Archive for April, 2012
There seems to be an endless amount of people writing about the do’s and don’ts of resumes these days. Everywhere I turn there is another expert willing to spout of the rules. The thing is a lot of their rules are guidelines; suggestions from experience that usually yield the best results.
Here’s a new way to write a resume and bend the rules; a new take on an archaic tradition. They’re called visual resumes, and I’ve seen them popping up in multiple places. They’re easily made by pulling information from your current LinkedIn profile and customizable to show the information you want to display. Take a look at these FREE services for summing up how you’re the best fit for your potential employer in this visual representation of you.
Don’t share your resume, share your story with http://re.vu
Visualize your resume in one click with http://vizualize.me
Kinza lets you build visually stunning infographic resumes at http://kinzaa.com
Have you ever had a really terrible interview? Afterwards, you may end up asking yourself, “what went wrong?” It can be especially disheartening when you feel like you knew the answers but were unable to get them out. The problem for many candidates is that they get lost while giving a good answer. The way to avoid this is to use a roadmap.
Have a Starting Point
Before any interview it is important to create a list of major themes that will likely be touched upon. By having a clear idea of what will be asked the Interviewee provides themselves with a starting point. In interviews there are a few questions that are highly likely to be asked. In some shape or form the interviewer will ask why the interviewee wants to work for them, and how they think they can bring value to their organization.
Know the End Point
When answering an interview question it’s important to have a clear destination in mind. In the beginning of the interview the Interviewee states their thesis (i.e., “I am able to provide value to your organization.”) The remainder of the interviewee’s answers consists of evidence to support this claim. Where a lot of interviews go wrong is the end point is forgotten. The evidence suddenly becomes the main focus. The problem with forgetting the end point is that the answer loses its focus a lot of great ideas can be expressed but if these ideas are not supporting the interviewee’s main argument then it’s not a successful answer. A useful strategy is to conclude each answer with a summary of how the evidence presented proves the point the interviewee was trying to make (i.e., “It is for these reasons that I feel I will be able to bring value to the organization.”)
When giving someone directions, familiar landmarks are often helpful. The same is true of interviews. When answering a question, it is helpful to have phrases or words that serve to provide focus. These words and phrases also serve to help ensure that what the interviewee wants to present is understood (i.e., “My work experience and my education combined ensure that I will be able to provide value to this organization.”) This statement makes it more likely that the interviewee will remember the concepts that they wanted to get across about the values that their education and work experiences allow them to bring to the organization.
A roadmap is essential for interview success. However, in order for the interview road map to work an idea of the terrain in needed. A job search counselor can be useful in brainstorming likely potential interview questions.
Visit the My ESC website for more tips on interviewing.
This article was written by career development practitioner Mike Bourke.
Screening job candidates is not a fun job, but someone has got to do it. This is the act of noting little things to either disqualify or push a candidate on to the next step in the hiring process. When I was an assistant manager of a retail store in the mall, I had to screen candidates when they dropped off their resume on a weekly basis. This was necessary because at hiring time I needed something to help me when sorting through piles of over 150 resumes at once. I used my first impression of a candidate to guide me in selecting which candidates to interview. Here are the top reasons why I would pass on a candidate:
They did not dress the part. They would come in dressed in their casual jeans and t-shirt giving off the impression that applying for work was an after thought. Or, they would come in dressed way too professional and I just could not picture them working in our store.
They had a bad attitude. It was unbelievable some of the attitudes I’ve encountered from people dropping off a resume. Some gave off the impression of, “I’m to good for this place” and others, “I really don’t want to work here, but you’ll do.” If a candidate didn’t really want a job in our store, it would show.
They brought someone with them. There is nothing that says, “unprofessional” like a candidate that shows up with their BFF, or worse – their mother! It gave off the impression that the candidates were not mature enough or self-confident enough to look for work on their own. Both were not traits I was looking for in an employee.
They were unprepared. Candidates that showed up with no resume and asked for an application were one thing. Those that then proceeded to ask for a pen, and then fill out the application on our counter, while I was trying to serve customers was another. I would ask them to please take the application with them and return it with a resume at a later time when they were ready to apply.
They treated staff like they were unimportant. Of course, resumes should be handed in to the hiring manager. But, if that individual is not available, the resume should be given to a staff member or the candidate should return at a later date. Those that treated the staff like they were unimportant gave off the impression that they were not a team player, and the staff let me know which candidates they did not want to work with.
They came at the busiest time of the day and week. Honestly I just didn’t have time for candidates that didn’t respect the stores needs. If I didn’t have time for them, their resume would get shoved in a drawer until a later time. That person had little chance of standing out as someone I would want to work with when it came time to review resumes.
They had little or no availability. If it wasn’t a busy time in the store, I would spend a couple minutes asking the candidate what they were looking for in a job. Simple questions really. But, if it appeared that they really didn’t have time to work, and were on a tight schedule I would move on to the next candidate. We needed people that would arrange their life so they could work, not ones that we had to arrange our work to suit them.
To sum it up, when a candidate is applying for work they should dress like they want a job at the place they are applying, go alone at a quiet work time of the day while the hiring manager is working, be prepared with a resume and application and actually be available to work. One last thing – smile!
Visit our My ESC website more tips on how to apply for a job with success.
This article was written by career development practitioner and consultant Miranda Vande Kuyt.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve advised people to revisit their resume often. How often is that exactly? The answer is simple: as often as necessary. Whenever something changes, as soon as you have new experience, skills, knowledge, education or training that would benefit your resume, add it.
Everyone, whether happily in a job or not planning to apply anywhere in the foreseeable future should get into the habit of noting whenever something would be beneficial for their resume. You never know when you will need your resume next. Think about your dream job. If a job opening came up for your dream job, you know, the kind of opportunity you don’t want to miss – would your resume be ready to hand in today?
By noting whenever something new happens, you will keep your resume up to date and ready to go. The physical act of updating your resume on the computer might not be possible (e.g., don’t have access to a computer or are super busy). Instead get into the mindset of noting whenever something would be helpful to land your next job. When you have those thoughts, just grab a pen and jot them down on a copy of your resume or keep important documents (such as certificates, performance reviews, workshop notes) in a folder or binder. Then make a date with yourself to update your resume on the computer every three to six months to keep it current.
Here’s a little story to illustrate my point. Recently I found the ideal job for me. Problem was I hadn’t updated my resume in over three years! I was very busy and the closing date was only a couple hours from when I found the posting. I emailed the hiring manager and sent her a link to my LinkedIn profile, but it was not enough. Not only did I not have a current resume, my LinkedIn profile was out of date too. Turn the clock forward a bit and I got contacted on Twitter with an opportunity for my dream job! Super exciting I know, but I still hadn’t updated my resume! I had spent hours updating my LinkedIn profile which lead to being recruited, but I still had to put my life on hold so I could update my resume and get it in on time.
As you go about your life and are making your way along your career path, make note of your key accomplishments and experiences so you will be ready for your next big opportunity. It also helps you to identify skill gaps so you can make a learning plan to address them. Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile (if you have one) up to date so you are ready for your next big opportunity.
Visit the My ESC website for more tips on writing a resume.
This article was written by career development practitioner and consultant Miranda Vande Kuyt.