Archive for Resume

InterviewYou’re interviewing for the job of your dreams and the interviewer asks a question and you have no idea of how to answer. What do you do? Ask for a moment to think of your answer. Particularly when an interview asks you a thought-provoking question, you may need time to think of what you want to say.

For example, an interviewer may ask, “If you could be any car, what car would you be?” People who don’t know anything about cars may be as stumped as those that know all about them. Calmly reply, “Would you give me a minute to think about your question?” The key is to only take some extra seconds to decide how to answer; you don’t want to literally keep the interviewing waiting for five minutes as you review makes, colors, and prices of cars in your mind. When you do decide on an acceptable answer, calmly state it, such as, “I would be a Volvo because they score so well in crash tests.”

You may leave an interview and never know the real reason an interviewer asked you a question. Unless you were asked an illegal interview question, you don’t need to know the reason. Just know that asking for time to think of an answer is perfectly acceptable during an interview. In fact, doing so may even make you look good if the interviewer perceives that you’re the kind of person who thinks before you speak.

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

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.

Categories : Interview Tips
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ResumeRead the following bullet point describing a secretary’s duties and form a picture in your mind:

  • Answer telephones, file, and word process.

Do you have a picture of this person’s level of responsibility in your mind? 

Now, read the following bullet points quantifying the same duties:

  • Answer as many as 25 customer service calls per day.
  • Maintain and update filing system of over 4,000 accounts.
  • Word process all correspondence for 8 managers.

Did the picture in your mind change substantially?

The best way to convey the level, depth, and breadth of your responsibilities to an interviewer is by quantifying each accomplishment. If you can’t think of a way to add a number to your responsibilities, then add a statement of why your duty is important.  For example:

  • Compile monthly report and submit to manager for use in company’s monthly financial forecasting.

Quantifying makes the difference in an acceptable resume and an outstanding one, so review your resume and quantify, quantify, quantify. If you need any help, just contact us. We’ll help your resume look exceptional!

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

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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ResumeHere is a great report recently from CareerBuilder.com regarding the language you can and can’t use in your resume. This was also reported on the Today Show March 13, 2014 with several good points. Some of the jargon people want to use on their resume means nothing or tells the reader nothing. How many times have you seen or read a resume and not understood what the words meant – or felt like they sounded like fluff? It happens too frequently. When you are writing or revising your resume be very careful to avoid jargon. Ask a friend or family member to review it for you.

Here are some of the terms to avoid:  Go-getter (27 percent), Think outside the box (26 percent), Synergy (22 percent). Great advice… show them the results you provide, demonstrate how you are a go-getter or how you work well in a team, don’t just use the jargon. Read more from this report here.

Hallie Crawford
Job Search 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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Resume AdviceWhat goes at the top of your resume? We get asked this question all the time from our resume review clients. The difficult thing with resumes is they can be very subjective. You can find a lot of differing advice regarding the same topic – how your resume should be laid out, whether a functional resume is acceptable instead of a chronological resume, and whether you should have an objective statement at the top. Don’t they know what your objective is? It’s to secure the position you’re applying for right? Here’s a better, lengthier explanation of what to place at the top of your resume, from one of our own resume experts, Jasmine Marchong:

Objective / Profile summary:

Starting your résumé with a short summary / combined objective statement is preferable. Although objective statements were typical in the past, it’s not necessarily recommended. Objectives typically indicate your wants, instead you need to look at your résumé from the employer’s perspective, i.e. what skills do you bring? What value do you have that I can utilize? Why should I even read the rest of this résumé? Your profile/summary summarizes your expertise or value proposition, sets the theme for your resume and the rest of the résumé should be a validation of this. See examples below:

FINANCIAL ANALYST 

DRIVEN, HIGHLY MOTIVATED PROFESSIONAL…An energetic quick study and enthusiastic learner, with a track record of delivering immediate results.

MULTI-TASKER & QUICK THINKER…Manage multiple departments and projects, with a proven ability to follow thru regardless of circumstances.

SELF STARTER & TEAM PLAYER…Eager to learn and master the tasks and tools needed to excel in each position.

The bottom line is, you need to tell them why you’re qualified for the position, up front – right away. Remember the space on your resume is valuable real estate you want and have to use wisely! Thank you Jasmine for your advice :)

Hallie Crawford
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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ResumeAs you know, potential employers rarely take the time to read resumes thoroughly. Statistics show that employers spend a max 10-15 seconds scanning a résumé to determine the candidate’s fit before they decide to keep or toss. Many factors in addition to experience come into play in making sure your résumé makes it to the “keep” pile. If you make these 4 mistakes, this will not happen so keep them in mind….

Four Major Mistakes: Most often the résumé is your first impression to an employer before they meet you. Mistakes imply an inattention to detail, sloppy work standards, and lack of pride in work quality. You do not want to give this impression, so take the time to read and reread your documents thoroughly to filter and mine out those mistakes. Mistakes can include:

A: Incorrect grammar- your résumé should be written in the first person implied. If you have “I” or “me” in your document, it is incorrect. 

B: Each sentence should start with an action verb.  

C: Use capitalization of words properly – be selective how you use it to emphasize info. Note: Exceptions to the rule include titles, company names, and section headings.

D: Inappropriate use of punctuation.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
Job Search Coaches

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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Resume WriterAll the recommendations and information below may not apply to your resume, however it should give you a better understanding of what employers are looking for and how to best market your skills for the position of interest.

As you know, potential employers rarely take the time to read resumes thoroughly. Statistics show that employers spend a max 10-15 seconds scanning a résumé to determine the candidate’s fit before they decide to keep or toss. Many factors in addition to experience come into play in making sure your résumé makes it to the “keep” pile. This can include:

Formatting: an eye-catching presentation can make a huge impression vs. one that looks and blends in with the others, or one riddled with formatting inconsistencies. If your résumé looks like the rest, it may be hard to distinguish it from the rest.

Formatting mistakes can include: 

A: Usage of too many font styles

B: Inconsistency in layout, use of indents, tabs, font style, bullet style, punctuation, and spacing

C: Too small page margins. Page margins should be minimum 0.6”

D: Incorrect use of white space. White space is your friend and can be used to emphasize and deemphasize information. If you remove all available white space, then your résumé looks like a page of block text – difficult to read and certainly not getting the information across quickly.

E: Overuse of bold, italics, underlines, etc. Note: do not use underlines – this can distort your information when scanned into an Applicant Tracking System (APS). 

Make sure before you start revising your resume, you keep all of these tips in mind. The content is once they read it, but to ensure they read it in the first place, you must follow these formatting guidelines.

Hallie Crawford and Jasmine Marchong
Certified Career 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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SalaryAfter several interviews, you’re expecting a job offer but you don’t know the salary. Do you need to do anything to prepare for the offer? Yes, you do!

First, research salaries for comparable jobs in your location so you’ll know what competitors pay. One resource is www.salary.com. Second, when you get the job offer, if the salary is lower than what you think the job is worth, state your gratitude for the job offer, and ask if the salary is negotiable.  If you are asked how much you were expecting, be ready to state a specific amount.

If you provide a specific amount, state that your answer is based on the responsibilities of the job. Some companies have a classification system and each job within it already has a range with a minimum, midpoint, and maximum. You may be able to negotiate within the range. Other jobs that are not in a classification system may have more room for negotiation.

If the employer will not negotiate the salary and you’re not sure you want to accept the job for the salary offered, you can ask if you could have some time to think about your final decision and ask by what date you need to provide it.  Notice that asking instead of telling is the best way to handle not only negotiations, but asking for time to think about the job offer as well.

Next, choose whether or not you want the job. To help you make your decision, make a list of the pros and cons, talk about your concerns with family or friends, or ask your prospective employer for the names of employees either already working in the same department where you will work or employees who are already performing the same job you would perform and ask their level of job satisfaction.  Salary is not the only criteria to use to decide whether to accept or decline a job offer.  Other factors include benefits, commute time, stress levels, overtime required, and job satisfaction.

If you need help with negotiation skills or decision-making, contact us. We can help you make decisions that affect your job satisfaction, and in turn, your quality of life.

Hallie Crawford and Terry Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Career Coaches

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.

Categories : Career Transition
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LinkedInOne of the best actions you can take to build a powerful and current LinkedIn profile is to collect recommendations. These are real testimonials from colleagues who can attest to both your hard and soft skills. If these messages can amplify the value you demonstrate through your experience, should you include them on your resume?

I say yes. Depending on how much white space you have on your resume, current length, and number of past relevant positions, I suggest including two or three, each about one sentence long. Note that this is purely a style and content option that may or may not fit your personality and industry.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure the recommendation is extremely positive. Do not include even a neutral message if it is not clear and favorable.
  2. Only include recommendations testifying to relevant skills. For example, if you are transitioning to a customer facing, account management role, do not choose a message that highlights your quantitative engineering skills from your last position.
  3. Do not over-use recommendations or sacrifice the clean organization and readability of your resume to accommodate the extra words.
  4. Use only a phrase from the recommendation as opposed to a paragraph. Choose the most relevant, powerful sentence so that the message is only one to two sentences long.

Where should you put the recommendations? Since they are testimonials giving depth and weight to your performance in specific jobs, I suggest including them below the bullets under jobs listed in the experience section. You can make them distinct and smooth by formatting them in italics within quotation marks.

Finally, be sure to include the name and position of the person who made the recommendation. If you place them anywhere other than below the job they belong to, definitely include your job title and company to which they refer.

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to solicit and use evidence of your skills in creative ways that attest to both your hard and soft skills.

Hallie Crawford and Stacy Smyk-Santiago
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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Our team of career coaches help people of all ages nurture their career, identify their ideal career path, and navigate their career transition. We offer group and individual coaching as well as self-directed learning products. Schedule a free phone consultation with Create Your Career Path today.