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  • When it comes to optimizing the performance of your resume, don’t let anyone fool you: “What you don’t know WILL hurt you.” Check off all the boxes to ensure the resume reaches decision makers and consistently secures interviews. (Trust me when I tell you that there are far more boxes to check than most job seekers are even aware exist) A stalled or stagnant job search usually scapegoats the economy, industry, and other factors, when the fact is a poorly designed resume is usually the culprit. Below are 5 major reasons your resume may not be cutting the mustard, so to speak.

    Your Resume Has No Summary Section (or it is Poorly Written)

    Remember going to the bookstore and deciding what book to buy? (I know in this Amazon world no one goes to the bookstore anymore, but bear with me) A major influence on whether you purchased a book or not was the description on the inside cover, right? When a hiring manager has dozens (or hundreds) of resumes to review, something needs to grab their attention.

    A well-written summary leading off your resume convinces your reader to go deeper. Research has shown a resume has anywhere between 7 to 15 seconds to impress. So obviously no one is reading the entire resume in that time frame. A quality executive summary (or profile) section skillfully encapsulates why you are ideal for the role. And it does so with strength and style. Ignore this important strategy at your own peril.

    You’re Missing Impact Content

    You are more than just a stale job description. Act like it! If your resume only communicates the basic duties you have performed, then you are missing true value you get by providing one. After all, wouldn’t every applicant with a similar background have resume that sounds exactly like yours if this was the way to go? A powerfully consistent resume differentiates you from your competition. Take the time to explore where you had positive impact for each employer. What special projects did you contribute to? What are your contributions to policies and procedures? How about measurable performance metrics? Anything that sets you apart from those with a similar background should appear in the document.

    Your Resume is Missing Rich Keywords

    Your resume does not only have to impress the human audience, but it needs to navigate the digital audience as well. 75% of large companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), with that figure jumping to 99% of Fortune 500 companies. Want that resume to disappear into a black hole? Ignore the value of keywords in that resume and your wish will come true. ATS software scans your resume for high-value keywords to help hiring authorities trim that huge stack of resumes. Perform research on the most valuable words and phrases for the positions you seek. Keep it based in differentiating skill set and stay away from the broad soft skills that say nothing (hiring managers hate navigating this).

    Your Content is Difficult to Follow

    Pretend your submission is number 143 of 150 that your reader has to review. Now let us suppose the resume is structured in such a way that the hiring manager cannot tell where one position ends and the next one begins. Perhaps it is highly difficult to visually pick up on these things quickly. Not only that, the resume is littered with grammatical mistakes, run-on sentences, inconsistencies regarding phrasing, and other issues that make it difficult to read. Once the hiring authority runs across one or two of these issues after already going through 142 other resumes, how likely is it that they will keep going?

    Clarity of prose and ease of navigation is important to ensure your reader does not struggle to comprehend your information quickly. Remember our stat regarding resume review time? Resumes only have a brief period in which to make an impression. Don’t distract or overly tax your reader, as it is sure to get your document placed in File 13 (that’s the trash can, people!)

    Your Resume Has Technical Design Deficiencies Affecting the ATS

    Remember our friend the ATS? While it is popular in its use, the software can be pretty finicky. While getting better, these hiring management systems still have their faults. A good resume will account for these issues by using proper document infrastructure, section labeling, and content spacing. Opportunities have been lost by having resumes die within the systems they attempt to navigate. If the ATS doesn’t properly scan your resume, you don’t exist to most of these companies.

    Don’t use pre-formatted resumes because they cause a lot of these issues. Especially those that use design elements where it has not been properly thought out regarding what systems see. Of course, one must have the knowledge of what the ATS software does and does not see to properly build your resume. Remember what we said earlier (what you don’t know can and does in fact hurt you).

    Conclusion

    Achieving consistency in gaining interviews is more than about your hustle and drive. You need to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your resume project. Send out hundreds of weak written, poorly structured documents and you’ll only get more frequent “no’s”. Your inbox will still be empty, and what’s worse is that you will never know why it happened. If going it alone with the resume, don’t just scribble duties and think it will beat out other job seekers.

    Take the time to learn the ins-and-outs of what makes your resume jump to the top of the stack. If lacking time or comfort level to research what makes a great resume tick, seek help. Hire a certified resume professional to do the dirty work for you. After all, even when you write your own, you’re competing against our offerings – and we have the cheat codes, right?

  • front-end developer resume
    With an average growth rate of 27%, front-end development is a stable career path

    So, you need to bang out an eye-popping front-end developer resume. But not exactly sure of the way to go. One thing to remember when writing any resume is to first consider the end game. Who is our reader and what are the high priority skills that would make them sit up and pay attention? Of course, when it comes to a stellar high impact resume, there is more to consider than just skill set. How about design styling, overall strategy, organization, phrasing, highlight communication, etc? However, core skill set is critical to impressing your reader and navigating applicant tracking systems with strength.

    If you are a front-end developer, your career is pretty safe for now. Some believe we have only scratched the surface of website application development. But to stay marketable, you want to keep developing that skill set. What are the latest languages? How about new libraries? Mid and senior-level web developers can easily land six-figure salaries. So if staring out of your window at work and itching to make a change, consider this field.

    Below are 4 key skills for your front-end developer resume that you want to insure your reader does not miss.

    HTML/CSS

    Okay, let’s be blunt here. If you are reader cannot readily pick up on your HTML/CSS skill set, then you haven’t got a chance. After all, HTML (HyperText Markup Language) represents the standard when it comes to building a web pages. The reader of your front-end developer resume has to know you understand concepts such as document object models, tags, and semantic markup. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) represents the language one uses to present the HTML created document. Does your resume communicate your ability to embed.css files into pages? Yes, I know, it seems a little obvious, right? But you would be surprised at how many front-end developer resume attempts I see that do not convey this important foundational concept.

    JavaScript/jQuery

    JavaScript represents a tool that powers a website’s interactivity and allows the building UI components that include image sliders, site navigation mega menus, form validations, and pop-ups. Be sure that front-end developer resume shows this skill so your reader knows you can build sites with  functionality past HTML and CSS capabilities. jQuery is a JavaScript library designed to simplify HTML DOM tree traversal and manipulation, as well as event handling, CSS animation. Front-end development can be pretty Javascript-intensive due to the demand for highly-interactive website applications.

    Responsive Design

    A quality website is one that responds to a user’s behavior and environment based on screen sizes, platforms, and orientations. Want to build out front-end developer resume that get call-backs? Then make sure you communicate a healthy knowledge of this concept. When you bring this skill, the employer sees someone who can save money by foregoing the need to develop separate mobile applications. When you can house all of the code into one single website, everybody wins! Additionally, Google implemented search engine algorithm change back in 2015 that factor in website mobile presence as a core ranking factor, so responsive design also helps sites rank higher. So be sure that front-end developer resume gets this concept across to that hiring manager.

    Git

    Most development projects are collaborative in nature. And digital collaborations can be complex. Things may start out simple, but with several participants making changes, how can one be sure you are working on the most current version? Let the hiring manager know you can use Git to manage source code and manage and track versions. There are a few other version control systems (VCS) out there, but Git provides a foundation for services such as GitHub and GitLab. A strong front-end developer resume tells the reader that Git (or one of the other VCSs) is in your toolbox. We want them to know your ability to merge changes into the working branch so that things stay current, as well as timely.

    With an average salary of $79,591 (Glassdoor), it’s no wonder that front-end web development is a hot commodity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics had web development jobs in the US expected to grow 27% from 2014 to 2024. If you haven’t already, consider pursuing the W3C Front-End Web Developer Professional Certificate to increase your marketability. Also, consider using a professional to develop your front-end developer resume. After all, someone else is doing so, right?

  • linkedin profileHopefully, you have already read through the first two installments LinkedIn profile improvement and optimization recommendations. Now, let’s wrap it up in a nice bow so that you can put it over the top.

    LinkedIn Profile: Unique Presentation for Optimal Effect

    If there is one overall weakness to the LinkedIn platform, it is the lack of built-in formatting options to help with the visual presentation of your profile to your connections and page visitors. But that should not stop you from creating uniquely designed profile with accents that help to differentiate you from your competition. While the LinkedIn platform does not offer symbol and bullet options native to its system, there are some that you can manually include within your content that will help to make your profile easier on the eyes and easier to navigate.

    Make New Connections

    Okay, so now you have a well-developed profile that is content-rich and attractive. But what difference does it make if there is no one to see it? Building an impressive LinkedIn profile and not making connections is like getting dressed up in your best power suit to sit on the couch instead of going to a meet-and-greet. Look for and make strategic connections that can be of benefit to you in the future. Did you know that your connection makeup can affect the search strength of your LinkedIn profile?

    LinkedIn Profile: Join Groups to Stay Connected

    LinkedIn is not only good for building strategic connections with those who can help you to advance your career. It is also a great way to keep your ear to the ground on information that can help with the same. The best way to get access to like-minded professionals in live conversations about specific points of interest that can add to your knowledge base is to join groups aligned with those interest.

    I know, I know, who has time to check in on every group to get the latest on subjects being discussed? Well, you can adjust your settings within the group so that you receive updates on the latest chatter. Have an email notification arrive once per day, or make it once per week (my preference).

    Additionally, you can use groups to share information of value to the community. After all, if you’re receiving quality input from the community, you should contribute where possible, right? Not to mention you begin begin to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. And that has real value, people.

  • 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?

  • 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!

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