feel more. But, the only thing I ended up feeling was burnt out.

I would say that most people feel stuck because of this. Think about what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Think about how hard to is to think clearly and make decisions. The same happens when you are constantly spending your energy in the wrong places. You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you want to take those important first steps, you need to put your mind and body at the very top of your to-do list.

I’ve never seen a tombstone that said “I wish I had written one more work email”. Time is a gift, so focus on what actually matters.

3) Your identity has become intertwined with your career

This is an easy trap for people that are perfectionists or just super passionate about their work, whatever it may be. I’m definitely guilty of this myself. I went to Carleton University for six years for a degree that should have taken four years. I was so wrapped up in the cocoon of being a student that I didn’t want to think about being anything else.

The reason that my Linkedin title doesn’t say “Marketing Manager at Grade A” is because I am acutely aware of how easy it is to mistake who you are for what you do. You are so much more than your job title, and moving on to a different career isn’t going to make you more or less YOU.

4) You feel like hating your job is better than being a “job hopper”

The stigma surrounding “job hopping” is straight up silly. Yes, of course, there are extreme examples of people that just can’t seem to get it together, but for the most part, “job hopping” is just “career experimenting”.

I come from a long line of “career experimenters” and I’m damn proud of it. My mom was a nun that traveled the world, helping in orphanages, before becoming an elementary school teacher and internationally competing as a Masters track and field athlete. My father was a radio DJ and used car salesman before immigrating to Canada and becoming a beloved family doctor. I’ve been blessed to grow up with two parents that truly found their purposes and loved their careers, but were beautifully messy in their journeys towards living their passions.

So if the job is making you miserable, stop obsessing over how it may look to recruiters and/or hiring managers. That can’t be your sole deciding factor. When I was laid off, I was only working at my last job for about 4 months. While, yes, it made me self-conscious, I knew that a resume could never fully capture my capabilities anyhow, and focused on proving that I deserved an awesome career. You are just as deserving!

5) We live in a fear-based culture where joblessness is a like a death sentence

I realized how deep feelings of scarcity were ingrained in me when I turned down four job offers before accepting the role with Grade A. Each time, I felt physically nauseous. I felt irresponsible, irrational, and ungrateful.

I had the student loans office calling me, and I barely had enough cash coming in from Employment Insurance to cover my groceries, gas and parking to get to interviews. For the first time ever, I couldn’t pay my rent on time and had to call my parents to loan me the money. As desperately as I wanted to throw up my hands and throw out my dream job wish list, I knew that my fear was directing me to where I needed to keep going. It was actually my compass.

It’s so easy to doubt your own capacity for awesomeness, to listen when well-meaning friends and family encourage you to stick it out because the job market is brutal. But why cheat yourself?

Stop waiting for the tide to change. You are the tide. You have absolutely everything that you need to create the life you deserve. At some point, you’ll need to decide whether to allow yourself to drift aimlessly and hope for the best, or strap on a life jacket and swim like hell towards the shoreline.

Read the original piece here.

Job Tips & News – Your Weekly Roundup

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Your Weekly Job Tips & News Roundup is Here

This week I decided to do things a bit differently.  It’s a “shake-up” of sorts in an effort to provide a handful of highlights and happenings in the employment and job market world. So without further ado, here are the selections for this week’s top tips and news:

5 Choices Every Job Seeker Makes

Job hunting today has changed. It’s time to discard preconceived ideas when you are deciding how to go about five aspects of your job search.

How you job hunt says a good deal about your character, inquisitiveness and personality. And, you’ll get different results when you stay up to date and carefully position yourself among your competitors. Are you thoughtful and proactive, or are you lazy and feel entitled? Do you want to be seen as a go-getter, or just one more person hoping to gain some consideration?

Here are five choices you make when applying to jobs, sometimes without even realizing that you are making them.

Buckshot applying to everything vs. a focused approach. Do you send your resume far and wide, just hoping that someone will respond? Or, do you send out just a relatively few well-researched and crafted applications?

Resume readers can spot a mass-mailed plea for consideration a mile away, and tend to treat these applicants the same way as you treat the never-ending junk mail that fills your mailbox. Even if you are well-qualified, this approach smacks of laziness. Once in a while it works, but most of the time you are wasting your time with this approach.

Don’t measure your job hunt by how many applications you submit, but rather by the quality of case you make for a position that is well-suited to your background, skills, achievements and capacity for future career growth.

When you take the time to do research on every employer you are serious about, and write a killer cover letter that marries the company’s needs to your capacities and achievements, you’ll turbocharge your chances for success!

Answering ads vs. using ads as primary research. The obvious strategy is to respond to ads on job boards, company sites and places like Indeed by just submitting your resume online. But then you enter the black hole of applicant tracking systems. The odds always favor the employer, making this a poor strategy without good results the vast majority of the time.

Instead, get smart and use these job ads as primary source information about where the jobs are. Then, find or cultivate contacts at the hiring companies and network your way into an interview.

Relying on your responsibilities vs. showing your stuff. Somehow you probably got it in your head that your resume is supposed to describe all of your responsibilities in your current and former positions. Statements that begin with “Responsible for” don’t do anything to show how you’ve handled your tasks.

Instead, stand out from the crowd by calling attention to the accomplishments you’ve attained. How has your company benefited, and what happened because you exercised your responsibilities in an exemplary way? Resumes that show these things tend to get the attention of hiring authorities!

Regurgitating your story vs. actively listening to an employer’s pain points. Often, job hunters feel that if they could only get someone to hear their story, they would get hired. And the stories tend to drone on, and on, and on. When you are networking, and especially when you are interviewing, it’s important to speak less and let the other person do more talking.

Remember to only share the points that will be salient for your listener, and keep your narratives short. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn what is important to the employer, and then you’ll be able to draw out from your arsenal of stories and achievements the things that will be most relevant to sate his or her curiosity and advance your chances of favorable consideration.

Telling what you need vs. showing what you are worth. Of course you know your monthly expenses and understand how much money you need to survive, and you should strive to gain an income equal or greater than that amount. But this is not of concern to an employer, nor should it be.

It is important to understand your own value in the current marketplace. You can learn a great deal about that by consulting sites like Salary.com, SalaryExpert, Glassdoor and others. Then, talk about your salary expectations from the perspective of what’s fair, given objective criteria rather than just pulling random (or not so random) numbers out of the air.

Often, employers will look to give you the average salary to start out with, but this is the time when you can politely ask, “If you think I have great value for your team and won’t just be an average employee, why are you not reflecting that based on the salary scales for this role or industry?”

And then, just listen.

There may be a good and valid reason for an average offer, or you might just have made your case for a better-than-average rate of compensation.

Happy hunting!

This article first appeared on U.S. News & World Report

 

5 Parental Leave Trends You Need to Know

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You already know about the so-called “arms race” in which companies are upping the ante on parental leave plans and other family-friendly benefits in an effort to recruit and retain today’s top talent. And you’ve seen the headlines – hardly a week goes by, it seems, without another company announcing an expanded maternity or paternity leave plan.

With so much noise it can be hard to keep track of the trends. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the latest parental leave trends that you need to know about.

Crowdfunding maternity leave is a thing now

File this under “It has to be 2016 to be believed.” Publications from BuzzFeed to Scary Mommy to the Washington Post are reporting on a slightly depressing trend spreading in which moms are crowdfunding in order to have some financial security after giving birth. You know, because the United States doesn’t have a policy mandating paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child and only 12% of private sector employees have access to any kind of paid parental leave.

According to the Washington Post article, a GoFundMe search of “maternity leave” turns up about 1,500 results. The “TODAY” show reported there are about 6,000 campaigns with “maternity leave” or “child care.” Sounds crazy, but is it really? Almost a quarter of new moms return to work within two weeks of giving birth – largely due to financial pressures. And we know child care is the largest household expense for American families. It’s common to see stories of support pouring in for families who use crowdfunding sites to cover bills after a hospital stay or unexpected event. Given the state of parental leave in the United States, is crowdfunding maternity leave really all that different?

More dads want to take their leave

We’ve called it “The Zuckerberg Effect.” But really it’s another sign of the changing times. Modern dads want to – and, often, need to – be more involved in caregiving than past generations. And that starts with taking paternity leave. So it’s not surprising that 89% of fathers say it’s important for a company to offer paternity leave.

Working is reality for today’s parents. More than 90% of dads and more than 70% of moms work outside the home. Research has shown that when new fathers take paternity leave, there are long-term positive effects on his child and his partner. The trouble is that prevailing corporate culture has not yet caught up to these changes. Even as more dads want to take their leave, many are afraid to take time off out of fear of appearing less committed to their jobs and hurting their careers. You can read Care@Work VP and GM Michael Marty’s take on this type of “dad-shaming” on Fortune.

Companies with gender-neutral leave policies

Earlier this year, Etsy got a whole lotta love here and across the internets for unveiling an upgraded 26-week parental leave policy that was flexible, gender-neutral and lauded as “basically perfect.” Before Etsy, Netflix rolled out an “unlimited” maternity and paternity leave policy for new parents. In April, Twitter announced it was increasing its parental leave policy to 20 weeks of paid leave for all new parents.

Momentum building?

US and Papua New Guinea – we share the dubious distinction of being the only nations without a federal policy providing paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child. More than 70 countries also mandate paid leave for new dads. Not a great look for a global economic leader. The good news is there’s momentum building in support of paid leave legislation, like the FAMILY Act, for example. New York recently became the fourth state to mandate paid family leave, following California, Rhode Island and New Jersey. (Washington state passed one, too, but hasn’t done anything with it.) Many cities – from Austin to Boston to Washington, DC – have also passed paid leave policies, and San Francisco recently one-upped the state mandate and passed a law requiring employers to provide fully-paid parental leave.

Placing a premium on post-leave support

It’s true that the lack of a national parental leave policy for new moms (and dads) leads to a focus on employers who offer generous maternity leave and paternity leave programs. But we’re beginning to see leading companies invest in supports for working parents once they return to work. The “flying nannies” of Wall Street are an extreme example, but hundreds of great places to work also provide employee benefits like backup care, child care resource and referral and flexible work arrangements that have less flash but more substance.

Why are these types of family care benefits so important? Let’s take a quick look at some staggering statistics:

  • 70% of parents said the cost of child care has influenced their career decisions, according to this Cost of Care survey
  • 90% of employees have left work, and 30% cut back by more than 6 hours per week, due to family responsibilities, according to care@work’s Better Benefits survey.
  • 89% of working parents want family care benefits, but 81% say their employers don’t offer any.
  • 58% of working millennial moms told Pew Research being a working mom makes it harder to get ahead at work

Parental leave is the poster child of family-friendly workplaces, but it’s only one element of a comprehensive solution. When faced with the reality that in most modern families all parents work, more and more employers are realizing that investing in family-care benefits is a competitive advantage.

This article first appeared on the Care@Work blog

 

A Story from FBI Director James Comey’s time at Bridgewater perfectly Illustrates the hedge fund’s emphasis on ‘radical transparency’

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FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, on the subject of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, that he was “a big fan of transparency.”

When he was an executive at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, from 2010 to 2013, he was enmeshed in a culture of “radical transparency” unlike that of any organization of its size.

In a new Politico article by Garrett M. Graff, Comey offers insight into his time at Ray Dalio’s hedge fund, including a strange scenario where a 25-year-old employee confronted him after a meeting. Graff writes:

“It was just weeks after he joined Bridgewater — whose corporate culture of high-achieving intellectuals resembles a moneyed management cult that shares more in common with the 1970s personal-improvement fad est than it does with a typical Wall Street firm — that Comey was cornered by a similarly new 25-year-old employee. The junior associate interrogated the former Justice Department official on a seemingly illogical stance that Comey had taken in an earlier meeting. ‘My initial reaction was “What? You, kid, are asking me that question?” … I was deputy attorney general of the United States; I was general counsel of a huge, huge company. No 25-year-old is going to ask me about my logic,’ he recalled. ‘Then I realized “I’m at Bridgewater.”‘”

Dalio founded Bridgewater from his apartment in 1975 but didn’t begin developing his intense management culture until the mid-1990s, he told Business Insider in March. He found that codifying his investment principles brought him success, and so he should do the same with the way he wanted his company run. It resulted in “Principles,” a manual of 210 lessons that all Bridgewater employees must learn.

Comey told Politico it took him three months to adjust to Bridgewater, at which point he appreciated the hardline culture. In a video testimonial on Bridgewater’s website, Comey said, “You combine that intelligence, the depth and the almost 360 [degree] vector of the questioning, there is no more demanding, probing, questioning environment in the world than Bridgewater.”

This article first appeared on Business Insider

Top 5 Best Resume Tips Ever

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Follow these tips to get your resume in to the right hands

There’s no doubt there is endless advice on how to write the “perfect resume”.  Search the keyword “resume tips” and you will get over 100 million results to choose from.  There are articles on how to construct the perfect objective.  And information on what mistakes to avoid when crafting your curriculum vitae. That’s fancy for a summary of your experience which is pretty much like a resume.  There’s even advice on how to convert your resume in to an awe-inspiring infographic that will wow hiring managers.

All this information is fantastic.  But statistics show that 75% of big companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen candidates.  To cut through the clutter I came up with the 5 best tips to increase your chances of getting your resume past the ATS, and in to a hiring manager’s hands.

  1. Use keywords.  Your resume should showcase the skills, projects and experience that matches keywords to your job.  A common resume hack is to look for keywords in the job listing that applies to your experience and pepper them in to your resume.  These keywords will be picked up by the ATS but use caution by not overloading on them.  An ATS may weed you out if it looks like you “stuffed” your resume with too many keywords.
  2. List specifics.  It’s important to quantify your work as much as you can.  For example:
  • A.  Implemented customer service software resulting in a 75% decrease in customer complaints
  • B.  Implemented customer service software

As you can see, example A. is  much more detailed and paints a clear picture of                         how successful the candidate’s efforts were.

  1.  Keep it clean and concise.  Your resume should be well-structured and easy-to-read from top to bottom.  Pretty pictures and flashy graphics are great if you’re a graphic designer…and sending your resume directly to an employer’s email.  Straight black and white text works best when it comes to submitting your resume through an ATS. Also make sure to only include the most relevant information in your resume.  I hate to say it but no one cares if you’re a foodie.  Aren’t we all?
  2.  Make it mobile.  This tip is great not only for applying through an ATS but for applying on many mobile friendly job sites.  According to online audience measurement company comScore, mobile devices and tablets make up 60% of all digital media time.  Once your resume makes it through the ATS, it better be ready to be viewed on any device.  Our friends at Online Resume Builders have a cool and easy-to-use tool to help you build a mobile optimized resume.  Check it out today!
  3.  List your most relevant and impressive details first.  It takes 7 seconds to make a first impression.  While I’m not sure if this applies in the virtual screening world, many sources say this is true of us humans.  Once your resume hits the hiring manager’s desk,  pull them in by listing your most valuable skills and experience at the top.

When it’s all said and done you should have a well crafted resume that’s set up for applicant screening success.  That said, you shouldn’t bank on just one way to search and apply to jobs.  Now for my not so shameless plug.  There are two great services that help get your resume in front of even more employers and recruiters.  The first is ResumeZapper.  ResumeZapper instantly “zaps” your resume to recruiters looking for candidates just like you.  The second awesome service is Resume Rabbit.  Rather than spend hours posting your resume to every job board under the sun let ResumeRabbit post it to almost 100 job boards at once!  To learn more visit ResumeZapper and ResumeRabbit today!

The Art of the Job Search – Always Be Looking

You may have heard the phrase “Always Be Learning.” To be the best you can be, in your professional and personal life, this certainly holds true. We can and should always be learning. Learning doesn’t cease just because we receive a degree or reach a certain age. We can always learn more about our surroundings and others.

There is another phrase to follow in life – Always Be Looking. If the recession and economic uncertainty of past years taught us one thing, it could be that we never know the real security of our jobs and lifestyles. One day we can have it all, and the next day be forced to look for a new opportunity. While the shock of being laid off or having our companies close cannot be lessened through preparation, we should always be learning and looking. Looking for other opportunities in our field, or in other fields, and keeping our options open.

Know Where Your Industry is Going. Are the number of job opportunities growing in your field, or are positions like yours disappearing? By constantly looking for job opportunities, you can spot trends, gain the education you need, and be proactive in your career.

Give Yourself Goals. Research jobs you would want down the road. If you are in college or a training school, look for positions you would want to apply to after graduation. If you are in a field and want to move up (and who doesn’t), look at the descriptions and requirements of those jobs that would appeal to you in 1 year, 5 years, or more. Create a path to success by gaining the education and experience needed for those positions.

Create a Game Plan for a Worst-Case Scenario. If you lost your job next week, what would be your first steps? By regularly researching the types of jobs available in your field, and the companies where you would want to work, you would have knowledge of where to begin your next aggressive job search.

Job.com is a job board with a focus of putting America Back to Work. If you are ready to continue (or begin) your resolution to Always Be Looking, visit our site to conduct tailored job searches and research tools available to reach employers and recruiters across the nation. As always, the Job.com team wishes you success!

The Art of the Job Search – Letters of Recommendation and References

ImageYour main marketing pieces during your job search, including your resume, cover letter and maybe even a portfolio or website, are pieces you produce. You have control over the information presented. So what do you do when an employer asks for letters of recommendation or a reference list to contact? How do you manage your LinkedIn Recommendations to reflect what you want potential employers to see? You may not write the recommendations, but you do have a level of control of the information presented, based on who you ask for a recommendation and how you ask.

Who You Ask

Check over your list of professional contacts and determine which would present the most relevant and influential information in their letter, based on the position to which you are applying. If you have a former colleague or manager who can vouch for your knowledge in a particular industry or type of job, be sure to ask if they would be willing to provide a reference.

How You Ask

Through your research as a job seeker interested in a particular job or company, you are the expert in what the potential employer is looking for in their candidates. When approaching your contacts about writing a letter of recommendation or acting as a reference, you can provide them with some coaching through that knowledge. This will make each reference call or letter more relevant and impressive to your potential employer.

If the potential employer wants letters of recommendation, you can ask each contact to base their letters on one of your core strengths. For instance, one letter could focus on your ability to multitask, one on your ability to manage deadlines, and one on your leadership abilities. Have each letter demonstrate how your skills would be a benefit to the potential employer. 

Your Social Media Recommendations

Social media is now a huge factor in most recruiting processes. Through social media sites such as LinkedIn, potential employers can see a limitless number of recommendations from colleagues, clients, and others who appreciate the work you’ve done in past positions. You can manage who posts a recommendation for you by asking them directly. LinkedIn also requires that you approve any recommendations before they display on your page, providing further control of your digital image.

Photo credit: degreesoftransition.com

The Art of the Resume – How to Promote Your Resume

ImageAs a job seeker in today’s highly competitive market, any resource that allows you to broadcast your brand and your marketing pieces, such as your resume, can give you the edge. Posting your resume on job boards such as Job.com is an excellent first step in making your resume available to employers and recruiters in the “hidden job market” – those not currently advertising their open positions.

Another great step if you are serious about finding a position is using a resume distribution service. These services send your resume directly to their lists of employers in your industry or geographic location. All you need to do is provide a resume and the optional cover letter that serve as your introduction to employers. Your resume can be seen by employers who may be hiring now, or in the near future, with little or no research required from you.

Job.com’s Resume Distribution service is one of many tools available to any registered job seeker who has posted a resume. For a small fee, your resume can be sent to a segment of our extensive list of recruiters, depending on your location and desired industry. You will immediately be provided the number of recruiters who will receive your emails in the very first step. There are also a number of additional options in the check out process, including ordering a firm list to see exactly who will receive your resume.

If you are ready to broadcast your resume to the recruiters in your field, check out the Resume Distribution Service today!

The Art of the Resume – What to Include (and What to Leave Out)

ImageToday’s resume must meet the qualifications of, at minimum, two different audiences. The goal is to get the resume into the hands of a hiring manager or recruiter – someone who must be interested in the content of your resume to consider you for their position. Before the resume ever makes it into that person’s hands, however, it is becoming more and more likely that it must first pass through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software is being used by many employers to filter through resumes and pass along only the most relevant to the hiring manager. How do you make sure your resume passes both tests? These checklists are good places to start.

What To Include:

  • Proper formatting – Include defined sections (such as “Education”) and bullet point lists so your resume is easy to read.
  • Correct spelling and grammar – Constantly proofread your resume after every edit, and get a fresh set of eyes to look over your resume as well to catch anything you might miss.
  • Uniform font type and size – The entire resume should be the same font, and headings or section titles should stand out in larger text than the bullet point lists. Your contact information should be the largest, easiest text to find.
  • Keywords – Pass the ATS test with keywords that match the description for the job to which you are applying. Include the industry-specific keywords you know the employer will be looking for from their ideal candidate. For instance, an HVAC professional might include their NATE or RSES certifications.
  • Contact information – Include your most recent phone number(s), a professional sounding email address, and your physical address. If you have a digital media page that showcases your qualifications or professional accomplishments, such as a LinkedIn page or website, include the link.
  • Professional Pitch – Where everyone used to include an objective in their resume, you can provide a quick pitch to “wow” potential employers to read your entire resume.
  • Education and Work Experience – Include the relevant training, certifications or degrees, and the relevant work experience you received that can be applied to the position. Your experience can be listed as a series of accomplishments, rather than just your job responsibilities in each position. For instance, an office manager may have “developed a digital filing system” for their office, as opposed to listing that they “moved all physical records to a digital format.”

What to Leave Off:

  • Third-Party Voice or Unnecessarily Big Words – Your resume should read in the same conversational and approachable tone you would use in an interview.
  • Polarizing Interests or Hobbies – Remember the person reading your resume may not share your enthusiasm or viewpoints on certain topics. If it doesn’t pertain to the job for which you are applying, don’t include it on your resume.
  • Irrelevant Experience – Only include the education or experience that can be used to the benefit of your potential employer in your bullet point lists.
  • Contact Information from Your Current Employer – Never include your work email or phone number as the means to reach you.
  • Lies – If you lack a specific certification or work experience, focus instead on the skills you do possess.

The Art of the Resume – What Format to Use?

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As a part of our ongoing job seeker series “The Art of the Job Search,” we’ve created a series of tips regarding resume writing and promotion. The first installment in the resume series discusses the various formats you can use, depending on the type of position for which you are applying.

Being a job seeker can be a full time job. First, you research your target industries and find the companies you feel would be the best fit. You network with employees at those companies, attend job fairs, and search job boards to see what types of jobs are in demand. For all the work you do, is your resume helping or hurting you? Think of your cover letter and resume as your personal marketing pieces – what the employer will reference again and again when considering you for their company. Does your resume encompass all that you can offer? Does it stand out from the crowd?

The first thing to consider when creating or redoing your resume is the format. Different formats can be used to accomplish certain career goals. The traditional resume formats include chronological, functional, and a combination of both.

The chronological format lists your education and experience in order, most recent first. You can use this format when you want a position in your current industry, you have extensive experience, or you can demonstrate upward movement in your positions. These factors prove you are ready for the next step in your career.

The functional format revolves around accomplishments in your career. Use this format when you want to make a career change and feel your experience could be used in a new industry, if you have held many different jobs in a short period of time, or you are returning to work after long absence.

The combination format presents your relevant skills in chronological order. This format can be used whether you want to move to a new industry or remain in your current field. The combination format is also a good option when you have gaps in employment, want to express how your skills in other types of work, such as volunteering, can be transferred to the position, or when your past job titles do not encompass all of your responsibility in that position. 

Regardless of the format you select, it is most important to tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. As you look over your experience, does it mirror the qualifications required in the posting?

Here are some general formatting tips to leave the employer ready to learn more after reading your resume.

  • Make sure your resume is easy to read with clearly defined sections (Education, Experience, etc.) and bullet point lists of responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Include proper spelling and grammar, double check that all text is in the same font, and that there are distinct heading and bullet point list sizes. Your name and contact information should be the largest font for quick recognition.
  • Demonstrate all relevant training in your Education section. Do you have a certification the employer would be interested in seeing?
  • Along with your responsibilities in each job you include, list accomplishments you feel could be applied to the position to which you are applying.
  • Have references ready upon request from the employer who can vouch for your experience and accomplishments.