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  • career managementToday you made headway. You applied to several posted job vacancies, made sent in cold resume submissions to target companies your research showed might be hiring soon. You’ve reached out to your members of your LinkedIn network for information on potential employment in their spheres and you’ve done the same when it comes to your social network. But if you are not taking the time to document your progress, you are being as efficient as you can be with your career management.

    You of course have the option to keep it simple. Some opt for the everyday garden-variety spreadsheet. While Microsoft Excel is of course an excellent tool, the advent of free cloud based services such as Google Docs give you real-time updating ability through the use of Google Sheets. But regardless of the spreadsheet program or platform used, it should contain the same track categories to help you stay on top of your job search. You will want to keep track of everything related to the search. Some column titles may include:

    Job Applied For
    Company Name
    Contact Name/Title
    Phone
    E-mail Address
    Mailing Address
    Date of Last Communication
    Website
    Date Resume Submitted
    How Resume Submitted
    References Sent
    How I Heard About This Job
    Job Description/Keywords
    Status of Application
    Comments and Notes

    It may not be just the vacancies and potential positions to which you have applied. You will want to track communications with those in your network that can either assist you with finding a position this job search cycle, or could be of value in the future. Remember, good career management is not just about the job that you need today. It is about building those relationships that can open doors tomorrow. In fact, if you manage your network properly today, your next job search is likely to be much shorter.

    If you are looking for existing job search tools to help with career management, there are several out there that are proven to be effective. Most job seekers already know about JibberJobber.com, which has been around since 2006. This platforms free version gives you the ability to track 250 companies and 250 contacts. Not bad. The premium version is only $9.95 per month. Others such as Careershft.com are a little more expensive, but is a more comprehensive tool with an interface that allows for more efficient management of your time and process. They also have patented technology for performing address and telephone searches for contacts. Others include ApplyMate and StartWire.

    Whether you use a career management tool that already exists, or decide to go to the spreadsheet route, it is always good to know when those targeted resumes were sent, to whom you’ve spoken, and the status of those applications, among other things. But what that list can also provide is new members of your network, as well as an excellent starting point for the next job search.

  • resume strategy tipsWhen one decides to become an entrepreneur, it comes with inherent risks. Not every business is going to make it. Sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards. When you’re forced to shut the doors (or at least do so temporarily), it then becomes time to dust off the ol’ resume that you have been using to scout out investors, business loans, and clients. But wait a minute. Your audience is now different. What you will be looking to communicate will be different. How they read the document will be different. As such, your resume must follow suit. Here are some resume writing tips on bringing that entrepreneur resume closer in line with what your new reader needs to see.

    Resume Strategy Tips 1: Leave the “Jack of All Trades” Angle Back with the Business License

    Many job seekers believe that employers and hiring managers want to see a resume that demonstrates the breadth of your experience and demonstrates your versatility. And erroneously so. Recruiters and HR personnel are crunched for time. When attempting to fill a position, they are worried about solving a specific set of problems. When retooling your resume, take into account what problems the reader will be looking to solve and make this the focus of the resume strategy. Remember when Liam Neesen told those kidnappers that he “had a particular set of skills”? Follow his lead, folks.

    Resume Strategy Tips 2: Minimize the Business Ownership Emphasis

    In most cases, hiring managers are afraid of entrepreneurs. The fear comes from the potential to lose the new hire to yet another business opportunity that our free spirited friend might come across. Or perhaps the candidate is using the job to supplement income until the ship rights itself, and then planning to leave. Training new employees has a real cost. Some believe it costs up to 9 months’ salary every time an employee has to be replaced. Here is another article on the subject of training costs. Forget the “Owner” or “Proprietor” titles. (Check your ego at the unemployment office, my friend). The good news is that as the owner of the business, you have likely worn many hats. Hats that can be used to populate your new resume. So if you are seeking a Business Development Manager position, you likely did a good deal of business development for your business. Why not use that as your job title?

    Resume Strategy Tips 3: Structure the Resume for Brevity

    The resume you developed for that investor or business banking loan officer was prepared for a captured audience. These individuals are usually prepared to comb over that resume and the rest of your documentation before making a decision. But in the job search arena, your resume usually has less than 10 seconds to deliver its message. Then the reader moves on to the next resume. Be sure you layout and design are conducive to visual navigation ease. Check for superfluous language in your sentence structure. Look for low-relevance concepts.

    Transitioning back to the salaried world is a big adjustment in mindset and approach, especially when it comes to the buildout of your new resume. But one thing has never changed: you always take into account your audience and environment when developing any form of communications. Picking up valuable tips can always help. But trust me when I tell you: the touch of a certified professional resume writer is likely improve your results even more. But if for some reason time is not on your side, these tips will at least give you a better shot at getting the interview.

  • how to write a resumeWhen it comes to any resume writing project, the most difficult part always seems to be getting started. This is because there is usually so many factors to consider. How much do I flush out my job description? What portion of my education is relevant? If I include an executive summary, what exactly am I saying there? Well, trust me when I tell you that this is a rabbit hole we could go down for days. But in this latest how to write a resume segment, let’s address the order in which you approach the document’s construction.

    Remember that an effective resume is a targeted resume. So since you are not just looking to document a bunch of facts, there is going to be some information that is a higher priority than others when it comes to inclusion in the resume. In most situations, the information that is least flexible lies in the job descriptions themselves. After all, you did what you did there, right? You will still need to consider what information will go in and what may have to come out. We consider this the skeleton upon which the rest of the resume will be built. For now, lay the information out as best you can in relation to the target. You can always go back and edit accordingly based upon the amount of room in the document and your perception of how information blends.

    Lay out the other aspects of your background, including your education, and other skills. It is okay if you are not sure exactly what will be included. If this is the case, and it is better to include everything and then trim the document later. Remember, unless this is a special circumstance, we are looking to keep our resume at two pages or less. But the idea is to get the nuts and bolts down before you begin molding at based upon the target.

    At this point, all of the raw material should be in the resume. It is at this point that you work on your executive summary profile section. This is the section that will tell you are either exactly how they should perceive your information. Think of it as a jacket cover introduction to a book. It’s frames the conversation for the reader. While you want a well-developed profile section, you do not want to overdo it. After all, this is supposed to be more of a synopsis. The Reader really wants to get into the meat of the resume, but they will stop here first based upon the profile’s location on the page. If structured correctly, it will be easily digestible visually and set the tone for how they absorb the rest of your resume.

    You may end up with a resume exceeding two pages because you did not know what to remove. Now that you have properly researched the target and develop your profile section accordingly, it will be a little more obvious to you the information within the body that should either be truncated or removed. Of course, it goes without saying that proper resume phrasing will help you optimize the space used (we call it the “telegraphic” writing style). But if you have done the job with your phrasing and still exceeding the second page, then look for relatively low priority content to trim. It’s there … trust me.

    For more tips on writing  resume, be sure to click here.

  • resume-writer-tipResume writers and career professional are often asked by clients for their opinion on what the next career move should be. But the truth is that this is not a question that can be accurately answered by us. Yes, we can give you a tactical analysis on the types of positions for which you seem to have the best qualifications match. But deciding on your career change should involve numerous factors of which we often are not aware.

    At any point in the fork in the road of your career, there are going to be several factors you will need to assess for yourself before a decision can be made. For example, what is your propensity for risk? Not everyone has the disposition “put it on the line” and take gambles. Some opportunities are safer than others. Perhaps not a lot of upside, but they are steady and you know they’ll be there. Then again, some careers are high risk/high reward. Taking such a road can lead you to the penthouse or the poor house once the dust clears. You need to decide which type of person you are. We are all made up of different stuff. Best to know your makeup before you leap.

    Another question you can ask yourself is whether you are an office person or enjoy working in the field. You are going to have to get up every day and go “somewhere” on your next job. Are you the type of person who likes routine of going to the same place daily, or is your thing working in the field? There are benefits and detriments to each. When you go into an office every day, you can benefit from the structure and have engagement and social interaction with fellow employees. However, the professional in the field usually has the freedom to control their own hours and they meet new people daily. When you close your eyes, which do you see yourself doing every day?

    Other factors to consider include:

    • Do you like the stability of a large company versus the dynamic environment of a smaller one?
    • What is your bank account looking like? Do you have time to pursue this ideal career path, or will the well run dry before you secure it?
    • Which of your skills do you see using every day and which would you rather stay away from?

    It is always best to piece together your target like a jigsaw puzzle. Work out the different aspects of what the job should look like for you based upon the totality of your personal makeup and situation, then step back and see what it looks like. Find the job that best matches those parameters and you’re off to the races!

  • certified resume writerAs a certified resume writer, our primary objective is to get our clients into the interview door. Yes, everyone wants a Picasso masterpiece fit for framing and displaying in a museum. But that isn’t the goal, is it? Our clients are in need of a job (or a promotion) and in order to achieve that, they must first be called in to interview with someone. Now, when most people think of this process, they envision someone sitting in a quiet office who has nothing but time to review their resume as though it is the one and only one they will be reviewing that day. The truth is often a bit less “sanitary” than that.

    When one considers that their resume can be one of dozens (or even hundreds) of resumes that someone has to review, you’ll see that the game changes with how a resume project needs to be approached. Why? Well, if your reader has been given the edict to get that stack of resumes down from 278 to 15 by the end of the day, do you really think they have time to read every word? They are looking for every reason in the world to throw your resume away. After all, how else will they be able to manage this process, along with the other projects on their plate?

    The way a good certified resume writer deals with the numbers game is to first figure out where all of the “resume landmines” reside. The certified professional understands how a reader will process that information in under 10 seconds. Everything from paragraph length to alignment, font choice and phrasing plays a role. In fact, even HR professionals and recruiters are often surprised when we reveal to them certain factors that can subconsciously affect their processing of the information in front of them.

    Countless resume are tossed before the reader even gets to the first job description. A certified resume writer knows where the mines are buried to help you navigate your way to that interview door.

    “If you don’t know, hire a pro.”

  • acing the interviewOne of the most stressful processes you will ever go through is the interview process. The combination of pressure to produce the right answers to interview questions with the realization of what is at stake can get to you if you’re not careful. Here are 5 “P’s” to remember for acing the interview and putting yourself in the best position to land the job:

    Perception

    Let’s address the macro element first, which is how we perceive the situation. Our nerves get frazzled because we frame the situation in its worst case scenario in our minds. It is as though we alone have to go through interviews and no one else. As though it has never been done successfully before. Well, let’s work on changing the way we view this. People just like you have been interviewing for jobs for years, and they will be interviewing for years after yours. Keep your focus on the fact that if anyone else has had success in interviewing, then there is no reason you can’t be successful as well. Picture yourself as one of the millions who have and will interview successfully and you will not feel alone. Remember, it has been done before, so if “them”, why not “you”?

    Preparation

    Nothing facilitates fear quite like the unknown. The thought of what can be waiting for you around the corner can make you hesitant and affect your overall confidence level. The cure for this is preparation for the process. You should know what the most common questions tend to be, as well as your prepared response. Research the company with which you are interviewing. Be sure you fully understand not only what they do, but their history and where they are heading. Research as much as you can about the position, the department and its purpose. Your know what they say: “Success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Well, the interview is the opportunity, so prepare for success. And Don’t forget to bring extra copies of your resume.

    Practice

    There is no better facilitator of confidence than familiarity. The more you interview, the more comfortable you will be. Practice every aspect of the interview process via mock interviews. Be it friends and colleagues, or interview coaches and recruiters, simply going through dry runs of the process can make you more comfortable for when faced with the real thing. Get any offers to interview for jobs that you know you do not want to accept? Take those interviews anyway. This is a great time to get some “live fire” experience. Perhaps you can work out some new responses to standard interview questions. Or perhaps you will get one or two odd questions to test your “off-the-cuff” response skills. At some point, you want to be as familiar with the interview process as you are in conversing with your friends. Practice, practice, practice!

    Promptness

    By the time you meet the interviewer, you want to ensure you are in the right frame of mind. Arriving 15 minutes early allows you to sit for a while, decompress, review your resume and notes and go through whatever other mental exercises work for you to put yourself in the proper head space to deal with the interview process. Running into the door at the exact time of the interview does not allow for this. In fact, it sends a message to the interviewer that you may not fully grasp basic interview etiquette, which is the 15-minute early arrival. If you are not already, familiarize yourself with the location and route. Take into account traffic influences (time of day, construction, etc) and figure out exactly when you need to walk out of the door to get to the interview location on time. Vince Lombardi said that “15 minutes early is on time, and on time is late”. Who are we to argue with him?

    Probe

    You’ve arrived on time and killed it throughout the interview. But no matter how well you feel you have prepared, you’d better have some questions for the interviewer at the end. The fact is, if you have prepared properly and truly interested in the position, company or industry, you will have questions that your research simply cannot answer. Your questions (providing they are good ones) gives your interviewer insight into the depths of your thought process and overall investment in your career. When an employer brings you aboard, they want to feel you will be there a while. When you have no questions, it communicates a lack of interest and connection to the position and company, not to mention a lack of preparation and thought. Great questions at the end of the interview process also leave the interview on a high note when it comes to their perception of you. Who knows, you may reveal some facts to them about the organization or industry that they may not know themselves.

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