Skip to content
Aug 28 17

Top 5 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

I’ve been working with a variety of job seekers since 2008—including over 2,000 clients that range from truck drivers, mid-level managers, production supervisors to college professors, lawyers, and educational professionals. No matter the profession, there are certain items that MUST be included in the resume and several things that MUST be avoided. Read further to discover the resume mistakes to avoid for today’s job market.

Mistake #1 – Listing an Objective. An objective focuses on what YOU want. And, frankly, the employer is strictly focused on what the company NEEDS. That means an objective is pointless and only takes up space that could be used for a career summary or personal summary.

Mistake #2 – Regurgitating your job descriptions. Did you know that there are a LOT of people with the same past job descriptions as you? Sorry to break the news, but there may be a great deal of people that have had past job experiences. What don’t they have? Your accomplishments and achievements. Focus on the numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts that you can weave into the big picture.

Mistake #3 – Including too much or too little information. It may be tempting to keep to your resume to one-page only or to only include your most recent position. However, a good rule-of-thumb is to include the last 10-15 years of experience (not every single job you have ever held!). Think relevance over quantity. And, at some point, putting jobs on your resume from 1985 will start to hurt you and can (potentially) cause age discrimination.

Mistake #4 – Being afraid to “brag.” Many people think that they may be bragging on their resumes if they truly list all that they have accomplished. I am here to tell you that others are doing so—why aren’t YOU? Think about it. If others are putting their best information and achievements out there, then why aren’t you doing the same thing? It’s NOT bragging if you are simply stating a fact.

Mistake #5 – Getting too fancy. While we all like things that look “pretty,” it’s important to remember that Applicant Tracking Systems and human resources professionals like simplicity and getting-to-the-point. Don’t mix and match fonts, along with design elements, and different colors. These things only subtract from the good elements that are inherent in your document.

Here’s the scoop: the more focused, simple, and informative your finished resume can be, the closer you will be to a job interview and your dream job. If you are unsure what information to include or exclude, then email me and I can provide you with a free resume review!

Aug 22 17

The 5 Must-Have Ingredients for a Successful Cover Letter

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

You may have wondered whether or not you actually NEED a cover letter. After all, some job openings ask for them and some don’t. Are they even read anymore? And, do you need to bother? My answer to clients is a resounding YES. After all, I’ve never heard of someone NOT getting an interview opportunity because they sent a cover letter and they went above-and-beyond the requirements. So, what should you do to make sure you cover letter stands out and isn’t thrown in the trash? Read below for my 5 must-have ingredients to create an impactful cover letter.

#1 – Focus on the employer in the FIRST paragraph. Instead of starting out stating why you want the job and where you want your future career to go, you need to demonstrate why you can make an impact with the organization and HOW that will help them. They need YOU to solve THEIR problems.

#2 – Start giving the readers some skill-sets that will help in the open position. Even then, you need to keep the “you” attitude and focus on the employer. For example, say something like, “Your organization is ready for someone that can build ongoing partnerships, establish contracts, and work closely with external partners – these are all skills I’ve honed while working with ABC Company.” See what we did there? Rather than saying something like, “My skills include….”  – we have turned it so the focus is—once again—on the company.

#3 – Use three or four bullet points in the middle of the letter. Don’t use one-word bullets and don’t list your skills. INSTEAD, focus on two or three past achievements or accomplishments that align with the job opportunity. This means that you focus on how many clients you landed within 90 days, the number of employees you supervised, the dollar amount of the account you secured, etc. Use numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts whenever possible.

#4 – Be positive and CONFIDENT throughout the letter. It’s vital that you don’t say thinks like “I think,” or “I feel,” or “I’m almost positive.” Instead, say things like, “I know,” “I’m certain,” or “I am positive.” Don’t think of it as bragging—think of it as stating a fact that you are AWESOME at your job and KNOW how to get things done.

#5 –  End with “I’m excited to hear from you,” or something similar. Don’t mention that you will call in three days or that you “hope” to hear from the hiring manager. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t follow-up with the organization, but you don’t have to use your cover letter space to do so.

And, for those that still may think you don’t need a cover letter. Wouldn’t you rather be prepared and NOT need it versus need it and NOT have it? Finally, I always tell my clients that they can certainly use the verbiage (or at least some of it) for an email to the hiring manager or in an online application system.

Still not sure where to start with a cover letter? Download my Cover Letter Checklist that GETS INTERVIEWS.

Aug 1 17

5 Things to Change on Your Resume in 2017

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

So…it’s been 5, 10, or even 15+ years since you’ve looked for a new job? You can probably just re-use your old resume, right? Or—at the very least—just re-hash the information and make it look good for today’s audience, right? The answer is a resounding NO! In fact, it’s vital that you change (at the minimum) these five things to ensure your resume is ready for the second-half of 2017.

Change #1 – Keep it simple. Don’t get “cute” with Comic Sons and other laughable Word fonts. Don’t add funny graphics and a lot of charts. The simpler you can keep it—the better. Many companies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that scan incoming resumes for key word matches. If you don’t have a simple and easy-to-read format, you may be OUT of contention before the interviews even begin. When you want to get fancy—remember that simplicity wins most often.

Change #2 – Cut the excess and irrelevant information. While you may think it is awesome that you were a bank teller at age 16 (I was that person!), it is mostly irrelevant to the jobs you are seeking now. You don’t have to include EVERY single job that you have ever had since you joined the workforce. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to only include the last 10-15 years of professional history.

Change #3 – Showcase your accomplishments. Don’t post a complete job description of your past opportunities. Guess what? A lot of other people have similar job descriptions to you. Instead, focus on your accomplishments. Showcase what you DID for the companies – include percentage, dollar amounts, and percentages whenever possible to demonstrate your success.

Change #4 – Eliminate the objective—please! If you haven’t had a resume for 10+ years, chances are that your old document may include an objective. Your objective is not important today. Think about what YOU can for the company. Focus on their needs and figure out a way to fulfill them.

Change #5 – Change your file name. Be sure that your resume stands out. Call it “John Smith Resume” or something similar so that your name is included. Don’t title it with the company name—many others do that—instead, be sure to include your first and last name so that you are remembered during the job search.

It’s vital that you take the time to create an effective resume—this is the first step in the job search process.  Remember to stick to the truth, remain concentrated on your strengths, and develop your resume to align to the key words in the job posting. If you can complete these tasks, you will be well on-your-way to your next job opportunity!

If you would like additional resume tips, check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. And, if you are a seasoned employee – check out our NEW Top 10 Resume Tips for Job Seekers Over the Age of 40.

Jun 26 17

How to Discover Your Accomplishments and Put Them Into Words

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

Since 2008, I have written thousands of resumes for clients in a variety of fields. From marketing and sales professionals to truck drivers and teachers, I feel like I have learned a little bit about a LOT of careers. Even though all of the professions are different, one thing remains the same – they all have to highlight their accomplishments and achievements. The tips below outline how to do this—no matter the career path that you may be on for the future.

#1 – Think about numbers. If you know the number of accounts you managed, the number of customers you worked with, or the number of employees you supervised, then USE IT. There is a BIG difference between saying you managed accounts and saying you managed 52 accounts within a 6-month period. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.

#2 – Review your reviews. If you have kept your performance reviews or end-of-year evaluations, then pull them out. Chances are – you will find that your boss or supervisor wrote some very nice things about you. Use this information to strengthen your skills section or align your areas of expertise.

#3 – Ask other people. When we try to think of our own strengths, it can sometimes be challenging. However, if you think in terms of others, it becomes easier. From a perspective of a co-worker, it may be easier to think of what others would say your strengths or skills are in terms of a new job opportunity. Think about it: what would your co-worker or team member say about you? How would they describe you?

#4 – Identify problems and how you solved them. If you tend to work in a non-sales environment, then it may be more challenging to identify quantifiable information. Instead, focus on the problems the company had and how you solved them. Perhaps you came up with a new process, workplace enhancement, or developed a standard operating procedure.

#5 – Don’t Be Afraid to Focus on Volunteerism. Sometimes we think that volunteerism doesn’t count as “work.” However, if you organized projects, led people, and completed endeavors, then volunteerism is one way to encourage accomplishments within your resume.

If you would like additional resume tips, check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. And, if you are a seasoned employee – check out our NEW Top 10 Resume Tips for Job Seekers Over the Age of 40.

Jun 20 17

Don’t Get Fancy with Your Resume – Get To-The-Point

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

At this point in my resume-writing career, I have written over 2,000 resumes for people in a variety of fields. Executives, marketing consultants, accountants, teachers, sales professionals, truck drivers, plumbers, pharmaceutical representatives—and almost everything in-between. While all of those professions are unique, one thing remains the same with each of these resumes. The main focus should be the information. Don’t get fancy with your resume—get TO-THE-POINT.

Your information does need to stand out. But, it shouldn’t be at the mercy of adding key words, focusing on your accomplishments, and ensuring all information is easy-to-understand and focused on that particular job opportunity. The reasoning and tips below will help to verify that YOUR resume is going in the right direction.

#1 – Don’t add graphics or clip art. While most people don’t do this, it’s still important to say. At one point, I worked with someone that add a rainbow and some clouds in the upper corners of her resume. She was in a field where relaxation and serenity was important, but the graphics only detracted from the pertinent information. If you are a graphic designer or are in a visual field, then share a link to your online portfolio on the resume.

#2 – Eliminate the use of tables and graphs. As with graphics, these detract from the information and clog-up the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – software scanning programs that many companies utilize when hiring new talent. In fact, these types of images and formatting may force your resume out of an ATS, thereby eliminating your opportunity for an interview altogether.

#3 – Hiring managers are BUSY. They don’t have time to ‘weed through’ extra materials and information at this point in the hiring process. In fact, some statistics have shown that a recruiter or hiring professional only reviews a resume for approximately five to seven seconds on a first pass-through. If that’s the case, then you want them to get to the ‘meat’ of the material immediately.

#4 – Focus on accomplishments and achievements. Did you know that there are probably a lot of people that have a similar job description as you? That’s right. So…don’t just copy-and-paste your job description. It gets boring and they have seen it all before. Instead, think about your achievements at your past positions. Did you increase sales by 40% within 18 months? Were you the supervisor of 50 team members? And, how did that impact the company? By focusing on the effect of your efforts, you made, you will allow yourself to stand apart from other applicants.

#5 – Simple is best. Trying to ‘out-fancy’ someone else will not lead to a new job opportunity. Focusing on your successes and your unique competencies will move you away from the crowd. Use a simple font such as Calibri, don’t use numerous colors, eliminate graphics, and putting an emphasis on relevant skills and job experience will lead to a better chance for an interview.

If you would like additional resume tips, check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. And, if you are a seasoned employee – check out our NEW Top 10 Resume Tips for Job Seekers Over the Age of 40.

Jun 6 17

Resume Tips If You Are Over Age 40

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

You may have worked in the same industry for 20 or more years or may have switched industries several times. Perhaps your company laid off a multitude of employees and you were included in the last round. Or—maybe you are now returning to the workplace after caring for your children for many years. Whatever the case—you are over the age of 40 and looking for a new job. Where do you start? And, has anything changed since you last job searched?

When getting ready for the job search, the first thing you need to do is brush-up your resume. And, the answer is YES—the job search is entirely different than the last time you may have sought a new opportunity. Fortunately, since I started writing resumes in 2008, my client base has definitely led me to clients that are more experienced in the workplace. And—those are the clients that I LOVE to work with on a daily basis.

Because of this clientele, I’ve developed a free download that SPECIFICALLY targets job seekers over the age of 40. There are specific tips that I KNOW make a difference when you develop your new resume. You will find the tips below…however; if you want the FULL information, then click HERE to download the PDF.

Tip #1 – Get Organized

Tip #2 – Decide on a Format

Tip #3 – Remember the ATS

Tip #4 – Lose the Objective

Tip #5 – Add a Skills Section

Tip #6 – List Varying Experiences

Tip #7 – Discuss Achievements

Tip #8 – Community Engagement

Tip #9 – Consider Adding Testimonials

Tip #10 – Think About Dates

Want more information and a BONUS about formatting your resume? Click HERE to download the entire PDF!

P.S. Remember – I ALWAYS offer free resume reviews – just contact me today!

May 30 17

Job History and Relevance on a Resume

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

When putting together a resume, it’s vital that you list a career summary, skill sections, and professional history. However, how do you know when to draw the line within professional or work history? How far back should you go? And, which information should be included or excluded?

Tip #1 – Think relevance—not most recent. While the most recent job history is important, it is relevance that outweighs most recent work. If you want to work within the sales and marketing field, then that is the information that should be emphasized and brought to prominence on your resume. Even if your experience is more than a couple of years old, it is vital that this expertise and experience is emphasized on your most recent resume.

Tip #2 – Experience doesn’t have to mean paid experience. Sometimes—whether intentional or not—our most relevant experience is unpaid. Whether it is through a professional organization or via a workplace group, determine the skills you utilized and the things you learned—don’t worry about if they were unpaid or paid opportunities.

Tip #3 – Longevity may or may not be an issue. In today’s workplace, many people may have only worked at a certain employment opportunity for six months to two years. Through no fault of their own, the place of employment may have closed, a department may have been downsized, or an entire company may have folded. Don’t worry about the longevity of your positions. Instead, think of your accomplishments and responsibilities within those positions.

Tip #4 – Don’t believe that chronology rules everything. While—in a perfect world—it is great to have everything listed in reverse-chronological order—that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best way to go for YOUR resume. Each person is unique and sometimes things don’t work in a perfect order.

Tip #5 – Think of transferable skills. Even if you believe that there are no ways that your intended job opportunities can be obtained based upon your past experiences – I KNOW that you have transferable skills. It could be communication, cross-functional teamwork, interpersonal skills, project management, or resource maximization. Whatever it is, be sure to emphasize those transferable skills when they can be easily transferred to future possible cases.

Job history means experience, teamwork, and relevance to today’s workplace. No matter your position with your current or past employer, think in terms of ACHIEVEMENTS rather than job descriptions. Emphasize your skills and strengths while letting a future employer know that you are open to opportunities of learning.

If you are wondering what a resume for today’s job market looks like, contact us today! We also have a FREE download – Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. Click HERE to access it and start leveraging your unique skills and abilities to land your next job opportunity!

May 1 17

How to Decide What to Include in Your Resume

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

When I work with clients, one of the most common issues that they are trying to work through is figuring out which information should be included and what should be excluded from the resume. Why is it so difficult to decide what to put into your own resume?

The answer is clear. It’s because the document is about YOU and it’s challenging to be objective when the information is ALL important because it is YOURS. That is why I love to write resumes for others—I can be more objective about your information and can decide what should be included–giving you the credit you deserve.

Instead of including every single job that you have ever had, you need to think about relevance. Is your high school job pertinent at this point in your career? If high school was two years ago, it just may be relevant. If you are over the age of 30, then a high school job probably doesn’t hold much importance. A good rule-of-thumb is to include only the last 10-12 years of job experience.

Unless you just graduated from college last week, you don’t need to list separate courses completed at the university-level. The degree earned far outweighs individual courses taken during your educational experiences. Another thing you don’t have to include? The years you graduated from college. Again, unless you graduated within the last month, the date you graduated from school does not matter.

Many years ago, it was common for job seekers to include personal information such as hobbies, interests, and family information. That time is long gone. In today’s job market, it is vital that you do NOT include any of this type of information. This can cause potential employers to disqualify you prior to even meeting with you.

One last thing to consider: WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU? Every single thing on your resume boils down to that question. Why should the employer consider you for the open position? Why should they care about you as a possible employee? What can you do for the company? If the statement or information you are putting on the document doesn’t answer one of those questions, then don’t include it.

Today’s resumes are only reviewed for approximately 5-7 seconds on a first pass-through. You need to be concise with information, smart about what is included, and get to the point as quickly as possible.

If you are wondering what a resume for today’s job market looks like, contact us today! We also have a FREE download – Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. Click HERE to access it and start leveraging your unique skills and abilities to land your next job opportunity!

Apr 26 17

Why a Resume Objective is No Longer Relevant

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

While we haven’t used objectives on a resume for quite some time, I have recently worked with numerous clients that have sent me an ‘old’ resume and the objective is STILL on there. Let me say it again—clearly—please do NOT include an objective on your resume. Read below for some reasons why this is no longer a vital part of your job-searching document.

Reason #1 – An objective is all about the employer. It may sound harsh, but the employer may or may not care about your future goals. Instead, he or she is thinking, “What can you do for us?” This is your time to entice the reader enough to get an interview.

Reason #2 – This is prime real estate on your resume. Don’t waste it with some generic statements about building your future career. Instead, focus on your skills and what YOU bring to the employer’s table.

Reason #3 – You can use this space for skills and qualifications—key words—listed in the job posting. These are the words that are used in the advertisement and are vitally important to getting your document through the company’s Applicant Tracking System.

Reason #4 – Listing several job titles. When you eliminate the objective, you can use this space (before the career summary) to list several job titles or preferred job targets. Instead of listing “Objective” as the first line that people see, you can say something like, “Marketing Executive and Senior Sales Professional.” This information starts telling the reader who you are.

Reason #5 – Change with the times. Just because your college professor or career guidance class told you to put an objective on your resume doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do for today’s job market. Many years ago, it was also common to include personal information on your document. For future employers, keep it professional, and show them that you understand how to position yourself for that next job opportunity.

If you are wondering what a resume for today’s job market looks like, contact us today! We also have a FREE download – Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. Click HERE to access it and start leveraging your unique skills and abilities to land your next job opportunity!

Mar 29 17

5 Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer

These days, it’s all about saving time and resources for the company. This includes during a candidate search for a position. And, it’s fairly common for many companies to conduct phone interview or phone screenings first to determine if you—the job seeker—are one of the right candidates to bring in for a full interview. While it may not seem like a big deal to answer questions on the phone, you need to be sure to follow these key steps to ensure you make a favorable first impression.

Tip #1 – Be on time. Most likely, the company is calling you. That means you have your phone by you at least 10 minutes before the scheduled call—just in case the company calls early. And, if you are on a cell phone, be sure that you have it fully charged prior to the call. There is nothing worse than a dwindling cell phone battery when you know a call may be long.

Tip #2 – Take the call in a quiet place. Have you ever been on a call with someone that was in a loud location and it was difficult to hear? Right—you DON’T want to do that. If you currently have a job, perhaps you take the call in your car or—if you are at home, be sure your dogs, cats, and children are not around or in another part of the house at that time.

Tip #3 – Stand up and smile. While this may seem a little out-of-place for a phone interview, it’s really not. When you stand up, you feel more confident and are likely to appear more professional. In addition, if you can stand up and speak in front of a mirror, you will likely smile more and sound more pleasant.

Tip #4 – Prepare ahead of time. Don’t treat this as a ‘formality’ and take the phone interview seriously. While it may be only the first step in the process, it is a step that you must pass in order to get to the in-person interview. Research the company, know your strengths, understand why you are the right candidate for the job, and show that you are a true professional.

Tip #5 – Ask about the next steps. By asking about the process the company is using to hire for the position, you will show your interest in the job and that you are serious about the possibility of working for the company. This also gives you an approximate timeline for following-up with the interviewer.

Don’t take a phone interview lightly. While it may be only the first part in a screening process, if you can’t make it pass the phone interview, it is unlikely the company will contact you again. So, be sure to put your best foot forward during this time and evaluate your performance during the interview so that you can make modifications for the next interview.

Still not sure about your interview skills? Contact us today – we offer interview coaching to get you ready-to-go for your next employment prospect!

P.S. Don’t be afraid to get our FREE download – Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW>>>Click HERE to access it for some amazing resume tips!