How many times have you heard that you need to make your resume stand out? It is easy to be tempted to put your whole past in your resume. You just need to make sure you are covering your basis, right? However, that’s the opposite of what you want to do. On average, an employer will review your resume for less than 30-seconds. Here are three ways to make sure your resume is concise while still highlighting your story.
#1 | Use the Job Description as a Checklist
An employer uses a job description to communicate specific requirements and desired skills. Therefore, it is important that you are using that same language in your resume. You should be going through each line of the requirements and make sure you are highlighting that skillset or a relevant transferable skill in at least one place (ideally multiple places) on your resume.
#2 | Think Last 10 Years
Having a hard time deciding how far to go back with your employment or what to specifically highlight? Think about your last 10 years of experience. However, relevant information/experience is always the most important, so you can adjust as needed. It’s also always important to highlight education even if it has been longer than 10 years.
#3 | Use Strategic Section Headers
Use the job description to highlight specific experiences or skill sets that you know the employer will be looking for. As an example, if you are applying for a management position, consider having a header of “Leadership Experience” or “Management Experience”, to catch the employer’s eye. Be sure to order your sections by what is most relevant to the position. For someone just entering the job market that may be your “Education” section, and for someone who has a few years under their belt that may be your “Professional Experience” section.
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Less than 40% of job candidates negotiate their salary. Why? People often feel uncomfortable with the process or do not want to give off the impression of feeling pushy or greedy to a potential new employer. Break through this stigma by following these four simple rules.
#1 | Do Your Research
Many first-time and experienced job seekers don’t negotiate their salary because they don’t know what salary to ask for when seeking out a new position. Make sure to do your research ahead of time to know the industry, position, and location averages. Check out websites such as www.glassdoor.com or www.salary.com to start.
#2 | Adjust to Cost of Living
A technical writer in New York City is going to be paid more than a technical writer in Decorah, Iowa even with the same amount of experience. This is because of the cost of living differences. Be sure to create a hypothetical budget for yourself in the places you are interviewing and research the prices of things such as rent, utilities, and groceries. You should take into account these numbers when determining your needed salary.
#3 | Think Beyond Salary
When you accept a position, you are typically given more than just a paycheck. Reflect on what is most important to you and remember that you can ask to negotiate more than just the number on your paycheck. You could consider items such as vacation time, flexible work schedule, or professional development.
#4 | Practice & Be Ready
The best time to negotiate a salary is after you have the offer. This is so important that I am going to repeat it again. The best time to negotiate a salary is AFTER you have the offer. At that point, the ball is in your court. You know that the employer wants you. When an employer calls to offer you a job, DO NOT accept right away. Instead, show excitement and appreciation and ask if you can take a look at the offer and schedule a call to talk soon. Review the offer and determine your next strategy. If you decide to negotiate, be sure you can demonstrate your value proposition and why you are asking for something different.
So, go ahead. Take that chance. Negotiate your salary. Communicate your worth. We’ll be cheering for you!
Starting your job search and feel like you’re not qualified for the positions you’re interested in? Young professionals often don’t give themselves enough credit for the skills and accomplishments they possess. Reflect on these three tips to help you realize how great you really are!
Tip #1 | Lean on Projects
Have a relevant project from a class? Or maybe a project that let you expand your skills at your job that is relevant for your next opportunity? Highlight these experiences with bullet points that show your capabilities and accomplishments. You can put these projects in a “Relevant Projects” or “Select Projects” section on your resume.
Tip #2 | Highlight Essential Skills
Feel like you have those jobs that just aren’t relevant to your career? It is all about how you talk about them. Instead of focusing on responsibilities and duties, focus on those essential transferable skills. Need help crafting powerful statements that highlight your essential skills?
Tip #3 | Relevant Experience Doesn’t Always Mean Paid
Similar to projects, remember that volunteer experience is important to highlight on your resume if it is relevant to the job. When it comes to listing these experiences, remember that you cannot assume that the employer knows just by the title that it is a relevant experience. Paint a picture through your statements of how you’ve gained relevant skills through every experience.
When applying for jobs, remember that there is always going to be a learning curve with every new position. Be kind to yourself and remember to reflect on how you align with each job posting. Looking for more direction to make sure your resume highlights your strengths and abilities? I’d love to chat – click HERE now!
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“Do I really have to write a cover letter?” Is a common question asked by those in the job search. The short answer: yes. The long answer: yes, you should write a cover letter. Cover letters help to tell a story that is hard to convey in a resume. It is your chance to push for an interview and answer any questions your employer might have by looking at your resume. Make sure your cover letter stand out by avoiding these three cover letter fails.
Fail #1 | Assuming “One-Size Fits All”
Your cover letter should address specific needs the employer expressed in the job description and should be customized to every employer. Think about cover letters like mail. No one enjoys receiving really generic mail that is addressed “Dear Current Resident”, just like employers don’t enjoy reading really vague and generic cover letters.
Fail #2 | Repeating Your Resume
Your cover letter is a supporting document to your resume. You should not repeat any accomplishment statements or stories that are told on your resume in your cover letter. Instead, pick two or three experiences or projects that are most relevant to the job description and go into more detail about how your experiences match what they are looking for in the job posting.
Fail #3 | Making Your Cover Letter About You
It’s not about you. Your cover letter is your chance to flatter the employer with how much you know about them through your research and how much you want to contribute to their goals and mission. Let your enthusiasm and excitement shine, but leave statements about what you’d gain from the position out of the cover letter.
Cover letters can be tricky to write but are so crucial for standing out in today’s job market. If you are still unsure of how to customize your cover letter and make your accomplishments shine, I’d love to chat – click HERE now!
When you are looking for a job and have created the perfect resume, then it may also be time to write a cover letter. For many people, writing the cover letter is much more difficult than the resume. The resume almost becomes a list, whereas the cover letter has to tell more of a professional story and elaborates on the resume. One of the keys to a successful cover letter is incorporating the “you” attitude – read further for specifics on HOW to incorporate this into your next cover letter.
Tip #1 – Make it about the employer. Instead of thinking about why you want the job, think of what you can bring to the organization. Is it your teamwork abilities? How about your project management expertise? What are you going to do to make the employer’s life easier?
Tip #2 – Do NOT start every sentence with the word “I.” When we write a cover letter, it’s typical for most of us to think in terms of “I can offer my leadership skills to the company.” Or, maybe you think “I’m a great leader who gets along well with others and I can make an impact with the company.” Instead, try to minimize the use of the word “I” in your letter.
Consider using sentences like “Your company could utilize my leadership skills, project management abilities, and focus on collaboration.” Or, you may be able to start the cover letter with “Your recent posting for an Educational Assistant greatly interested me.” By using words like “you” and “your,” you are making the cover letter about the employer.
Tip #3 – Show that you researched the company. Within the cover letter, mention the company’s recent award, how they were named a best employer within their industry, or that you understand their target market. This shows that you care about the job opportunity and know what the company is seeking in its employees.
If you are still struggling with your cover letter and want to know how to better position your skills, experience, and future goals, please contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can give you a free cover letter review and offer ideas for improvement.
As you embark on your job search, you start looking at online sites and organize your information for a knock-out, fantastic, and focused resume. Then, you really start to read what the companies are looking for and discover that some of them ask for a cover letter and some don’t ask for anything except the resume. So, you wonder…do I actually need a cover letter? Or, can it just be skipped? I tell all of my clients the same thing – it’s better to have a cover letter and NOT need it versus needing a cover letter and not having one.
The cover letter provides you with an opportunity to tell your story further and explain more than you can discuss in a resume. And, sometimes there are extra achievements that you may want to include in your resume and simply can’t fit into the document. Instead, you can add those ‘bonus’ items to the cover letter. It’s important that you tell the reader something new in your cover letter and don’t just reword the resume.
Next, a cover letter can also be used as an introductory email. That means that even if the company doesn’t have a requirement for a cover letter, you can add it as an ‘extra’ document or use it in the verbiage of your email. Again, it provides a nice introduction to you as a job candidate and offers a warm preview for your resume.
Finally, your cover letter gives you an opportunity to showcase your written communication skills. Effective communication is a vital part of any job today; demonstrating that you know how to discuss your strengths and accomplishments in a confident manner allows you to present yourself as the right candidate for the position.
Even if a cover letter is not required, it provides you an extra opportunity to go above-and-beyond during this initial stage of connecting with the company. If you KNOW you need a cover letter and just don’t know where to start, check out my free Cover Letter Checklist Tips – you will learn several ideas that will help you make an impression as you search for your new job.