5 Things that Your Resume Writer Needs to Know

When working with a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), it’s important that you know the information that is needed for an accurate, targeted, and focused resume for today’s marketplace. Please read below to discover the exact information that is needed to create a document that secures interviews.

Basic Information. If you are planning to stay  in the same geographic area, then you should include your physical address. However, if you are moving, then put your anticipated address on the document. In addition, be sure that you have a generic email (preferably Gmail), a cell phone number, and a LinkedIn address that allows you to be contacted easily.

Your achievements. Rather than focusing on your past job descriptions, focus on your accomplishments and achievements; those items that set you apart from other potential candidates. If there is any way that you can include quantitative information that includes numbers and percentages, please do so. If there are any employee numbers or dollar amounts that can be included in your new document, then be sure to address this information.

Official Job Titles and Past Employment. Rather than knowing all of your job information for your entire career, it is MOST important that you know the last 10-12 years of employment history. That includes where you worked, your official job titles, and the dates associated with those opportunities.

Education Information. Even if you don’t have an “official” college, degree, it’s vital that you know of any continuing education, extra workshops, and seminars that you have attended. Even though some things may not be considered “traditional” education, it’s important to show that you ar focused on continuous learning and bettering your skills.

Skills and Qualifications. While it may be challenging to identify your top strengths, it’s important to decide which of those key skills you want to bring forward as your assets and skill-sets. Please remember that it is important to identify those qualifications that are transferable and easily applicable to multiple departments.

Finally, you must think of your resume as a document that draws attention and secures an interview. Rather than telling your entire story, it should generate enough of an interest to create interest and focus on why you may be the correct person for the position.

If you would like a free resume review—no matter how old your resume may be—please contact me today! I would love to provide you with free resume tips that will lead you to a new job opportunity!

5 Tips for Starting Your New Job

When starting a new job, it’s vital to build rapport and showcase your abilities—both as a team member and as an independent worker. Not only do you have new tasks and methods to learn, you have to discover how to ‘fit-in’ with the mix of personnel, focus on clients, and deliver projects on-time. Read further to discover five ways that you can maximize your first few weeks in your new position.

Observe. Don’t start a new job by offering your opinion on everything. Furthermore, be sure to not provide suggestions on how your previous company did something; if that is your first impression among co-workers, then your new co-workers will view you as someone living in the past and ready to make sweeping changes—without actually knowing what is ‘going-on’ in your new workplace. By observing before offering your opinion, you are able to show patience, understanding, and a collaborative approach that will earn the respect of staff members.

Lunch or Coffee Appointments with Co-Workers. Make it a point to have lunch or coffee with a minimum of one co-worker each week. This allows you to build more solidified relationships within your new workplace. And, while it is important to be professional, it’s also nice to get-to-know people on a more personal level.

Offer to Assist. During the first three months of employment, take any opportunity to assist others—even if it isn’t in your job description. If someone needs help after-hours or is looking for assistance with a vital project, offer to help. This not only helps you build a collaboration with that co-worker, it will also give you the opportunity to learn even more about the company and its procedures.

Partner with Your Manager. Ask you manager or supervisor if you can meet after the first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment. It’s important to know where you stand at the beginning of employment and to quickly modify behavior, outcomes, or processes. By securing immediate feedback and making any necessary changes, you are showing flexibility and adaptability—something that is valued at all workplaces.

Notes and Documentation. When starting a new position, there are MANY things to remember and learn. Document the things you are learning so that you don’t have to clarify each time you are completing a task. Track names and information regarding clients so that you can start to remember the information and understand how initiatives are all tied-together within the organization and its clients.

Finally, remember that there will always be challenges when starting work at a new organization. In addition, mistakes may be made and you may discover methodologies that are different than previous workplace. However, remember that this is your opportunity to shine, show how you can evolve, and align with the goals and objectives of the new organization.

How to Use the “You” Attitude in Your Cover Letter

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 heather@feather-communications.com. I can give you a free cover letter review and offer ideas for improvement.

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!

Do I Need a Cover Letter?

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.

How to Identify Your Strengths and Skills for Your Resume

As you create your new resume, you start to gather information and identify where you worked, the dates, the official names of your degrees, and your professional affiliations. If it’s been 10, 15, or 20 years since you last wrote your resume, it’s vital to know that a skills section is a MUST-HAVE in today’s job search. This serves as an easy way for you to highlight key words and strengths. However, many people struggle with how to identify these skills. Read the tips below for ideas that will assist you with your new document.

Tip #1 – What comes easily to you at work? If you are in sales, can communicate with client easily, and know to establish rapport, then those are your skills. The things that come naturally to you with your personality and little effort are your innate skills. For me, it’s writing. It just comes easily to me and I know how to word things. For an accountant, it’s probably that they are detail-oriented, focus on analytics, and know how to problem-solve payment discrepancies.

Tip #2 – What would your boss or co-worker say about you? For many of us, it’s just not natural to think about how wonderful we are on a daily basis. So, instead of asking yourself your strengths, think in terms of your boss or co-worker. They may say you are organized, a good leader, can manage projects, and always adhere to deadlines. Once again, those are your skills and competencies.

Tip #3 – Focus on key words. No matter your skill-set, you must be sure that your verbiage aligns with the job posting. What does that mean? It means if you list ‘project management’ as a skill and the job advertisement asks for someone with ‘project leadership’ skills, then you need to change your skills are to say ‘project leadership.’ If you make this section succinct bullet points that can be easily changed, then it will be fairly simple to make modifications as you go forward with your job search.

Whether you call this section, skills, competencies, areas of expertise, or qualifications—they are all the same. It’s an area designed to make you stand-out and match key words to get to the interview. If you are still confused about adding a skills section, please contact me. I would love to provide you with tips and ideas for an improved document!