resume

How To Love A Job Search

By Catherine Lang-Cline

I know what you are thinking, is it even possible to love a job search? I’m here to say that it can be. That is because with every change there comes opportunity, so if you look at it with those glasses on you will see the possibilities.

Let’s get really real for a moment. If you are laid off or if you are fired you can feel a bit scared or hopeless. You might also feel very relieved. Regardless of what brought you here, you need to get past the mourning process as quickly as you can and get busy with your new job of finding a job. Gather up all that you know about you;

  • What are you good at?

  • What do you want to do next?

  • What specific skills do you have?

  • What did you learn in your last job?

Look at it. Look at it again. You are a pretty awesome candidate for someone.

Now what?

  • All of that goes into a resume update.

    • Really focus on your strengths,

    • Customize your resume for the job that you want putting those skills first

  • Send your resume in for job postings.

    • Job boards are not my favorite thing as they can be a bit of a black hole, but if you get no response you at least know what kind of roles they have

  • Make a friend with a recruiter.

    • Find and work with a recruiter that you can trust and really wants to help you

    • Be open to a temporary job that leads to full time

    • Temp jobs are a great way for YOU to try a company out.

  • Send your resume to any company that you would like to work at

  • Now is your chance to get into that company of your dreams

    • Find out who the hiring manager is and send your resume directly

  • Tell everyone you know that you are looking for your next opportunity

    • The more people that know that your skills are available, the more connections you will have for that dream job

    • If someone can recommend you, that is gold

  • Get ready to talk about YOU

    • This can be hard sometimes

    • Own what you have accomplished and tell them how YOU can help them.

This is where the love comes in. You have a great history of work. You have probably worked for some great companies and learned a lot of things that will benefit your next employer. Be proud of that, really proud. You are in a position to choose where YOU want to work now, maybe get that salary you deserve. The possibilities are endless but your job search doesn’t have to be if you have a resume that says what you can do and when you interview you can really sell you. Embrace the change and love you and what you can do.

Grab the cocktail sauce, the world is your oyster.


The Black Hole: You Aren't Alone

By Derik Abbott

One of the most common pain points we hear from candidates that come into our office is their inability to get responses to their resume submittals for openings online. While this might seem like something that is only affecting you, rest assured, it’s an epidemic that plagues all job searches out there. 

We, as recruiters, actually see this happen with a lot of hiring managers we work directly with (most we’ve met in person and have some level of relationship with). It’s something that everyone from job seekers to recruiters has been trying to solve for years now and with the current employment climate, it doesn’t see to be something that will quickly rectify its self. The good news is that there are some ways to try to get more visibility with clients. 

I am a firm believer that regardless of the outcome, people should remain steadfast in applying to roles that are in their area of expertise and interest. Once one or two interviews are requested it’s only a matter of momentum before something sticks. In order to try and help with that momentum, I think trying various tactics to get your name/face in front of people will really help make you stand out. 

Simple things like adding the Recruiter or HR Manager that is listed on the LinkedIn job postings is a good way to get your name in the back of their mind without causing too much interruption in their day. Sending them a note on LinkedIn often times could go 50/50 so I think going that far is something you have to individually weight your options on but adding someone is a pretty standard practice and could only increase your chances of at least getting them to think about you. 

Networking is also the number one way people still get jobs. Whether asking someone you know to pass along your resume to the right person within a company of interest or going to various local group’s networking events. There are a ton of people that you could get in front of or make contacts with that doesn’t require you to go out of your way. Remember, people, go to networking events for the Programming aspects but wouldn’t be there if they weren’t open to networking so it’s an open floor to get in front of people who may be able to introduce you to others. 

I think the best piece of advice we can give is to remain positive and diligent. Everyone else is having the same struggles as you, you aren’t alone. While searching and networking, it could be good practice to continue to work on at-home pieces for your portfolio or hone your skills because any extra things you can add to your resume/portfolio could be what helps tip the scales in your favor on that next submittal! 

Your Career: Five Common Job Search Mistakes

By Kristen Harris

Looking for work might seem like a fairly straightforward process but, in fact, it’s quite complex.

There are several steps, a series of interactions, and multiple people involved in your search. Each stage of the process is filled with nuance and details. One false move can take you out of the running, and you may not even know it. The job search process is challenging and stressful enough without putting barriers in your own way.

Check yourself...are you making any of these five common job search mistakes? Be honest, or ask someone you trust for feedback. Sometimes we’re so close to a problem that it’s hard to have perspective. Once you’re aware of an issue, it’s much easier to correct and avoid that mistake in the future.

  1. A mismatch between your skills and the role. It’s important to really know yourself. What are your strengths? Skills? Experience level? Interests? What stage are you at in your career? What you do you want from your next role? Once you’re clear on these things for yourself, then compare your answers to every role in which you’re interested. Do your strengths and skills align with what the company needs? Are you at the right career stage for the role? Does it align with what you want, personally and professionally? Do you like the company? Are you interested in what they do? No job is perfect, but if there is a significant mismatch in several areas, move on to the next opportunity. This is not “the one”.

  2. Cookie-cutter communications. We live in a customized world; don’t send the same message to every contact or in response to every job opportunity. Customize your resume to highlight the exact skills and experiences the company is looking for. Highlight how you’re a great fit for that specific role and company in your cover letter or introductory email. Technology means every communication can be specialized to the recipient, yet people rarely receive truly personalized messages. Make the person on the other end feel as though you’re speaking directly to them and their needs.

  3. Typos in your resume. Typos and bad grammar reflect poorly on you and your work. Resume reviewers will immediately make judgments, and often it’s a shortcut to the trash bin. Not everyone is a great writer or speller, I get it. But, even if you are, find someone to proofread everything for you–your brain often fills in the gaps, it’s easier for someone else to find your mistakes.

  4. Not being prepared for the interview. As an interviewer, there are few things more painful than trying to connect with someone who is clearly not prepared for your conversation. Research the company before your interview (actually, before you apply, otherwise, how do you know you want to work there?). You’ll know what to wear (if you’re still not sure, ask the person scheduling the interview), and you can ask about something they’re working on or a project that was recently announced. Have questions prepared; this is a two-way conversation, and you need to know if it’s a good fit for you too. Be interested and engaged, do your part to make it a good conversation.

  5. Not using your network. Go beyond searching job boards, it’s important to utilize your network. Start with people you already know, personally and professionally, in your community or school, through alumni associations or industry groups. Connect with people online through platforms like LinkedIn. Attend events where people in your industry would be, catch up with people you know and ask them to introduce you to someone new. Then follow the cardinal rule of giving before asking. Even though you want someone’s help, first ask what you can do to help them. By giving first, you’ll establish trust and truly build a relationship; people are much more likely to help or recommend people they know and trust.

Whether looking for your first job, next job, or dream job, eliminating these five mistakes will help you get out of the way of your own success.

 

Your Resumé: Is It Time for a Digital Upgrade?

First of all, let’s put to rest the rumor that resumés are dead. Passé. Outdated. Sorry, but they’re not. While the demise of the resumé has been predicted for years, currently they are still a standard requirement for most companies. Yes, you can direct people to your website or LinkedIn profile, and they may check you out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and lots of other places online, but all of that is secondary information. The reality is that, once you get into the hiring process, most companies will expect you to produce a resumé.**

So, since you still need a resumé, let’s make it a great one! It’s important to have a modern and digitally-compatible resumé, especially in the creative industry. Take advantage of the opportunities technology provides to showcase your work, your skills, and your experience.

Leverage free software and tools.

There are plenty of online tools to help you compile and format a great-looking resumé. Templates are available in any document program, design software programs, on portfolio websites, and even places like Etsy. There are sites to create your own infographics, or you can build a separate resumé page on your personal website. There’s no shortage of choices, just find something you’re comfortable with that can create what you need.

Keep it simple.

Take advantage of digital abilities of the software you’re using, but avoid the temptation to overdesign your resumé. This document has one job–to provide information about your work history, education, experience, skills, background, and qualifications. Don’t let clever design get in the way of clear communication. You can use a nice color palette, tasteful fonts, and a few design elements, but let your portfolio showcase your creativity.

Communicate clearly.

Keep it simple applies to written content as well. Even if you’re a writer by trade, save the clever words for your portfolio. It’s okay to have a little style, but never at the expense of communicating clearly and concisely what you do, what you’ve done, and what you can do for the company or client. Skip the industry jargon, abbreviations, and txtspk; the reader may not be as familiar with these terms, and an ATS may not translate the words.

Make it compatible with an ATS.

See what I did there? An ATS is an Applicant Tracking System, and nearly every company that hires people uses a tracking system, human resources software, or some type of database to organize their information. Your resumé MUST have text that can be read by these systems. Confirm that any software or template you are using keeps the text “live” and does not convert it to an image. Don’t build your resumé in Photoshop, don’t convert the text to a graphic or image, and don’t reverse light text out of a dark background.

Include links.

An embedded link in your resumé brings attention to something you want to highlight and lets the reader easily get more information. Use them strategically and judiciously. Link to a few key items, like your portfolio, a website you designed, or an article you wrote. However, don’t rely on links. Readers may not click them, or they might print out the resumé to give to someone else, so be sure all of the important content is included in the document. Consider links interesting bonus material for the reader.

Emphasize skills and results.

Your resumé should communicate both what you’ve done, and what you can do. Highlight your skills, results, and achievements, either in text or graphics. A chart or infographic can be useful here, just keep it simple and clear.

Make it mobile.

Whether you use an online software, template, design programs, or create a web page, test your resumé on mobile devices. Send it to yourself and a couple of friends to test how it looks on various devices.

Have a printable version.

I know, it may seem completely old-fashioned, but you need to have a standard printable version of your resumé. It might be the online version saved as a PDF or a completely separate document. There are circumstances where you’ll need to email a document or bring a printed copy to an interview, so be sure that paper version looks just as fantastic as the digital one.

Have it proofread.

Don’t rely on spellcheck, have an actual human proofread your resumé for you. Spellcheck is great, but it doesn’t realize when you’ve used the wrong word, as long as it IS a word. The most common example of this we see is people listing their title as “Manger” instead of Manager. Both real words, two totally different meanings. There are also good online tools like Grammerly that can help catch these type of mistakes. 

Keep it current.

Always have a current resumé readily available. Even if you haven’t changed jobs, at least once a year check all the links, update your skills and experience and make sure the design is fresh and current. You never know when an opportunity will come your way

 

**I realize that someone will comment to prove me wrong with a story about how they got their job with a YouTube video or their Instagram account. That’s awesome and rare. Like a unicorn. Don’t rely on being a unicorn.

You’re Hired: Five Tips to Prepare for a Great Interview

By Kristen Harris

You have an interview! Maybe you’re a little nervous. It probably feels like there are a thousand things to remember. Whether it’s your first interview, or you haven’t interviewed in twenty years, being prepared can help tilt the outcome in your favor.

There are two sides to every interview, the person interviewing you and YOU. While it may seem like the interviewer holds all the cards, you have total control over one half of that equation.

Keep in mind that you both want the same thing— for this to be a good fit so you can move forward in the hiring process. No hiring manager wants to suffer through a bad interview or waste time talking to a string of people that are not a good fit. And you don’t want that either. Be prepared so you can be “the one”.

  1. Clothing and Grooming. Studies show you have between 7 and 30 seconds to make a first impression, and it’s often based on subtle cues we’re not even aware of. Never give someone a reason to not like you. I’m all for creative expression, but keep it appropriate for the situation. Find out the dress code at the company, and dress one step above that. Make sure everything is fresh, clean, in good condition, fits well, and smells good. That includes your clothing, body and hair (head and facial). Keep jewelry, makeup and scents to a minimum.
  2. Resume and Work Samples. Make any last-minute updates to your resume, and bring several copies in case you meet with more than one person. If work samples are expected for your role, have those ready to present as well. If everything is online, confirm they have the appropriate technology available or bring your own. If possible, bring a few printed samples in the event of a total technology fail. For more on this topic, read our blog on creative portfolio tips.
  3. Know the Location. There is no good reason to arrive late; you are being judged from the moment you arrive, so be on time. Plan ahead, map the address, calculate travel time, and do a trial run of the route. Identify parking, or ask your contact where to park. Arrive a few minutes early, relax, take a deep breath, and walk in about 10 minutes before your interview time. Calm, cool, collected.
  4. Know Your Contact. It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people show up for an interview and can’t remember the name of the person they’re meeting. You’ll need the company name, address including floor or suite number, and name of the person you’re meeting. If someone else set up the interview, bring their information too. Write all of this down, put it in your phone, or be extra-safe and do both. A day or two before your interview, use LinkedIn to check out the person you’re meeting so you know what they look like, their background, experience, and anything you may have in common or want to ask about.
  5. Prepare Questions. Before you’re ready to walk in the door, practice the interview. Plan what you want to do and say, and think about questions they might ask. Walk through your resume and portfolio on your own, or with a trusted friend or colleague. What do you want to emphasize or highlight? Find a nice notebook to bring on the interview, and write down a few questions of your own. What do you want to know about the company, role, manager, team, or culture? What do you need to know to decide if this is a good fit for you?

Remember there are two sides to every interview. You’re in control of, and responsible for your part, so take the time to be prepared. Then relax and get ready to shine!

3 Great Reasons To Always Be Updating Your Resume

By Catherine Lang-Cline

When you lose your job, or choose to find another job, it is the natural first step to update your resume. But waiting to update it after 3, 5, or 10 or more years can work against you. Here are 3 great reasons to always be updating your resume.

  1. It is difficult to remember all of your accomplishments. Unless you are taking notes as you go, I am sure that you have achieved a lot more then you can remember on your job. It is much more difficult to write a resume when you are scrambling for information. Think about any problem-solving you have done. Have there been opportunities where you trained the new hire? Everyday accomplishments can add up to something impressive, like a skill that can be applied to a future position. Keep track of everything and then when you need it, customize your resume to the job that you want just by keeping all the skills and training that you added that apply to this new role.

  2. You can shape your future. Unless you plan on staying in your current role for the entire length of your career, use your written resume as a guide to what you have accomplished and what you would like to accomplish. If you know that role you want in the future, what is your resume missing? Look at it from the point of view of a hiring manager. Look for any experience you might need to gain. Higher-level roles might require leadership experience, project management, specific software skills, etc. What do you need to add to get that dream job of tomorrow? Make a list, then make it happen!

  3. You will need a resume or bio for board work and mentoring. Maybe you are the person that could never imagine leaving the company that you work for. With all of the experience that you have accumulated, you can think about giving back to the community or the people in your field of work. With an updated resume or bio, you can apply for board positions in areas that need your expertise or share interests with you. Typically, when board roles are filled, they will want to see your skills and accomplishments, basically, what would make you a great board member. You can also take all of your experience and share it as a mentor. You probably don’t realize that you know so much and that people with less experience could find what you know as valuable. A mentee might ask to see your resume or bio to see if you would be a good fit for them. Give back in either way can be a greatly rewarding experience.

So why wait to update that resume? There is no better place to invest your time. And when you are ready to share it, make sure that it is kept simple and is easy to navigate because that way all of your great information will be easy to find. Most importantly, the information in your resume or bio tells the story of you and you are changing and learning more every day, so let’s get credit for that.

 

What are employers really looking for? Part 2

In Part 1 we talked about how important performance and behavioral skills are to our clients, based on the results of a recent survey. In a nutshell, very important. Clients ranked "performance skills--soft skills like communication, team player, flexible, etc" an entire point higher than anything else, an average of 4.0 out of 5.0 points. This was significantly higher than technical skills, experience level, work samples or work history, all at 2.6-2.9 out of 5.0. Of those four items "work samples, examples of the candidate's previous work" was next in importance. But they truly all are very close. So, beyond performance skills clients are looking at all of those categories equally. When asked "for software or technical skills what level is acceptable for a candidate to be considered?", the answer was overwhelmingly "Intermediate is best, they should have some experience." Only a few clients were okay with a beginner, and a few wanted experts only. What does this mean to you? Make sure you can comfortably say your technical and software skills are at an intermediate level, if you learn something new show a few samples of work to prove your experience. For example, if you are moving from print design into interactive, designing and launching a few active sites that you can show an employer will be much more effective than only having taken training or classes. Exercises from a class generally look like it and would be considered "beginner", make sure you are showing professional-level examples of your work that feel "intermediate" in experience. And when putting together a resume or interviewing be sure you are including technical skills, experience, work history and samples, in addition to featuring where you have demonstrated the performance skills we know they are looking for.

Free Networking Ideas

I just read an article in Woman's Day, entitled Bounce Back From Anything. The article mentions a woman who started her own social networking/support group after she lost her job, SWAN, which stands for Smart Women Are Networking. The group meets once a month to give each other encouragement and remind each other of their strengths. This is a great idea, how can you do something similar for yourself? It's easy to get into a rut, with one negative thought leading to another and another. By getting together with other people who are in your same situation you can see that you are not alone, and it's a boost to your ego to be reminded of your strengths by other people.  You can create a group of your own in your area, or find one on-line. In her blog, Career Karma, Sharon DeLay mentions that another way to network for free is to attend free webinars, seminars, or teleconferences.  Don't forget about the people hosting them, they can be a wealth of information too.  These can double as something to add to your resume as well.  To read more visit: www.permanent-ink.com If you're not already using LinkedIn, check it out. It's free to your average user, and can help you connect with a tremendous variety of people that can keep you moving forward in your career or job search. Find people who work where you want to work, connections at a company that is posting a job you're interested in, or just a mentor in your field.

Want to learn more about playing up your strengths?

Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 is a book for anyone who is looking to play up their strengths in their current position or when job hunting.  This short book is designed to go with a website where you take a couple of short quizzes to determine your five main strengths, i.e. organization or creativity.  Once you have your results you can read about them in the book.  The book also focuses on how to play up these strengths when working in a team to be more effective.  It also suggests forming an action plan to make yourself more accountable for building on your strengths.  I listed this on my resume!