Practice Your Interviewing Skills to be Successful

If you haven’t been on a job interview for a while, it’s a good idea to practice and prepare for today’s job market. By reviewing your answers for typical interview questions, ensuring your wardrobe is up-to-date, and identifying your top skills, you will be ready to WOW the interviewers and your potential future employer.

Tip #1 – Provide a 60-second synopsis of your work and educational history. Most interviews start off with the interviewer saying, “Tell us about yourself.” Why this may seem like a simple question, it can be difficult for people to describe themselves within this time frame. Don’t talk about your personal life; instead, focus on your work history, how it aligns with the job opening, and any education or certification that provides you with skill-sets that are necessary for the position.

Tip #2 – Know your top three strengths and skills. Be able to recite these and give examples of how they have helped you be successful in the past. It’s one thing to mention your leadership skills; it’s completely different to mention your leadership skills and then discuss how you led a team of 35 individuals in developing a three-year strategic plan. Be specific and provide quantitative information when possible.

Tip #3 – Check your dress code. Remember that this is your first impression with the organization – it is much better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. If you don’t have an updated professional outfit, remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune; check your local thrift stores to find pieces that can be combined for a suitable interview outfit.

Tip #4 – Know the company. Research the company so that you know it’s target customers, top clients, how long it’s been in existence, and approximate number of employees. More than likely, one of the questions during the interviewer will ask you what you know about the organization.

Tip #5 – Trace your route. If your interview is in-person and you have never been to the company before, be sure you know where you are going and how long it will take you to get there (including potential traffic). That may mean a practice drive to the company to gauge the trip. It’s much better to do that ahead of time than to run late on the date of the interview.

While it is vital to practice your interview skills, please remember that you don’t want to sound rehearsed and mechanical. Instead, keep several main ideas in-mind and use those as talking points during the interview. Also, one last tip – FOLLOW-UP after the interview. Send a thank-you email or card and be sure to thank the interviewers for their time. Often, it can be the tiny things that set you apart from the multitudes of other candidates.

If you are ready to move forward with your job search, email me today: heather@feather-communications.com!

Why You Aren’t Getting an Interview with Your Resume

As with many of my clients, most people often feel like they are sending resumes to perfect job opportunities. But, they get discouraged quickly when they do not get call-backs for any interviews. It’s frustrating and they start to believe that maybe they don’t the correct skills and qualifications for today’s job market. There could be many reasons why they aren’t getting interviews; I can almost guarantee that SOME of it has to do with your resume.

Reason #1 – Your resume format is OLD. Maybe you haven’t updated your resume since 1998 and the last time you applied for a job, you physically went to the place of employment and applied in-person. Today, that almost never happens as all companies post jobs on their company websites and/or third-party websites.

If you have an Objective on your resume, still have the line, “References available upon request,” at the bottom, or are including any personal information, you may want to rethink your format. Don’t waste space with an Objective or useless information; instead, focus on what you can do for the company and pertinent information that aligns with the job opportunity.

Reason #2 – You Aren’t Including Key Words. Because you are applying online, the key words are your golden ticket to getting through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This means that your resume MUST contain the same words as the job posting.

When you read through the job opening, look for the qualifications, knowledge, or responsibilities sections. Then, make sure those skill-sets are the same ones listed on your document. Obviously, don’t include skills that you don’t have or can’t back-up during an interview; but, if you have to change Project Management to Project Leadership, then do it.

Reason #3 – You didn’t proofread your resume. So, when a hiring manager or recruiter receives hundreds of resumes, they immediately start looking for a way to weed people out—they are NOT looking for a way to include more people as candidates. Be sure to review the document prior to sending it to prospective employers.

Do NOT strictly rely on spell check or grammar check; instead, review it a couple of days after you have ‘finished’ it. Then, my recommendation is still to have a trusted friend or colleague review it for you. Often, someone else can more easily recognize our errors than we can. Don’t let a spelling or grammar error move your resume to the NO pile.

If you would like more resume tips, click HERE to download my number-one FREE offering!

Feather Communications Named one of the Top 10 Resume Services in Minneapolis

Feather Communications has been named one of the Top 10 Resume Services in Minneapolis.

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. Find My Profession, a website geared towards helping clients land job opportunities, cultivated the listing of Minneapolis-area resume writers. According to the site, a solid history of glowing reviews helped Feather Communications secure a spot on the list.

“I’m excited to be included as a top resume writer,” Rothbauer-Wanish said. “My passion for resume-writing has allowed me to assist thousands of clients in helping them to identify their strengths and achievements,” she continued. 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.

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.

For more information on resume writing services, please contact Feather Communications at 715-559-6378 or email heather@feather-communications.com.

3 Ways to Easily Modify Your Resume

You may have heard that you need to customize your resume each time you send it to a potential job opportunity. And, to a certain extent, that is true. As you write your new document, you need to ensure you are including as many key words as possible. These are the words that are prominent in the job posting and outline the skills, abilities, and qualifications needed for a new job. But, how can you easily do this so you don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ each time you submit a resume?

#1 – The job titles at the top of the resume. This should be the first section that someone reads when they review your document. If you are in sales, it may say something similar to: Sales Leader | Marketing Professional | Account Manager. These can either be past job titles you have held or a set of skills that you have honed through your career experience. If you choose to list skill-sets, you could say: Sales Leadership | Project Marketing | Account Management.

#2 – The career summary. Immediately following the titles or heading on the resume will be the career summary. This will be a high-overview of you—the job candidate. Typically, the career summary will be approximately three to five lines and will start with several adjectives. So, you may say something like: “Dynamic, proactive, and team-oriented sales professional…etc.” By placing these adjectives at the forefront of the career summary, you can easily change those three adjectives to match words used in the job posting.

#3 – The areas of expertise. The third section on your resume highlights short, succinct, and crystal-clear skills that directly align with key words in your desired position. This is the easiest and most obvious place to change words each time you send the document. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend cutting and pasting the entire job description; however, be smart and choose your words wisely to be directly in-line with the advertisement.

While you can certainly change other verbiage in your resume, these are the three easiest places to quickly modify your document and still get in-line with the job posting. By doing this, you don’t have to start-over each time you apply to a different opportunity.

If you still have resume questions, download my Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. Or, email me your resume (for a free review!) to heather@feather-communications.com.

3 Hard Truths About Your Resume

As you begin writing your resume, you may be inclined to include too much or too little information, go back to far in your job history, or not properly highlight your skills and qualifications. Most people do not enjoy writing about themselves and find writing a resume a daunting task. Instead of wondering WHAT information to include, I encourage you to think about WHY you include certain information. In fact, most of the time, we need to consider these HARD TRUTHS about your OLD resume. (Click HERE to contact me for a FREE resume review!)

#1 – Get rid of the objective. The truth is, your objective is painfully obvious. In fact, you wouldn’t be sending a resume if you didn’t want a new job. So, your ultimate objective is to secure an interview for a new job opportunity. So, instead of putting an objective on your resume—which takes up valuable space at the top of your document—use that area to make a short career summary that allows you to hit upon the key words used in the job posting.

#2 – Don’t include every single job. The hard truth is that NO ONE wants to hear about you flipping burgers in high school or working as a bank teller 25+ years ago. The ONLY time that information is relevant is if you are now applying for a similar position. Otherwise, this information doesn’t pertain to today’s job environment and just dilutes your resume with old information.

#3 – Be careful with dates. Don’t include dates on your education—unless you graduated a couple of weeks ago and have zero work history. Otherwise, the date you graduated from high school or college is not relevant. In addition, include the last 10-15 years of job history and—if you feel the need to include older information—then include it in a section of earlier work history with no dates.

Finally, each time you consider adding a section, responsibility, or achievement, think, “Who cares?”  and “Does this matter to THIS job opportunity?” If the answer is that it won’t matter in the long run, then don’t include it. Instead, think of your resume as a clean, concise, and focused document that allows you to highlight your strengths and forgets the rest.

5 Ways to Get “Lucky” in Your Job Search

Do you ever wonder how some people get so “lucky” with their job search? They just seem to find the right job at the right time and basically fall into the perfect opportunity. However, that is (most often) NOT the case. Behind the scenes, these job seekers have put in hard work, determination, and have been extremely organized during the job search. Read below for five ways to increase your “luck” while you look for a new job.

#1 – Keep your resume up-to-date. Sometimes, the ideal job may present itself and you have to be ready. If a recruiter contacts you and tells you about a job opening, do you really want to tell him or her that you can send a resume within a week? No! You should keep your resume updated and be able to send it within 24 hours. (Need resume tips? Download my FREE checklist!)

#2 – Maintain your LinkedIn profile. Organizations often seek out new employees via LinkedIn and you don’t want your profile to show only the bare bones of your work experience. If you have publications, projects, or work you can showcase on your profile, then do it. Make sure you have a picture uploaded, a catchy headline, and achievements that can quantify your work. (Connect with me HERE on LinkedIn – tell me you read this post!)

#3 – Clean up your social media profiles. While LinkedIn is your professional online presence, keep in mind that others (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) may show fun photos of your family and personal life; however, these photos can also give employers hesitation when reaching out to you.  Delete anything that doesn’t serve you well in your job search and be certain that anything you put on your social media channels is something that you feel comfortable with EVERYONE seeing.

#4 – Stay organized. Keep track of where and when you have applied for job opportunities. Follow-up with these companies if you don’t hear anything within 7-10 days. If you land an interview, follow-up immediately with a thank you email and then send a card in the mail. These little things can add up to a big impact if you DO THEM.

#5 – Tell (trusted) people you are on the job hunt. Reach out to your network and tell them you are open to a new opportunity. Use the rapport you have built within your industry and within professional associations to secure that new job. While you may have to keep your job search somewhat quiet, this is the time to use that network you have built to cultivate a job within your field.

The next time you think that someone just got “lucky” with his or her job search, think again. While you may see the end success, it is far more likely that the person has put in a great deal of work ahead of landing that new successful job.

If YOU are ready for a job search, contact me today – I’d love to help you reach your job goals!