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.

5 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

Ever wonder how to increase the odds of getting a personal interview? In today’s society getting passed the phone interviews can be tricky. Previously, employers wanted to meet job candidates in person, but now due to time constraints, everything is being done via phone or internet.

In the economy today there is so much competition for jobs. Employers now get swamped with applicants and meeting with every applicant is impossible. The telephone interview became the first step, in what can be a long process. So to get you off to a good start of getting an on-site interview, here are five tips to ace the phone interview:

Tip #1 If you have a scheduled phone interview, it’s best to prepare ahead of time; just like you would for an on-site interview. Researching the company beforehand can make or break the chances of making it to the next step in the interview process. When researching the company, their website is going to be the main place you will want to start. Other tools to investigate the company could be social media, news articles, and word of mouth. Once you have collected a good amount of information about the business, you will be able to identify their needs, and how you can fill that void.

Tip #2 Have your resume handy! Chances are the interviewer is looking at your resume while speaking to you, and that will allow you to highlight some of your accomplishments. Remember to formulate your responses in way that fills the employer’s needs, and give examples of previous experiences that makes you the best fit for the position.

Tip #3 When looking at your resume are there any periods of unemployment? Do you have difficulty discussing your reasons for seeking new employment? Tip #3 is to practice your answers with friends. Practicing your responses as to why you had to take time off, or leave a certain company will give the interviewer a clearer understanding of your history. At times it can be difficult not to describe previous jobs, or employers in a good light, but do your best not to speak of them in a completely negative way.

Tip #4 Aim to discuss the attributes of previous positions and describe your performance in detail. The goal is to establish ways that you were successful when overcoming challenges, and examples of how you improved the situation. If you have numbers that can help demonstrate how the changes you implemented were successful, use them! Make sure you memorize the numbers to keep from giving misinformation.

Tip #5 In today’s job force, taking charge of towards the end of the call can be a great strategy. Using this strategy allows you to reiterate your enthusiasm for the position, and recap the highlights of why you would be best suited for the position.  And finally, assume the greenlight for the next step in the hiring process. Ask “What is the next step, (interviewer’s name)? When does the staffing coordinator normally have interview appointments?” Due to this type of initiative, this strategy could inspire the interviewer to potentially schedule the on-site interview, or keep you from waiting for a call that will never happen.

Remember to smile, while you use these 5 tips to ace your next phone interview!

Need help practicing your responses, contact us at JumpStartResumes.com

5 Ways Your Bogus Resume Hurts You

  1. It looks fake

Most HR professionals are experienced in determining which resumes have false information, or are extremely exaggerated. It’s easy for them to spot which are fake because of the information does not correspond to previous job experiences, and does not fit the context of the work history.

  1. Your resume is off to the ‘No pile’

Most potential employers have a no tolerance policy for lying or exaggerating so when the fake information is discovered, your resume will automatically be screened out.

  1. It will become obvious in an interview

There could be a possibility of making it to the interview step in the process, but if you falsified your work experience, the hiring personnel will see that your resume is obviously fake. The interviewer will be asking questions regarding the information listed on your resume, and if your responses do not support what was detailed, in most instances, you will not get the job.

  1. It will be exposed during background and reference checks

If you are questioned about any criminal history or violations, and deny it, it will quickly be discovered during a background check. Additionally, if you described yourself as an outstanding employee at a previous job, and during the reference call the former employer contradicted what was said during the interview process, the potential employer will start to distrust your true abilities.

  1. It becomes apparent when you start working

If somehow, you make it through the hiring process, and get offered the job, don’t throw a party just yet. It may take some time, but the truth will come out about your exaggerated information once you start the job, and cannot demonstrate what you claimed to be able to do. At this point, you may find yourself getting a demotion, or terminated.

10 Most Common Interview Questions

What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is the most dreaded question of all. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: “I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful.”

Why Should We Hire You?

Summarize your experiences: “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

What Are Your Goals?

Sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”

Why Did You Leave (Are You Leaving) Your Job?

If you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me.”

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

The interviewer wants to know what motivates you. If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.”

What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can’t?

What makes you unique? This will take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits. Summarize concisely: “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.”

What Are Three Positive Things Your Last Boss Would Say About You?

It’s time to pull out your old performance appraisals and boss’s quotes. This is a great way to brag about yourself through someone else’s words: “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor.”

What Salary Are You Seeking?

It is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”

If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?

Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer “a bunny,” you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer “a lion,” you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality would it take to get the job done? What impression do you want to make?

For more interviewing tips, visit JumpStartResumes.com.