You know that you have the skill-set for the job, you have sent your resume, followed up with a phone call and still—no interview. Maybe this has even happened multiple times. What is going on? Why aren’t you getting the phone call that leads to your next job opportunity? Sometimes it can be the very SMALL things that can make all of the difference. Check out our five tips below to ensure these aren’t stopping you for making your next big career move.
Detail #1 – You don’t have an ATS-friendly resume. You are using large charts, graphics, strange columns, and varying fonts. While these may make your resume ‘look’ nice, scanning software on websites does not like this type of formatting. Your information may be top-notch, but if the software can’t filter through the information, then none of it matters when it comes to hiring.
Detail #2 – You haven’t updated your resume in 10+ years. Did you know that you shouldn’t have an objective on your document? Listing your skills, knowing the key words, and only including approximately 10-15 years’ worth of professional history is the norm today. Aren’t sure if your resume is up-to-par? We can help—click HERE to contact us.
Detail #3 – The email address you use is OLD. Even though you may have been using AOL or MSN email address since 1998, it doesn’t mean that you should still be doing so. Start a new email address that is strictly used for your job search. Using your name with a Gmail address is the best option. And, be sure to allow your messages to filter through, as you don’t want your spam filter set so high that potential job opportunities are missed.
Detail #4 – You are ONLY looking for jobs on career board websites. Even though Indeed and CareerBuilder are terrific websites, know that many companies post job openings on their own websites prior to filtering to the larger sites. If there is a particular organization that you are interested in working for in the future, be sure to regularly check the company website for new job openings. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to recruiters or staffing agencies in your area to find hidden opportunities.
Detail #5 – Your network is lacking in quality and quantity. It’s important to make connections and know as many people as possible when seeking a new job. And, it’s also vital that you know the RIGHT people. Whether you are actively seeking a new job or are just putting the word out there that you MAY be ready for a move, it’s important to have trusted colleagues and professional acquaintances that can provide feedback and ideas for new jobs.
As with most things in life, the small things can make the difference. From your resume to initial contact with a potential employer, it’s vital that you take the small things into consideration to ensure you provide the best first impression.
After writing thousands of resumes since 2008, I have seen ALMOST everything. In fact, many clients come to me mid-life or after working at the same place for 15 or 20 years. Now—for whatever reason—the client is looking to make a significant industry change. Perhaps they previously worked in production and now want to work in marketing. Or, the client has always worked in more manufacturing based-roles and now finishing a degree in accounting and wants to start within the new industry. Writing a resume when switching industries does not have to be a daunting task. The next three steps will help to ensure your resume is on-target for your desired job opportunities.
Tip #1 – Identify transferable skills. This can be the most important step to the process. When you have worked in one area for 10+ years, you have gained a great deal of skills. Think in terms of skills that can EASILY transfer to your new industry and those that are most RELEVANT. If you have developed relationships with vendors, communicated with cross-functional team members, and established a presence within the community, these all may be areas of strength that you can use in your new role.
Tip #2 – Split your work history into two sections. I recently worked with a teacher that was moving into sales. Prior to her teaching profession, she had worked in a few sales roles. For her resume, we put work history into two sections: Sales Experience and Teaching History. This way, she can move the sections around depending upon the job she is seeking in the future. And, by doing so, it looks more cohesive; rather than jumping around date-by-date, we are categorizing according to the industries.
Tip #3 – Know WHY you are making the change. As you go on interviews, you will most likely be asked WHY you are switching industries or roles. Perhaps you have recently finished a degree in the new field, have researched the new industry, or know others that have enjoyed their roles. It is vital that you are able to clearly and concisely explain the reason behind the modification during an interview.
Finally, be sure to think about the RELEVANCE of information included. Remember that hiring managers are extremely busy and you must grab their attention quickly while also ensuring you target the job specifications.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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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!
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!
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!