Thursday, August 27, 2009

50 (Still) Hot Resume Writing Tips!

I've been looking at a lot of resumes and wanted to repost this list for readers who want to do their own quick resume audit.

Does your current resume need a facelift?

These 50 hot resume writing tips can give your resumes a needed facelift if you have a resume that is not working for you.

Use these hot 50 resume writing tips to help proofread a resume... regardless of who does the resume writing.

-Proofread resumes for grammar, spelling and factual errors
-Use consistent font size. Watch bullet sizes
-Limit or avoid graphics when writing a resume
-Use upper case letters sparingly and only when appropriate
-Fancy, expensive resume writing paper is not always a priority
-Using bullets will make resumes easier to read
-Do not use “responsibilities”, “responsibilities include” and “duties include”
-Volunteer work and community service enhances a resume
-Adjust margins if the resume is slightly too long
-Avoid personal pronouns like “I”, “my” and “me” except in the objective statement
-Do not list complete addresses of past employers
-Do not include names of references on the resume. Add a separate reference document.
-Keep in mind that the top 30-40% of the resume gets the most attention
-Use an ASCII font
-Use page numbers if the resume is more than one page
-Add name and contact to all pages if more than one page
-Try a resume blaster service
-Printing out an online profile is not the same as having a resume
-Use tables to align columns and remove lines
-Use a professional email address on your resume
-Hyperlink your email address
-Do not place information above your name
-Set resume margins no smaller than .5
-New grads and career changers should put education close to top of resume
-With years of experience, move education to the bottom of the resume
-A resume has about 30 seconds to make an impression on the recruiter
-Make it easy to read
-Change the resume objective statement as needed -Write a strong "Summary of Qualifications" -Use industry “buzz words” or keywords on a resume
-Resumes must identify specific successful outcomes
-Use $, % and # to demonstrate achievements
-One specific phrase to try and avoid – Entry Level
-Do not use one word resume objectives eg "Sales"
-Research advantages of the Chronological Resume vs Functional resume
-Be consistent with date formats on the resume eg 09/02, Sep 02, Sep 2002
-Consider the Combination resume
-Get others to proof read your resume – be open to criticism
-It is not necessary to include every job you have ever had
-Keep all resume content relevant
-Not all online resume writing services are equally capable
-Always keep a resume writing guide on your desk for quick reference
-Resumes, reference sheets, cover letters and thank-you letters can have the same letter head format
-Try to bring quality resume paper for interviews
-Do not include social security numbers; federal resumes may require it
-Use Action Verbs on the resume to describe accomplishments
-Use short paragraphs. 3-5 sentences maximum
-White space on a resume is not a bad thing
-Make sure resume contact information is current. The recruiter must be able to contactyou.
-Consider working with a professional resume writer for a free resume critique

More free resume writing tips and free sample resumes available at Resume/Interview FAQs

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Stand out in a Crowded Job Market

Job search strategy guest post from Adrienne Carlson for BullsEyeCareer readers on how to stand out in a crowded job market.

It’s a tough time if you’re out of a job and are having a hard time finding another one, because there are fewer opportunities and more people fighting for the ones that do exist. So unless you’re capable of standing out in a crowd, you’re going to get swept away by the deluge of jobless people all battling for the limited positions that are available. And how do you go about doing that?

· Showcasing your value to the company:
Instead of just sending out your resume, send out an email that showcases your talents and states how you plan to add value to the company if hired. Speak of what you hope to achieve rather than what you have already achieved so far. When your approach is focused on the company rather than on yourself, you differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd of other resumes that flood the recruitment section of the human resources department in any company.

· Positioning yourself differently:
Instead of using run-of-the-mill phrases and regular jargon to express your value, state why you want this job and why you will bring more value to it than anyone else who has applied for the position. When you position yourself differently and prove that you know what the job entails and how you plan to be useful to the company, employers tend to be interested in knowing more about you.

·Putting your money where your mouth is:
They say that actions speak louder than words, and this is why you must have a proven track record at your old places of work when applying for a new job. If you’re known as a performer and someone who is not afraid of hard work, most employers are willing to snap you up in no time.

·Knowing how to ace the interview:
While your resume and impact letter are the initial keys that get you into the foyer, it’s the interview that really decides if you make it into that elite inner circle or not. So make the best of it by impressing your employers at your first meeting for you may not get a second chance if you goof up initially. When you’re confident without appearing over confident, when you’re capable without appearing to be a know-it-all, and when you’re disciplined without being too rigid, you’re a gem that employers don’t want to let slip between their fingers.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accredited online university. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

When Entrepreneurs Become Job Seekers

We all know that the job market is really tough!

As if the competition from new college grads and the recently terminated isn't enough, here comes the competition from another, not so often talked about pool of job seekers - entrepreneurs.

Many small business owners are coming back into the job market and having a hard time connecting. Since the beginning of this year, I have talked to at least 10 business owners, who have had to seek out employment to either keep their own businesses going, closed their businesses all together, or thinking of closing their businesses.

Two of these entrepreneurs were in the construction business. One owned a painting company and the other a small general contracting company. Both have had to lay off workers and have become employees themselves for big box retailers. One owner of an adult day care facility is considering selling a building, at a loss no less, and operating his business from his home, where his teenage daughter can help with customers as he takes on a night job. Another, a property manager, is unable to find renters and need to now himself find a job to augment his investment property mortgage payments. These are a few. There are others and don't think this phenomenon is limited to sole proprietors either.

There is a lot of support out there for the unemployed who want to start a business. This is great news, because that is an excellent option for many. However, there is not much advice for the entrepreneur who has to return to work. Maybe because some see it as a failure? I don't. I see it as a reality.
Here are some of the tips that I have been sharing with entrepreneurs who have to become job seekers to support their families:

1. Sell your skills as a team player in the interview. Many successful entrepreneurs are "take-charge", mavericks who have been used to making all the decisions. Some employers might say they like that in a candidate, but it really is about balance.

2. Show your willingness to learn new things...quickly. As an entrepreneur, you may have become a master in a specific niche. Now that you are looking, you may find that your niche, although good for your business, doesn't have wide demand.

3. Look for opportunity and potential. You may not be able to make the same starting out, as you were when your business was up and running. Instead of looking at just the wages, consider the peace of mind for you and your family as well as benefits like health insurance and retirement accounts.

4. Talk with your vendors and suppliers. They may be able to help or certainly make recommendations. Network also with others in your professional groups such as your union. You may be able to collaborate on jobs.

5. Brush up on your job search strategy and skills. Get a resume together and become familiar with searching for jobs online or networking your way into a job. You networked to land clients before, you will now have to do the same to land a job. Only problem is that you may not have a marketing department to do it for you. Look for free job search resources. I actually met three entrepreneurs at a job search workshop I volunteered to do at my local library about 4 months ago. They were preparing for job search because their revenues were in the tank or heading there. One I am happy to say has landed a great opportunity in sales with a vendor. Two are still looking. Use free resume samples from here!

6. Use headhunters. Entrepreneurs are independent thinkers. No question about that. However, they may have to rely on the expertise of others in this situation.

7. Put yourself in the employer's shoes. Would you hire you? Remember what you looked for in an employee and think about the best way to sell that to potential employers. One of the things you thought about was - "will this employee stay?" Your new potential employer is thinking the same thing. What happens once his/her business picks up? Will I lose them as an employee? This is what the employer is thinking and so you have to prepare an answer.
8. Stay positive and bring your entrepreneurial spirit to the job search. Think creatively about meeting new people, personal branding and the numbers. The more connections you make the better qualified leads you can find. Those problem solving skills as an entrepreneur will serve you now better than ever.

No question that this is a difficult time to find a job.
If you or someone you know have been used to doing the hiring, but now have to be doing the looking, it could be a real challenge. Stay focused yet flexible!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New College Grad Files Lawsuit Against Career Center

Media outlets including social networking sites are all a-twitter about Trina Thompson, the 27 year old Class of 2009 new grad from Monroe College who is suing her alma mater for $72,000. Why? You ask. Well, Thompson is suing because she became a new college grad in April 2009 with a bachelor of business administration in Information Technology, has not yet landed a job and blames the college and the Career Advancement office.

Thompson filed suit against Monroe College in the Bronx Supreme Court stating that the Career Advancement office had not helped her with full-time job placement and she was suing because of the stress she has been going through. As I read Ms. Thompson’s statement, I couldn’t help but think of my father who used to say “A college degree sometimes doesn’t make you smarter; it just makes you a college graduate.”

I may be wrong, but I am not sure that all the attention that Thompson is now bringing to herself is the kind that will actually land her a job. I am not sure it will force of the career advisors at Monroe to now work more aggressively on her behalf. I am also thinking that some employers may not be too anxious to bring on an employee whose solution was to sue her alma mater because she had not landed an IT job in New York, of all places, in four months, in this particularly challenging economy.

My hope is that Thompson did not think that all the job losses on Wall Street were actually limited to finance professionals. I suspect that any business major in New York would understand the IT component of all these crippled financial companies and anticipate some strong competition from unemployed tech professionals with actual experience.

Having spent several years in college career centers myself I know that one of the words that career professionals try very hard to remove from the vocabulary of students, staff and faculty is “placement”. To most contemporary career center staff the word “placement” is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Why? Because the word “placement” does not indicate that the job seeker has indeed mastered any career development or job search skills themselves, but instead is waiting to be picked up and dropped into a slot based on arrangement made between the career office and the employer. No career center that I know of, operates that way and employers don't hire that way, as far as I know. The fact that Thompson used that “placement” word, made me think that somewhere along the line she missed the lesson.

For three years I have been sharing advice on careers, workplace and employment issues on this site. I hope none of my readers would want to bring suit against BullsEye because the advice didn’t work for them. Is anyone thinking they can sue Monster or Career Builder because the advice there didn’t work either? (;> I am hoping not.

Short term job searches and long term career plans are really about taking personal responsibility for one’s own future. I am hoping the career advisors at Monroe and other schools are doubling their efforts to spread that message with students and grads this fall. There are certainly alternatives in a tough market, but some professions are doing better than others. One of those doing relatively well is actually IT. Thompson may have to consider exploring some alternatives and think of creative ways to get her foot in the door. Internships come to mind.

If you know new college grads who are still looking to land that first opportunity, and many are, please share the following articles with them. These tips will also work for the Class of 2010. It is really not too early to start!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Ahead in Your Career – 10 Rules of Success

Photo - Courtesy of NBCU Photos
I found this really well thought out list of the 10 Rules of Success to help professionals grow in their careers. The list was developed by Folarin Longe, founder of Human Edge Limited, a human resources consulting and staffing services firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. I think the list is appropriate for those of us who are working in an increasingly global environment.

Longe's list can help professionals answer the proverbial question, "what does it take to get ahead around here?” Ifyour office is like the weekly TV show, The Office, you may not know which character you want to mimic.

This is the kind of question that a someone in any new work environment or a new grads should be asking after they settle into their routine assignments. Will these 10 rules apply in every work environment? I think so. Are there other factors that could be specific to your organization? Yes. For example, you might find that moving ahead in your company might require special attention to networking with senior managers.

Your goal should be to apply Longe's 10 rules of success, plus any other specific rules unique to life at your office.

Rule #1 - Be a constant learner and absorb formal and informal training
Rule #2 - Be humble. You might be surprised at the source of new ideas
Rule #3 - Be Pro-Active. Take responsibility for your own growth and development
Rule #4 - Develop a “Hardy Attitude” and be willing to take as much as you give.
Rule #5 - Be friendly yet professional
Rule #6 - Be hardworking, enthusiastic and passionate
Rule #7 - Recognize the commercial imperative
Rule #8 - Be exceptionally good at something
Rule #9 - Develop good interpersonal skills
Rule #10 - It's ok to be ambitious

Longe goes in depth with each of these 10 rules of success and I encourage you to check out the complete article for more insight into one or more of these rules.