Archive for the 'Resume Advice' Category

Is Your Resume Holding You Back?

If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, and you know that you are qualified, but no one is calling (on any of your phones!) What should you do?

I speak to potential clients who fit this category regularly. Clients suggest many possible scapegoats as to why the phone isn’t ringing:

  • Age discrimination.
  • My experience doesn’t exactly match their needs. No one will give me a chance to prove myself.
  • I’m trying to transition from non-profit to for-profit and they just don’t want me.
  • They look at my previous industry and discriminate against me because they don’t like (fill in the blank).

I would never tell potential clients that these factors have NOTHING to do with their hunt or that it is easy to overcome these possible roadblocks. However, when I review resumes from these job seekers, I usually identify fatal resume flaws that have nothing to do with age, experience or industry. Many times, it is clear to me that these job seekers are approaching their searches with resumes that are doing them more harm than good.

Some examples:

Age Discrimination. Many resumes appear old-fashioned and outdated. They include information that isn’t necessary (such as date of birth), but  omit key resume details (such as dates of employment). If the job seeker is “experienced” (read: older), an outdated looking resume only puts a spotlight on a factor that might be considered a drawback.

Lack of experience. Job seekers who don’t have direct experience in their field of choice make mistakes when they don’t attempt to address the needed skills and stick to a basic “this is the stuff I did” resume. Listing “stuff” isn’t going to cut it when you’re reaching for a job. Focus on those transferable skills. Look at your “soft” skills. Figure out what you have to offer and highlight it for the reader.

Transitioning. Consider how you describe your past experiences. If you are moving to a for-profit, use language that appeals to that employer. Always write for your target. I recently worked with a client to re-write a “non-profit” sounding job description using “for-profit” language. She landed an interview within 24 hours of sending the resume.  If you are applying for a job in France, you’d write your resume in French. Similarly, be sure to use lingo and descriptions that will make sense to the reader. Don’t expect them to translate it!

Industry Discrimination. I’ve worked with clients who believe their current industry isn’t an asset in moving to a new field. For example, a chiropractor who wants to work in accounting. It is easy to write a resume that makes accounting skills and experience the first thing employers will read. I’ve seen many resumes of job hunters who highlight the very information they think detracts from their candidacy!

So, if your phone isn’t ringing, don’t start assigning blame and throwing up your hands until you take a good, long look at your resume. You may be surprised at what you DO control in your job hunt.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a linkto receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Can’t figure out how to optimize your resume with key words? Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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Magical Resume Words – The Key Words for Your Resume

So, you’ve been applying for jobs online, and not getting any replies? Are you using the magic words? No, not “please” and “thank you,” although being polite certainly goes a long way in the job hunt! These magic words are the key words, or buzz words that your resume must include in order to get noticed by the online “eyes” that review resumes submitted electronically.

Click HERE to read the rest of this post on GreatPlaceJobs.com!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Can’t figure out how to optimize your resume with key words? Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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A Resume is Just a Resume?

Last week, a client asked me if I thought “a resume is just a resume is just a resume.”

No, I replied…I don’t think so! A resume is a reflection of the resume’s owner. It must represent what you have to offer and directly target the employer you hope to reach.

Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t just walk up to a rack of birthday cards and randomly select one to offer a loved one, you shouldn’t think of your resume as inconsequential to your search. Even as networking and personal branding become more and more important in job search, it is still necessary and important to have a solid, well-designed and written resume.

I recently spoke to a potential client who explained that he didn’t have a resume of any kind. He had been able to land an interview or two based on well written letters to targeted employers. The jobs didn’t pan out, but I reminded him that, at some point in a hiring process, he probably would have needed to produce a resume, even as a formality, for HR.

So, while you try to network your way to a job, using every tool at your disposal, take a good, hard look at your resume. Many times, clients believe that they aren’t getting interviews because of a specific thing that cannot change. Their age. Their level of experience. Their field. All of these may be factors if you are not landing interviews, but more often than not, there is something specific about your resume that is holding you back.

Make sure that your resume isn’t the one everyone is calling home about – for the wrong reasons! You want to stand out, but not because you misspelled “Public” or forgot to list your contact information. Your resume shouldn’t be a laundry list of “stuff” you’ve done, at the expense of listing your skills and accomplishments. Make sure that your resume isn’t a 5-page autobiography of every computer program you have ever touched in the last 12 years.

Review. Revise. Re-envision what you have to offer. You’ll be better off!

I’ll be happy to give you a free resume assessment. Just email it to results@keppiecareers.com.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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Most Abused Resume Words

Key words are crucial for resumes. You want to be sure to hook your audience and entice them to want to learn more about you. However, sometimes, it is easy to fall into a trap of using a key word or phrase that is a little overdone!

The November issue of Real Simple magazine lists the following as the “most abused phrases on resumes and profiles, according to research by LinkedIn:

  • Proven track record
  • Problem solver
  • Faced paced
  • Due diligence
  • Cutting edge
  • Results-oriented

For women: attention to detail

For men: disaster recovery

This doesn’t mean that these words and phrases don’t belong on your resume. However, if you try Wordle (described HERE) and find any on this list as the biggest words in your resume cloud, you’ll probably want to re-work things a bit!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great keyword rich resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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How Important is Your Resume?

Every once in a while, career experts get ourselves all wrapped up in the raging controversy: How important is your resume? The question – is it key to your search, or, with linkedin and other online tools, is it as outdated as a rotary phone?

In the past, marketing guru Seth Godin’s post suggesting that if you are exceptional, you don’t need a resume, got everyone buzzing, and there is new buzz on the Career Hub site, with my colleague Deb Dib’s post on the subject.

I recently quoted executive recruiter Thad Greer, author of The Executive Rules, as saying that the resume is“probably the most important professional document you’ll have in your entire life.”

So, which is it? How important are resumes for job seekers?

If all job seekers fully engaged in the type of networking that enhances their ability to use the “pull, not push” job search methodology, it is true that the resume would become less important as a first-line contact point.

I advise my clients to participate in Web 2.0 strategies to “pull” interest from potential employers. LinkedIn has become the absolute “must have” online presence and Twitter is a terrific way to share information, network and yes, promote your “brand.” Facebook, when managed well, has a lot to offer as a third-line strategy.

For strong writers, I suggest (1) authoring a blog and/or (2) leaving smart comments on blogs related to your industry. These are terrific ways to showcase your knowledge and expertise.

Then, of course, there are all of the in-person networking strategies professionals should use to enhance their profiles in their fields.

So, if you are good enough at using these strategies (or, as Seth Godin has said – if you are exceptional), you may be invited to apply for or interview for a job before you’ve provided a resume. However, as noted above, most organizations will request a resume at some point in the process. The likelihood is that it will be at the same time they ask for you to apply. (As in – “We are very interested in learning more about how you can contribute to our organization. Please forward your resume to….”) As noted above, recruiters clearly need to see a resume.

Does all of this mean that the resume is less important? Ultimately, I don’t think so. While it may not always serve as the employer’s first impression, it is still key to support the positive view a job seeker needs to promote. The fact is, most people will still rely quite a bit on the resume if they want to get the call for an interview.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by zen

Quantify Accomplishments on Your Resume to Stand Out in a Crowd

So, you are convinced that accomplishments are important for your resume? Good! The next key step is to quantify your accomplishments. The point of your resume is to entice the reader to want to know more about you. Demonstrating how you stand out in a crowd by quantifying your accomplishments is a great way to generate interest.

When you start to quantify, think about the following categories:

  • Money (especially as you saved or earned it)
  • Time (more efficient, less wasted)
  • Amounts (sales, customers, etc.)
  • Situations (fast-paced, difficult economic environment, etc.)

What do you think is more interesting or persuasive?

Before: Conducted patient interviews and managed data collection for survey.

After: Demonstrated analytical skills and cultural sensitivity as leader of team conducting, coding and verifying 1000 patient interviews using SAS in deadline-driven environment.

Before: Met all sales quotas.

After: Only salesperson to meet 100% of quotas in down-trending economic environment. Won top award for sales closed (2008).

By contextualizing what you have to offer, you help the reader gain a clear picture of your value.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Not sure how to implement good resume advice? Need some help to give your job hunt a boost? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services, including resume writing, interview preparation and job hunt coaching: www.keppiecareers.com

photo by Paul likes pics

Accomplishments for Your Resume

Almost every resume I see reads like a laundry list of “stuff” the person has done at work. The problem is that everyone applying for the job you seek probably has a similar list of “stuff.” What makes you stand out? Why are you special – why do YOU deserve to win an interview and the job?

It certainly isn’t because you were “Responsible for” something or that you were “Recruited to” do something. A prospective employer wants to know what you’ve accomplished. What impact have you had on past employers? What obstacles did you overcome to achieve a positive result in the past?

Quintessential Careers compiled a comprehensive list of accomplishments employers seek. (Hat tip: My Career).

Describe how you:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Make work easier
  • Solve a specific problem
  • Help the company become more competitive
  • Build relationships
  • Expand the business
  • Attract new customers
  • Retain existing customers

I suggest you answer the following questions:

  • What problems did you solve?
  • How did you improve your organization?
  • What innovative ideas did you introduce (and what were the positive results)?
  • How did you make a difference?

When you re-focus your resume spotlight to shine on what you have to offer instead of just listing what you’ve done, you will be much more marketable.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Not sure how to implement good resume advice? Need some help to give your job hunt a boost? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services, including resume writing, interview preparation and job hunt coaching: www.keppiecareers.com

photo by meanest Indian

Resume Tip – Your Resume Should Read as the Perfect Match for Your Next Job

 So, you are trying to write your own resume, and you are focusing on all of the things that you’ve done in the past to highlight?  STOP!

Your resume isn’t ABOUT your past – it’s about your future! Of course, you need to rely on what you have done to convince your next employer of what you can do for him or her, but remember: Your resume needs to read as the perfect match for your next job. You don’t want to look like the candidate who is qualified to do the job you already have.

Just as you need to target you resume to address your potential employer’s problems, you also need to target it to highlight the skills and accomplishments that propel you to where you want to go.  Review job descriptions that interest you. What do they want? What skills do they seek? Demonstrate that you are that person by artfully illustrating that you have the skills and accomplishments to get the job done.

You don’t have those skills on your resume? The “propel you forward” ones? Take the wheel and get them! Talk to your employer about the skills you’d like to develop. See where there are opportunities to get involved in projects that will give you what you need for your resume. Drive your own career bus, or be stuck hopelessly at the red light.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Need help with your resume? Did you know we offer a resume consulting service? We advise, you write! Or, hire us to write your resume for you. Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by KM

Resume Tip – Be a Knight in Shining Armor!


Do you want to be a hero?

Who doesn’t want to hire a knight in shining armor, ready to take on the problems of the day?

When you focus on your resume, don’t just focus on you and what you offer. Remember to focus on the target – the potential employer. It is just as important to know what the employer wants as it is to know your own skills and accomplishments!

Figure out what problems your target organization is trying to solve. Sometimes, this is easy to discover by reading their website and job description. Other times, informational interviews and keeping up with the news of the day helps. (If the Wall Street Journal just ran an article about the organization, you’ll want to be sure to know about it!) Be sure to Google the organization; don’t just rely on what they say about themselves. What are others saying about them?

Once you know their needs, determine why and how YOU can provide the answers to their problems. Make a clear connection on your resume. Show them that you are their knight in shining armor, slaying dragons left and right.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Need help with your resume? Did you know we offer a resume consulting service? We advise, you write! Or, hire us to write your resume for you. Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by Ms. Kathleen

Should You Hire Someone to Write Your Resume?

Have you looked at your resume lately? Really looked at it with a critical eye? Does it highlight your skills and accomplishments? Or, is it a laundry list of “stuff” you’ve done? Are you sure that it demonstrates all that you have to offer a potential employer?

Sure, you’ve shown it to your friends, maybe even a colleague or two. They think it looks fine, even great! When is the last time they studied the art of resume writing? Do they realize that, in some cases, human eyes will not even see your resume until after it is screened by a computer? Did they explain that you’ll be lucky to get a 10-second glance for your resume on a first go-around?

The fact is, most people are not resume writing experts. While everyone has an opinion, we all know how useful an uninformed opinion can be.

Have you been sending your resume out but not getting any response? Blaming it on the economy or your experience level? Those factors certainly have a role, but it is more than likely that a professionally written resume would yield better results. Do you really want to face the job market with documents that are not optimized?

Many job seekers don’t stop to consider how much money a less-than-optimal resume costs them. Consider, if you are unemployed, how much money do you lose for every day that you are out of work? If your resume isn’t top-notch, you may not appear qualified for the salary that you seek or deserve. A professionally written resume will help shorten your job search and may qualify you for a higher salary. Your return on investment in yourself may pay off substantially!

Does everyone need to hire someone to write their resume? No, I don’t think so. If you are a great writer and have kept up with resume trends, understand how to focus the reader on the key points and can objectively assess your document to ensure that you aren’t letting misplaced modesty prevent you from incorporating your very best accomplishments, you might be a great candidate for writing your own resume.

On the other hand, who has the energy or the inclination to keep up with “resume-ology?” I do! Helping people successfully navigate their job hunt is my passion. I keep up with the market, learn about new technology and approaches and stay plugged in because you don’t have the time, expertise or desire to do it.

Do you want to achieve your career goals and save money? Your career is one of your most crucial financial investments. Whether you are actively engaged in a search, underemployed or unhappily employed, it makes sense to hire an ally for your job hunt. An ally tells it like it is and helps you get where you need to be. Are you committed to discovering what you have to offer an employer? If you are motivated to make a change, Keppie Careers is here for you!

For more resume advice from my blog, click here.

If you’d like a free assessment of your resume, feel free to email it to results@keppiecareers.com.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Visit Keppie Careers online for free advice and information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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