Resume writing and career advice
job search tips/workplace trends
Featuring career experts, recruiters, hiring managers and decision makers who help you get hired
March Madness is here. And as the pool of 68 college basketball teams prepare for the NCAA Tournament, IMPACT Group, a career services, talent development and outplacement services firm, provides these career tips for job seekers looking to advance to the Final Four of their job search:
1. Selection Sunday: You can’t make it to the championship if you aren’t asked to play. Secure your spot in the tournament by optimizing your résumé for an applicant tracking system (ATS). Hundreds of candidates will be eliminated before the action even starts. These sophisticated systems will parse through your information to determine your track record, strength of competencies, and RPI – résumé and performance impressiveness. Getting through the system is key for your entrance into The Big Dance.
2. Fast Break: Outsmart your opponents by preparing a targeted game plan for interview day. Thirty-second elevator pitch, company and industry research, and achievement stories – each of these are key plays to help you make a fast break for the basket while leaving your rivals in the back-court wondering where the job went.
3. Steal: With an assist from your dedicated career coach, steal the interviewers’ attention by taking advantage of interview training and technique guides to polish your skills, enhance your communication style, and ensure you are ready for full-court press. Diligently practice your answers to potential interview questions to avoid a five-second violation or double dribble during the interview.
4. Buzzer Beater: Even if you feel you’re falling behind, there’s still time to make the buzzer-beating shot. Focus on promoting your value to key decision makers and remember to follow up after the interview to remind the hiring manager of your unique strengths and abilities. The game isn’t over until it’s over, so play your heart out until the last second.
IMPACT Group is a global career coaching firm. To get career assistance contact IMPACT Group to
speak with a career coach.
For new college graduates, creating a winning resume can be a huge hurdle, especially since many first-time job seekers lack real-world experience. The good news is that when hiring managers are looking at entry-level job candidates, they’re looking for talent not necessarily proven work performance.
Still, taking the first step toward writing a resume with substance can be tricky—and as hiring continues to increase, job seekers will face stiff competition this year.
To help you get over your anxiety, consider the following tips and you will be well on your way to creating a top shape resume that can help land that great first job.
1. Determine your career goals
While it sounds daunting, relax: you don’t need to map out a 30 to 40-year plan, but you do need to assess your ambitions. If you’re focused on income, jobs such as a petroleum engineer, marketing manager, or air traffic controller all boast six-figure salaries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and they don’t require you to go to medical or law school.
Granted, the size of the paycheck may not be the most important factor to you. In fact, 65 percent of millennials said they took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development, while only 21 percent based their decision on salary, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found. Therefore, you need to decide where your priorities are, and then find a job that aligns with them.
You’ll also want to assess prospective industries for job growth by using the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, which tracks projected growth rate of over 300 occupations. By the way, if you aspire to be a wind turbine service technician or an occupational or physical therapy assistant, you are in luck as they topped the Bureau’s list of the fastest-growing jobs.
2. Build a master resume
Your resume needs to highlight your strength and what makes you a vital hire to prospective employers. So, if you haven’t done so already, create a list of your core skills, achievements, and experience to date. This list will help guide you through the resume writing process.
Because every job opening is unique, you’ll want to create a distinct resume for each job application. To conserve time, build a “master resume” which is a template that contains all your work history, accomplishments, and skills. Once established, use it as the basis to draw from when crafting your job-specific resume.
However, remember to beef it up by highlighting what makes you a vital hire to prospective employers. So if you haven’t already, create a list of your core skills, achievements, and experience to date. This list will help guide you through the resume writing process and will help make that master resume sing.
3. Don’t only focus on professional experience
When you’re an entry-level job seeker, it’s expected that you won’t have a ton of work experience under your belt. However, hiring managers still want to see that you’ve had some hands-on involvement. Therefore, including volunteer work and, of course, internships on your resume can help you demonstrate not only your abilities but also your drive.
Similarly, it’s okay to include relevant college course work on your resume—at least when you’re starting out. If you’re applying for a marketing job for example, specifying that you took a class on consumer behavior may make you more attractive to prospective employers.
4. Show that you’re a team player
Today, more than ever, employers are focused on creating collaborative workplaces. In fact, about 70 percent of American employees are now working in open-plan offices, according to the International Facility Management Association. Furthermore, 83 percent of employers recently surveyed said that teamwork is a top priority when assessing entry-level job candidates.
With this in mind, make sure your resume conveys that you’re a team player. This can be accomplished by stating on your resume that you worked on a team project either in a college or during an internship and explain how you contributed to the group’s success using metrics i.e. “led a group of four fellow interns in a six-week assignment completed for $10,000 below budget.”
Bonus Tip: Highlight hard skills--not soft skills
Many job seekers—rookies in particular—waste space on their resume listing soft skills like leadership, problem solving, and adaptability. The problem is soft skills are subjective, meaning hiring managers can’t really tell that you possess them simply by reading your resume. Instead, use the skills section of your resume to showcase hard skills or certifications that make you more marketable. Depending on the industry, these might include proficiency in Excel, knowledge of HTML, or being fluent in a second language. Then let your soft skills shine during the job interview.
Sell yourself instantly
While research varies, some studies have found that hiring managers spend as little as six seconds before deciding whether an applicant might be a good fit for the job. Hence, the top third of your resume needs to immediately convey your unique selling points. This section should be a two- to three sentence “wow” statement. A good example: “Results-driven advertising professional with internship experience at Nestle, Google, and Intel.” Finding a job is never easy, and this is especially true for new job seekers. However, by following the above tips, you will be well on your way to securing your next big opportunity and, more importantly, to starting on your own career path.
About the Author:
James Clift is CEO of VisualCV, the largest resume and portfolio creation platform with over 1 million members in dozens of countries worldwide. For more information visit Visual CV or follow the company Visit Visual CV on Twitter at @visualcv.
FlexJobs’ Survey Suggests Benefits of Flexible Jobs Extend to Personal Health and Romantic Relationships
99 percent say a job with work flexibility would make them a happier person in general
With Valentine’s Day approaching, FlexJobs conducted a Work-Life-Relationship survey of over 1,400 flexible job seekers to determine how flexible work arrangements might impact not only the mental and physical health of workers, but also their friendships and romantic relationships. The findings indicate that flexible jobs can significantly improve overall personal health and happiness for workers. A “flexible job” is defined as a professional-level job that has a telecommuting, flexible schedule, freelance, or part-time component.
“Flexible work arrangements can reduce the tension many workers experience between trying to manage a multitude of competing personal and professional responsibilities," said Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “While it’s commonly understood that work flexibility can improve work-life balance, it’s important to also realize that flexible work also offers very real positive impacts on our ability to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our relationships through, for example, reducing commute-related stress and time, less conflict in scheduling between our work and personal lives, and the ability to better control our work environments to increase productivity. The benefits of work flexibility can make us happier, healthier, and more engaged in both our personal AND work lives, and smart companies are increasingly realizing this helps their bottom lines as well.”
In the FlexJobs Work-Life-Relationship survey, more than half (55 percent) of job seekers report their work-life balance is terrible or needs improvement and 68 percent feel stressed by their current work-life balance. The top reasons they are interested in flexible work include work-life balance (69 percent), money/cost savings (51 percent), time savings (50 percent) and stress reduction (40 percent).
When it comes to their personal health and non-romantic relationships:
Regarding their romantic relationships:
From among the audiences surveyed, working parents in particular show great interest in flexible work arrangements, as many struggle to balance the pressing demands of both their career and raising children. In fact, of the more than 550 respondents with children 18 and under living at home, 93 percent thought having a job with work flexibility would help them be a more involved parent.
Working parents also anticipated greater benefits of work flexibility to their romantic relationships:
*Demographic breakdown of respondents: Generation: Millennial (23 percent); Gen X (42 percent); Baby Boomer 27 percent and The Silent Generation (8 percent). Relationship status: Not currently in a relationship (24 percent), Dating (3 percent), Serious/Engaged (18 percent), Married (55 percent). Children: 63 percent have children and 37 percent do not have children.
FlexJobs is the leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. With flexible job listings in over 50 career categories, and opportunities ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time, FlexJobs offers job seekers a safe, easy, and efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible job listings. Having helped over two million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has appeared on CNN, CNBC and Marketplace Money and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company and hundreds of other trusted media outlets. FlexJobs' Founder & CEO Sara Sutton Fell has also launched two additional partner sites, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility, to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of remote working and work flexibility. Sutton Fell is also the creator of The TRaD* Works Conference (*Telecommuting, Remote, & Distributed), dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.
The beginning of a new calendar year normally marks the beginning of the job search rush. January and February might even be considered the busiest months of the year with regard to the number of applications that are submitted through job search portals. Coming out of the holiday season, people are eager to refocus on their search. Thousands of people set New Year's Resolutions in January, and finding a more fulfilling or better paying job is high on the list of popular resolutions. Employers often have to wait for budgeting approval at the end of the year, meaning they hold off on posting new jobs until the turn of the new year.
According to a U.S. News and World Report*, “Simply being qualified won’t get you an interview in today’s job market. Employers are being inundated with applications from qualified candidates. If you don’t differentiate yourself, you will not attract the attention of hiring managers or recruiters." Therefore, you must find ways to stand out by proving your value and worth to potential employers.
What will it take to be noticed? Below are 4 tips on how to stand out during your job search, from the experts at IMPACT Group HR, an organization that works with leading companies around the world to coach employees and their families through every career transition
1. Your value: Consider the value you bring beyond your prior work history. In some cases, you may have to think deeply about this question to find an answer. For instance, living in a foreign country and not speaking the native language would be considered an obstacle. But, perhaps you speak a language that is valuable to the company. If you speak Chinese and the company has dealings in Asia, you may be of greater value to them then if you spoke the native language. Find out what your target company's mission statement or business model is and think about what hard / soft skills you have that are either directly or indirectly related. Make sure to include all of this in your CV / resume. Keep notes on your thoughts so you can convey the same information during your interview.
2. Your CV/resume: Due to a high volume of applications being submitted, you will need to catch the reader's attention very quickly. Always err on the side of professionalism when it comes to font and structure of your CV / resume, but do use metrics – concrete examples of the quantifiable affects you have had on your previous company, team or department. List these closer to the top of your CV / resume. Adding numbers and specifics to your accomplishments will help you stand out to the hiring manager.
3. Videos and visuals: If appropriate in your country, you may consider using more than just text type in your CV / resume. Infographics, colour and company logos can tell your story in an engaging way. You may also wish to send a video "thank you" message after your interview, instead of the standard email follow up.
4. LinkedIn excellence: You will most likely be "googled" by the employer, and LinkedIn will be one of the top results if so. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and engaging. Work with your IMPACT Group coach to create a compelling headline and summary of your experience. A professional profile picture is key, as well.
Remember to take advantage of every opportunity to showcase what you have to offer beyond your qualifications. Rising above the crowd and making an impact on a potential employer during these busy job search months may take a little more time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end!
*U.S. News and World Report, "What's Different About Job Searching in 2015?"
What daily rituals will produce positive change for you? Learn about the x-factor these outstanding entrepreneurs share that propels them towards greatness in this infographic - featuring The Habits of Highly Successful People, below:
About Matt Krumrie
In addition to writing resumes, Krumrie has published over 2,000 career and job search articles for CollegeRecruiter,