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  • job searchIts dangerous when one’s technology grows faster than he ability to responsibly manage it responsibly. No, I am not talking about nuclear warheads or automatic weapons. I am talking about the almost instantaneous proliferation of social media into our mainstream existence, and how it affects your job search and can be keeping you unemployed.

    Don’t get me wrong. Social media has provided us with some extraordinary capabilities that we did not have in the past. In the 21st century, you can send a kid off to college and communicate as though they in the next room. Small businesses can reach large numbers of potential customers through engagement.

    But as I peruse some folks’ social media profiles, I can only hope they are self-employed or work for family. Because with some of the content in these profiles, they are making themselves unhirable and ruining their job search.

    (Hey, before anyone lights into me, this isn’t about the “should-or-shouldn’ts”, its about the “is-or-isn’ts”)

    Social media communication is like talking in public where the room is bugged. And hiring managers are in another room with a listening device. Before you hit “post”, pretend a potential employer is standing over your shoulder. If you’re good with what they can hear and see, then by all means go for it!

    Now, before you all go patting yourself on the back about your privacy settings protecting you during your job search, perhaps you should read this:

    https://storify.com/sarahhazell829/are-my-privacy-settings-really-private

    Let me be clear, I am personally all for people being able to say and post anything they want to on their social media accounts. Your account, your business. But when one does, one should just be able to accept the fallout, whatever it may be. And that includes hurting their job search by creating a negative perception with employers.

    There is a lot of debate (and some litigation) going on as to whether it is right or wrong for an employer to use social media in their hiring decisions. But if you are looking for employment TODAY and your rent is due TOMORROW, one needs to consider the impact of their posts as the hiring environment currently exists, whether or not one agrees with the merits of it. As they say:

    “Freedom of speech is not freedom of the consequences OF that speech”

    Now, let me get back to this cat video.

  • professional resumeAs professional resume writers, we can always tell which of our clients is most serious about their career trajectory. The answer usually lies in the first question that they ask when calling. Usually, if the first question that come out in an initial inquiry involves the price, this is a sign that they may not be fully versed on just how important the document is. This is not to say that one should pay any price for the product. This is still America, and everyone loves a great deal. But if you are making a decision on whether or not to seek professional resume services based upon the cost, then you may not truly understand its impact on not only your frequency of securing interviews, but also the opening offer from the employer.

    Now, when a caller is first question is about finding out if you have what it takes to get them into the interview door, this is usually someone who understands the purpose of the exercise. These individuals see professional resume writing as an investment in their career, advance, and net worth building. When one is only concerned with the cost, your decision is made from a position of short-term viewpoint. Have you ever considered what the actual cost is to you up and ineffective resume? I once had a client who try for 18 months to get on with an employer who was in the door within 3 weeks after the completion of her resume. Now, how much money did she lose over the course of those 18 months?

    First, let’s make no mistake. When it comes to a resume, you are always better off with professional help than without it. Just think of the numbers. The average corporation receives 250 resumes per opening and you likely need to be in that top 3 to 5 % just to get into that interview door. So do your due diligence and find someone who understands how to market someone on paper. Next, when looking for someone to prepare your resume, the most important factor is that they have the skills to properly frame your experience, training, education, and skill set for hiring managers. Regardless of how expensive cheap the resume, if you are not convinced that the professional resume writer possesses the skills, then any feedback they are asking is too much. I don’t know about you, but even if you find someone willing to take a crack at it for $65, if it does not achieve the objective, didn’t you just throw away $65?

    It is time to change how you view and categorize your resume in your mind. You should not see it as some expense to get a hold of a piece of paper. If your head is on straight, and you are taking your career seriously, you will see it as valuable investment that optimizes your interview frequency, resulting in finding employment sooner and getting the best offer that you can get.

    And isn’t that what it is all about, ladies and gentlemen?

  • good-resumeHaving a good battle for your resume plan is important. Yes, a good resume definitely requires some thought as to its overall strategy. What are the requirements of the position? Who is the audience? How many competitors are you likely looking at? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how do you best highlight them (or blur them) in a good resume? These are all valuable considerations in determining the approach you need to take to build a resume that will bring consistent success. But as is the case with any project, there is only so much planning that you can do before it gets down to whether or not you take action.

    Once you have given the strategy some thought, push it to the side for a second. Why? Because as you progress through the project, some aspects of that writing strategy may need to be amended based upon factors such as spacing, or simply how the content is blending. What you want to do is just start. That’s right, JUST START! Instead of beginning with the summary and core competencies (slightly more abstract in nature from a development standpoint), go with the more concrete information – your professional experience. After all, when it comes to your experience, there really isn’t much that is abstract about it. What you did and achieved is, well, what you did and achieved. Now, you will want to give consideration to the most important aspects to your future reader. But this is usually the bulk of the grunt work and going through this process will help when it is time to tackle the profile section, where you will “frame the argument” for calling you in.

    The truth is that you can easily end up in a vicious cycle of doubt and changing strategies – constantly reassessing the approach because there is no anchor in place to keep you with one train of thought. But when you commit to at least laying out the basics of a good resume, you begin to get into a flow that helps pull you right through the rest of the project.

  • linkedin profileMake no mistake, the value of building a LinkedIn profile of quality is only going to get more important as we get deeper into the 21st century. If you haven’t at least opened a basic LinkedIn account, then you should do so as soon as possible. In our first installment of “Building a LinkedIn Profile that Gets Attention”, we touched on the value of first knowing which audience you were seeking. We also stressed the development of high-impact and creative use of our introductory aspects of the profile. Let’s look at deeper at the various aspects of the LinkedIn profile to see where we can make set ourselves apart.

    Professional Photo

    Facebook and Instagram may be great places to use “creative” pics for your profile, but remember that LinkedIn is where you are solidifying your professional brand in the digital world (although it can be argued that the other social media accounts play a role in establishing your brand that many downplay). If you have not already, locate a corporate headshot photographer in your area and have headshots taken. This is the first exposure many will have to you professionally, and first impressions matter. Does your profile picture say “I am a career-minded professional looking to make strong, mutually beneficial relationships”? Or, does it say “I am a bit of a flake who doesn’t take my role as a professional very seriously”?

    Job Descriptions: Balancing Brevity with Search

    Your job description entries in the LinkedIn profile allow up to 2000 characters. Well, in the digital world, we are not bound by the two-page limit we have to recognize for the resume’s development. However, we do not want to use all 2000 just because we can. You still want to respect show respect for the time and attention of your reader. So efficiency in phrasing and word choice is still the order of the day. However, the 2000 characters allow us to enter information that would otherwise may have had to be removed from the resume itself. This can add some breadth in terms of keyword reach, which helps increase the search strength of your profile. Many underuse the job description section by not entering any content at all, relying only on the header information. Big mistake when it comes to developing a LinkedIn profile that is searchable and easily locatable by recruiters and other professionals looking to connect. Remember, we also want to communicate using a more conversational style since this is a social medium. So craft your verbiage accordingly.

    Making Use of the Project Feature

    The more you can populate your LinkedIn profile with relevant (yet non-intrusive) content, the better. The ability to link extra project information under each position is a great way to give your reader addendums that demonstrate your awesomeness! The beauty is the flexibility to use the feature for whatever works best for your situation. As a resume writer, I use my project fields to show samples of work. But once can just as easily use it to show critical work project, post letters of recommendation from clients, give access to PowerPoint presentations, display company marketing materials, etc. Did you know that you can even add other team members to a project? If you are connect to project collaborators on LinkedIn, their name will appear as a hyperlink. But you can also add the names of other who are not connected on LinkedIn. Their names will simply appear as regular text. Neat, huh?

    Select Skills and Endorsements Entries that Differentiate

    The Skills & Endorsements section of your profile is one of its most important elements. How important? Well, according to LinkedIn, members who take the time to list skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive 13 times more profile views . How’s THAT for important? When selecting which skills to include, remember to think of what you want your profile to accomplish. So if you are looking to advance I your career as a pharmaceutical sales professional, the skill “Dewey Decimal System” from your time volunteering in the school library while in college doesn’t help. When selecting your skills, always think “relevance and search”. If someone were looking for someone of your skill set, which skills would they search, and how would they be phrased? Also, don’t forget to endorse the skills of others you know and ask them to do the same. The more endorsements of your skills that you receive, the better your LinkedIn profile rates!

    Part 3 coming soon!

  • building a linked-in profile that gets attention part 1When LinkedIn first launched in 2003, many (including myself) wondered if the platform would be one of a long list of here-today-gone-tomorrow websites. Would it burn hot for a while and then faded away? Well, more than a decade later, building a LinkedIn profile that captures attention is an important part of career management. LinkedIn is going strong, and growing! It boasts more than 467 million users (2 people join every second) in 200 countries and territories around the world. Some say LinkedIn will eventually replace the resume (but slow ya’ roll, people). For now, a powerful LinkedIn profile can serve as an effective partner to the resume when constructed properly.

    In part 1 of this 2-part series, we touch on changes you can make to some of the more basic aspects of the profile to help give it purpose and identity. So, what changes can you make to the profile that can help you today?

    Determine the Purpose for Your Profile

    When it comes to your career, every move that you make should be strategic in nature. Nothing should be done by chance. Your approach to the development of your LinkedIn profile should no different. Before you make one single change, give some thought to whether the profile is for near-term employment or long-term branding. How you build it out depends upon this. For example, a professional seeking employment as a Data Analyst may consider going heavy in that direction. But they may decide to brand themselves as an all-around IT professional for consulting purposes. This will affect your approach to every section of the profile, so slow down and give this some thought.

    The Killer Headline: Who are you? (To your audience, that is)

    Sadly, many people ignore the headline field. After all, it automatically populate with your most recent job title and employer name, correct? Besides, most professionals on LinkedIn choose to go with this auto-population. But you’re not most people. This is prime personal ad space and you should be strategic in how you use it. A well-crafted headline can benefit you in a couple of ways.

    First, with this being what people see before they even get into your profile, the headline can go a long way in kicking off your brand to your visitors. This is especially valuable if you possess a diverse background where you can be “perceived” in several different ways. Second, the headline is an excellent place for the inclusion of quality, searchable concepts. If you are in the middle of a job search, or simply open to recruitment, you want opportunity to find you.

    Construct a Profile that Sells!

    In case you were not aware, you get to use up to 2000 characters in the development of your profile section. But don’t get into all of the flowery self-congratulatory descriptors that end up lumping you into the same category as most of your competition. Just as with your resume, keep it tight, keep it relevant, and keep it searchable. Additionally, the profile section is also an excellent place to integrate concepts and information that doesn’t really have a home in any other section of the LinkedIn profile.

    But in the development of the profile, remember that while a professional platform, it is also a social medium. Your verbiage and tone should be less rigid than it would be in its resume counterpart. And yes, this can be done without an overabundance of reliance on soft skills that normally don’t move the meter for recruiters and hiring managers.

    Click here for part 2 of our LinkedIn makeover tutorial.

  • resume strategyIf you are fortunate enough to have had a long and successful career in one field and you are pursuing another position in the same area, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. For most job seekers, the search is more about survival than it is for career satisfaction. As we all know, the wider the net you can cast, the more likely you are to land something viable. However, this does not come without its challenges when it comes to resume strategy.

    Your resume can only hold so many characters and so many words. Additionally, your reader is only looking for so many skills, experiences, and qualifications. So the built-in challenge becomes “How does one develop a resume flexible enough for multiple goals, while focusing enough on any one reader to draw interest for an interview”?

    The answer to whether a viable resume target mix is possible depends upon WHICH employment targets are being pursued. For a resume to achieve any kind of consistency in performance, it must quickly communicate (usually within 10 seconds) that there is enough of a match for the HR manager or recruiter to explore further. Now, if our reader has to wade through totally unrelated content before getting to what matters to them, you will lose them. So the secret of a successful multi-targeted resume depends upon the commonality of the qualifications.

    For example, a resume strategy involving the targets Database Administrator and IT Project Manager, is likely to perform better than one for designed for a Database Administrator and Librarian. Think of your employment targets as being physical targets 30 feet in front of you. Then, consider your resume to be one handful of rocks. The farther apart the targets, the more difficult it will be to hit them with that one handful of rocks. But the closer together they are, the easier it will be.

    As a resume development strategy, it is recommended that you first prioritize the targets. Then, it is best to develop the resume to ensure that the primary target is fully addressed. Next, you would want to then begin integrating as much of the second target into the resume as possible. If you begin to notice a sort of dissonance between the content for each, you are going down the wrong path. The resume’s content should not fight against itself for attention. When this happens, think of how your reader will absorb this. While reviewing the documents, they will wonder why 50% of the information is even in front of them. At this point, you have lost the battle.

    There is nothing wrong with a diverse job search. In fact, for many people it is a necessity. But what will never change is that you must have the right tool to do any job. A resume that tries to cover too much ground will fail more often than it will succeed. When your employment goals have too many uncommon elements, you will simply need another resume to ensure both give you the results you seek.

    Be objective when it comes to your resume strategy development. It may be tempting to attempt to cover everything in one document, but remember, you are not the audience. Your readers are really pressed for time and do not want to go through the 200-plus resumes that have been handed to them. Make it too difficult to see your value and, well, let’s just say your search continues, shall we?

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