Your Story in 30 Seconds | The Importance of a Concise Resume

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.

Looking for more help concisely telling your story. I’d love to chat – click HERE now!

5 Tips for Updating Your Resume During COVID-19

The past few months have been challenging for most employees and workplaces. In fact, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed and many people are on unemployment while they wait to see if and when their jobs will be back to “normal.” This is a time—whether or not you have lost your job or are still working—when it may be a good idea to review your resume. Here are some tips for update your document TODAY.

Tip #1: Say what happened. If you are on furlough due to COVID-19 or have been laid-off due to this situation, then make a line item on your resume that says you were placed on furlough or the company closed. Because everyone has been affected by the pandemic, it is okay to mention it on your resume.

Tip #2: Now is a great time to change directions. If you have always wanted to make a career transition or try a different industry, then now is the time to rework your resume toward that goal. In fact, all industries will be changing how they operate, so there may be more opportunities in your intended target industry.

Tip #3: Focus on transferrable skills. Let’s face it: you may have to switch directions or take a job that isn’t in your traditional goals; use what you have done in the past to ensure you are aligning it to future jobs. Discuss your cross-functional teamwork abilities, critical decision making, creative problem solving, and communication skills.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to state facts. You are NOT bragging when you talk about your accomplishments or achievements. Think of yourself as a reporter who is stating facts and discussing what happened. This is NOT the time to be demure or to worry about being boastful.

Tip #5: Start looking NOW. While many companies are in a hiring freeze, do not wait to look for new opportunities. If everyone looks for new jobs at the same time, there will be a LOT of competition. Keep your eyes open now and make sure that you are always available for new jobs.

As you move forward during or after COVID-19, make sure that you are aware of the challenges while still remaining hopeful and positive for the future. There ARE things you can do RIGHT NOW to change your resume FOR THE BETTER!

Salary Negotiation for Your First Job

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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!

Biggest Cover Letter Fails for Young Professionals

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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!

 

Networking for Young Professionals

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We’ve all heard the phrase, it’s all about who you know when it comes to the job search. At first, the idea of networking and building connections might feel overwhelming. You might tell yourself you can’t network because you are introverted, you don’t know how to talk about yourself, or maybe you think it isn’t important for your field. Here is your reality check: networking is necessary for everyone, in every field. These three tips are here to help you make the most of your time while networking.

#1 | Have a Pitch: Having an elevator pitch is crucial to networking. More often than not, networking will be more conversational than just walking up to someone and talking for 30-seconds about yourself. However, the point of having a pitch is to provide you with the language to talk about your skills, achievements, and goals. If you have that plan you’ll be able to bring your pitch into conversations at formal networking events or even at a family barbeque. Don’t have a pitch? Think through this formula: current + past + future. What are you currently doing? How has your past shaped where you are now? Where do you want to go next?

#2 | Set Goals to Put Yourself Out There: Have a goal for why you want to network. Exploring careers? In a new place? Maybe you simply want to expand your network. While you’re setting the purpose of your networking, you also want to set a timeframe. Want to attend two networking events a month? Great! Put it in your calendar to help hold yourself accountable.

#3 | Don’t Save Networking for the Job Search: Many people believe networking is only beneficial during the job search, however, if you save networking for just the job search it may seem forced. You want your networking to be more focused on relationship building than asking for a job. If you are continuously thinking about networking throughout your career, you’ll have that established rapport and network to lean on when you need it.

Take advantage of that next networking opportunity and focus on getting to know others while also building long-term relationships. YOUR next job opportunity could come from someone you haven’t met yet—get out there and start establishing rapport with individuals in your industry.

Need more advice? Download our FREE Top 5 Resume Tips for New Professionals!

Don’t Make These Resume Mistakes

Whether I am working with a CEO, a customer service manager, or a teacher, I consistently see the same resume mistakes over-and-over again. Remember—if you haven’t written a resume in five or more years, things have changed! Please see the list below for the most common resume mistakes and how to avoid them. CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ME NOW!

Tip #1 – Don’t include personal details. Believe it or not, people sometimes include photos, marital status, and personal hobbies. Photos and personal details allow individuals to pre-judge you BEFORE you even get to the interview. Stay with professional information and documentation.

Tip #2 – Don’t include SO MUCH information. I understand that your work history is important and it’s difficult to know where to ‘draw the line’ with what is and what isn’t included. However, including everything makes NOTHING stand-out. Focus on what that particular employer needs to know about you. Keep the information concise and on-target for your desired positions.

Tip #3 – Beware of strange formatting. Don’t decide to utilize three different fonts, some clip art, and various colors. It’s very important to be consistent with your formatting and to give your resume a clean, cohesive, and consistent appearance. Remember – a recruiter or hiring manager is most likely only reviewing the document for about 5-7 seconds…you do NOT want that person to be distracted by formatting.

Tip #4 – Ensure space is utilized. Your resume contains prime real estate and we want that real estate to work for us. Put a header at the top of your resume instead of the word “Summary.” Mention your past positions or future desired positions by stating something like, “Executive-Level Administrative Assistant” or “Entry-Level Accounting Professional.” And, don’t include things like hobbies and volunteerism if you have more pertinent and relevant information that is DIRECTLY related to your future roles.

The tips listed here are just the start of things to consider when crafting your updated resume. If you are still unsure of how to include certain information or what sections you need to use on your resume, I’d love to chat – click HERE now!