4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Updating Your Resume

If it’s time to update your resume, you probably have several thoughts that include worrying about WHAT information to include, WHERE to draw the line when it comes to experience, and HOW to decide relevance versus quantity of information. By making sure you are asking yourself the right questions, you can also ensure the RIGHT information is included in your updated document.

 

#1 – What do you WANT to do? It’s important that you have a focus to your future career goals and examples of possible job opportunities. Knowing what you want to do and what you don’t want to do is vital to your job search.

 

#2 – What are your top two or three strengths? As you prepare for the job search and upcoming interviews, you need to start thinking about your strengths. What sets you apart from other candidates? Do you have exceptional communication skills? Do you know how to balance multiple projects and priorities? Are you able to gain consensus from the team? Use those skill-sets in your strengths area of your resume and in your career summary.

 

#3 – What has been your favorite job? Most of the time, identifying your favorite job will tell you what your skills are, what sets you apart, and how you make a difference. Think about how this job made you feel, if you liked the people you worked with, or how you made a difference. This (most likely) will help you shape your future roles.

 

#4 – What is relevant? This is probably the most challenging question…while all of it may seem important, not all of it is relevant. For the most part, only the last 10-15 years of experience is RELEVANT. Now, I used to (25+ years ago) clean hotel rooms…that’s not recent work history at all. BUT, if I was applying to any sort of position within a hotel (even as a hotel manager), I would include that information because it’s RELEVANT.

 

Making a new resume is both an art and a science; it’s a delicate combination that needs to be balanced. By asking yourself these questions, it will help to guide you as you develop your new document.

 

If you are stuck with your old resume or want some feedback on your new document, please email me for a free resume review: heather@feather-communications.com

Writing Your Resume in 2021

To say that the last year has been challenging and interesting would be an understatement. And, for many people, that included losing a job, working from home, teaching their children, and caring for others. If you are one of the individuals that is now seeking a new job opportunity, here are a few resume tips for the rest of 2021.

#1 – Call-out a lay-off due to COVID-19. If your company closed, you were part of a lay-off, or were downsized as a result of the pandemic, let a potential employer know that information. Now, it doesn’t need to be highlighted in bright yellow and listed at the top of the document, but it can certainly be a line-item at the bottom of the job information.

#2 – Discuss your new technology skills. You may have gained new technology skills (that you didn’t have before) during the past year. For example, are you now extremely familiar with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and a new Learning Management System (LMS)? If so, tell readers that information and also let them know that you are a continuous learner.

#3 – Remind them you are flexible and adaptable. If 2020 and the first part of 2021 have taught us nothing else, it’s that we are definitely able to make changes quickly when and if needed. That is a valuable skill in all workplaces. So, make sure readers know that you are not afraid of change, you embrace it, and know how to be proactive.

#4 – Concise is still key. Even though things have changed, one thing hasn’t: hiring managers and recruiters are busy. Be concise and to-the-point. If your one-and-a-half page resume can be trimmed to one page, then do it. Don’t sacrifice quality; however, also remember that you have to grab the reader’s attention quickly.

#5 – Keep it simple. While a lot of people are seeking new opportunities, you may start to think that the fancier your resume is, the better off you will be. That is not true; in fact, keeping your format simple and professional will allow you to get through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and will make it easier for the reader to digest the information.

If you are still struggling with what to include and how to include it on your updated resume, contact me today. I offer free resume reviews and would LOVE the opportunity to give you the confidence you need in your job search!

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

Click to access our Top 5 Resume Tips for New Professionals!

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!