Archive for Resume/Cover Letters

ResumeHere is a very helpful article that our certified resume writer, Jasmine Marchong, shared with me recently about being a polite pest during your job search… (I’m telling our clients this all the time by the way, be a pest, just be professional and polite about it!) We’re doing this as a Q&A format again to help you think outside the box using your resume as a tool for your search. Read the article here.

Hallie: How can you be a polite pest specifically with your resume, meaning – what do you think about sending your resume in to a job application in a different way than usual, like via snail mail?

Jasmine: Finding all avenues to apply for a position is most definitely recommended as it provides more opportunities for the employer to notice you. Similar to the advice given in this article, you want to do something different from the masses that shows your persistence,  determination, and initiative. Use your network to find someone on the inside or a colleague to submit your resume with a recommendation on your behalf, or try connecting using LinkedIn, or attend mutual professional events and take advantage of the opportunities available. There are many ways you can make a connection and it’s up to to you to step outside the box and capitalize in on those opportunities.

Hallie: What do you think of the use of social resumes these days?

Jasmine: Given the advance in technology and advantages/disadvantages an online visibility can present, I highly recommend each person own their online identity and use the tools available to help develop and advance their presence. Keeping in mind that employers conduct web searches to find and eliminate potential and new talent, the last thing you want is incriminating info that can negatively impact your career and future.  Here’s an article that provides some great advice.

Hallie: They talk at the end of the article about following up on a job application as a way to demonstrate you have effective communication skills? How can your resume enhance that image of you being an effective communicator as well?

Jasmine: Statistics indicate employers spend 10-15 seconds maximum (and sometimes even less) reviewing potential resumes to determine the candidate’s fit. Having a clear, concise resume that quickly communicates your value proposition is important to getting you noticed and in the door. The employer is not going to read a lengthy, wordy resume. In fact, you need to get the point, identify what you bring to the table and validate this with measurable results. This type of resume shows your ability to communicate clearly and given the correct application, should induce action.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

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ResumeI was talking to my career book editor, Anne, the other day. As a professional writer she has helped many people with their resume writing over the years. We were working on the portion of my book (coming in early 2014, I’m very excited!) regarding resume advice and we were brainstorming tips that you don’t hear every day regarding your resume update.

One of her suggestions, was after you have edited your resume and you have the final draft, read it once more, backwards. This will enable you to capture any mistakes in spelling and punctuation that you may have missed because you have been looking at it for so many hours!

So take one last look, have others read it as well of course, but take a few minutes to read your resume backwards line by line in case you have missed something small. Thanks Anne, great advice!

Hallie Crawford
Atlanta Career Coach

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

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I was thrilled to be featured on the local NBC evening news last night with Brenda Wood, her regular 11 at 7 segment. AT&T has 900 open positions currently in Atlanta, good news! I wanted to share a few of the pieces of advice we talked about regarding how to stand out in your job search, what to include in your resume and how to handle social media when you’re searching these days.

1) If you’re applying for a job, like the positions at AT&T, what can you do to make yourself stand out?

Know your brand and how to articulate it! Practice in the mirror before a networking event. Know your competition, review the LinkedIn profiles of others in your industry to understand how you stand out and what your unique selling points are.

Resumes are pretty these days. It’s not just a text document with your work history. People are using text boxes, light shading and other formatting tools to enable a recruiter or employer to quickly scan their resume and determine right away why they are qualified for the job!

Keywords, make sure you use keywords that are relevant to your industry in your resume and on your LinkedIn profile. This will enable employers searching online for prospective employees to find you quickly and easily.

2) An updated resume is a must when you’re looking for work. What are some key points people need to include?

Have a summary of qualifications at the top. You can call it a professional profile, summary of qualifications or executive profile whatever you feel is most appropriate. But tell them right up front why you are qualified for their job.

Put a link to your LinkedIn profile at the top in the contact information section.

Focus on results and accomplishments, and your resume is not the kitchen sink. Only include items that are relevant to the position. Adding things that are not diffuses your message.

3) In the day and age of social media, how does it play into an applicant’s favor, or is it a disadvantage?

Google yourself! The employer will. You want to know what they will see. Clean up what you can if there is anything you would rather not be visible.

Review your Facebook profile if you post often to ensure everything that should stay personal remains that way. Use LinkedIn and other networking sites to your advantage to expand your network, identify contacts for informational interviews and land a job. Some employers are reporting that up to 80% of their recruiting efforts are conducted through LinkedIn. Social media can be a good thing for your search, just use it wisely.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

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Laptop workMost people will say no, they are not updating their resume continuously. Nine times out of ten when I’m working with a new client, they say their resume is out of date. Some have not even looked at it in years! I understand that, and what happens when our resume writer, Jasmine Marchong, begins to work on their resume, they have trouble remembering the key accomplishments they want to include over the years.

It takes more time to dig through your memory banks or performance reviews than it would to simply update your resume every six to twelve months. We liked this article about what to include in your update, Performance Appraisal Time? Update Your Resume at the Same Time. A great time to update your resume is before your performance review so that you can use it as the catalyst to get you going.

A couple of other things to keep in mind as well:

1. Update your LinkedIn profile at the same time!

2. Keep a master resume with all of your work experience and accomplishments.

This will make it easier when it’s time to start a new job search. You can simply copy and paste the relevant material into each new resume to apply for jobs.

Hallie Crawford
Job Search Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

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Check out my latest video as I talk about the critical things you need to consider to decide whether a social resume is right for you and how to approach using them. The article I reference in the video is here: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20130216-goodbye-paper-hello-social-resume.ece

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

Here is my latest YouTube video where I talk about changes I recently made to a client’s cover letter and the three critical things you need to keep in mind when writing yours.

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

Camera, lenses and filters 1As a recent grad you may not have years and years of experience in your chosen field.  How do you create your application materials, resume and cover letters, to reflect the potential you have?

1)  Look at all the experience you do have – whether its professional experience you were paid for, volunteer experience, college club and group experience, etc.

2)  Instead of just looking at the title you held, take a look at the skills you gained, the responsibilities you had, and the true day-to-day tasks you completed.

3)  Make a list of how those relate to the positions you want to be offered.

4)  Now include those skills, responsibilities, and talents in your resume and cover letter.  This is how you tailor your application materials to the type of position you desire, instead of having a static way of describing an experience the same way for lots of different types of jobs.

5)  In your cover letter especially, highlight what you’ve done in your various experience that relates to the job you’re applying for.  Even if this wasn’t specifically in your job title or job description, but was something you did and relates to the position you want, definitely highlight it.

Don’t let your lack of work experience hold you back from describing your ability and potential in applications.  Be willing to see your previous experience through many different lenses and you will see how you really DO have relevant experience to offer.

Darcy Holoweski
Certified Career Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

ResumesCareer coaching clients often ask me, what do I think of resumes and cover letters, are they still necessary or are they becoming obsolete? And what about online resumes or webpages to showcase your skills?

Resumes and cover letters are still a must. I think over time they will be delivered or provided in a different format. (Think LinkedIn or online resumes). But they’re not going anywhere. They are still a must. If the company says do not provide one or the other, follow their instructions. Both are still very important though.

Including a cover letter is important because 1) it shows your writing skills and how well you communicate and 2) it demonstrates you care enough about the position to write one and you are able to speak about your skills related to the position confidently. So even if they don’t ask for a cover letter, provide one. As an attachment – not in the body of the email. Err on the side of more formal and professional unless your field calls for something else more creative or different (marketing or advertising for ex).

Online resumes are becoming more popular. I think it’s nice to have one. It’s not a must but it depends on your industry. If you’re in technology, go for it. If you’re in a more traditional field you can get away without one, but consider it as a way to stand out from the crowd. Here’s a website I like for online resume examples: http://www.opresume.com/examples

You’ve read about people who created YouTube videos for job applications as well. These days it can seem like anything goes but that is not entirely the case. Consider these two things when you are deciding what to create for yourself:

1) What’s appropriate for your industry but will still help you stand out.

2) Ensure whatever you do is professional, tasteful and well done.

Creating a video or online resume just for the heck of it, and only doing a halfway decent job, doesn’t cut it. It’s better to skip it altogether.

Hallie Crawford
Job Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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