Six Serious Résumé Blunders

Résumés are tricky: If done well, they can put you in the running for a job; if done poorly, they end up in the hiring manager's recycling bin. They should be easy since you're just talking about yourself. No one knows your work history, qualifications and skills better than you. Unfortunately, they are hard work.

Making years of experience fit on one or two pages is no easy task. Yet, while there is no one way to craft the perfect résumé, there are some moves guaranteed to hurt your job hunt.

Here are some résumé blunders you should avoid at all cost:

1. Forgetting the employer
Although the résumé is about you, it's not for you. After all, if you were the intended audience, you wouldn't bother sending it out. The résumé is meant to show prospective employers why you're the perfect match for the job. They want to see the skills, experience and qualifications mentioned in their job postings. If you have skills that don't line up exactly with the position but you know are transferrable, make that clear in the résumé. Don't assume they'll infer what you mean, because if they don't, you won't be considered for the job.

2. Not using keywordsKeywords, like career summaries, are signs of the time. Today, many employers use software to scan submitted résumés for keywords that suggest an applicant is a good match for the job. Although you won't know which exact words the software is looking for, a job posting can give you a good idea. Incorporate phrases and terms from the posting, and see what words reappear in several industry ads. Concrete terms such as "infrastructure development" and "strategic planning" will fare better than generic phrases like "hard worker" and "team player."

3. Using an objective instead of a career summaryAn advantage of updating your résumé regularly is that you can not only update your skills and accomplishments but also its format. For example, just five or 10 years ago most résumés included an objective at the top. These days, the career summary has taken its place. Like an objective, the summary should give the employer an idea of who you are, except it allows you to focus more on your experience than on your goals. You can briefly mention your career highlights, including past roles and your strongest skills.

4. Not proofreading
Typos and grammatical errors on a résumé are the textual equivalent of showing up at an interview chewing gum and wearing tennis shoes. A résumé full of mistakes suggests you care neither about the quality of your work nor the impression it makes. An employer wants someone who produces exemplary work and will be an excellent representative of the company.

5. Lying
Embellishing is a common practice that rarely impresses hiring mangers because they've seen it all. They know "childcare leadership executive" means "baby-sitter." Outright lies, however, have no place on a résumé. For one thing, it's not hard to verify any information you put down, so you could get caught at any point between submitting your résumé and getting a job offer. Plus, it's a small world, and the truth has a way of coming out when business associates bump into one another at conferences. If your boss mentions your name to your supposed former supervisor only to be told you never worked there, you could get fired.

6. Not keeping up appearances
Before an employer even reads your résumé, he or she forms an impression based on how it looks. It's a snap judgment that can't be avoided – after all, don't you immediately zone out when you receive an e-mail that's one huge block of text? Make your résumé visually appealing by using bulleted lists, plenty of white space and subheadings. Also, avoid fonts that are full of distracting swirls and colors. It doesn't matter how well-written your résumé is if no one wants to read it.

Seven Cover Letter Don'ts

When you meet someone new, what is the first thing you notice about them? Maybe you notice a nice smile, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, or beautiful brown eyes.

Now imagine someone has a piece of spinach between his teeth, toilet paper stuck to his shoe, or is avoiding eye contact.

While these may not be the kinds of things you'd hold against someone, an employer may not be as forgiving if her first impression is not a good one. Before an employer sees your résumé or meets you in person, they begin forming an impression about you from your cover letter.

Here's a sample that includes mistakes we've seen in actual cover letters:

Dear Sirs: I saw you're ad. This is the kind of job I've been looking for. I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it and it would be good experience for me. I've already sent out a bunch of résumés without much luck so I hope you'll hire me. As you can see I have everything your looking for. Its you're loss if you don't hire me. Call me at 555-1234.
ndy Applicant

You can learn from "Andy's" mistakes by avoiding the following don'ts in your own cover letters:

1. Don't address the letter "Dear Sirs". The person reading your letter may be a woman who won't be impressed with this salutation. Instead, find out the name of the person who will be reviewing your résumé by contacting the company's human resources department, or address your letter "Attention: Human Resources Department" if they won't give you a name.

2. Don't forget to say which position you are applying for. Many companies advertise more than one position at a time.

3. Don't send a cover letter that has not been thoroughly proofread. Typographical and grammatical errors (such as confusing "you're" with "your") create a poor impression.

4. Don't focus on what you want. In this case the applicant said he thought he'd enjoy the job and get experience. Focus instead on what value you can bring to the employer, such as increasing revenues or cutting costs.

5. Don't send a generic letter. You can make a much better impression by mentioning the company name and doing a little research so you can say something flattering about the company. You can learn what companies pride themselves on, including their products and achievements, by checking their Web sites.

6. Don't appear desperate. Avoid comments such as "I've already sent out a bunch of résumés without much luck." Employers may wonder if there's a good reason why no one else has hired you.

7. Don't challenge them to hire you. Employers will be turned off if you say something like "It's your loss if you don't hire me." Instead, show them, with examples of your accomplishments, why you would be an asset to their company.

Remember, to leave a good impression, treat your cover letter as if it were the first meeting with your potential employer. Not many employers will give you a second chance (i.e. an interview) if you leave them with a bad first impression. So, make your cover letter count, even if you have some leftover lunch stuck between your teeth while you are writing it. 

7 Sticky Résumé Situations -- and How to Overcome Them

Searching for a job? If so, you have something in common with nearly every other professional in the job market: You've had to put together a résumé. But despite the fact that everyone writes one, preparing this document can be tricky. What's the best way to address an employment gap?

If you've held temporary positions in the past, can you list them on your résumé? Should you still include your college GPA, even if you graduated years ago?

Following are some tips for addressing these and other sticky résumé situations.

1. You have a gap in your work history.
If you have a few employment gaps, consider using a résumé format that focuses on your functional skills. Begin with a short summary of your experience at the top of your document. If you're an accountant seeking a management position in the food services industry, your summary might read: "CPA with nine years of financial management reporting experience with an emphasis on the food services industry. Possess five years of supervisory experience managing team of 15 accountants." Follow the summary with a section detailing relevant skills, grouping related ones together into categories such as "software skills" or "supervisory experience." Then briefly list your work history in reverse chronological order.

2. You've held a lot of jobs in a short amount of time.
Very short, frequent job stints can raise eyebrows. While it may be tempting to omit a few positions, it's better to go with full disclosure. If you have a "legitimate" reason for job hopping -- you've worked for several startups and all have gone bust or are taking temporary work during a shaky economy -- explain it in your cover letter. If not -- you've job hopped looking for higher pay, for instance -- be prepared to endure a little more scrutiny and to explain yourself in the interview.

3. You've only worked for one firm.
While your long tenure at a company demonstrates loyalty, you also want to make sure you emphasize career growth. List each position you've held at the firm to show forward momentum. You also might have a section highlighting ongoing education and professional development activities.

4. You've held several temporary positions but few full-time roles.
Fifty-six percent of executives polled by Robert Half said they view a long period of consistent temporary work as comparable to full-time work. You can list temporary positions in reverse chronological order, just as you would full-time ones. If you worked with a staffing service, use the name of the company you worked through as your employer, grouping all of your assignments from that company together. Also, make sure you indicate that the jobs were temporary assignments so hiring managers are clear about the nature of your positions.

5. You're a recent college graduate with little experience.
Keep in mind that the work history section of your résumé isn't exclusively for paid, full-time work. As long as you're candid about the sort of positions they are, it's perfectly acceptable to list any internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work or other applicable experience you've gained. You might be surprised to find you have more experience than you think.

6. You're not sure how to list your GPA.
As your work history develops, academic accomplishments carry less weight, so if you've been in the job market for more than a few years, you don't need to include your GPA. Simply list your alma mater and degree earned at the end of your résumé. For recent graduates, however, a high grade point average or degree from a prestigious university should be listed near the top of your résumé.

7. Your former employer changed its name.
You worked for years for Boxes-R-Us before it was acquired by BoxMania. How do you address the name change on your résumé? The simplest solution is to list the current company name, followed by firm's former name in parenthesis. Putting both names on your résumé ensures that potential employers can locate the appropriate information when verifying your work history and conducting reference checks. If your former employer has gone out of business -- unfortunately, not uncommon in today's economy -- also note that in parenthesis. Just be sure to keep in contact with anyone from the firm whom you hope to use as a professional reference.

A thoughtfully constructed résumé that addresses any potential red flags will give you the best chance of reaching the next step in the process -- the interview.

Source: careerbuilder

10 Vital Résumé Fixes

You've been told enough times that your résumé needs to be void of any typographical or grammatical errors that it's one area you are actually confident about in your job search. Why, then, aren't you getting any response from the hundreds of résumés you have floating around in the employer world?

Surprisingly, there are many more mistakes that might exist on your résumé, many of which you aren't aware. Your e-mail address, for example, could be the one reason you aren't seeing anything in your inbox. Employers are less likely to respond to than just

Here are 10 quick fixes you can make to your résumé to get a better response in your job hunt:

Fix No. 1: Edit your personal information
Any time you include personal information, such as your hobbies, race, age or religion, you're setting yourself up for bias. Though it's illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants because of any of these factors,some will do so, regardless. Plus, while some might think it's impressive that your favorite pastime is skydiving, others won't call you to interview for fear that your hobby will get in the way of your work.

Fix No. 2: Don't guesstimate your dates and titles
There's a vast difference between working as an executive assistant or an assistant executive. If you're unsure of exactly how long you worked somewhere or what your title was when you were there, call your previous employer to ask.  Otherwise, when your future employer does a background check, it will seem like you lied on your résumé and you'll be eliminated from consideration.

Fix No. 3: Have a less-selfish objective
Employers are trying to determine whether you're a good fit for their organizations, so everything on your résumé should point to your experience. Employers would rather see a summary of qualifications that displays your accomplishments and background than a generic objective statement like "To gain experience in...".

Fix No. 4: Focus on accomplishments, not duties
Employers don't care so much what you did in your previous work, but what you got done. Rather than listing your job duties, show how each duty contributed to your company's bottom line. For example, anyone can redesign a company's Web site, but if you demonstrate how your redesign increased Internet traffic by 150 percent, the hiring manager will be more impressed.

Fix No. 5: Make sure you have the basics
Silly as it sounds, many people get so caught up in formatting and proofreading that they don't check for the most basic information, such as an e-mail address, phone number and address. Double-check that your résumé has this information -- none of your hard work will pay off if no one can get ahold of you.

Fix No. 6: Don't sell yourself short
It may not seem like you have a lot of experience in the field you're applying to but you probably have more than you think. Work is work, whether you have been paid for it or not, so include any volunteer work you've done. Awards you've received and your education information should also be listed. And, don't forget about any transferable skills you've learned in previous positions.

Fix No. 7: Watch for inconsistencies
Once you choose a format for your résumé, stick to it. If you decide to include periods at the end of your sentences, make sure they are at the end of each one. Use consistent fonts, sizes, bullets and other formatting options. Employers will notice your attention to detail and assume your work quality is of the same standard.

Fix No. 8: Fill in the gaps
Most people will tell you to wait to explain any gaps in your work history until you get to the interview. There's a good chance, however, that you won't get that opportunity if there are gaps in the first place. Explain what you were doing during lapses between jobs, even if you spent time with your family, had a long-term illness or traveled for a while. The employer will know you aren't trying to hide a sketchy past.

Fix No. 9: Stay relevant
If you worked in a fast-food restaurant in high school but aren't currently applying to a job in the food industry, leave it off your résumé. Many job seekers try to fluff their résumés with irrelevant job experience when they think they don't have enough know-how for the job for which they are applying. Keep your résumé to one or two pages and only include your most recent and pertinent work history.

Fix No. 10: Keep it simple
No one wants to look at a résumé on fluorescent paper, covered in crazy fonts and symbols. Don't try to impress an employer with your graphic design skills. Find an uncommon, yet attractive and simple layout to catch the eye instead.

Source: careerbuilder

Is The Cover Letter Obsolete?

Are cover letters necessary anymore? There are some who claim that the Internet era has made them obsolete. And when you're applying to dozens of jobs online, it isn't worth the extra effort; all that employers look at are the resumes.

Don't believe them. A resume alone will rarely get you the job-- no matter how stellar your credentials. The reality is that there are so many job applicants for each position you must distinguish yourself above and beyond the competition. A cover letter can help you do that very thing.

Let me first say that I'm a firm believer in customizing your resume for each job you're applying to. It's a fact that the HR scanning software systems look for direct word matches on your resume and this holds true for cover letters as well.

Composing a unique cover letter for each opportunity you seek allows you to tell your story and showcase your value-add. Plus, it's a writing sample and if that competency is part of the job, this will be the first opportunity for you to showcase this strength. Likewise, it can also kill your chances if your letter is not up to par.

Here are some basics to consider when writing your letter.

Use the job description as a guide. If you are lucky enough to have a human being read your materials, they will look at your cover letter first and decide if they want to read your resume. Human resource professionals are inundated with applications so make their job easy and use the exact verbiage in your letter that appears in the job description. Of course, only do this if you can truthfully deliver the skills and experiences they need.

Whet their appetite. The point of the letter is to entice the employer to invite you to interview. Tell your story and why you want the job. Be sure to show your enthusiasm and also indicate where you heard about the opportunity. This is a perfect chance to illustrate a personal network connection if you have one but you can also mention a job board or website if that's how you heard about the opening. Companies like to know how their position advertising dollars pay off so don't forget this important step.

Tell them why you are valuable. Your letter should show your genuine enthusiasm for the position but the focus should not only be about why you want the job. You must showcase why you are able to do the job and give a brief example or two, of your experiences that illustrate the skill set they seek. This professional story telling is extremely important because your one page narrative will fast track you to an interview (or not!) based on how well you convey your value to the organization.

Keep it to one page. With the myriad of applicants and the uneven supply and demand for jobs, you MUST keep your message brief, clear, and well composed. Going over a page could be a deal breaker so keep it short, on point, and always professional. Mind your manners and thank them for considering your materials and include the masthead from your resume with all your pertinent contact information.

Read it out loud. Proofing is essential but I also suggest that you (and others) read it out loud to check for flow, clarity, and rhythm. You must give the reader an opportunity to breathe since run-on sentences are inappropriate grammatically but also frustrating for the reader.

Don't address it to "whom it may concern": In this Internet-at-your-fingertips era, it can be easy to find out who is leading the search committee. If this information is not available online then call the main reception phone of the organization to sleuth out this crucial detail. Receptionists are the gatekeepers of information. Obtaining the name of the person leading the search so you can address the letter to them personally may just put you at the top of the pile for consideration.

A cover letter can be especially important if you are going through a career change, getting back into the workforce after a prolonged absence, or have some other unique issue to explain that is not evident on your resume. Use the letter to convey the message on your terms so your employment gap does not automatically disqualify you from the job, for example.

Unless the posting explicitly says "no cover letter" and some do, always send a letter. It can distinguish you from the application pool and help you showcase what you do well in regards to what the employer needs.

Source: AOL

8 Words To Never Use On A Resume

words never use resumeMy friend, Don Goodman, from Resume Wizards recently gave me his personal 18-point checklist for creating a good resume.

As I read through it, all the bad resumes I've ever read came flashing baplck to me. Your resume is the often the first impression an emoyer has of you. Talk about tough?! That 8 1/2x11 inch document often holds the power to get you in the 'yes' or 'no' pile for an interview.

I see dozens of resumes each week from people who are struggling to land the coveted interview.

You'd be amazed at how many people forget this is a document they are writing about themselves. Which means, over-stating your abilities sounds boastful and even worse... desperate. The following are words I've personally seen used on resumes. If you want to come across as the "talented yet humble" professional that you really are, consider eliminating these words from it:

1. Guru: No, you are not a mystical person from another physical realm. You are a professional who uses their smarts to get results.
2. Emperor: You are also not the head of a foreign country.
3. Star: Well, unless you are in a band that sells out stadiums weekly, you can't claim this one.
4. Awesome: Sorry, but if you are going to put this on your resume, why not add 'wicked' in front of it to really let them know where you are from.
5. Gifted: Really? Who told you that, your mom?
6. Principled: You need to tell us you have rules and follow them?
7. Unconventional: So you like to break rules and buck management?
8. Evangelist: Got your own church and Sunday TV show? If not, skip this one.

The key to selecting the right words to use on a resume is objectivity.
  • Stick to the facts.
  • Use quantifiable accomplishments to prove your worth.
That way, you don't have to try to over-sell yourself using terms that will only make you look bad.

Source: AOL

Transforming Your Résumé From Military to Civilian

Duncan Mathison, co-author of "Unlock the Hidden Job Market: Six Steps to a Successful Job Search When Times Are Tough," recalls working with an ex-Navy SEAL who was trying to land a civilian job.

"He realized that most people thought his skills consisted of landing on beaches and blowing things up. Impressive skills, but not really needed in the business world," Mathison says. "As a result, we reframed his experience to highlight his abilities to lead small teams as well as creative problem solving and planning in the face of uncertainty."

While civilian employers may respect military experience, they may struggle to see it as relevant to their workplace. The challenge for veterans is to present their background in ways that civilians can understand and appreciate.

Talk the talk
The first thing that must go is military jargon. Job titles and codes that are second nature to military personnel are like a foreign language to many hiring managers, so translation is essential.

Lisa Rosser, author of "The Value of a Veteran: The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting and Retaining Military Veterans," suggests converting military skills to civilian equivalents using a tool such as O*Net Online. "The service member can type in his or her Military Occupational Code and see what a civilian equivalent would be and some alternate civilian job titles. The civilian job description will also list skills, knowledge and attributes commonly held by someone in that position. So, for example, a 90A (army logistics officer) would be a logistician or, alternately, an integrated logistics support manager or a production planner."

Armed with this information, Rosser then recommends job seekers "get busy on a site like CareerBuilder and search on the very general and the very specific job titles." Reading through ads will give the applicant a better idea of qualifications needed for various civilian jobs and will provide insight about key words to use on a résumé.

Putting your best self forward
"Military professionals are groomed to lead others and excel in a team-oriented environment," says Abby Locke, master résumé writer and personal brand strategist for Premier Writing Solutions in Washington, D.C. "Consequently, they find it hard to really market and promote themselves as effectively as they should in the job search process."

Experts offer these tips to help veterans sort through their experiences when creating application materials:
  • Focus the cover letter on skills most pertinent to the given position; don't give a generic summary of everything you're qualified to do.
  • Tailor the résumé to the specific job, and keep it to a maximum of two pages.
  • Scour military performance reviews for relevant achievements (and to jog your memory).
  • Use numbers, percentages, statistics and other concrete examples when possible to demonstrate competencies.

Education and training
Locke notes that military professionals often have completed hundreds of courses, training assignments and certifications. Instead of turning the education section of the résumé into a laundry list, however, she recommends "cherry picking" to make sure the training that is most relevant to the given position is apparent.
Mathison suggests listing any training that is applicable to the job whether or not you have a degree or a certificate. "For example, you may have had one class in wireless communications and another in management out of 355 hours of training on a wide range of topics. In the résumé under a training or education heading, write 'More than 350 hours of professional development training including wireless communications and management.'"

Remember you're a civilian now
While a veteran's military background will always be a part of his identification, it is important to keep in mind that hiring managers encountered for civilian jobs may not have the same thoughts or experiences.
"Everyone has an opinion about the war," says Michael Coritsidis, a career coach from Lido Beach, N.Y. "Keep emotion out of the equation, and stay neutral."

Experts generally recommend avoiding potentially charged words such as "war," "warfare" or "weapons" (unless applicable to the specific industry). Likewise, it is better to concentrate on your skills and why you are the best candidate for the position rather than focusing on the military conflict or combat.
Remember, though, that military experience has helped you become who you are today, so bring confidence to the civilian job hunt.

Source: careerbuilder

10 Cover Letter Mistakes That May Cost You The Interview (But Earn You Some Laughs)

It's never too early to make a bad impression.
A cover letter or introductory email is often the first thing a potential employer sees when reviewing a job applicant. It's the first opportunity to impress recruiters and hiring managers and, therefore, the first opportunity to disappoint them. Everything from copy mistakes to inappropriate jokes in a cover letter could derail an application.

Here are the top 10 worst things to put on a cover letter:

1. Next to Nothing
While writing something that's too long is a common cover letter mistake, what can be even more damaging is a cover letter that's too short.
Bruce Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd., a New York-based staffing firm, recalls a cover letter he received a few months ago for an entry-level IT sales position. It read simply, "Here's my resume. Call me. [Phone number]."
"I cracked up," Hurwitz says. "This person had only just graduated with a bachelor's degree. It was ridiculous."
A good cover letter should be somewhere between 200 to 250 words, Hurwitz says, and should answer the question of why a recruiter should look at the resume. "The key is to highlight one success," Hurwitz says. "For example, 'I successfully increased sales 500 percent over two years, resulting in increased, sustained revenue of $25 million.' Once I read that, I look at the resume."
From The Best Kept Job Interview Secret

2. Criticism of a Prospective Employer, a San Francisco-based site that connects customers with small business services, asked potential employees to submit in their cover letters feedback about their website. One candidate, a contender for an entry-level position in April, didn't pull any punches.
"The engineering of your site looks lazy and ineffective," the applicant wrote, proceeding to describe the color scheme of the site as "disconcerting to my eyes."
Needless to say, he was not considered for the position, though not before the hiring manager got in some laughs around the water cooler at his expense.
"We forwarded the cover letter to our managers sort of as a joke," says Sander Daniels, co-founder of the site. "It was the most caustic feedback we received. But we responded kindly to him -- we didn't suggest any improvements to him in approaching other employers. We don't see it as our role to counsel failed candidates."
Daniels observed that while many strong candidates turn in well-written cover letters, some have let the demand for engineers get to their heads, as Silicon Valley romances them with six-figure salaries and other job perks.
"Maybe they think they can get away with it -- but in our company, culture is a very important factor." Daniels says. "Even if Facebook's best engineer came to us, we wouldn't hire him if he was a jerk."

3. Personal Stories
While employers are sometimes interested in personal stories, especially if they give some idea about work ethic, it's best to save these stories for the interview, says Lindsay Olson of New York-based Paradigm Staffing, who specializes in recruiting communications and marketing professionals.
"I think my favorite of all time was the salesperson who poetically told me about how he decided to run a marathon, climbed to reach glaciers to have a taste of pure water, ran at heights of 5,000 meters in Peru, and biked down the world's most dangerous road and survived (over 300,000 have not)," says Olson, of a candidate who was applying for a business development position at a recruiting firm in June last year. "All this in his opening paragraph."
If you are asked in an interview about your hobbies and adventures, be prepared with a strong answer, says Olson. "What a [job candidate] likes to do outside of work might show how they are in their job," she says. "As a hiring manager, what you don't like to hear is, 'I just like to sit around at home and read books all day.' "
From How To Negotiate the Salary You Deserve

4. Awkward Language
Rachel Levy, director of marketing at Just Military Loans, a Wilmington, Del.-based personal loan service for military personnel, got a letter last week from a candidate who seemed to be expressing lukewarm interest in an IT analyst position.
"My name is xxx. I am pretty interested in the IT analyst position at Just Military Loans," the letter began.
Levy says she sees many applications, especially for IT jobs, to have grammatical and other language flaws. "What I've noticed is that there are a lot of people applying to these jobs, for whom English is a second language," Levy says. "So the connotations of certain words and phrases may not be clear to them. Which is fine, but they should get someone to help word their intentions correctly."
In this case, Levy thinks the applicant meant "very" instead of "pretty," but she'll never know because that applicant didn't get an interview.

5. Someone Else's Words
Frank Risalvato, a recruiting officer for Inter-Regional Executive Search Inc., is deluged with cover letters from different candidates that all obviously use the same template from the same career coaches.
"Some of these [cover letters] we see are very obviously not written by the individual," says Risalvato. "We get 15 to 20 of these a month, and it sounds disingenuous and insincere, seeing these cover letters from Seattle one week, Chicago another, and it's all the same style."
Some career experts also warn against the tired stand-by opening lines in a cover letter. "Opening a letter with a passive and cliched statement such as 'Enclosed please find my resume highlighting my experience and skills that would help your company to grow and succeed,' " is a no-no, says Ann Baehr, certified professional resume writer and president of New York-based Best Resumes. "It's best to use something catchy and more specific such as, "If your company could benefit from the expertise of a hard-charging sales producer with a flawless record of success for closing tier-one Fortune 500 prospects in the healthcare technology market and capturing millions of dollars in revenue, please take a moment to review the attached resume."
If you're uncomfortable with that approach, make your cover letter unique to you with insights about the company you're applying to, advises Darrell Gurney, Los Angeles-based founder of career coaching site and author of "Backdoor Job Search: Never Apply For A Job Again!"
"Put in a note saying something like, 'I've been following your company's progress in the last year and in February and I noticed your company was mentioned in the Journal of such and such,'" Gurney says. "That's the amazing thing about the Internet. You can spend 15 minutes online and look like you've been following them for a year."
Gurney reminds applicants to do their full research on the company if they do get called in for an interview after.
From Who To Trust in a Job Search

6. Irrelevant Experience
As noteworthy as an impressive Girl Scout cookies sales record may be, it's not worth trumpeting that experience when trying to break into a field like software sales. Rich DeMatteo, co-founder of Philadelphia-based Social Media Marketing firm Bad Rhino, remembers a candidate who did just that when DeMatteo was working as a corporate recruiter at a software company.
"I was recruiting for a software sales position, and one candidate was sure she was qualified because of her success selling Girl Scout cookies when she was a young girl," DeMatteo says. "I think she was young and didn't realize how important it is to state the right experience. Younger applicants tend to reach for skills, and try to find them anywhere in their life."
Some candidates take it even further, acknowledging they have no relevant skills, but pushing to be hired anyway.
"I read one for an IT analyst position that says, 'Although my qualifications do not exactly match your needs, the close proximity to my home is a big bonus for me,' " Levy of Just Military Loans recalls. "You have a lot of underqualified people, just out of college, just throwing resumes at the wall, and hoping something sticks."
DeMatteo suggests trying to focus on specific sales figures or experience in relevant projects. "A lot of sales, for instance, is numbers-based. Stick to that."

7. Arrogance
It's one thing to promote yourself favorably in a cover letter, but watch that it doesn't degenerate into overt bragging.
This is especially true when it comes to ambiguous skills, says Jennifer Fremont-Smith, CEO of Smarterer, a Boston-based tech startup aimed at helping IT applicants improve their resumes.
"People claim to have things like, 'superior Internet skills.' What does that even mean?" says Fremont-Smith. "I saw an application from a Web developer about a month ago where he described himself as a 'rockstar in design tools,' and an 'expert in developer tools.' That kind of inflated language doesn't really tell your employer much about your skills."
Fremont-Smith recommends carefully personalizing your cover letter to the employer and listing the skills most relevant to the job you want, and why you want it. "The cover letter is the place to tell your story about why it is that you're the right person for the company," she says. "It's about really crafting a narrative that answers the question of why the employer should talk to you."
From The Best Kept Job Interview Secret

8. Wrong Company Name/Wrong Cover Letter
Talk about mistakes that are easy to avoid.
"The biggest mistake I see on a regular basis is that candidates either misspell the name of the company or get the name wrong," says Gary Hewing of Houston-based Bert Martinez Communications LLC. "If it's a small misspelling like 'Burt' instead of 'Bert,' I'd be willing to overlook that. But the big, unforgivable mistake is when someone copies and pastes a cover letter without the name or address to the correct company. That, to me, is someone who's lazy and not paying attention."
Hewing says that sometimes it's hard to tell if a cover letter was meant for a particular job, even if the candidate got the company name and position right, if they talk about disconnected experience without explaining themselves.
"We're a sales organization, but at least twice a month, we'll get a cover letter with someone talking about their banking background instead of sales," says Hewing. "It's a complete disconnect to the job description and it doesn't even explain if the candidate is seeking a career change. It tells me that they're just not paying attention."

9. Cultural Preferences
Job hunting is often compared to dating: It's about finding the right match; and success hinges on staying cool under pressure and masking anxieties to appear confident instead of desperate. But a few candidates take the dating analogy too far, subjecting hiring managers to long lists of personal likes and dislikes in cover letters.
"This one guy wrote the first part of his cover letter talking about his interests like it was an ad for an online dating site," Olson of Paradigm Staffing says about an applicant trying for a PR job. "He likes all types of music, but 'never got into country.' "
While potentially charming to a possible mate, those tidbits are not helpful in a cover letter.
From How To Negotiate The Salary You Deserve

10. Jokes
Breaking the ice with humor isn't necessarily a bad idea, but jokes in cover letters are usually a turn-off for busy employers, say recruiters. It might be better to save them for the interview, if they are to be used at all. Olson recalled a candidate for a communications executive position who rubbed an employer the wrong way with an off-color joke.
"She decided in her interview, for some reason, to compare kids to Nazis," says Olson. "She thought she was being funny, but the interviewer happened to be Jewish and didn't think she was very funny."
Recruiters agree that it's best to stick with tried-and-true, unfunny but effective, conventional pitches about your education and work experience.
"The thing with trying to be chummy and funny is that you lose credibility," says Gurney of "It looks desperate. And the worst thing you can do in job-seeking is looking desperate or needy."

Source: AOL

4 Nifty Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Amazing

cover letter tips
Peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, Ben and Jerry... some things are just meant to be together.
Just like these great pairs, your cover letter and resume should be a match made in heaven. When written the right way, these two documents complement each other in a way that engages the employer of your dreams.
Check out these four nifty ways to make your cover letter the perfect introduction to your resume:

1. Tailor it.
It might be easy to write out a "template" cover letter and jet it off to dozens of employers, but it won't get you far. Employers respond to tailored resumes that show you did your research. Make your best effort to address it to the right hiring manager and include details that only the company would have.
Know someone linked to this company? Now's the time to drop their name. Nothing is better than a referral.

2. Insert some personality.
I've noticed that many job seekers read "be professional" as "be a robot". Using bland, overly formal language says nothing about you. Employers want an employee who is capable, but also someone who would be a good addition to their company culture.

3. Go for detail.
Your resume is full of solid facts, but your cover letter can benefit from a detail or two. Consider including a short anecdote or an example from a time when you succeeded in your career. This is the time for prose.

4. Email it
Last, but not least, you're best off including your cover letter in the body of the email you're sending. If you include it in your resume attachment, what's going to be in the body of your email anyway?
What do you think? What other tips would you share with job seekers writing their cover letters? Any particular mistakes to avoid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: AOL

5 steps to creating a career-changing resumé

Changing your resumé so you can switch careers can be like baking cupcakes instead of a layer cake: You can use the same ingredients, but they have to be put in a different pan. In other words, you can use the same skills and abilities, but you have to present them in a new way.

In these situations, it’s best to talk more about who you are and less about what you’ve done, advises Tony Di Gaetano, an instructor in the University of Phoenix MBA program who holds workshops for people thinking of switching careers.

He advises reorganizing your resumé without an employment history — or with a minimal one — since your work experience could make you less appealing to a prospective employer in a different field. Here are his five steps for how career changers should structure their new resumés:

1. Define your brand at the top of the page.

Start your resumé by summing up your skills and uniqueness with a couple of short sentences that define who you are as a personal brand. Di Gaetano suggests language like this: “I bring strong management skills and am looking to join a dynamic health care organization.”

2. Move your education up.

When you don’t want the reader to focus on your job progression, your educational history should be the second item in your career-changing resumé, because your educational background “shows your commitment, your dedication and your self-motivation,” Di Gaetano says.

3. Highlight your skills.

List the skills you acquired in your last job that can be transferred to a new field. For example, oral and written communication skills are useful in a variety of fields and might be of interest to a new employer in a different industry.

4. Don’t leave out management experience.

“What company isn’t looking for management and leadership ability?” Di Gaetano asks. In the fourth section of your resumé, provide a list of leadership positions. If you weren’t a leader on the job, perhaps you managed people outside of work: Being the chairman of a committee for a community organization or being the coach of a team shows management skills.

5. Detail your technical capabilities.

Finish your new resumé with a list of any experience with business technology that could be useful in a different field. For example, Di Gaetano says, if you use Microsoft Excel® in your current job, a new employer in an unrelated industry may find that valuable.

Source: Phoenix

Avoid These Dangerous Resume Mistakes

You can design your resume to appear modern and appropriate for today's job search, but it is equally important to include relevant content to appeal to the hiring manager. Most companies today are using a computerized system (known as an applicant tracking system, or ATS) to evaluate your materials; this means a human is not likely to see your resume unless you pass the initial, computerized scan. If you do not identify key words and phrases from the job description, or forget to incorporate the most important content in your resume, you may lose your chance for an interview – and it may have nothing to do with your age or experience.

Keep these tips in mind so your resume will make the cut:

1. Use keywords.
Study job descriptions to identify what the employer wants and include key words in your document. For example, job titles are keywords – use your targeted job title in your resume's headline. Incorporate nouns and noun phrases describing the skills the employer is seeking. For example, "cross-functional teams and internal and external customer service." Include degrees, certifications, and memberships – all may be keywords for the job.

2. Use up-to-date language to reflect modern skills.
Avoid old-fashioned references and language that makes the reader think you are stuck in the past or lacking useful skills. For example, while some offices still use fax machine, don't highlight your ability to fax a document as if it's your most important accomplishment. If you work with computer programs, be sure to reference the most up-to-date software versions.

3. Highlight relevant skills.
If you work in customer service, demonstrate your ability to use social media in your resume to help distinguish you from other applicants. If your skills are lacking, sign up for some classes or look for online opportunities to learn new information. Then, include the course work or just list the new skills in your resume. Don't underestimate informal ways to learn new things; you may be surprised by how much you can pick up by watching YouTube videos.

4. Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.
One stereotype some employers may have about experienced workers is that they may have a hard time learning new things. How can you show you're ready, willing, and able to learn? Emphasize how you've used up-to-date tools, and showcase accomplishments related to those tools. For example, even if you're unemployed, consider creating a YouTube channel for a non-profit organization where you volunteer. If the non-profit reaches more people via the channel and increases their donations, you will have a great story for your resume that also makes it clear you aren't stuck in 1995.

5. Highlight results.
Avoid language such as, "responsible for" or "assisted in;" these are dated ways to describe what you offer. If the description asks for a detailed, customer-service oriented candidate, don't say, "Responsible for providing strong customer service and answering phones." Instead, include specifics, and highlight skills and results:

"Use strong attention to detail to provide customer service support to patients, guests, and staff. Answer telephones, transcribe messages, and route calls, resulting in winning customer service awards (2011 and 2012)."

When you create bullet points that draw direct connections between what you did and what the employer wants you to do, it will be easier for the reader to envision you in the job.

6. Don't cling to the past.
A mistake many job seekers make is they insist on including an in-depth work history, even if it does not interest the employer. Make every word count: Review your resume and compare it to job descriptions. Highlight the parts of your resume that relate specifically to your target job. If the majority of your resume is not highlighted, it is time for a major overhaul.

Source: AOL

Death To The Resume: Seelio Combines Online Portfolio And Job Search For Recent Grads

Looking to rethink the resume, a startup called Seelio is opening its doors today to anyone with a .edu email address. The company, which spun out of an existing service called TruApp, wants to offer college students a better way to showcase their work via online portfolios which employers and recruiters alike can browse through and search by keyword. Upon finding a potential candidate, employers can then use Seelio to communicate directly with the student in question. TruApp got its start at the University of Michigan, and currently has around 1,600 students and 170 companies on the platform as it relaunches and expands under its new name "Seelio."

Founded by University of Michigan grads Moses Lee, David Jsa, and Jerry Wang, TruApp launched its MVP (minimum viable product) back in January 2012. "We thought that there was a real opportunity to disrupt the resume, particularly for college students," explains Lee. "We decided to see what would happen around a platform that could really empower college students to showcase their true personalities, their skill sets, and their accomplishments to employers."

"Portfolio platforms have traditionally been for designers," he adds. "We're building a portfolio platform for the everyday college student. Anyone can use it because, more than ever before, every type of student is creating digital material that they can use to enhance their job prospects."

On students' profile pages, they can showcase the work they've done throughout college, and even list other students as project collaborators.

But unlike some other online portfolios sites, what makes Seelio different is that it also includes a network that connects employers with the students directly -- like a job search site for emerging talent. Given the hiring crunch in the tech industry specifically, Seelio could help employers find young grads to fill open positions -- something that's hard to do on traditional job search sites which emphasize real-world work experience.

Lee says that Teach For America, Compuware, Quicken Loans and Airtime have already used the platform to search for and evaluate talent. Like students, whose "high def" resumes (as Lee calls them) can include both text and multimedia content, companies who sign up to create a profile on the platform can also create more dynamic experiences to attract talent. "Companies can use media to create culture," Lee says. "What we're finding is that college students, when they're thinking about employment, they're not just engaged about what you do, they want to know who they're going to work with. Companies can post pictures, videos, anything that they can to really market to this generation in a whole new way, not just a boring job description."

With the relaunch, Seelio now allows companies to create profiles that provide support for multiple recruiters, where before, as TruApp, it only allowed one account per organization. Both the students' and company profiles are free, but there's a charge for companies who want to post jobs or message students. Companies pay $50 a month for the messaging capabilities, and $150 to post a job. Featured jobs, which sit up high among the search results, will go for $300 to $1,200, depending on season. (Employers that signup in the next seven days will receive a free job post once the jobs board is available. Use the code "techcrunch" at checkout).

Seelio has raised a small amount of seed funding from Michigan-area angels, and now wants to raise again to help it expand across the U.S.

Source: AOL

What's Wrecking Your Résumé?

'Exceptional communication, leadership and management skills.' To a seasoned résumé reviewer, that line reads: yada, yada, yada, says Kurt Weyerhauser, managing partner for Kensington Stone, a California-based executive search firm.


"People who read résumés for a living dismiss such comments because they are subjective assertions made by the only person who has anything to gain from them -- you," Weyerhauser says. "How do I know if you have the expertise to make accurate assessments about the quality of such skills?"

Along with using subjective assertions, experts say job applicants are famous for filling their résumés with jargon words and empty language that say nothing of their actual capabilities -- and it's the most detrimental move a job seeker can make.

"Verbs such as 'assist,' 'contribute' or 'support' without any additional information mean essentially nothing to a recruiter or hiring manager," says Michele Minten, director of centralized recruiting for Hudson, a New York- based recruiting firm. "Instead, a job seeker needs to be specific in how he or she assisted with a particular project."

Empty phrases

One thing you won't see on a successful résumé is empty phrases describing your work; instead, you'll find specific examples illustrating your accomplishments.

"The secret of a great résumé is that it leads the reader, on his or her own, to come up with the very assertions you would like to make," Weyerhauser says. "The best way to achieve this is to show, not tell. Use facts, not feelings."

Check out these expert examples of empty phrases:

Phrase: "Proficiency in problem identification."
Problem: "People want solutions, not problems," says Jo Bennett, partner at Battalia Winston, U.S. member form of the Amrop Hever, a New-York based executive search firm. Instead, describe the solutions for specific problems you solved, she says.

Phrase: "Cultivated a team-based atmosphere."
Problem:  On the surface, this may seem like nice wording, but it leaves people wondering what the person actually did that accomplished the claim, says Christopher Novak, an author, motivational speaker and leadership coach with The Summit Team, a leadership consulting firm in Syracuse, New York.
"It's almost too good a word to carry credibility in that it's slick but not substantive," he says.

Phrase: "Demonstrates proven ability... ."
Problem: "The activity will demonstrate your availability," Bennett says. Take out 'demonstrate' and just include 'proven ability to (insert important activity here).'

Phrase: "Championed family-friendly policies that increased retention."
Problem: This phrase is hollow, Novak says. "It gives the impression that they somehow pushed through major policy initiatives when more often, one discovers that they simply added their voice to someone else's work."

Jargon buzzwords to avoid

There's no shame in being ambitious, aggressive, a people-person or a team-player, but anyone can describe themselves in those terms, Minten says. The best way to demonstrate those qualities is through achievements that explain what makes a person that way, she says.

But, Minten adds, while using the latest buzzwords won't get a hiring manager's attention, understanding what the keywords are for your particular industry or job function will.

Here's a list of 25 buzzwords to avoid (or use sparingly), according to Bennett, Novak and Minten.

  • Top-flight
  • Collaborative
  • Interface
  • Innovative
  • Energetic
  • Problem-solver
  • Proclivity
  • Strategic
  • Dynamic
  • Ethical
  • Penchant
  • Aggressive
  • Motivated
  • 'Outstanding communication skills'
  • Creative
  • Goal-oriented
  • Proactive
  • Team player
  • Take-charge
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Detail-oriented
  • Organized
  • Hard-working
  • Ambitious
  • People-person

Source: careerbuilder

Real Resume Help: What Every Resume Needs -- But Usually Lacks

Some job seekers have problems selling their skills. They list their basic duties, which most job seekers have in common. You can stand out in a job search by positioning those skills so they set you apart.

Think of how a salesperson sells a car. He doesn't tout the fact that the car has four wheels, windows and functioning lights, because you'd expect that from every car. Instead, he sells the unique points of the car -- design, safety, mileage -- all of which make the car appealing to a potential buyer.

Job seekers need to do the same when selling their qualifications. Instead of saying you've used Microsoft Excel, tell the employer how you've solved problems or increased efficiency by creating a basic accounting process through Microsoft Excel.

Kyra Mancine, a professional copywriter with a career development background, says a list of job responsibilities is her biggest résumé pet peeve. "The key is to take a simple job duty and expand it to match the [job posting] with quantitative evidence of accomplishments," Mancine says. "It may take some thought and creativity, but it can be done for any job, no matter what the level. I don't care if you're a sanitation worker, CEO or seamstress; anyone can do this."

By adding numbers, statistics and adjectives applicable to the posting, job seekers can set themselves apart from others who have submitted more generic résumés.
Quantify accomplishments
To give an example, here's a real job posting from a bank looking for a call-center representative:
  • Serves as first-line response for incoming customer calls.​
  • Accurately and expediently answers inquiries from customers on all types of new and existing products and services, drawing on a detailed knowledge base of bank products, services, policies and procedures.​
  • Sells and cross-sells bank products and services to new and existing customers who have contacted the bank by telephone.​
  • Efficiently performs routine follow-up work and initiates requests for detailed follow-up work.​
  • Relies on excellent verbal and written communication skills to fulfill customer requests and to ensure customer satisfaction.​

If you're applying for this job and all you've listed on your résumé is that you answered phone calls in a call center, you probably won't get an interview, Mancine says. Instead, she suggests rewriting your résumé to match the bullets listed in the job posting, quantifying your successes. Mancine shares this example of how an applicant could restructure her résumé to address the posting above:
  • Primary call-center contact for a high volume of customer service inquiries, ranging from orders to returns.
  • Successfully handled hundreds of incoming consumer calls daily from across the country.
  • Received recognition for product upsells, resulting in a 5 percent increase in weekly sales.
  • Tapped into strong base of product knowledge on thousands of product stock-keeping units, quickly and courteously relaying product information to existing and new customers.
  • Consistently acknowledged for speed, accuracy to details and follow-through on catalog requests, Web order processing, batches and data entry.
  • Committed to going above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction, resulting in being named Employee of the Month for June 2011.

Here's another test that can help determine if you've listed qualifications or just duties: Look at each bullet point on your résumé and ask yourself, "So what?" If you're not impressed, why would a recruiter be?
Don't neglect the cover letter
"Cover letters are most often left out or even sent as generic notes with résumés," says Tiffani Murray, a résumé writer and career coach. She says that the cover letter is a great place to sell your personality and breathe life into your application.

"If a job posting specifically asks for a cover letter, this is a great opportunity to match up your skills and experiences with the requirements of the job," Murray says. "Make sure to detail how you can perform the tasks of the job you are applying for, but also add to the company, team or overall business with your knowledge and success in similar roles."

Source: AOL

7 Things Every Resume Needs In 2012

Age discrimination, unfortunately, is a fact of life for experienced job seekers. However, there is more you can do to make yourself seem modern, relevant, and qualified for the jobs you want than simply dying your hair or updating your wardrobe.

One key to job search success: an up-to-date, contemporary resume that doesn't make the reader assume you last applied for a job in 1995. Here are some tips to help you create a resume an employer will appreciate:
Include links in your contact information.
Include links to social media profiles (such as your LinkedIn URL) in your resume's contact information. If you use other social media tools professionally (such as Twitter or Facebook), include that information as well. Simply listing these will help someone reading your resume picture you as a candidate who is keeping up with modern communication tools. Use a professional email that doesn't reference your age or family status. (For example, avoid "" or "

Your resume doesn't need to be in Arial or Times New Roman. To create a more modern look, consider expanding your font choices to include: Georgia, Calibri, Tahoma, or Geneva.

Nix the objective.
While there are no absolute rules for resumes, adding an "objective," which usually focuses on the job seeker's needs, will make you seem out-of-step with today's market. Instead, use headlines to highlight what you offer that is in line with what the employer wants in a candidate. For example, take a look at the "before" and "after" highlights for a candidate looking for a medical administrative assistant job:

Before Objective:
Innovative, highly motivated, dynamic team player with extensive experience, stellar writing skills and the ability to effectively manage concurrent projects seeks opportunity to contribute in hospital setting.

After headline:
Medical Administrative Assistant / Unit Secretary / clerical expert Maintain Confidentiality – Coordinate Effectively With All Stake Holders Strong Oral and Written Communication Skills – Organized – Reliable – Quick Thinking

Notice how the "after" example includes job titles and specifics directly from the job description to describe relevant skills.

Avoid "empty" words.
Notice the "before" objective includes "highly motivated," "dynamic," and "team player." None of these words help the reader learn something specific about the candidate. Do not waste space with generalities. The more targeted you can be, the more vibrant and interesting your resume appears.

Avoid "functional" resume formats.
Functional resumes focus on the job seeker's skills without emphasizing when and where he or she used those skills. Sounds great for someone who wants to de-emphasize age and years of experience, right? The problem is, hiring managers like to know when and where you used the skills you say you have. Many will assume someone using this format is trying to hide something. Since you don't want to arouse suspicion, stick to a "reverse chronological" format, where you describe your most recent experience first and include dates.

Graduation dates.
You may choose to leave off the year you earned your degree(s), but assume if you do, the person reading your resume may probably assume you are older than you are.

Don't include every job you've ever had.
It's perfectly acceptable to only include the last 10 years of your professional experience. You may even choose to headline the section, "Recent Experience." If it is relevant, summarize work you did more than 10 years ago at the end without describing it in detail.

Now that you have an idea of how to structure your resume, what content should you include to appear as modern and hireable as possible? In my next post, I'll explain. Stay tuned.

Source: AOL

You've Written Your Résumé, Now Maximize Its Results

By now you get it: If you want to land an interview -- let alone a job offer -- you need a stellar résumé. Fortunately, you already have one and are fairly certain it's strong enough to put you a step ahead of the competition.

Not so fast. Sure you've got a knockout résumé, but do you actually know how to use it? Unfortunately, most job seekers don't, according to career coach Katy Piotrowski.

"Nine out of 10 job seekers do very little with their résumés, hoping that their dream employer will come looking for them. Just like a hammer, a résumé is a tool that can help you get the job done. But if the hammer sits in a toolbox unused, it's worthless. Your résumé, sitting on your desk or in your computer, will do little for you unless it lands in the hands of decision makers," Piotrowski writes in her recently released book, "The Career Coward's Guide to Résumés."

While working with thousands of job seekers, Piotrowski has seen firsthand which résumé strategies significantly increased the number of interviews her clients received.

Based on her experience, here are five sure-fire methods to maximize a résumé's results:

Customize your résumé every time you apply to a job opening

  • Include the position's job title and any reference code or number provided.

  • Ensure that your résumé mimics keywords used throughout the job description.

  • Make changes if the résumé does not already highlight a key skill area mentioned in the job description.

    Tap into your network to identify helpful contacts in the hiring company

  • If you've found a job target, contact friends, family, colleagues and references to ask if they know anyone connected to the company.

  • If they do, discuss whether or not you can mention their name in your cover letter.

  • Ask if they would be willing to hand deliver your résumé to the hiring manager.

    Submit both electronic and hard copies of your résumé

  • Most employers now require job seekers to apply online, through e-mail or various application processes.

  • On the other hand, many hiring managers have expressed to Piotrowski that they miss receiving hard-copy submissions that they can actually hold.

  • Sending both an electronic and hard copy ensures that the employer still receives your résumé, in case one is lost.

    Send a second submission of your résumé two days later

  • Two days after sending both the electronic and hard-copy of your résumé and cover letter, resend another hard copy.

  • In the upper-right corner of your cover letter, hand write, "Second Submission. I'm very interested."

    Go direct

  • Identify 25 to 100 companies where you want to work and mail your résumé and cover letter directly to them, even though they may not be hiring.

  • Consider using a phone book to identify target employers.

  • Studies show that one-third of all positions are filled through this method, but less than 10 percent of job seekers actually do this.

    "A strong résumé and taking advantage of effective job search techniques are what will help you pull ahead of your competition. Then you'll open many doors to attractive positions that fit your skills and interests," reminds Piotrowski.

    Source: careerbuilder

  • 1 White Lie Allowed On Resumes

    Q: I was just fired from my job. I am at a bit of a loss on how to move on from here. I had been out of work for five months prior to this position and worked there for 2.5 months before being terminated. In those weeks, I did not rack up any accomplishments I would typically list in a resume.
    job fired on resume

    Should I leave this job off my resume, which shows that I have been out of work for eight months? Or, do I include it? I know that a short stint in this job looks suspicious. Or, does being out of work, even in such an economy, look worse?

    A: Leave the job off your resume.
    It was only 2½ months, which means that it's not useful in showing any real accomplishments or advancement. And in addition to not doing you any good because of that, it will actually do harm -- by raising questions about what you were fired or left so soon. Those are questions that can be addressed if it's absolutely unavoidable, but it's better to never raise the questions at all if you can.

    In general, I'd suggest leaving any short stints like this off a resume, unless there's a way to paint them in a flattering light (and to do so honestly). For instance, short-term consulting is fine. But leaving after two months because of fickleness or dismissal aren't things that strengthen your candidacy.

    Your resume is not required to be a comprehensive accounting of how you spent each month of your professional life. It's understood that the whole point is to present yourself in the strongest light.
    Now, of course you may get questions about how you spent a period of time that your resume left unaccounted for. In your case, you had already been unemployed for five months before. You didn't say why, but let's assume for the sake of illustration that you were laid off. When asked about the period of time since your last job, you would simply say that you, like so many others right now, were laid off and have spent the time since job-searching and doing ____.

    (Fill in the blank with freelancing, caring for family members, taking a class, or whatever happens to be true in your case.)

    Regarding your question about whether being out of work looks bad: Show me a hiring manager who hasn't been spending her days talking to strong candidates who are out of work because of the economy, and I will show you a hiring manager who just started her job this morning. Great candidates who are unemployed have become normal right now, unfortunately. Any hiring manager who would discard a candidate for being out of work right now isn't living in reality.

    So leave that job off your resume, and good luck.

    Source: AOL

    Should You Ever Leave Your Education Off Your Résumé?

    After years of job-hunting without success, Adrienne Rodney decided that perhaps her master's in journalism was to blame: Maybe employers were considering her overqualified or at risk of jumping ship the moment the market improved.

    So, she removed it from her résumé.

    "It felt dishonest, so I asked the hiring manager how he felt about people who do that. He says that it was the conversation that got his attention, not whether I have a degree or not," she says.

    Brooke Allen, who hired Rodney as an assistant to work both in his trading group at Maple Securities, USA, Inc., as well as to help with his website, says he thinks she did the right thing by leaving it off. 

    "Soon after sending her résumé, she confessed she left off her master's. By this point I wanted to meet her, even though, frankly, I had not yet even glanced at her résumé," he says. "Honesty is very important if any relationship is going to work and it is critical in the workplace. While I do not consider leaving off qualifications to be dishonest, some [employers] might feel otherwise."

    The discussion about whether or not job seekers should leave education off their résumés at the risk of seeming overqualified -- or not qualified enough -- is common. And as with most debates, there are two arguments to be made.

    "I believe omitting the standard field of education on a résumé is a fatal mistake. I am looking for reasons to drop someone off the pile," says Amy Stoehr, founder, Changing Lanes Consulting. "I want honesty and creative ability. If your education isn't impressive, then showcase what is impressive about you -- and tell me the truth. Lead with your strengths. Use your cover letter to give me a specific, compelling example of why you're a good fit for the position I'm hiring."

    While almost every employer feels that honesty is the best policy when applying for a job, some employers agree that excluding your education from your résumé is necessary at times -- like if it gives the impression that your career interests lie in another direction.

    "Recruiters will make assumptions about what type of job will be a good long-term fit for you," says Lori Gale, CEO of "If you have a degree that is very specific, yet completely unrelated to the position to which you are applying, a recruiter will likely dismiss you as a serious candidate. Once again, you should never lie, but perhaps you are best off explaining your career change in person rather than via your résumé."

    If your education is less than stellar, there are still ways you can play up the most impressive parts of your résumé to catch an employer's attention.

    1. Play up your work experience
    "If you have a lot of experience that's directly related, some companies may overlook the lack of a formal education," says Linda Duffy, president of The Leadership Habitude. "Point to your significant accomplishments and hopefully they'll focus on those and not your lack of education."

    2. Apply for and obtain professional certifications in your field
    "There are accredited professional organizations in almost every field that offer recognized certification programs. These certificates demonstrate that you not only are capable of passing exams in your field, but that you are peer recognized," says Tom Taormina, forensic business pathologist®, The Taormina Group, Inc.

    3. Emphasize your other abilities
    If you're lacking a good education, then you need to highlight your work experience. Play up your other abilities by using strong adjectives throughout your résumé that jump out of the page, suggests Erica Moore-Burton, a private career coach. "If a hiring manager is looking for a qualified person, your experience is right on the money and they can see this from the content of your résumé, then your education will be secondary and chances are that you will at least land an interview; where you can impress them even more when you talk about your experience. Very seldom do hiring managers talk about your education in detail, it's the experience that they want to know about."

    In general, including education is, of course, preferable. And you should NEVER lie about your education. Use your discretion when deciding whether to include your education your résumé, but know that not including it doesn't mean you won't get the job. 

    "The key to how to communicate one's education in a résumé is all about the industry and context of the job and employment being considered. If you're applying to be a professor or a doctor it goes without saying that you need to have certain degrees and levels of education to qualify for consideration.

    If you're applying to be a business leader it's helpful to have a college degree, but don't we all know of the 'richest man in the world' who never completed college yet went on to develop a most successful computer company?" reminds Joan Tabb, author of "Great In 8: The Fastrack to Career Success." "Define your résumé to your particular strengths; whether they are your education, employment achievements, industry recognition or a combination."

    Source: careerbuilder

    Is A Fancy Resume A Waste Of Time?

    It's not even big news anymore when someone does something "crazy" to get a job. Whether it's a Google or Facebook advertisement, a shoe in a box, or a resume in Trafalgar Square, job seekers are getting more and more aggressive about standing out.

    creative resume benefits
    Personally -- and as someone who has taken these measures -- I love it. The economy blows and the "traditional" resume isn't so much of a necessity anymore, especially for less traditional job seekers. So when I came across Loft Resumes, I was immediately smitten.

    According to their website, Loft helps job seekers stand out in a sea of sameness with stylish resumes. Think unique typography, bold colors and graphics. They say, "Show [employers] that you're the type of person willing to invest in the most important document you'll ever create. That just as your resume isn't status quo, neither are you. And that's precisely why they need you." (Someone hired a great copywriter.)

    But I was also immediately skeptical. At least $99 for resume design? I thought about how my dear friend and resume writer extraordinaire, Jenny Foss, critiqued my resume last year and gave me some crucial feedback.
    I had spiffed it up with some visuals, my logo, etc., and she told me point blank to tone it down. Not because it wasn't pretty, but because many companies use applicant tracking systems, and if you use a lot of graphical elements in your resume, it might not pass through the system.

    So I sent Jenny the link to Loft and asked her opinion. "These resumes would be great for someone in a creative/design-centric field who plans to send the resume directly to the inbox of a hiring manager or contact," she replied. "Not so much a good idea for an online application, which will more than likely route the resume through an ATS."

    That's when I emailed Loft co-founder Dodd Caldwell. He told me that about 70 percent of jobs are found through personal networking, while 30 percent are found through career boards. "We fit well with those 70 percent," he said. "Great visual design can be a positive add-on for the right folks."

    And then, responding to my question about applicant tracking systems, he said, "Our advice for folks who are submitting to places where resume-parsing software may be used is that they have a text version of their resume on hand as well and then use the Loft Resume for interviews and emails."

    The takeaway? Hiring a resume writer or paying for a gorgeous design depends on the kind of job you're looking for. If you're eager to work for a small, creative startup, they're sure to respect an out-of-the-box approach. But if your dream is to work for a big corporate, you might offer a resume in a more traditional style.

    Now, I've been in the desperately-looking-for-work boat, and each and every time I've gotten my foot in the door has been through growing a pair and standing out. I've never applied to a company who used ATS, though. I hand-delivered (hand-emailed?) all my resumes and almost every single interviewer commented on how much they liked my style.

    So there is a place for gorgeously designed resumes that show you're different, while also really awesomely displaying your credentials.

    Of course, job seekers are also notoriously broke. But I'm strongly of the mindset that you have to spend money to make money. And when it comes to getting the perfect job, it's hugely important to shell out a bit of dough for a resume that shows you in the best possible light (just like an interview outfit that makes you feel stunning).

    Have you ever invested in a service or product to help your job search? Did it pay off?

    Source: AOL

    Customize Your Resume for Best Results

    You have a resume, but it's not working as well as you'd like it to. What can you do to increase the number of calls you receive for job interviews?

    Customize your resume.

    Submitting the same resume for every position can't possibly meet each employer's individual requirements. If you want to grab hiring managers' attention, you need to give them what they want. You must take the time to tailor your resume to each employer and its goals to strengthen your chance of getting noticed.

    Before responding to a job posting, review the job description to see what credentials are important. If you're submitting your resume to an employer that doesn't have an advertised opening, research the company and find out how it would benefit from bringing you on board. Once you determine your top-selling qualifications, you will be ready to customize your resume to meet the employer's needs.

    The most efficient way to create customized resumes is to develop one general resume and then tweak it for each particular job opportunity. Follow these steps:

    Copy Your Monster Resume
    Before you apply for your next job on Monster, log into your My Monster account. Go to My Resumes, and find the resume you'd like to copy. Click on the Actions icon for the resume you want to duplicate and select Copy. A copy of your resume will appear at the top of the resume listings, ready to customize specifically for the job you're applying for.

    Your Monster resume title should state your career goal, along with one or two of your top credentials. These credentials should be tailored to the employer's needs. For example: "Sous Chef -- Culinary Degree & 5 Years' Fine Dining Experience."

    The purpose of this section is to show that you're perfectly suited for the open position. Opt for a concise, targeted resume objective instead of a general statement that could be for any employer or job. A resume objective like, "To become a software engineer for 123 Company's Web services group," makes the hiring manager's job much easier and brings you closer to getting called for the interview.

    Qualifications Summary
    Once you've researched the employer's requirements, use the resume career summary section to match these requirements with your qualifications, thereby proving you are the perfect candidate for the position. Modify the Qualifications Summary in your duplicate resume as follows: omit statements that aren't important for the position's specific goals, reorder the summary so statements relevant to the position are listed first and add information about your credentials that's uniquely applicable to the position and employer.

    Job Descriptions
    Many employers go directly to the resume's employment history section to assess your qualifications. Review your job descriptions and modify your duties and accomplishments to pertain to the opening. Present an honest account of your employment history, but describe your experience to highlight your work tasks and achievements that relate to the job you're applying for. Place these pertinent qualifications at the top of the description, or use bullets surrounded by white space to make them stand out.

    You've already reviewed the job posting and determined what skills the employer wants in an ideal candidate. Emphasize your matching skills in your Monster resume's Skills section. Begin your list with the skills that would be of most interest to the employer.

    Source: Monster