Posts Tagged 'Atlanta'

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 Many resumes appear old-fashioned and outdated.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 If the job seeker is “experienced” (read: older), an outdated looking resume only puts a spotlight on a factor that might be considered a drawback.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.

photo by friendly123

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Questions to Consider for Your Cover Letter

Once you have a great resume, writing a terrific cover letter is the next important step. It’s not a good idea to skip the cover letter, as many employers think of it as the equivalent of an introductory handshake. If you wouldn’t skip the handshake, don’t skip the cover letter!

I’ve written all about cover letters…Follow THIS link to read my suggestions for how to compose yours.

I recently read a post by my colleague, J.T. O’Donnell that I thought offered some terrific, thought provoking questions for job seekers to consider when writing a cover letter. She suggests that they answer questions such as:

—Looking at your past professional success, what makes you good at what you do?

—How has your work inspired you?

—What value does it provide?

—If asked to describe yourself in an honest, humble, funny yet confident sort of way, what would you say?

The key thing is to connect what you have to offer with what will appeal to the employer. I think these questions are a great way to start thinking!

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.

When Should You Tell Your Employer You are Looking for a Job?

You have one foot out the door. When is a good time to tell your current boss that you’d rather not work for him or her anymore (for whatever reason), and that you are looking for a new job?

The short answer – when you give your notice!

While there are certainly specific circumstances when discussing your plans to leave might be prudent (for example, if you work for a family member and want to be sure they don’t disown you), typically, it isn’t a good idea to let everyone know that you have one foot (literally or figuratively) out the door.

Why, you ask?  If everyone knows that you’d rather be somewhere else, you are less likely to be assigned interesting work. You probably won’t take on additional leadership roles and may very well be stuck right where you are (career wise) until you manage to find another job. The fact is, that could very well take a long time.

Being candid about wanting another position may seem like the right thing, but the fact is, unless you are at the point of needing your current boss to provide a reference for another opportunity (which usually means that you almost have the new job), talking about your plans to leave goes under the category of TMI – too much information.

Now, giving appropriate notice to your employer is a different story. Most workers can appropriately offer two weeks notice. Some, in more responsible positions, may be required by their contract to provide a longer period of time, and in some industries, workers don’t give any notice because they are not  welcome at work once they announce their intention to leave. (This is typical on Wall Street, for example, where employees are led out of the building by security once they announce their plans to leave.)

So, do the right thing. When you’re at work, give it your all. Do your job, and do what you can to continue to build your resume and list of accomplishments while you are still working at your current job. You’ll thank me later!

Ready to leave your job? Subscribe for 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 help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by aripeskoe2

What to Eat Before Your Interview

Who would have thunk it? It turns out that eating yogurt and nuts can help reduce anxiety, according to a new study by scientists in Slovakia. (Hat tip: Speechworks)

Joey Asher reports on Speechworks’ blog:

The scientists gave either amino-acid supplements or a placebo to a group of men and asked them to give a speech. The men who had taken the supplements experienced half as much anxiety according measurements of stress hormones in their bloodstream.

Yogurt and nuts have very high levels of the type of amino-acids used in the study.  So a healthy snack might help reduce your anxiety.

It seems logical that this stress-reducing snack might be a good choice in advance of an interview, which is kind of like a super-stressful speech and presentation all rolled into one!

So, prepare for your interview, and give yourself an extra boost by downing some yummy amino acids!

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.

Anxious about your job hunt and don’t think that eating yogurt and nuts will solve all of your problems? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by josephp

Potted Plants and Other Ideas to Make You Feel Better At Work

Real Simple Magazine (October 2008) notes that, “Researchers at Texas State University, in San Marcos found that people who had a plant in their offices rated themselves as more satisfied with life and work than did those without them.”

So, if you notice a lot of new plants at work this month, you’ll know why!

Unsatisfied at work? Carly Chynoweth offered 10 tips to help make life at work better on the Work Bloom Work Satisfaction Blog:

  1. “Keep things in perspective.”
  2. “Recognize the possibility of happiness.”
  3. “Change your focus.”
  4. “Surround yourself with happy people…”
  5. “Accept reality.”
  6. “Do the best you can.”
  7. “Balance.”
  8. “Take a break.”
  9. “Take control.”
  10. “Be honest with yourself.”

What helps you keep sane at work? Social networking? Daydreaming? Focused goal setting? Going to lunch alone (or with a co-worker)? Please share your keeping sane strategies in the comments section. And, if you have a very unhappy co-worker, consider the gift of a nice potted plant!

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.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by jark

Great Place Jobs – Online Job Posting Site for Great Employers

I am happy to announce that I am the designated career advice expert for an online job posting site, GreatPlaceJobs.com. (Take a look at my blog at GreatPlaceJobs, where I will be sharing exclusive content.) Asher Adelman, the founder and CEO of eBossWatch and greatplacejobs.com calls the site, “the world’s first exclusive ‘great workplace’ job site to help people find jobs at award-winning employers.”

Asher notes, “For most people nowadays, it’s not enough for a company to pay you well but treat you poorly.  GreatPlaceJobs was designed for job-seekers who aspire to work at companies that care about their people as much as the people care about the company.”

What is special about GreatPlaceJobs? They only post jobs from specifically certified employers designated as “excellent” based on criteria such as having a culture based on trust, fairness, respect, open communications, recognition and camaraderie. When you search their database, you know that every organization represented has been scrutinized and/or has won awards as a high-quality place to work.

This is what the site says about itself:

  • Over 150,000 new jobs each month.
  • Only jobs at certified excellent employers are featured on GreatPlaceJobs.
  • More than 1,300 companies approved as great employers.
  • All companies are individually qualified and approved before being added to GreatPlaceJobs.

GreatPlaceJobs posts positions free for eligible companies. Job seekers pay a $20 membership fee for a 3-month subscription. Asher anticipates exploring many avenues to connect great employers with job seekers. Members will be the first to learn about potential opportunities. Learn more by clicking here.

So, looking to add an online site to your job search plans? Consider a site that screens the employers for you! Use your time wisely online: www.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.

Need help with your hunt? 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.

Can You Find a Job On Twitter? Yes You Can!

Networking and social networking tools are big topics of conversation when it comes to the job hunt. I’ve written about using Facebook to find a job, but I wondered if Twitter, the microblogging platform/social network would be a rich source of potential job opportunities.

So, I asked, “Can You Get a Job on Twitter?” It seems that the answer is a resounding (Bob the Builder-esque) YES you can!

Jessica Smith found her current “dream job” as Chief Mom Officer simply by tweeting to approximately 400 followers, “Anyone looking for a marketing or biz dev person?”  She reports receiving a DM from Max Ciccotosto, Founder of Wishpot.com, within minutes, asking for a phone interview! The result, Jessica landed “a flexible, family-friendly job doing marketing, biz dev, and community management for Wishpot’s baby channel making competitive pay.” She makes a point to pay it forward, and now helps other companies connect with moms who have the skills they seek.

Kyle Flaherty‘s use of Twitter for a job hunt resulted in moving his family to Austin, TX from Boston. In March, he tweeted the news to approximately 650 contacts that he had left his job and had no immediate plans. He included a link to a blog post outlining his interest in connecting. He explains, “Within hours I had several emails, IMs, phone calls and Tweets about the topic and it actually ended up that I took a new job… This may have happened without using Twitter, but since I was looking for a job that would allow me to use social media tools like microblogging, I knew that this was a targeted way to network myself and could lead to a job more inline with what I was wanted.”

Kyle’s boss at the job in Austin, Pam O’Neil, explains that she had the firm’s PR agency on the lookout for someone who would make a good addition to their team. Her contact saw Kyle’s tweet and alerted her that he would be a fantastic hire. O’Neil explains,

“Kyle really took an out of the box approach using Twitter. He had already informed his employer that he wanted to make a career move and made a list of the exact opportunity he was looking for, so he posted an announcement to his 700+ Twitter followers and described that role. So, between the agency referral, Kyle’s use of Twitter and the insights he’d posted on his blog, I knew he would be a great addition to the team. I emailed him immediately.”

Heidi Miller, the “Podcasting Princess” found a three-month freelance project using Twitter. She harnessed the power of her Twitter network (around 900 people) by tweeting updates about her job hunt. (“Applying for a social media position in Boston,” “Applying for a cool social media position in London,” etc.) Although many of her colleagues questioned the wisdom of being so open about her search (would she look desperate? foolish?), in the end, the ends justified the means.

Heidi explains, “One day, one of my Twitter buddies, Amy Gahran, sent me a DM that our Twitter buddy Susan Mernit was looking for people for a project. I’d met Susan at BlogHer the year before, so I sent her a Tweet asking about the project. A resume and phone interviews followed, and I got the position.”

Heidi says,

What I discovered is that Twitter is just another way of communicating with your network. When you are seeking a position, you tell your associates, colleagues and friends so that they can keep their ears open for you. That’s exactly what I did on Twitter–by updating on my job search, I ended up with a contract position that since has opened doors to several offers for permanent positions for me once I finish up here.”

(It’s interesting to note here how Heidi’s story really combines both in-person and social networking. She used online tools to keep in touch with people she may have met at conferences or via other means, which ultimately led to her finding a job.)

Clearly, if you are looking for a job involving social media, Twitter is one great place to cast your networking net. However, don’t ignore the possibilities to use Twitter to make connections that could lead to opportunities in any number of areas. The fact is, job search networking is much more effective when you make “loose” connections – touching base with people you do not know well, but whose networks and contacts are much different from your own.

I’ve noticed that Twitter has been getting quite a bit of press in mainstream media outlets lately. My colleague Dan Schawbel, the Gen Y Personal Branding guru, notes that Twitter already has 3 million users. Surely, there are some great connections for your job hunt just waiting to be found! As more and more get involved (dare I say addicted?), the more opportunities there will be to leverage Twitter for job search networking. Don’t be the one left behind!

Some information you may find useful:

Common Craft’s great video explaining Twitter
Chris Brogan’s 50 ideas for using Twitter for business
Marci Alboher’s Shifting Careers blog at the New York Times – How Twitter Can Help at Work

Convinced that Twitter may be a good use of your time? Feel free to follow me:
http://twitter.com/Keppie_Careers

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.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by jevy


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