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Career Change

  • entry level resumeGraduation is near and it is time to look for a job that will jump-start your career. But as you sit in front of the blank screen, you realize that you have no experiences to communicate. After all, you are fresh out of college, right? There will be resume writing strategies you may have been taught, or read in a book that you will be tempted to integrate. But hold the phone. Some of the concepts that work for the seasoned professional with 20 years of experience may not work for you. Here are some quick tips to developing an entry level resume that will bring you a consistent interviews.

    Entry Level Resume Tip #1: Keep it to One Page

    Think of the career ladder like a pyramid. The lower you are on the ladder, the wider it is and the more competition you face (at least from a quantity standpoint). More competition in two more resumes for your reader to review. Yeah, the last time I checked, regardless of how many resumes they need to review, there are still only 24 hours in the day.

    As an entry-level candidate, you are not likely to have very much experience in which to communicate. As such, you need to ensure that you are not wasting your reader’s time. When you are an entry level candidate, you want to keep that entry level resume to one highly relevant page. In an entry level position scenario, you can bet that your reader will dedicate no more than 10 seconds to the initial review to determine interview worthiness. If they have to sort through two pages of non relevant information in order to gauge this of your resume, it is likely to end up in the trash can. Keep it short and sweet, but full of relevance.

    Entry Level Resume Tip #2: Don’t Oversell It

    The temptation to overcompensate for the lack of experience is always tempting. After all, it is natural to feel a little self conscious about not having an awful lot to say on the experience front. But you must resist the urge to use overly grandiose descriptions in verbiage in the place of substantive content. One thing that you must remember is that for an entry level position, higher authorities already understand that your experience is limited. So there is no need to overcompensate for it.

    There are ways to stand out from the crowd without smoke and mirrors. One thing to remember is that hiring managers sometimes see dozens or even hundreds of resumes. And they can see through the smoke. Too much self aggrandizing verbiage and you are likely to aggravate them more so than impressed them. There is a fine line between smart and type verbiage and filibustering. Be sure your resume is on the right side of it.

    Entry Level Resume Tip #3: Make Education and Training the Focal Point

    With little experience with which to impress your reader, use your education and training to draw the attention of the reader and make your case. You do this by leading off with this information, as opposed to relegating it to the bottom of the resume. In this case, you want to be sure to go into any detail that you can with regard to the education and training that can be relevant.

    Any coursework titles that would be of interest to the reader? Be sure to include them. How about any special projects you engaged in during your time in school? This could provide your reader with a little more meat in support of your application. Not to mention, this can definitely add searchable content to your resume that gives applicant tracking systems something to hang on to. Be sure to structure your entry-level resume with these high value items near the top.

    Entry Level Resume Tip #4: Don’t Drill Down on the Non-Relevant

    You have just completed four years of college, but during this time you also maintained several jobs. However, all of them were completely unrelated to the type of position you are seeking to start your long-term career. When writing your entry level resume, don’t waste the time of your reader by going into meticulous description of these jobs that in no way qualify you for what you will be doing in the future. Once again, the idea is to respect the reader’s time, as well as make it easy for them to find your high value content.

    Depending upon available space, you may only want to give one or two lines in description of these positions, if any at all. Now, you do want to include any information about the position that demonstrates achievement or your ability to rise to the occasion. Perhaps you submitted an idea that help increase office productivity by 30%. Or maybe you took it upon yourself to research a new bender, presented it to management, and had the idea accepted, resulting in a $5,000 annual savings per year. This type of information will hold more value than the day-to-day details of the position.

    Conclusion

    The entry level resume can sometimes be more complicated to put together from a strategy standpoint than the resume for a senior manager. At least for the senior manager, if he has been in the same type of position for 20 years, the strategy is straightforward. For entry-level clients and career changers, we sometimes must get creative to ensure the reader does not miss the value. Just remember that when it comes to resume writing, don’t accept every guideline as law.

    While there are some aspects of resume writing we always want to adhere to, the overall goal will always be the same: communicate the value to the reader in the best way possible for your specific situation.

  • career mentorOnce you decide on a particular career direction, the next thing you will want to do is to begin developing a strategy for making it happen. So you begin to consider any education and training you may need to achieve your career objective, along with conducting research on the industry or profession you will be pursuing, right? But what if you did not have to do this type of leg work? What if the path you are trying to forge has already been traveled? This is where a good career mentor comes in. Finding and engaging a professional who has achieved a level of success in the arena you are seeking can be one of the most important tools in your career arsenal. Here are just a few things that a good career mentor can do for you.

    Career Mentors Help Eliminate Unnecessary Effort

    As we all know, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When pursuing your chosen profession, there can be dozens of ways to get to the place that you want in your career. But wouldn’t it be nice to avoid the pitfalls, mistakes, and time wasters that delay your progress? Or even worse, take you completely off the path? A career mentor who has traveled the road to get to where you are trying to can provide you with insight as where to focus your efforts. Why take a course that you don’t have to? Or take a job that leads you to a dead end? If you were looking for directions to someone’s home, wouldn’t you want them to tell you where the potholes, dead ends, closed street, and heavily trafficked areas where? A mentor can turn you on to resources that perhaps they wish they accessed when they were coming up.

    Cultivate a Relationship That Leads To A Fertile Professional Network

    If you have just graduated from college, there is a chance that the only people you know attend beer bashes and toga parties. As enjoyable as that may be, these don’t usually do a lot for your career advancement. When you secure a good career mentor, you are also on the verge of accessing a pipeline of like-minded professionals who can lend a helping hand when it comes to securing employment or other opportunities. A good career mentor for you will be someone who is well established within the profession. With years of experience, they will likely have built an extensive network of others just like themselves who are a “speed dial button press” away. When you prove yourself worthy, there is an excellent chance that your mentor will open up their contact list to you. (Now, you must be sure to be on your game before most will do this for you. When they introduce you their reputations are also on the line. But if you are serious about your career, things will eventually fall into place.)

    Career Mentors Can Show You the Ugly Side You Many Not Have Seen

    Have you ever seen a movie trailer so exciting that you could not wait to buy your ticket and see it, only to find that the movie have numerous holes and that the only exciting parts were the trailers you already saw? This can sometimes be the case when it comes to pursuing a career. All of the website and periodicals you’ve accessed can show you all the great aspects of the career. But what about the things that only someone in the profession would know? With any profession, there may be some aspects of it that just will not work for you, but the research you conduct may not reveal it. A career mentor that has been there for 10 to 20 years is liable to have run across every scenario and be able to point out those things that no amount of research will reveal.

    Too many people are fond love the concept of wanting to learn from their mistakes. But be smart people know that the best way to do it is to learn from someone else’s. Committing to a career path can take time and resources that you may not ever be able to repeat. Traveling the road alone leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of mistakes. As you can see, a good career mentor can help you to avoid many of these, while potentially providing a pipeline of contacts to utilize in the future. Along with a great resume and excellent interviewing skills, the career mentor is a must for your tool box.

  • career change resume writingNothing presents a challenge to most career seekers more so than resume writing for a new career direction. After all, what do you say? With years of experience in another area, many job seekers find themselves not knowing what content to include in the new resume. Strangely enough, this is not a huge issue for professional resume writers. While most business professionals tend to focus on their work history (and understandably so), as certified resume writers, we are accustomed to looking at the totality of the job seeker’s offerings. Any effective resume is going to be more focused on the future than it will the past. Sure, depending upon the position, your work history can play a role in securing the next job. But the question for your reader and hiring managers will always be the same:

    “What can you offer right now that qualifies you to do this job now and in the future?”

    So let’s think about that. Is your work experience the only thing that you have to offer? The answer is usually no. In most cases, as a job seeker you are at least bringing a knowledge base, some training or formal education to the table. If this is the case, why not showcase these assets?

    Let’s say you have been a bank teller for the last 8 years. And now you’re writing your resume for an engineering position anticipating the completion of your mechanical engineering undergrad degree. The last thing that your readers will want to see is a two page resume where 70% of it goes into the minutiae of banking or the myriad duties of a teller. Your reader may need to know your work chronology, but they do not need to be dragged down the rabbit hole in the resume. Showcase your education. List out your coursework. Talk about any academic projects of note or elaborate on any internships that you had.

    Now, now, I know what you are going to say:

    “C’mon, the hiring manager pretty much knows all the courses I was required to take why am I giving them this information all over again?”

    With mostly people do not realize is that the resume communicates similar to the way we humans do. Often times it is not what we say that makes the impact. It is how we say it. A resume dominated by non-relevant information is likely to bore and disengage your review.

    Think about it. With regard to that bank teller resume, if you were applying for another bank teller position, its reader likely knows all the duties of a bank teller. But part of that resume writing process is giving them some of that information anyway. Of course, we usually want to focus our readers on high impact highlights and contributions, but that reader always get some information that they already have. But the biggest value one gets from a well-constructed resume is the establishment of a frame of mind with that reader when it comes to how they see and view you. You are trying to create a certain “environmental perception”, if you will, in which they process who you are and what you can do for them. In our example above, our reader needs to “see” and “feel”us as an engineering professional, not a banking professional. Do not be afraid to give them some of what they already know. I do not want to overdo it, but we must to present as that professional.

    So when it comes to your resume writing for your new career, think of it as you do your professional wardrobe: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

  • interviewsHow to Make the Most of Your New Resume to Manage Your Career

    In our last blog article, we addressed a couple of the things that you should do to manage your career once you have your brand new resume in hand. We went over storing electronic copies in various places for easy access. We also went over how to treat your social media, at least during a job search. Keep it clean, keep your professional.

     

    Build a Complete and Search-Friendly LinkedIn Profile

    Your brand new resume is only part of your toolbox in getting a new job to help manage your career. A LinkedIn profile is quickly becoming a necessary part of your job search package. Did you know that there were more than 300 million LinkedIn users and that 1 in 20 of these are recruiters? Folks, I’m afraid LinkedIn isn’t optional anymore. A few weeks ago, I ran across a job posting that specifically asked for the LinkedIn URL and not to send in the resume. LinkedIn is here to stay people!

    Be sure to develop your profile fully. Incomplete profiles do not score as well in their search database. Also, sit for and upload a professional photo. Did you know that a LinkedIn profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if there is a photo in the profile? Flesh out each of your professional experience positions as well. LinkedIn profiles allow up to 2000 characters for each of these. Best to make use of the available space to help with Search strength. And don’t forget to make connections and get recommendations.

     

    Make Your Battle Plan In Writing

    So now that you have your resume, a refined LinkedIn profile, and a cleaned up social media space, it is time to create a plan for your approach. How many hours per day will you spend networking vs applying for openings to mange your career? How much time will you spend researching companies that hire people with your skill set, but just may not have posted openings yet? Identify those viable targets and build an action plan for reaching out to each and every one of them. Put those whom you communicate with, be sure to track those conversations for future reference. Always seek to make your communications a personal one. Your competition won’t always do so. Use any scheduling software on your phone or computer to ensure that you execute all stages of your plan in a timely fashion. (No, that fancy phone isn’t just for playing Candy Crush)

     

    Get a Mentor

    Now, this is more of a long term strategy than a short term job search move. What a mentor will do for you is keep you from unnecessary making mistakes in your career path. Often, a mentor’s personal experiences, trials and tribulations can serve as warnings to you to ensure that you reach your goals with minimal stress. Perhaps there were classes you are planning to take that are unnecessary. Your mentor may know this as they took those classes and found that it was a waste of time and resources. And perhaps they can be of some short-term service to you. As a member of the industry or profession and which you are seeking membership, they may have a colleague looking for someone exactly like you.

  • quitting rantSo you have an annoying and jerk of a boss, and you just reached the point where you’ve taken all that you can from them. You sit in your office and plan the most elaborate quitting rant that you can. You really want to show this jerk, and your fellow jerk coworkers where they can stick this job. It is going to be epic, right! RIGHT?

    Not so fast. Enjoy this scenario in your head while you eat lunch, but be sure that you keep this performance to yourself. The truth is, going with an elaborate “quitting show” is a very short-term pleasure ride to take for potentially throwing away your career.

    First of all, you never know who your jerk boss, his boss, or those annoying co-workers know. When your resume comes across someone else’s desk, they may see your former company’s name and realize that her friend from college works there. And what do you think that friend will say to them after seeing your quitting rant performance? And it doesn’t have to be a co-worker with whom you don’t get along. Even those who you may have called friend will have a hard time putting their own reputations on the line by recommending you.

    Second, in the age of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, you can just bet that if your tirade lasts any longer than 10 seconds, it will be recorded and uploaded before you can get to your car. You will have to worry during every interview as to whether the will recognize you. And even if the first interviewer does not, the second one might, or one of your new coworkers.

    Lastly, depending upon the size of your industry or profession, word may just get around to all places that were potential new landing spots before you even update your resume. Yes you may find yourself blackballed the industry because of your need to tell your former employer and fellow employees about themselves.

    Look, we all know that we have those moments where did will feel really, really good to lay into your boss and walk out the door with the old song “Take This Job and Shove It” blasting from your smartphone. But you must to consider the long game before going on an elaborate quitting rant. You may need these people for future references and networking opportunities. Hey, you may even need to return to that company once the present agitators have cycled out due to attrition, which sometimes happens. Things are just too tough out there right now to burn any bridges. Keep all options  open and bridges  intact, as you never know when you have to backtrack over it.

  • operations managerMany professionals prefer the benefits of working for larger corporations. There are the benefits packages, ample training, and perceived job security that make this option all too attractive. But with many people overlook is the benefits of working for smaller, growing companies. According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses make up 99.9% of the 26.8 million businesses in the United States. So if you are only looking for a large company opportunities, you can be leaving a lot on the table.

    From a professional standpoint, the small company opportunities allow you to gain a broad range of skill sets because of the need for its employees to wear many hats. In larger organizations, everyone tends to be more specialized and compartmentalized. With numerous cards in their machinery, large enterprises love to take the plug and play approach with employees. The more focused your job, the more easier you are to replace. You’re smaller businesses tend to expose you to more, making you more valuable in the marketplace. It also better prepares you for running your own enterprise someday.

    With smaller businesses, you are also able to ride the crest of success to larger financial gains. If you are fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor of a great business, you can find yourself wealthy very quickly. Just ask any Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon employee who had stock options from the start. When you come into a large business that is already established. Your salary and benefits pretty much represent the range of where you will be for some time. Promotion opportunities tend to be less available, and of course, the political environment will play a role.

    As I mentioned earlier, the illusion of job security with a larger company it’s just that. An illusion. Larger companies will not think twice before jettisoning entire departments and divisions, dumping hundreds or thousands into the available work pool in an effort to streamline personnel costs and increase the bottom line for shareholders and senior management. The best part about  small company opportunities is that it is much easier to keep your ear to the ground as to what is happening with the company. You will usually see trouble coming.

    Of course, your financial and family situation dictates which option is better for you in the long term. For example, and older professional may value the benefits package more so than the potential for explosive income growth or promotion. Younger professionals can afford the luxury of taking a position with a startup entity that may not offer benefits, but an excellent opportunity to get into something on the ground floor to experience the huge upside. One’s personality and tolerance for risk should also should dictate the type of position pursued. But either way, keep your head on a swivel and ear to the ground for rumblings of what is going on with your employer and your industry.

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