Friday, September 14, 2012

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

We live in world where image is everything. High definition pictures tell 10,000 words. It seems like everyone’s vying to catch our eye with vibrant, shocking, breathtaking, meaningful and persuasive design or film. From billboards, to magazines, television, the movies and youtube, we are bombarded with pictures all day long.  Some pass by us with little impact, a mere flash of distraction. Others, however, demand our attention and we can't help but be hooked into further contemplation.  
It takes 15 seconds or less to decide if we’ll lend our attention further, or divert it to other things. These flash methods must work, or companies would not invest so heavily in them.

In a perfect world, job seekers would follow the lead of corporations and advertising agencies. They could  use tried and true ways to sell their best assets. They might find success when submitting a professionally produced 15-second commercial that hooks a hiring team into clicking a link to their personal website.

In this perfect world, the website would be brimming with impressive images and content. It would sell the jobseeker in the most creative and entertaining way imaginable.  Perhaps full-length interviews with former employers could feature Diane Sawyer or Oprah might asking heavy questions, like “How hard was it to see Jim walk out the door for the very last time?” Or, “What’s morale like now?” On another page, the visitor might scroll through a photo slideshow that highlights professionally edited photographs of every award and accolade accumulated.

Most job seekers, however, are restricted to an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper upon which they are asked to contain a career and present their four dimensional, vibrant and impressive education and experience in flat black and white.

Yet, the same 15-second rule of engagement applies.

Career research indicates that employers will give a résumé a 10-15 second glance before proceeding to the next candidate in the pile.

So, how do job seekers effectively use their résumé to rock their 15 seconds of fame and catch their employers attention?

Here are my top five tips:

1.       Use a professional and neat format with a splash of creativity
2.       Lead with top skills, traits and successes
3.      Summarize duties; bullet point accomplishments
4.       Target! Never use the same résumé twice
5.       Wow the crowd with verifiable facts and hard numbers

In future blog posts I’ll expand on each tip in further detail and share specifics on how you can design a résumé that best markets you in context to the job you to which you are applying. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

$50 New Client Referral

During the remainder of August, receive a $50 Target gift card when each friend or contact referred purchases a résumé package. Please be sure your referral provides your name and email so your mailing address can be confirmed. 

As always, all contact information will remain confidential and will not be used in any other manner outside of mailing gift card(s). 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Perfect Match? How to Know if the Job is Right for You

You've visited online job boards and clicked on the career pages of your favorite companies and organizations. You’ve finally found what appears to be the perfect opening.

Don’t judge a job by its title. 

Before you apply, dissect the job post to the test to be sure it’s right for you.

Copy the post then paste the post in question into a new MS Word document. Use the “Text Highlight Color” icon (under the Home tab in Word 2010)  to make important aspects of the job post stand out, as if you highlighted them with a marker.  Select words and phrases that strike you as important, such as job duties, requirements, interesting aspects of the company description, and so forth. Highlight salary and job location, too, if this information is available.

Then, walk away for a few hours. When you return, ensure you didn’t miss highlighting something of importance. Read the post over one more time and highlight those items that strike you. 

Once you finish, examine them.  Make any necessary notes for yourself on how your experience and education commiserates with your highlighted statements. For example, if the job post in question requires CPR certification, include a note with the date and type of certification you possess.  If you have related information on the topic, like first aid in this instance, be sure to note it, too.

Does the post list qualifications you don’t meet? Perhaps you don’t have college education. Make note when you lack credentials and take some time to list career experience or training that may make you equally or more qualified for the position in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Regardless of the job title, it’s smart to search the post for patterns. For example, is the term “team” used heavily? How many times? An independent worker who enjoys meeting challenges and deadlines in solitude should not expect to find fulfillment in the long run. Likewise, a creative leader looking for an opportunity to apply her skills and talent in the marketing world should steer clear of any posts hinting of canned messaging.

Finally, make one last sweep, confirming the more obvious details. Does the job pay what you deserve? Is it located in a geography with which you are comfortable? Do the hours fit your lifestyle?

Spending a little time examining the post in this manner is a good investment in your future. Think of all the frustration you will save yourself.

Sure, you may prove to meet all of the qualifications for the job in question, but what good is it if, after a little discretion, you discover the job fails to meet yours.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What are You Telling Yourself about Your Job Search?

What are you telling yourself about your job search? Are you thinking thoughts and speaking words that may inhibit your enthusiasm to search, post, and ace the interview? Or, are you feeding yourself destructive, negative, exhausting thoughts that result in lack of energy and a depressed outlook/mood? You are the master of this process. Monitor what you tell yourself. Control it. Be disciplined and vow to only let the good in. Simply refuse to entertain a less than positive thought, about your job search or about anything for that matter. Just try it for week. See what happens.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's Your Résumé Age?

1. Is the phrase "References Available On Request" printed on your résumé?

2. Do you include a "Career Objective" statement on the document?

3. Are you a professional who lists your education before your experience?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, your résumé could be outdated.

To bring your qualifications up to the present, delete any reference to references. For maximum impact with hardcopy submissions, type professional references on matching letterhead and paper and submit with your qualifications package.
 Next, replace the "Career Objective" statement with a small paragraph describing your best characteristics and attributes as they apply to the job in question.
Last but not least, experience should always appear ahead of education for those in workforce more than one year.

 These simple steps could very well make your document appear 10 to 20 years younger!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Rule of 10

Are you an established professionals with a dozen or more years of experience under your belt?

DO NOT fall into the “never ending résumé” trap.

Like it sounds, the "never ending résumé" goes on and on, listing bullet point after bullet point of job duties and responsibilities. It continues for two or more pages with little or no consideration of how past experience applies to the job in question.

Generally, it is best for experienced professionals to highlight the last ten years of career accomplishments, limiting the document to just one page.


Provide a short summary your primary duties. Use the majority of the available space to communicate how well you completed them. For the biggest impact, be sure to focus on the skills and characteristics most relevent to the job you are posting to and most beneficial to the prospective employer.

Of course, as with all things in life, there are exceptions to this suggestion. For example, career changers who have experience within the industry they are applying to should consider representing that experience on their résumé. In these, and other instances, two page documents are acceptable.

This “Rule of 10” does not always apply. Highly educated professionals in medical, academic and other fields are encouraged to prepare curriculum vitae, a qualifications document for which page counts truely commiserate with experience.

For all others, use the "Rule of 10" to ensure your qualifications package is a Perfect 10.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ideal Hardcopy Headers

Construct a résumé that communicates your individuality and professionalism. Begin the process at the very top. Design a unique, one-of-a-kind header.

Here’s how to complete the process for one page résumés in Microsoft Word :

1. Select the “Insert” button on the toolbar

2. Select “Header”

3. Click in the text box and type the following contact information:

a. Name

b. Address

c. City State, ZIP

d. Phone Number (work number not recommended)

e. Email address

f. Website URL, when applicable

Highlight the information and play with font types, spacing, font sizes, colors (mainly gray), and justifications until the finished product is something you love. Use the “bold” and “underline” buttons to emphasize and draw attention to the header, as well as to work to separate it from the remainder of the document.

Advice on Headers:

1. Not all word processing programs contain all fonts. When attaching your résumés to emails, be sure to convert your .DOC file to PDF to ensure that the integrity of your choice font is maintained as it travels through cyberspace from your PC or notebook to your prospective employer's. There are several free online programs that provide PDF conversion services.

2. Don’t copy and paste fancy headers into online applications. Always use an electronic resume when applying online.

3. If you must copy and paste, you must do the header separately from the rest of the document. Simply click on the header, highlight, copy and paste. Then, right click in the document, choose “select all” from the window, copy and paste.

Happy header creation!