Top 10 Job Search Tips

Searching for a new job feels like a job in itself.  How can you speed up the process?

Be prepared.

Get a new email account just for your job search, maybe even specific to the field.  Make sure it sounds professional, and doesn’t mention kittens, unless you want to work for a pet store.  Email addresses are not the occasion to highlight hobbies, nicknames, or charming personality traits. You must answer your phone, check your messages, and have a professional voicemail greeting.  Return all calls and emails in a timely manner. Put your cell phone number on your resume.

Be more than prepared.

Your resume must be up to date, especially on LinkedIn.  This is the professional’s networking tool. Create a profile and start making connections with people in your field.  People want to feel helpful.

Don’t wait to file for unemployment.

File for unemployment right away, to ease the stress during a possible employment gap.  You can usually file online or by phone. Waiting can delay your benefits check, so ask a friend if the process seems foreign to you.

Get help without spending cash.

Utilize free or cheap career counseling services.  Show up at your college career center. Ask around at the local library and state Department of Labor offices.  Many libraries and local meetup groups offer community services that can help you add to your job skills, network, and learn interview techniques, etc..  Libraries offer the added bonus of the computer labs. Take advantage of their printers, as printing is an expensive resource.

Use job search engines.

Job search engines are growing databases that link companies to employees.  Take advantage of their ability to do some of the searching for you. They represent job boards, company sites, and associations in one centralized job search step for you.

Get job opening notifications by email.

Once you sign up for job alerts, you will get notified of job opportunities that meet your criteria.  You can usually choose the frequency of alerts.

Time savers.

You can sign up for professional services.  While it costs money, it reduces the time you spend not making any.  These services are designed to produce professional results. Remember that as you weigh your options.

Have your references ready.

Your references must include the name, job title, company, phone number, and email address.  Contact your references early and ask for their permission, so that that you can have a printed copy of your references on hand for interviews.  Some places still accept reference letters that you draft and have your former supervisors sign. Have these ready to present upon request.

Use your network.

Be aware that many job openings aren’t posted anywhere.  Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work, and ask for their help.  Ask them if they know someone who can be helpful. Be appreciative when they give you suggestions.  Remember, they like to feel helpful, and shutting them down may discourage them from contacting you later, when they have another lead.

Get social.

Networking is one of the gifts of social media.   Build your network in advance. Companies do post on Twitter and Facebook.  Make sure that LinkIn is up to date. Present your most professional self in your profile.  Scrub it clean of sensationalism and emotional drama. Company representatives will peruse your sight to see whether you are a good fit for their team.

Click here for more job tips!

For additional assistance contact: JumpStart Resumes

Preparing for a New Job Orientation

You’ve landed the job, and you’ve been asked to attend the new job orientation.  This is your first glimpse of company culture.

What is the Purpose of Job Orientation

New job orientation should include some training, as well as a tour, and introductions to staff.  Shake hands heartily and make eye contact.

Pro tip: carry a tiny notebook and write names down, and the person’s shirt color.  You’ll probably lose the notebook, but you will recall that Louise was wearing the polka dot shirt the first day  It’s a surprisingly helpful mnemonic, and saves you from having to be another person who says, I’m terrible with names, which means your name wasn’t important to me.  Trust me, their name is important to them. This is an opportunity to ask questions.

What to Expect

Mentally prepare yourself for a possible onslaught of new people, new information, and possible jargona and job specific acronyms.  You may be choosing passwords, or learning clock-in protocols. It may be day full of policies and procedures, including dress code, locker space, and your job duties.  You may have to finalize details and paperwork that facilitate tax reporting and your salary.

The size of the new hire orientation group depends on the size of the company.  It may be formal, with a set curriculum and multiple sessions, or casual and unscripted.  If it less structured, you should have plenty of chances to ask the burning questions without interrupting your guide, and if it is structured, you should be provided with chances to ask, or you can ask at the end of each session.

Call Ahead

You’ll increase your chances of having a smoother day, if you call a few days in advance, to ask for specifics on what to bring and how to be properly prepared.  They might appreciate you looking over the employee handbook, and having some familiarity with it before your training starts. This may prevent some awkward surprises and you possibly disappointing your employer’s expectations on Day One.

Prepare the Night Before

Make sure your planned outfit still fits, and is clean and wrinkle free.  Be as rested as you can, barring family life and unexpected events. Treat sleep like part of your job.  You’ll be getting a lot of new information in the morning, so you’ll want to be alert.

Dress Appropriately

If you were given detailed dressing instructions, always err on the side of formality.  Look as polished as the day of your interview. Anticipate being on your feet all day, so don’t ignore comfortable shoes.  If you’re unsure, the person who scheduled your orientation is usually happy to help. They may be pleasantly surprised how proactive you are, and it may encourage them to inform other new hires.

Arrive Early

Account for the unexpected.  You don’t want parking and finding the building and suite number to throw you off, as you’re running late.

Bring a Notebook and a Pen

As mentioned earlier, this is handy, even if you only write down names, new acronyms, or questions you want to ask during break time.

Have Your Personal Information on Hand

Have all your details ready with you.  Oftentimes, you’ll be filling out W4 paperwork, tax details, possibly direct deposit details.  Know your Social Security number. The call ahead is an opportunity to find out whether they will be photocopying documents, whether you need to bring a canceled check, etc.

Bring a Snack

Stay hydrated.  Bring water and something to keep your physical energy and mental focus up.  You’re not familiar, yet with the food situation, and they may not provide any.

Inquire About What’s Next

Ask whether you will be undergoing any more training.  Should you be prepared to start right into the job on Day Two?  Your employer will have more confidence in you, and you will have more confidence the next day, so your transition into the workplace will be smooth.

Click here for more tips on how to ace a telephone interview!

For additional assistance contact: JumpStart Resumes

Finding the Career for You

Are you on the right career path?  Does that question trigger uneasy feelings for you?  Allowing yourself to follow that question to the answer that fulfills you will change your life for the better, and ultimately, leave you feeling satisfied.

75% of Americans have changed their careers at least once, and 33% are considering it.  It does take time to make the transition, however first you have to identify where it is you want to go.  Have you identified the right career for you? If THAT question makes you uneasy, there are steps to help you answer it.

Take career inventories.

You probably took one in high school, and since you didn’t know a lot about yourself at the time, or maybe you were just excited to get out of class, maybe yours, like mine, decided that you’d make a great lumberjack when you grow up.  Rest assured, that they are better developed, that their databases have increased as jobs changed, and that you have acquired more skills and preferences since high school. You have most certainly discovered more things that you did not like, which gets you closer to what you do like.

Make sure that it is a well-respected assessment tool.  It should actually measure what it claims to measure, which means that you should have consistent results, not wildly differing suggestions, each time you take it.

Use it as a tool, not a prescription.  It won’t tell you what job to apply at, but it will point your compass towards an industry, and help you to reflect on the questions that it poses.

Sort through your options.

Start by writing down your education and certification, your skill set, actual job offers, hobbies and interests you find yourself talking about, and jobs you’ve been offered.  Rank them, and cross off ones that you feel completely at odds with. Start to narrow your goals.

Look for patterns.

Here’s where you start to find overlap.  Your skills, the job market, and your career preferences might look like completely unrelated, but you might find some commonalities.  For example, you might discover that all three require working from home, i.e., the ability to self-direct. Try not to fixate on job titles, just yet.  Be sure to include your values in this assessment. Compromising them may lead to early burnout.

Reach out.

Surveys show that 85% of jobs are filled through networking.  Let that information empower you to flex your job search tentacles at your next social gathering.  People love to feel helpful. Most people just want to be given credit in return. Find people in your field and ask them if you can interview them with questions like, “This is what I think your career looks like.  Is that accurate? What is the most stressful thing about your job? What does the cultural climate tend to be like in that field? Is the reward system more tangible or intangible? What’s the turnover rate in your industry?  What are the perks? What’s a typical day like? I hated _____ in my last job. Is there a lot of that in this career?”

You can take them to lunch, or even email them questions.  If they can let you shadow them for a day, even better!

Find a mentor.

About 80% of CEOs attribute their success to working with mentors.  Mentors can already be in the field, they might be a job coach, or they might work a parallel position of leadership in another industry.  Get the inside information, instead of assuming that you’re on your own. Be bold in choosing one, more than one, or even changing your mentor to find one that adds value to you.

Keep this in mind:  taking the time and energy to make the career shift puts you in a better position long term to avoid burnout.  You will spend 90,000 hours at work in your lifetime, so spend it in the place that suits you best.

For more career tips click here!

For professional assistance contact: JumpStart Resumes

The Job Search

Are you still hunting for a job and not having any success. Do you think there are jobs out there or is the economy just put a halt to everything?

I’ve been in the business of recruiting and career counseling since 1998 and I still believe there are jobs out there – however, you need to have a defined strategy to find them.

For starters, did you know about 60-70 percent of all jobs aren’t even advertised? With that in mind, you have to develop a strategy to locate the job of your dreams.  Here a few steps to get you started:

  1. Define the companies you would like to work for (Don’t worry if there aren’t any jobs advertised). I use a list of about 80+ different factors in considering each company – everything from salary to their company culture.
  2. Develop a list of everyone you know – from your closest friends and colleagues to the dry cleaners down the street.
  3. Compare your list of everyone you to know to the list of the companies you’d like to work at and determine if there is any connection. It’s always better to have a “warm lead” compared to a “cold one.” Use that person or a person they know who works at the company to help you get inside.

Remember, that is just the first step, in future blogs we will discuss the importance of having a quality resume, what the employer is looking for in an interview and most of all how to effectively negotiate your salary and the consequences if you don’t.

We will even discuss the value of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.com and how to effectively use them in your search for the job of your dreams.

For professional assistance check out JumpStart Resumes.

Do You Know the Purpose of a Resume?

Do you really understand the purpose of a resume?  Its only purpose is to get you an interview.  However, most managers only spend an average of 30 seconds on each and every resume.  The key to an effective resume is to be brief, but with “hard-hitting” content that makes the reader want to call you in for the interview. To get noticed, your resume needs to “bring out” your best.  You need to write the resume with the following in mind:

  • Challenges
    • Where were you challenged with at your job?
  • Actions
    • What actions did you take to support the challenge?
  • Results
    • What were the results expressed in numbers, percentages, savings, and cost avoidance?

Here is an example:

  • Before: Initiated a learning technology effort to fix the identified deficiencies.
  • After: Initiated a $30M advanced learning technology effort to fix the identified deficiencies and achieved a return on investment in less than three years.

 

Can you see the difference?  Which statement would you rather see in your resume?

 

The Before statement doesn’t portray anything about your knowledge, skills or abilities.

 

The After statement providers the hiring manager with an idea of the dollar amount of your program and how long it took you to achieve an excellent ROI.

 

Remember, hiring managers evaluate each candidate on their past performance. In order to measure your past performance you need to state the challenges you faced, how you handled them and the end results. The hiring manager is then able to make a better determination if you are a good fit for their company.

 

Do you Know the Purpose of Your Resume?

Do you really understand the purpose of a resume?  Its only purpose is to get you an interview.  However, most managers only spend an average of 30 seconds on each and every resume.  The key to an effective resume is to be brief, but with “hard-hitting” content that makes the reader want to call you in for the interview. To get noticed, your resume needs to “bring out” your best.  You need to write the resume with the following in mind:

Challenges

Where were you challenged with at your job?

Actions

What actions did you take to support the challenge?

Results

What were the results expressed in numbers, percentages, savings, and cost avoidance?

Here is an example:

Before: Initiated a learning technology effort to fix the identified deficiencies.

After: Initiated a $30M advanced learning technology effort to fix the identified deficiencies and achieved a return on investment in less than three years.

Can you see the difference?  Which statement would you rather see in your resume?

The Before statement doesn’t portray anything about your knowledge, skills or abilities.  It’s more in line with a job description.

The After statement providers the hiring manager with an idea of the dollar amount of your program and how long it took you to achieve an excellent ROI. Bottom line:  What you are capable of doing for their company.

Remember, hiring managers evaluate each candidate on their past performance. In order to measure your past performance you need to state the challenges you faced, how you handled them and the end results. The hiring manager is then able to make a better determination if you are a good fit for their company.

Don’t have the time to create a professional resume, contact JumpStart Resumes for a consultation today!

Job Search Tools

How many times have you been shown how to write an effective resume; but, not shown what tools are available and how to use them to help you in your job search? The use of effective search tools and a defined process will definitely increase your chances of finding the career of your dreams!

 

The following three Internet -based “search tools” allows you to effectively search for a position while maximizing your time in any given period.

 

The website www.indeed.com is a job aggregator allowing you to centralize all of the “hunting” you do with a myriad of different job boards. You type in two fields to include the job title and the location. The results “pull” all of the jobs from the web that have both the job title and the location in the same advertisement.

 

The website www.salary.com provides you with valuable information in reference to the fair and marketable salary for the position in which you are interested.

 

The website www.referenceusa.com allows you to select a career field/job title and search for any company who does that type of work in the organization.  You have the capability to filter the information to provide a even more focused search.  Items such as zip code, number of employees, and revenue produced to name just a view.

 

Access to the type of information from the three different websites, combined with a “hard-hitting” resume and a polished interview & salary negotiation skills can put you ahead of the pack. It can be a “game-changer!”

 

For more information: JumpStart Resumes

It Comes Down to Who You Know

A great resume and polished interviewing skills are definite assets to have when it comes to hunting for job. However, the most important ability to have when hunting for a job is understanding the “power of networking” and the network you have available right in front to you.

The easiest way to set up your own networking program is to develop a list of everyone you know and compare that list to the companies where you would like to work. Here a few steps you can take to get that networking process moving:

• Write down everyone’s name you know and it doesn’t matter who they are, where they work or how you know them – everyone on the list is a potential source to help you find a job.

• Write down the list of companies you want to work at-it doesn’t matter if there’s a job there or not – remember, approximately 60% of jobs aren’t even advertised – that is what is known as the “hidden job market.”

• Now compare your list of the people you know against the list of companies you want to work at and try to find a match. A person on your list may work at one of those companies or they may know of somebody else that works in that company – either way it gives you an “extra edge” to you to find a way into the company of your dreams.

• The next step is to have a person in your list send your resume forward to their friends or associates in the company you have an interest in and to be your sponsor. Using your network increases your chances of getting access to someone in the company rather than sending a resume directly from an  on-line job site or answering an ad through the paper. The majority of the on-line job sites or newspaper ads have a very low return rate and most of the time you don’t even get a response back.

For all of this to work properly, you need to have a quality resume, polished interviewing skills, and understand the importance of keeping in touch with everyone in your network. For other job hunting tips, visit our site at http://www.jumpstartresumes.com.

Five Most Common Resume Mistakes

An error in your resume can be the difference between you being considered for the position and actually getting the job.

When the competition is tight, even the slightest, most insignificant error can be the deciding factor on who will be hired and who will not. When managers need to select only one new employee from a pile of hundreds of resumes, they can get quite finicky about any type of error.

While there are literally dozens upon dozens of errors people make when writing and presenting resumes, there are a few that top the list of the most common resume errors. Let’s call these the top five most common, most fatal (to your success, not to your life) resume errors.

They are:

  1. Including irrelevant information
  2. Sloppy presentation
  3. Vague or boring content
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Large chunks of text
  1. Including Irrelevant Information

When you write your resume you need to remember that hiring managers are extremely busy people. Which is the main reason why they need more staff. After all, they wouldn’t be looking for more people to help them if they already had too much free time.

Keeping in mind that hiring managers are busy people, you should be careful what you include in your resume. Only include what’s directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. It’s highly unlikely that your prospective employer is really going to care about the spelling bee award you won in grade eight, or that you were the best grade eleven cheerleader.

By sticking to information relevant to the job you would like, you show the hiring manager that you are an excellent communicator.

  1. Sloppy Presentation

First impressions count. You wouldn’t go to an in-person interview with uncombed hair and torn jeans. So make sure your resume is grammatically correct, clean and crease-free.

Don’t get careless. A resume that is poorly presented gives the hiring manager the impression that you’re lazy (or perhaps a little stupid), careless and not serious about the position you’re applying for.

Sometimes it helps to read your resume out loud. It’s easier to find mistakes this way. Or you can corner your friends and get them to give you some brutally honest feedback.

  1. Vague or Boring Content

Be specific when you write your resume. Use action verbs (like organized) to prove to the hiring manager that you’re a go-getter. Avoid straightforward and boring descriptions of every job you’ve ever held. Explain why you were good at your jobs instead, but only focus on those relevant to the type of position you’re going after. Make your resume vibrant.

  1. Lack of Focus

Tailor your resume to the job you would like. Focus on results and accomplishments instead of simply listing your responsibilities. How did you make a difference in your company or department?

  1. Large Chunks of Text

The average resume is read in a speedy seven seconds. Huge chunks of text are intimidating to a hiring manager who needs to look at hundreds of resumes, and probably isn’t too excited about doing so. Keep your paragraphs short and reader friendly.

Need help creating a professional resume, contact one of our experts at JumpStartResumes.com

How Can A Career Changer Best Present His Or Her Skills?

Create a resume that focuses on transferable skills related to current career objectives.

Typically a candidate changing careers does not have the apparent experience needed to make a strong first impression. Transferable skills that are relevant to your current career objectives need to be presented in your resume to show an employer what skills you are able to contribute to the organization.

Transferable skills are the ones you have acquired from past experiences that are transferable to a different type of job, industry, or environment. These skills may have been developed in many different areas — from past work experience, academic endeavors, volunteer activities, or in various vocational settings which may include hobbies, clubs, community organizations, associations, etc.

In order to better understand transferable skills, let’s look at skills in general. Skills are the building blocks of a job and can be divided into the following three areas:

Skills with Things: Examples of skills with things include using or working with office equipment, computers, software, tools, instruments, machinery, vehicles, heavy equipment, materials, supplies, buildings, furniture, jewelry, clothing, food, animals, and plants.

Skills with Information or Data: Examples of skills with information or data include planning, researching, developing policies or procedures, keeping records, organizing information, creating, designing, programming, compiling data, calculating, editing, filing, copying, prioritizing, and classifying types of information or data.

Skills with People: Examples of skills with people include the types of people with whom you interacted, such as customers, vendors, patients, students, faculty, coworkers, colleagues, (and whether as individuals, groups, or teams); and the nature of your interaction with people, such as consulting, negotiating, selling, serving, informing, entertaining, counseling, interviewing, coordinating, motivating, or training.

When using a transferable skill in a career transition, the degree of specificity used to describe the skill should normally be in proportion to how close the new environment matches the past environment.

For more help, visit us at JumpStartResumes.com

Five Resume Writing Myths

The world is full of resume writing professionals, job hunting experts, career counselors, human resources specialists, recruiters, head hunters, and the like. And if you ask them to describe the right and wrong things to do with your resume you will likely come across a variety of answers. Many of those answers, though, will be common resume myths that can mislead you into making a mistake when creating this important document.

Myth #1 – You do not need help writing your resume

If you do not have a lot of experience with resume writing, then you should not presume you could write an effective resume completely on your own. It is far too easy for an inexperienced or infrequent resume writer to create content that is ineffective at communicating key information to a potential employer. There is nothing wrong with creating a first draft on your own, but you should always consult a professional resume writer, an online resume `how to” site, or any one of a wide range of resume writing books and other printed resources.

Myth #2 – Your resume must show steadily increasing responsibility

It is far more important for your resume to show the skills and attributes that match the needs of a potential employer. Regardless of how your levels of responsibility have changed from job to job, the emphasis should be placed on how your various experiences qualify you to hold the position you pursue. Tailor your resume to highlight key information that tells a potential employer you are a qualified candidate who should receive an interview.

Myth #3 – Use narrow margins and small type to get more information on the page

This is one of the worst mistakes you can make on a resume. More is not better when it comes to your resume, especially if you have to resort to formatting tricks such as this that make the document hard to read.

Myth #4 – If you send out enough resumes you will get interviews

No matter how many resumes you send out, if the resume itself is weak it will not lead to interviews. Quantity does not guarantee quality, so if you have been unsuccessful generating interviews with your current resume perhaps it is time to revise and improve it.

Myth #5 – Potential employers spend a lot of time reviewing resumes

This is simply not the case. Employers receive huge quantities of resumes and cannot afford the time to examine each one in depth. Instead, the resume screener will scan each document looking key words and phrases that pertain to the job they are trying to fill. Your resume should make these key words and phrases easy to spot. Put them toward the beginning of the document, and consider emphasizing them with bold type, italic type, or selective use of bullet points.

For a professional resume, contact one of our experts at JumpStartResumes.com.