Archive for March, 2010

What To Do If You're Overworked

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

US World and News ReportsIt’s the great irony of our times.  Many people are out of work and, so far, unable to find new jobs.  At the same time, those who still have jobs find themselves saddled with the responsibilities of all the ones who’ve been laid off.  Often this is for no more money.  

If this is you may be feeling exhausted.  And fed up.

What’s worse, many overworked still-employed folks fear mentioning their plight to their bosses.  Because, you know, you’re supposed to be “just happy to have a job.”  

But there is a way to talk to your boss about being overworked.  It (unfortunately) requires some work but if you are at your wit’s end, it  may be worth a try. 

Details over at today’s U.S. News & World Report post.

5 Keys to Creating a Resume They'll Remember

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Jessica Holbrook over at Great Resumes Fast offers some smart resume advice that applies to most any job, any level:

Stop agonizing over how to write the best resume and take a moment to read over the following five key steps to creating a resume that hiring managers will remember. This isn’t a definitive list but will give you a great place to start on your way to resume superstardom (and that new career you’ve been dreaming about)!

Give Them Something Pretty To Look At

Crucial information that hiring managers need to make an informed decision needs to be easy to find. Don’t overcrowd the resume and cram too much on one page.

On the flip side, using one-inch margins will make your resume look more like a college term paper then a personal marketing document.

Stop Telling Them What You Want

Instead, share with them how you plan to meet their needs and the value you will bring to their organization. Many resume statements of objectives are extremely limited. How many have you read objectives like this one: “To obtain a position at XYZ corporation utilizing my ABC experience and education.” Bore them with that, and you will most certainly not get an interview.

What your resume really needs is a professional branding statement and focused career summary that clearly define the benefits the employer will receive when they hire you. Notice I chose “when”—not “if.” Confidence is key here.

Give Them The Good Stuff And Withhold The Mushy

Hard skills versus soft skills can make or break your resume. Very few careers are all soft-skill based — 99% of the workforce can brag about being in careers that are based on industry-specific terminology and keywords that can be piled up to the ceiling to describe your skills and expertise.

Use words that a recruiter would type into a search field to find you. Phrases like “great communicator” and “excellent verbal skills” will not ordinarily be used when they are performing a search on Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com — so don’t bother wasting the critical space on your resume listing them. Instead, use appropriate industry jargon: software engineer, database management, accounts receivable, outside sales, business-to-business sales, etc.

Pitch It To Them

Create a killer branding statement that encapsulates everything about you—maybe even in a really flashy way! (Hey, standing out is not a bad thing in this market; at least they’ll remember you.) Give them your best sales pitch, and show them why they should give you a chance.

“Wow” them with a great introductory statement and career summary that positions you as the coveted candidate of choice.

Won any awards? Are you an enterprising and creative leader? Draw them in with something unique that they don’t hear every day — and something that describes YOU! Something like: “Award-Winning and Top-Producing Sales Executive.”

First Impressions Last – Create Yours

You can control on your resume how you want to be perceived. Tailor it to the exact position you want; and if you’re applying to different types, then customization is the way to go. Emphasize on your resume the crucial points you’ve extracted from the job description. You are customizing your resume to the specific position you want. There is no better way to knock the recruiter over the head than with, “Hey, I’m the perfect candidate!”

Incorporate these key points into your resume and you’ll be well on your way to producing a resume they’ll remember—and hopefully a phone call … and an interview … and, well you get the idea.

By Jessica Holbrook, an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

It's The Boss's Turn

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

US World and News ReportsLast week’s U.S. News post was all about sentences employees should avoid using around their boss.

Well, turnabout is fair play.  Here are “7 Things Your Boss Should Never Say to YOU.”  Let’s hope your boss sees it.

Caution People! How Social Media is Muddying the Waters for Perfectly Good Jobseekers…and How Companies are Letting it Happen

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Check out this guest post with an original point of view from career coach Teena Rose:

Invited to an interview, you step into the room and unload that heavy photo album you’ve been clinging to onto the conference table. In addition to a resume and brag book, you have pictures on your iPhone of your dogs and the neighbor’s cat stalking the birds enjoying your new bird feeder. The interview progresses by you opening and flipping through the pages of your album, pointing to your family and friends. You gladly draw the interviewer’s attention to those older pictures taken during your college days … and to the many of your drunk, sleeping positions your friends encapsulated forever through one click of a camera.

Eeerrrk!!!

What? Personal items presented during an interview?

Why not? Isn’t that basically what hiring companies are doing rummaging through your public social media accounts, learning more about you and your online activities?

The next few years are certainly gray, uncharted waters for jobseekers. The issue of whether a person’s personal life and involvement online should have any place in the hiring realm is definitely a topic that will be battled over for years — maybe even decades. Some might unexpectedly find themselves entangled in lawsuits, as privacy experts grow increasingly concerned that disqualifying a candidate based on information gained online can introduce certain forms of discrimination into the hiring process.

Jobseekers have every right to be concerned about protecting their online identities from prying eyes, but where should the line be drawn? Employers shouldn’t be given uninhibited access to a jobseeker’s private life, should they?

Interestingly, a recent study released at Microsoft’s 4th Annual Data Privacy Day identified that 70% of those surveyed in the US indicated they had disqualified a candidate based on online information. What was the incriminating online information that caused the disqualification? Of course this was not made public … and behind the curtain of hiring, only HR managers and recruiters seem privy to such information.

The deeper issue is whether employers should be allowed to open that flood gate by bringing social media activities into the hiring world in the first place. I’m reminded of a line from the movie Jurassic Park. When referring to scientists, Jeff Goldblum’s character says, “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Maybe employers poking through a jobseeker’s online activities are so preoccupied with the fact that they could that they never stopped to think whether they should.

Ahh, but hiring companies won’t find my online activities. Think again. Technology giants have only just begun leveraging the social media phenomena; and not surprisingly, for financial gain.

Microsoft announced the integration of Social Connector software, which will be released mid-2010. The add-on software is designed to let someone like me readily see the online communications from those who send me email. Microsoft’s Group Product Manager, Dev Balasubramanian, was quoted as saying: “As you communicate you can see their social activities; you can see all the folks in your social network and it updates as you are reading your e-mail.” Certainly it appears to offer great benefits to the masses, but for jobseekers, it just might leave an unpleasant sour aftertaste.

No doubt, employers will soon be given a larger spy glass — and unfortunate for jobseekers, Microsoft isn’t the only company abuzz with developing new applications that will take public social media data and translate it into something that can be researched and used, for good and evil.

Regardless, employers need to take a long look at their current hiring practices to determine whether a drunken party photo showing Joe Jobseeker has anything to do with the value Joe brings to the table professionally, and how well he performs while on the job.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – ~**~ – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Teena Rose is a professional speaker, career coach, book author, former columnist, and top-endorsed resume writer and job strategist. She leverages job-search collateral (i.e. resume, cover letter, executive bios), applying new social networking, personal branding, online portfolios, and new technologies/tools to further benefit the careers of her clientele. Contact Teena Rose at (937) 325-2149 or at her website; http://www.resumebycprw.com.

A Real Life Great Interview Pitch

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Last week’s “50 Worst of the Worst (and Most Common) Interview Mistakes” brought in tons of feedback.  One of the best responses came from a reader whose first name is Bob.  It was so good that Working Girl asked if she could reprint it.  Here it is:

That’s a very good list, definitely one of the better job interview articles I’ve ever read.

 I have probably done 30+ interviews, mostly at a ‘Big 6’ accounting/consulting firm (yes, that’s a while ago, now ‘big 4’, big countdown), and I was kind of amazed how so many new grads, who were better students than I had been, were not well prepared for interviews.  All that work to get to that point, without the emphasis on the payoff moment.

 I was pulled off a client to do 3 days of interviews, with no prep, so I have to admit my style was my own, and somewhat relaxed (I had done some interviews at a previous company) – my attitude was ‘you’ve got 50 minutes of my time – give me your pitch’, although I did gently lead the interview to give it structure and to be fair to the candidate.  All I wanted was:

  •  Tell me that you understand who we are
  •  Tell me that you understand what the job is
  •  Tell me why you are prepared for the job
  •  Tell me (very carefully) that you understand the challenges (negatives) of what you are getting into (‘Big 6’ was somewhat of a harsh life, but a big career accelerator – this point may not be as applicable for other jobs) 
  •  Tell me that you still really want the job, that this is where you really want to be

 Of course I wanted it to be a little more polished and subtle, but that’s what I was looking for.  Pretty common sense, and anyone who could do it got my support for hire, because I really didn’t have any ‘extras’ to choose between.  And I was looking out for the applicant as well as the firm, it wasn’t going to be a good fit for the firm if the firm wasn’t a good fit for the candidate.

 Most of these issues are covered in your tip list, and that’s why I agreed with it.

 It’s been a while, and I don’t know if it’s still valid, but it seems to be helpful to friends I have coached.

What Not to Say at Work

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

US World and News ReportsYour mom was right.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

Substitute “smart” for “nice”  and you can apply this to the workplace.  For more specific advice, and seven examples of what NOT to say, check out today’s post over at U. S. News.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to take a look at last week’s post on 50 of the Worst (and Most Common) Job Interview Mistakes.  It got picked up on Yahoo and sort of struck a chord.  It inspired agreement, questions, some criticism, and even humor.  Need a laugh?  Check out MisfitWisdom‘s “helpful” additions to some of the 50 not-to-do’s. 

Finally, while we are discussing all things U.S. News, if you missed “How to Answer 10 Tricky Interview Questions,” it’s worth skimming (some) of the 300 comments.  Yikes.

The 10 Trickiest Interview Questions

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

US World and News Reports This latest U.S. News & World Report post actually appeared three days ago, but Working Girl was outta town and is just now getting back to all things computer.

It’s all about how to field the most common “trick” interview questions.  Let’s hope it comes in handy, real soon.