Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a stay-at-home mom. She was considering entering the workforce, after staying home for 18 years to care for her son. Fortunately, she was able to provide for him during that time, take him to practices, attend school functions, and volunteer whenever possible. Now, comes the difficult part.
Jenny called me because she wanted to know how she should represent those 18 years of her life on her resume. Should she just start with her last paid position? Should she list stay-at-home mom, but not include many details? Or, should she turn to a functional resume and simply highlight her skills? As I talked to her, I realized that she was very concerned about how this would appear to a potential employer.
I assured her that I could work her to find the best solution to her challenge. We went through several steps and I encouraged her throughout the process. It turns out that she was worried her skills weren’t transferable to today’s workplace. As a stay-at-home mom and a single parent, she had plenty of skills that are desired by many employers. During her period as a full-time parent that was not in the paid workforce, she balanced many priorities, scheduled events, organized household finances, communicated with school personnel and other parents, and managed the interior and exterior of her home.
First, we organized her skills and provided a title for her position. Instead of listing her as a “domestic engineer” or some other fancy term, we said it like it was: Stay-at-Home Mom. Next, we listed what she had accomplished during that time frame. Remember—she had been in this position for 18 years; this was not going to be a one-line description. And, also remember that these skills need to be transferable. Using words like organize, budget, communication, oversee, manage, lead, and establish ensure we are using career-oriented verbiage. Finally, we included volunteerism. While Jenny was a stay-at-home mom, she had the opportunity to volunteer in several events through school and the community. This was pertinent information and was included on the document.
So, if you or someone you know is trying to return to the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent, please remember to list this information. This is no longer a big secret or something that needs to be hidden. Consider your skills, accomplishments, and tasks during this time period and ensure they are represented on your resume. Don’t sell yourself short – staying home with children IS a job and should be represented on your resume. If you have additional questions, please contact me.
Recently, I have received numerous client requests for written bios. Many times, these are needed for websites, speaking engagements, or workshop proposals. While you may be tempted to include everything, you need to remember that it your target audience that counts. Think of the bio from their point-of-view and only include the necessary information.
Here are my top ten tips for writing an effective bio:
- Identify your purpose. Are you speaking at an event? Who will be reading the information?
- Utilize the third person perspective. Using this approach makes the information sound more objective. I tell clients to think of the back of a book jacket – consider what you would read about the author.
- Shorter is better. Impressive people have short bios. More importantly, people have short attention spans. Capitalize on your most important information first and get to the point.
- Have length options. Your bio may be requested in different lengths. Keep a running document of a short bio, a medium bio (about a paragraph in length), and a long bio (up to one page in length).
- Invert your pyramid. Put the most important information first. If someone quits reading your bio, what do you want them to know about you for sure?
- Start with your name. Although this may seem obvious, it is important for people to correlate your information with your name. For example, my bio begins, “Heather Rothbauer-Wanish founded Feather Communications in 2008…”
- Add some personality. Readers want to know YOU as the person. If appropriate, add some humor and a memorable fact so that the readers recognize you and your information.
- Don’t include everything. You can’t be everything to everyone. And, you simply can’t put all of your information into your bio. Include the information that is pertinent to your audience.
- Contact information. End your bio with your contact information (if appropriate). You want to make it as convenient as possible for someone to contact you.
- Read and rewrite. Your bio is ever-evolving. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review and proofread your information. Review your bio on a regular basis – this will save you time in the long-term.
Finally, if you have tried to write an effective bio and it just isn’t working, please contact Feather Communications today at 715-559-6378 or email@example.com. We love working with clients and making their information shine!
When meeting with clients seeking a new resume, I’ve discovered that each client is totally unique. Some clients have worked at the same job for many years and have been laid off, others have had several jobs within the last few months, and still others are seeking a career change. However, no matter where clients are on their career path, there is one mistake that is consistently evident when working with nearly everyone. People do not give themselves enough credit when it comes to their skills, experiences, and job history.
Most individuals do not like to brag about their accomplishments and skills. However, your resume is the document that will help you get your foot in the door for an interview. If you don’t take this opportunity to speak about your skills and accomplishments, then when is the right time? Many clients say some variation of the following when I meet with them: “Well, yes, I did more than what I have listed here, but I didn’t want to brag or sound like I was tooting my own horn.” What?! If you don’t toot your own horn and explain your skill-set, then who will? NOW IS THE TIME.
So, as you are deciding what information to include in your resume, remember to think about everything you did at your previous workplaces and the results of those accomplishments. Do not think of this as bragging. Rather, consider that you need to tell your whole story. While working with a recent client, I noticed that she had one bullet point that mentioned a President’s Award. Upon further investigation, I discovered that she was the first female recipient of the award, she was the only recipient out of 500 employees, and the award was personally handed out by the vice president of the corporation. This was a HUGE deal. Rather than just having a three-word bullet point, we highlighted this award in a more prominent place on the resume and explained it in further detail.
While you are compiling your resume information, strongly consider the reader and his or her viewpoint. What may seem like something small to you may actually be extremely important to a potential employer. And, if you are in doubt, ask a trusted colleague or friend to review your information to help determine what is relevant. Above all, don’t sell yourself short—be sure to give yourself credit for your accomplishments and don’t be afraid to share them with potential employers.
Feather Communications owner, Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, has published her first e-book titled, Getting Back in the Game: How to Build Your Resume After Taking a Break.
As part of her business, Rothbauer-Wanish focuses on helping job seekers create compelling, professional, and modern job searching documents. “I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and have assisted hundreds of clients during their job searches. As a CPRW, I am dedicated to ensuring my client’s resumes and cover letters are unique, eye-catching, and appropriate for their respective industries. My goal is to deliver documents that clients can utilize well into the future,” Rothbauer-Wanish said.
Through meeting various clients, answering questions, and offering advice, Rothbauer-Wanish decided to compile her answers into a book. “The book focuses on many questions that I receive quite often from clients. If I can help job seekers feel more confident, create better documents, and understand today’s marketplace, then the book has accomplished its goal,” she said. She currently works mainly with clients in the Chippewa Valley and Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area; her hope is that the book will increase her reach.
Currently, the book is available on Amazon.com for the Kindle; it will be available for other e-readers within the next week. “My goal is to sell the e-book and then have printed copies available in the future,” she concluded.
After working with hundreds of clients on their resumes and cover letters, one thing is certain—no two clients are the same. And, neither are their file names. While it wouldn’t seem like enough of an issue for a separate blog post, it really has become a challenge. Please see below for some tips when naming your files.
First, use your name. While this may be simple, it is often overlooked. Do not call your resume document, “Resume.” This is a sure-fire way to get lost in the system. And, don’t use any variations of this. For example, don’t use, “Resume 1, Resume 2,” etc.
Next, please remember that most of us are revising our resumes several times and for each job opportunity. If you are working in Microsoft Word or another program, it may default to calling your resume, “John Smith Resume (1)” if this is your first revision. And, I have also witnessed clients naming their resume with the word “Revision” in the file name. If an employer receives a resume called “John Smith Resume Revision 12,” this may be a red flag for the hiring manager. Again, there is nothing wrong with revising your resume many times—the potential employer just doesn’t need to know that.
Lastly, be consistent. If you name your resume file “John Smith Resume,” then name your cover letter file as “John Smith Cover Letter.” This will show that you are organized and understand naming conventions. And, it will be easier for the employer to keep everything together.
Take some time to review the file names on your resume, cover letter, and references page. Be sure they are simple, cohesive, and make sense to a potential employer. These files may be one of the first impressions you make with an employer – make that impression a positive experience.
Recently, I attended a Women In Networking (WIN) Luncheon Networking event where I had the opportunity to be one of the speakers in their speaker’s showcase. What does this mean? Basically, several women were able to talk for five minutes only on a topic related to her business. To effectively cover any topic in five minutes, the speaker needs to be clear, concise, and direct. Therefore, I chose to discuss “Resumes—5 Tips for Making Your Information Shine.” The tips are outlined below; please read through them and think about them the next time you need to update your resume.
Tip #1: Get Organized. Keep a folder, drawer, hard copy, and/or electronic copy of important documents. Make a list of your previous employers, official job titles, dates of employment, and job duties. Be sure you know official names of schools, degrees, and dates of graduation. Write down your skills, abilities, and qualifications.
Tip #2: Chronological Resume? From most recent to oldest, it shows the order of education and employment. This is good when you have no periods without work, not many job changes, and you have worked in the same sector. It is an easy-to-understand format and illustrates stability. However, this type of resume may emphasize age too much and it may draw attention to gaps in work history.
Tip #2 (continued): Functional Resume? A functional resume shows achievements and abilities, with little emphasis on dates. This type of resume works well when you have changed jobs often, if you have just graduated, or if you are looking to work in a different sector. A functional resume shows capacities and strengths, while illustrating the abilities specific to a desired position. However, it also limits the description of each position.
Tip #3: Lose the Objective. What is your objective? TO GET A JOB! Instead of listing a boring objective, take the time to craft a career summary. This may be a few sentences in length, but it provides more valuable information than the standard objective.
Tip #4: Be Concise. Employers are busy and you need to catch their eye immediately. You will not be able to list everything you have done. Think of new ways to phrase tasks and achievements. And, if you need to use the thesaurus, then do it. To be effective, utilize phrases instead of complete sentences while using bullet points for clarity.
Tip #5: Be Consistent. Consistency shows an attention to detail and organization. Use single space throughout each job description and double space between jobs and headings. Ensure the font you have selected is appropriate for your field. Utilize the same bullet style throughout the document and be sure to keep the tone of voice the same throughout each job description.
While these aren’t all of the “rules” for writing an effective resume, it’s a great starting point. And, if you would like a resume professional to review your resume for a free consultation, please contact Feather Communications today!
Being interviewed for a potential job opening can make you scared, nervous, and doubtful about your own abilities. And, to add to these feelings, you need to come across as cool, calm, and confident during the interview. Confidence during an interview is of critical importance. In fact, your confidence level may mean the difference between getting a job offer and returning to the help wanted ads.
Confidence is internal to people. That means that you have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you. During a job interview, which may last only an hour, you have to relay this impression to the interviewers and hope they see your true capabilities. Remaining calm and confident during a potentially tense situation is easier said than done. However, there are several ways that you can become the confident interviewee.
First, do your research. Job interviews do not typically “pop up” at the last minute. You have time to research the company, understand its mission, and know its target audience. Be sure to read materials related to the company and the industry. This will not only impress the interviewees, but it will put you at ease as you greatly understand their business.
Next, understand yourself. Expect that they will ask you about your strengths and weaknesses; prepare these answers ahead of time. Be sure you know your resume information; interviewers are bound to ask you questions directly related to your resume. Bring a copy of the resume to the interview. Even though it may not be necessary to have the additional copy, you will feel more confident knowing the information is there if it is needed.
Finally, practice. Practice your handshake, practice your answers to questions, and practice telling the interview team about yourself. The more you practice these answers, the better the interview will go. And, by practicing, you will be more confident with yourself and your answers.
Being confident is a state of mind for any part of your life. Be sure to exude this confidence during a job interview and you will be one step closer to landing your dream job.
When you own a small business, you are often short on time and money. Unfortunately, both of these things are required when starting, maintaining, or growing a business. And, when you have been in business for awhile, the calls start coming in to your office. Would you be able to assist with this event? How about sponsoring a community-based children’s festival? Can your business provide monetary donations to an upcoming benefit? And, you first thought is the following: “How am I going to fit that in to may already packed schedule?” The next thought is, “Why would I want to do that?”
Volunteering your services can greatly enhance your business. And, volunteering can mean many things. It can mean providing a monetary donation to a local event, speaking about your business to a civic organization, or providing a presentation to a local chamber of commerce. All of these methods have one thing in common: they allow for added visibility for your business. When someone calls Feather Communications and asks if the business will participate in volunteer work, my question is usually the same: “How could I potentially help?”
Does this mean that I take part in every volunteer or free opportunity? No – no business can possibly do that. However, it means that I do investigate to see if my business will be a good fit with the potential volunteer engagement. Not every opportunity is a match for my organization. And, if it’s not, I respectfully decline the opportunity.
Here is an example of how volunteering can really help grow your business. Recently, I was asked if I would make a presentation to a local chamber of commerce audience. The presentation had to do with social media and how to utilize it effectively. Because this is an area of business I want to promote, I decided to take the opportunity and made the presentation about a week ago. The chamber of commerce did not pay for the presentation; however, I knew that I would be meeting a variety of professionals throughout my area.
Since that non-paid presentation, I have worked with a company to set up its Facebook page and met with another attendee to revise and update her resume. Both of these jobs are paid. And, if both of these clients are happy, then they will tell others. In this way, volunteering your services and expertise truly does help your business grow. Furthermore, it raises your profile within the community and provides additional exposure for your business.
So, the next time someone asks you or your small business to participate in an event for free, strongly consider the possibilities that may come in the future. And, be sure to completely consider the opportunity when it presents itself.
The free event, hosted at Camille’s Sidewalk Café in Lake Hallie, assisted job seekers with resume guidelines and suggestions, addressed commonly asked interview questions, and discussed the importance of networking when job searching. “My goal is to help individuals craft professional documents that help set them apart from other applicants,” Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications and a Certified Professional Resume Writer, said.
Attendees also learned about the benefits of working with a professional recruiter and discovering ways to identify transferable skills. Presently there are many professionals in the area who are actively and passively looking for new professional placement opportunities and as a global leader in the world of work, Manpower has positioned itself to create a platform for professional job seekers. “Manpower offers a variety of services to both businesses and job seekers. Our goals through the professional division are to maintain a talent pipeline, appropriately match high level talent and help our clients meet their business needs,” Joan Prissel, Professional Placement Consultant with Manpower, explained.
If you would like more information about any of Manpower’s permanent placement, temporary or HR services, please contact Joan Prissel at 715-552-9124. And, if you are interested in a resume critique or need advice about your job search documents, contact Heather Rothbauer-Wanish at 715-559-6378.
Manpower is the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, creating and delivering high-impact solutions that enable our clients to achieve their business goals and enhance their competitiveness. With over 60 years of experience, our company provides a comprehensive suite of innovative solutions that cover an entire range of talent-driven needs from recruitment and assessment, training and development, and career management, to outsourcing and workforce consulting. Manpower maintains the world’s largest and industry-leading network of nearly 3,600 offices in over 82 countries and territories, generating a dynamic mix of an unmatched global footprint with valuable insight and local expertise to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients per year.
About Feather Communications
Feather Communications is a local organization that assists job seekers with writing new resumes, cover letters, and other job-search related documents. Owner Heather Rothbauer-Wanish is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, the National Resume Writers’ Association, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer. Heather has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, an MBA, and is pursuing her PhD in Organization and Management.
Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Owner – Feather Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org or 715.559.6378