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Feb 20 17

Five Ways to Calm Your Interview Nerves

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

Job seekers typically rejoice when they receive a phone call for an upcoming interview. After all, this is the moment you have been waiting for—it’s your time to shine! You are ready to share your skills, experiences, and knowledge with your future employer. After you put the date in your calendar, the panic may start to set-in. You get nervous—REALLY nervous. Keep reading to discover five ways to calm your nerves and to ensure your skills and strengths are the impression left with the employer—not your nervous nature.

Tip #1 – Do your research. Learn whatever you can about the company. Go to the organization’s website, find their mission statement, and discover who their customers are. Use this information as you prepare your responses to ‘typical’ interview questions. And, when the interviewer asks what you know about the company, you will have something to say that clearly shows your research.

Tip #2 – Talk to a current employee. If you happen to know someone that already works at the business, have a lunch with that person or call them to chat. This will give you an insight to the inner-workings of the company. Ask why they like working there and where they envision the company in the future.

Tip #3 – Drive there ahead of time. If your interview is somewhat local, go there a couple of days ahead of time. Learn how long it takes to drive there and ensure you will be able to get there on-time for the day of your interview. Knowing where you are going and how long it takes you will go a long way to calming some of those nerves.

Tip #4 – Prepare a list of typical interview questions and think about how you will answer them. Start thinking about your strengths, what you do better than other candidates, your notable achievements, and your elevator pitch. While you don’t want to appear rehearsed during an interview you also don’t want to come off as someone with little to no preparation.

Tip #5 – Practice with a trusted friend or colleague. Go through a mock interview with someone you know, like, and trust. Saying responses out-loud is different than just thinking of them in your head. Use that time to hone your responses and ask for constructive feedback. Remember, if you ask for feedback, you will most likely get it—so be prepared to make changes if necessary.

Remember that the interview is your time to SHINE. Preparation is key to calming your nerves. If you aren’t nervous (or have mitigated as many nerves as possible), you will be relaxed and can showcase WHY you are the right candidate for the position.

Are you ready to get one step closer to a new job opportunity? Download our free Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW!

Feb 5 17

Questions NOT to Ask During a Job Interview

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

As you are preparing for your job interview and thinking of all the questions you will be asked, it can sometimes be difficult to remember how you should answer them and what they company may want to hear. It’s most important to think about how your skills and past achievements can align with the proposed job opportunity.

At the same time, you know that you will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer and perhaps—even some employees. For that portion of the interview, it will be important to assess the company culture, find out the ins and outs of the job, and think about why you may want to work there. Sometimes, we don’t think about the questions that SHOULDN’T be asked during the interview.

It’s important to be interested in the company, but it’s also critical that you don’t make a major mistake during the interview. Read below for five questions that should definitely NOT be a part of your next interview.

#1 – How quickly do people move up within the company? This shows that you are only using the job as a stepping stone. Even if this is true, you certainly don’t want it to appear that way. Asking this also shows a lack of respect for an internal progression within the company.

#2 – What is your vacation policy? Again, do you want to appear as someone that is solely concentrated on your first vacation? No. Instead, you want to be an employee that is known for a diligent work ethic and a focus on getting the job done.

#3 – Who is your target customer? Research is one of the most important things that you can do prior to an interview. Do NOT ask about a company’s mission statement, target customer, or service offerings when all of these things can easily be found online. If you ask these types of questions, it will look like you didn’t take the interview seriously and spent ZERO time preparing for it.

#4 – Are employees eligible for discounts? If you are applying for a retail job or a customer-facing position, this is a question NOT to ask. Think about it—the employer would probably rather just have you as a customer rather than someone that simply works for the extra 15% or 20% off the regular price.

#5 – Do you offer tuition reimbursement here? While you should be applauded for furthering your skills and your education, this is NOT the time to ask about the employer paying your way through college.

Remember that a job interview is like a first date—you need to make a good first impression so the company calls you back and wants more information.

Do you think you are ready for that interview but just have a few ‘jitters?’ We can help! Contact us today to learn about our interview coaching services – we would love to get you READY for your next career opportunity!

Jan 30 17

Why Your Resume NEEDS to be Up-To-Date

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

For many people, looking for and landing a new job is NOT one of their favorite things to do. Let’s face it – it can be a long, grueling, nerve-wracking, and potentially challenging process. Therefore, many people decide to stay with the same old job and ‘put off’ looking for a new opportunity. However, I can tell you that—often—many people come to me in panic-mode simply because they haven’t kept the document up-to-date and now have a desperate need for the document.

Here’s a perfect example: A client came to me earlier this month—on a Monday—because she had been unexpectedly laid off from her position the previous Thursday. She had several iterations of her resume—some were four pages (way too long) and some were sparse (way too short). Fortunately, she did have all of the information we needed, but it wasn’t in one cohesive document. We were able to work together and develop a new resume within a week—she is well on-her-way to a new job.

There are several instances when a new resume will be required:

#1 – A new opportunity at your current position. You may be eligible for an updated role or be in-line for a promotion. However, part of the typical human resources process is submitting a new resume—even when the job is an internal position. Do you really want to make your boss wait for this? What if a competitor for the role already has his or her resume ready?

#2 – You are fired, laid off, or part of an employee reduction process—with little to no notice. Not only are you now dealing with the shocking loss of your job, you have to put together your resume—a dreaded task for many people. If your resume was relatively up-to-date, then you could simply polish it up a bit and start sending it to companies.

#3 – A networking connection has a perfect opportunity for you. Much like a previous example, it comes down to a sense of urgency. While you take a day or two to get your information together, your contact has already chatted with several other interested parties and has started the interview process with them—instead of you.

The importance of an updated resume cannot be overstated. Even if the document is not finessed perfectly, having the necessary information there, along with job descriptions and accomplishments allows you to be further ahead than many others.

If you are struggling to figure out HOW to put together a winning resume, download our FREE OFFERING that will allow you to GET THE INTERVIEW!

Jan 20 17

Do I Need a Cover Letter?

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

In a typical day, I will get several emails via my website and respond to the potential clients with varying package offerings. My basic package is a resume only and the second package offers a resume and cover letter. The additional offers then include LinkedIn profiles and interview coaching. One of the most common questions I receive is the following: “Which package do you think I should go with? Do I need a cover letter?” My answer is typically YES.

Here’s the reason: Even if a job opening does not REQUIRE a cover letter, I’ve never heard of anyone NOT getting hired because they went above-and-beyond and sent a cover letter. Oftentimes, an online application has an ‘additional’ file category or an ‘optional’ cover letter attachment. Why not include a cover letter and share even more of your skills, abilities, and accomplishments?

So, what’s the purpose of a cover letter? Is it a summary of the resume? When done correctly, the cover letter can further tell the story of the applicant and can discuss additional strengths that can be brought to the workplace. After being at several national resume writing conferences, I can tell you that some recruiters read the resume first and some read the cover letter first—it’s a personal preference. However, when the cover letter is read first, it can provide a great first impression and memorable statement for the candidate.

Here are my general tips for a cover letter:

#1 – Keep it concise and one-page maximum. I met with a client recently that showed me several of her old cover letters and they were all two to three pages in length. That is simply too long and the reader won’t read through the material. In addition, if you are trying to show that you are a jack-of-all-trades, you are probably showing that you are master of none.

#2 – Use bullet points. Rather than large blocks of text, use a few short paragraphs and three or four bullet points in the middle of the cover letter to attract attention. These bullet points are a quick and easy way to change information depending upon the job opportunity. Be specific and showcase several of your past accomplishments that are directly in-line with the potential job opportunity.

#3 – Address the cover letter to an actual person. Never use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” as the salutation. Do everything in your power to find out the name of the hiring director or HR professional. And, if all else fails and you are unable to find out the person’s name, then use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Leader.” This salutation comes across as more personal and less like a form letter.

If you would like more tips on creating a cover letter that gets results, be sure to download our Cover Letter Checklist by clicking HERE!

Dec 1 16

What is the Right Length for My Resume?

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

You’ve read different online recommendations, you’ve read through your friend’s one-page resume, and scanned your colleague’s three-page resume. Next, it’s time to write your resume. And, you start to wonder…how long should my resume be? Is there a ‘right’ length? How long is too long? Or, is it an absolute necessity to have a one-page document?

This is one of the most common questions that I receive from my clients. And, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all response. I’ve seen it all—I’ve received less than one paragraph from a client and I’ve received an eight-page document that outlines all jobs from 1975 through today. Neither of those works for today’s job market. So, here’s the advice I give to my clients and several guidelines that can be used as you put together your own resume.

Tip #1 – Be concise. Don’t think that a two-page document means that you are a better candidate or that outlining your job history for the last 30 years is the right way to accomplish this task. Instead, think about what is important to the potential employer and how you can get the point across in a clear and concise manner.

Tip #2 – Think one page per 10 years of experience. If you have worked for 20+ years, it’s crazy to think that you can highlight your skill-sets and work history within one page. Or, if you have a lot of community engagement that may be important to the job opportunity and need to point it out, then do it. A two-page document is fine for those that have a great deal of work history.

Tip #3 – Three pages and more is only okay if you are in education or medical professions. Sometimes people think that longer is better and makes them appear more important—it doesn’t. In the field of education (i.e. college professor) or medical professions (i.e. doctor), a CV is often required and can be three pages or beyond. These documents call for publications listings, internships, presentations, and even more. If you aren’t in one of these fields, then avoid anything longer than a two-page resume.

Tip #4 – Don’t include irrelevant information. Did you letter in a sport during high school? Was that 25 years ago? Or, were you the 4-H club president in 1985? Here’s a hint: no one cares. I know that sound harsh, but it’s the truth. If it’s not relevant—leave it off the resume.

Tip #5 – Don’t include long blocks of information. Whether your resume is one page or two pages, keep in mind that most people don’t like to read long paragraphs of information. Instead, include concise and targeted bullet points—they can even be phrases and not complete sentences. My recommendation is not to create a bullet point that is longer than two lines.

Still don’t know exactly which information should and should not be included in your new resume? We can help! Click here to contact us today – we offer free resume reviews!

Check out these other offerings that can help you…

Free Download: Cover Letter Tips Checklist That Gets INTERVIEWS! Click HERE!

Free Resume Download: TOP 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW in Today’s Competitive Job Market. Click HERE!

Nov 21 16

How to Highlight Early Work Experience on Your Resume (Without Appearing ‘Old’)

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

Let’s say you are a 40+ year old professional that has tremendous work history, valuable experience, wonderful skill-sets, and outstanding achievements. The challenge…some of those great work experiences happened more than 15 or 20 years ago. Why is this even an issue? Because – typically we only include the last 10-15 years of work history.

Many of my clients wonder why we only include this ‘recent’ job history. In general, your recent job experiences tend to be the most relevant to today’s job market. When the position is older, it often means that technology used, processes involved, and methods for completing tasks are completely different today. But, if you are in a field such as sales or management—while the processes may have changed—the nature of the business has stayed the same. Building relationships are key, mentoring and coaching team members is important, and communicating effectively will make you a super-star.

So, what’s the solution to including both recent and earlier information—without appearing ancient to the hiring manager? In this instance, I often break work history into two separate sections. One is called Recent Professional History or Professional Experience. That covers this most recent period of the last 10-15 years. Then, I’ll include a separate section (broken up by an actual heading) that is called Earlier Career History or Previous Work History. The trick? The history that is older does NOT get any dates associated with it. That way, we are including those highlights and achievements without drawing attention to the fact that it may have been 20 years ago.

Keep in mind that you most recent job history should be the longest and each job (as it goes back in time) tends to get less space on your resume. Once again, this goes to the idea that older information probably isn’t as relevant as your current position may be to your future job opportunity.

Dates can be tricky when it comes to your resume and it’s important to think about the perception of your application as it winds its way through the company’s applicant tracking system and human resources department.

Do you still have questions about your resume? Wondering how it stacks-up when compared to today’s hiring standards? Contact us today for a free resume review!

And, if you want our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW, download it here!

Nov 18 16

Feather Communications Named a Top 100 Career Website

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

Feather Communications, a Colfax-based business, has been named one of the Top 100 Career Websites and Blogs by Feedspot.

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, founder of Feather Communications, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and provides resume-writing services to clients throughout the United States. “I’m thrilled that my website is included in this list and truly enjoy providing ideas and feedback to job seekers,” Rothbauer-Wanish said. As part of her website, she features a regular blog offering implementable tips that range from formatting resumes to how to write a cover letter.

Job-searching has changed dramatically within the last 10 years and today’s job seekers need to understand how to apply via online systems, which key words to implement, and the best ways to market themselves. “My favorite part of writing resumes is helping someone to identify their strengths and putting that information into a document that helps them move forward with their career,” Rothbauer-Wanish said.

Tips from Feather Communications have been featured on CareerSidekick, MSN, Monster, Recruiter, MFG Jobs, and the Management Resource Association websites. “I absolutely love what I do and I am passionate about helping people market themselves to land their dream jobs,” she concluded.

Check out the full list of the Top 100 Career Websites and Blogs HERE!

Oct 10 16

Three Ways Your Cover Letter is Hurting Your Chance for a New Job

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

For many people, sending a resume is one thing. Then, when you read the job posting and it asks for a cover letter, you just kind of put one together and hope for the best. Rather than doing this, it’s better to take some time on this document. Putting time in on the front-end will save you time and effort for each future job opportunity. However, even though you think you have a top-notch cover letter, here are three cover letter mistakes that I consistently see from clients that really hurt their chances of landing that job interview.

Your cover letter format is different than your resume format. The fonts are different, headings don’t match, and the consistency just isn’t there. When the formats don’t align, it looks like you are not consistent with anything. This is your first impression and shows that you don’t have an attention to details. Instead, copy and paste your heading from the resume to the cover letter file and ensure fonts, colors (if used), and formatting is the same. This shows cohesion, organization, and alignment with your documents.

(Want more tips? Download our TOP 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW in Today’s Competitive Job Market. Click HERE to access the free download NOW!)

You addressed the cover letter “To Whom It May Concern.” I like to think of this as the ultimate deal-breaker. If you can’t take the time to find out the appropriate contact person or even just say, “Dear Human Resources Manager,” then you are not worth calling in for an interview. That may sound harsh, but hiring managers need to find an easy way to weed people out and this is one of the easiest. To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir or Madam are old-fashioned and tired phrases that shouldn’t be used in today’s job market.

Every paragraph starts with the word “I.” After you write your cover letter, quickly scan the left margin and count the number of times you used the word “I.” If it’s more than twice, then you need to rewrite some of the verbiage. Remember—it’s all about the employer—not you. By starting with the word “I,” you are making it about yourself. Use the you-attitude and think of what you can do for the company and how your skills will help them. Mention things like “your company,” “your needs,” “your unique vision,” etc.

Remember that the cover letter is one of the first items that an HR leader reads. Make a great first impression so they are interested enough to keep reading and find out more about your skill-set and how you can successfully impact the organization.

We are currently offering a $9 SPECIAL to anyone that wants to go ahead with the All-in-One Resume Kit. This is typically reserved for those that download my Top 5 Resume Tips; however, for a limited time, I’m offering this package (which includes a resume template and notes) for only $9. Click here if you are interested!

Oct 5 16

Quantifying Your Information on Your Resume

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

So, it’s time to make your resume and you are already dreading it. In fact, the thought of just pasting your job descriptions underneath each job listing crosses your mind. After all, don’t they just need to know what you DID at each position? That should do it, right? WRONG. I can’t say it enough—WRONG. Your job description is not special and there are millions of them just like it out there. You need to QUANTIFY your information and tell them what you ACCOMPLISHED.

The question I often get from clients revolves around how to quantify this information. This can be an easy or difficult step, depending on your role and industry. If you are a salesperson, it could mean saying, “Increased sales by 53% during the first 6 months, resulting in $100K in additional sales.” This shows a percentage, timeline, and the result.

(Want more tips? Download our TOP 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW in Today’s Competitive Job Market. Click HERE to access the free download NOW!)

Now, let’s say that you are a teacher. The information can be a little more challenging. In that case, you could say, “Managed a classroom of 25-30 students, teaching concepts related to math, science, and reading.” At the very minimum, you are showing the number of students and it is quantifiable information.

Why is this important? Readers are instantly drawn to numbers. If your mind sees a large block of text, your eyes will immediately go to a dollar sign, number, or other quantifiable information. So, think in terms of how many people you supervise, how many years you have worked with a client, the number of accounts you manage, or the sales increase you have overseen.

Consider the following: “Boosted sales significantly during tenure, earning several awards.” That’s great, but it’s not specific. Instead, think of things in these terms, “Boosted sales by 60% over two-years, earning Salesperson of the Year (out of 30 representatives) for 2015.” Although both describe the same thing, the second sentence is much more impressive.

A good rule-of-thumb is to always think about the result. When writing a bullet point on your resume, you should always be thinking how that benefited the company or client. If you frame your phrases in terms of answering the question, “So what?”—you will be on the right track.

While the resume describes you, it’s not about you once you decide to conduct a job search. It’s about how you can help the potential employer. WHY should they hire you? The more quantifiable information you can include, the more you will look like an impressive candidate that they have to call for an interview. Be specific, include details, and show them what you have ACCOMPLISHED—not just your job duties.

We are currently offering a $9 SPECIAL to anyone that wants to go ahead with the All-in-One Resume Kit. This is typically reserved for those that download my Top 5 Resume Tips; however, for a limited time, I’m offering this package (which includes a resume template and notes) for only $9. Click here if you are interested!

Sep 26 16

Four Ways to Find a New Job

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

We all know the value of job sites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster. However, sometimes it can feel like you are one of hundreds or thousands of people sending your resume into the abyss of online job searches. And, sometimes, that is the truth. For many people, going online and finding these potential positions is time-consuming, frustrating, and overwhelming. Here are four other ways to discover job opportunities that may fit better with your desired career opportunity.

1. Networking. Did you know that most jobs are found because of word-of-mouth? That’s right—the old saying that ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is true. Tell people that you are looking for a change or new opportunity. The more people that know, the better your chances of finding a new job. However, if you are a ‘covert’ job seeker (someone that is keeping the job search fairly quiet), be careful who knows this information and only tell those that are trustworthy and can keep your confidence.

2. Chambers of commerce and economic development corporations. The purpose of these organizations is to cultivate business success in the community. Typically, organizational personnel may know of job openings or upcoming openings before they are advertised. Chambers of commerce want to see their members succeed and finding good employees leads to profits and stability. Check the websites of these organizations, or connect with someone that works there so you can be one of the first to know of new jobs.

3. Company websites. Let’s say that you want to target a specific company for a new position. Instead of checking large job sites, go directly to the company website. Often, they will have a specific page for job openings and the information will be current. And, these are typically posted prior to going to the larger websites.

4. Connect with a placement agency. In the past, these agencies were viewed as a place to get temporary workers and ‘a body’ to fulfill a job. However, that is no longer the case. Organizations such as Manpower, Flex Staff, and Express Employment Professionals find mid-level and upper-level management opportunities in a variety of fields. And, as an individual, you do not pay for the service—the companies that need the employees pay the temporary agency. If you can align yourself with a professional at one of these organizations, they will find a position that fits your skill-set.

The moral of the story is to NOT limit yourself to online job sites. Think of other ways you can connect to job opportunities beyond just the job posting. Most importantly—if possible—build these relationships prior to needing them. That means creating a networking circle, knowing your local business development organizations, and connecting with agencies that can help you in your job search.

Check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW – it’s a free download!