May Day! My Job Search is Crashing!

Recently, I facilitated a job search workshop providing job seekers employed, unemployed, and underemployed information to help position them better for employment. We gave away a couple of career books that each winner will enjoy. I also invited two of the blog’s contributors to participate in a panel discussion about using social media for the job search. Bianca Thompson aka “Sassy HR Girl” and Sandra Tedford were both prepared and ready to offer her perspective. Collectively and individually, she displayed expertise and candor that engaged the audience who, I think, received much value from their answers.

They addressed several questions regarding social media profiles and the use of Linked In:

  • The positive and negative use of having a profile
  • How an incomplete profile is perceived
  • What if a candidate has the right components except for his or her Linked In  profile
  • A bad profile picture? What a bad or no picture implies

There were several other questions the audience asked and overall each answer was appropriately offered.

To hear the audio recording of the workshop head over to May Day! My Job Search is Crashing!

13 Keys to Carefully Crafting Cover Letter

When crafting cover letters one has to be perfect and to the point as what is reflected in your cover letter should get you the job you are applying for. Ensure the cover letter is clear, grammatically correct, concise and error free. Here are cover letters writing tips that will make you stand out from the crowd.

 

1) Attach a cover letter with each resume sent out

It’s always good to send a cover letter even if not requested by the employer. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored.

 

2) Target your cover letter

Check out the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for and make a comparison with the skills and experience you have. From there you are able to address your skills and qualifications that match the job description.

 

3) Provide quality evidence of your qualities

Pick out the top most qualities the employer is seeking in their job specification that you most likely posses and include in the resume.

 

4) Write a custom cover letter

Writing a custom cover letter at times can be time-consuming but in the end the cover letter will show the hiring manager at a glance why you are the best person for the job as skills and experiences are included.

 

5) Start from a cover template

Use a cover letter template s a starting point which will help you create your own personalized cover letter a cover templates helps you take little details and fix them in your own personal letter.

 

For the other 8 Keys go to The Voice of Job Seekers Blog!

Your Resume at the Top of Your Game

View more presentations from Mark Dyson.
This is part 2 of the Employment Work shop slides. I hope this will be help to all. Remember that your resume is the centerpiece to your job search.

Phone Interview Preparation With A Recruiter

Editors note: @JNAPublications wrote the following about her phone interview experience.
How long has it been since you have had a phone interview? I remember the times when a phone interview was easy. The questions were basic.

Tell me about your background?

What do you look for in a company?

Well today I experienced my first phone interview in 2 years. This interview was an hour-long. The recruiter asked me several questions. After this daunting interview, I asked myself, How well did I prepare for this interview? Companies are hiring, but they are being very strategic in choosing? Below are some of the questions that I can recall from my interview.

1. Walk me through your entire resume?

This question was not as difficult; however, I didn’t have my résumé in front of me. I wasn’t able to give the correct dates. Before your next phone interview, make sure your résumé is in front of you. Be ready to explain gaps between employers. Why were you not working during this period of time? How did you get to where you are now? Also explain why you left each job and why you want to leave now.

2. Explain your understanding of the company.

What is the title of the job? Do you know how this job will help your career path? In my situation, the recruiter emailed me information about the company. Make sure you read everything. It’s important to understand why the company is even interested.

3. What skills do you offer the company?

What value do your skills bring to the company? What are your strengths? Are you able to articulate the answer to this question? You should also be able to explain what drives your performance in a company. What are you passionate about that could help you excel if hired?

4. Have you mapped out your career path?

The key word in this question is “your.” When recruiters ask this question, they don’t want to hear that you see yourself as an executive. They want to know, what are your career goals, what skills are you wanting to advance in? How can that company help further your career path?

5. What has your job search been like? What other companies are you looking at?

This question was very new to me. As a student, I didn’t really know what my job search was like since I had just started. I answered the question in the format of being honest. I told her, what positions and companies I had also looked at. I told her why those positions piqué my interest. I also told her that I applied a year ago. The one thing I gathered from this question was do I have a centralized focus. She wanted to know was I desperately looking for jobs and applying for everything or was I looking for a career.

These were the questions that stood out to me. Before your next phone interview, prepare yourself by knowing how to answer these questions. A Phone interview does not mean you have the job, but means they want to know more about you.. Now it’s your job to sell them on why you are the best candidate.

50 and over Jobseekers: Show’em How to Take An Punch

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true

~Neil Young

Older job seekers endure many trials in life, and misunderstood as a liability when he or she arrives at 50. As younger bosses hire more qualified baby boomers this year, they will find the wealth of industry experience, knowledge, and history is useful for business. What are some attributes that make older workers attractive to younger employers?

1. Older workers can show the enthusiasm of a 30-year-old for the fight (or the challenge)

Energy in this context is the ability to show zeal for the subject. Over 50 job seekers can leverage history and excitement to re-purpose old ideas with new technology in mind. You can show that you are relevant, can keep up, and demonstrate subject acumen

2. Demonstrate that you can endure hard punches without complaining or grumbling

This a powerful attribute when you know where and why obstacles seem, and temper reactions from other young people. This can transcend up the corporate ladder, and make you appear as wise and ready for more responsibility. Teams take hits and make mistakes, and you can display how to learn from them

3. Show them you can take a punch

Criticism is hurtful, but remaining teachable after 50 demonstrates humility. Humility is not just being quiet, but being a learner looking to make things better for all

4. Don’t get hit if you if you don’t have to

Older workers can show how to avoid errors in a tactful way. Sometimes a slow and deliberate approach to problem solving. Showing how to save money this way creates long-term value for you. When you, as the older and wise worker help save company money increases your personal stock.

5. Teach them to roll with the punches

Older job seekers can share that mistakes are good, but not learning from them are bad. Love the interview question, “What mistakes did you make, and what corrective measures did you implement?” That is a chance to shine!

Patience is a Virtue of an Impressive Hire

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“The waiting is the hardest part…” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

How you wait matters. Whether it is the interview or an informational interview, your prospect co-workers watch for character clues as everyone in the office has an interest in the next hire. The first impression counts so remain cognizant of what you do while waiting for a meetings. Waiting can drive you nuts! It’s part of the charade that employers play sometimes, but many times, they are busy. Here are my suggestions on how to handle the pre-meeting tarrying.

1. Smile don’t smirk

Not smiling is not so bad, but the angry look is an awful disposition to have for a business meeting. Smirking appears as a sense of entitlement air. You’re lucky that someone agreed to meet with you. What you don’t say speaks volumes of things you can’t take back. A “happy to be here” smile is good, but not the infamous Cheshire cat grin.

2. Mind your business

In spite of the loud, concentration breaking conversations the receptionist has on the phone, mind your own business unless you are encouraged to join in.

3. Alert, not anxious

Be ready to stand when approached without dropping everything on the ground. This is one of the important moments because it is probably your first impression with that person. On the other hand, habits like cracking your knuckles, tapping your feet, or any kind of noise is annoying. It is NOT a good look if you are wondering into space while someone is shaking your hand. What could be more important than the meeting?

4. Read, and relax but don’t wander

People fall asleep if they wait more than 15 minutes. I have seen it happen at many levels; however, sleep is not the issue. Bring an industry related magazine, a self-improvement Bring something to read while you wait. book, or read what is available. I had a boss who left out several magazines to see if they would pick up People, TIME, Newsweek, or the Enquirer as she believed you are what you read. Relax, but don’t go to the beach in your mind just yet.

5. Tempered, and timely

You have heard all the advice about being on time, but not enough about having your game face on. Leave the attitudes at home! This advice does not stop here. Every now and then, someone will say or do something offensive. Being even-tempered is as important as having good professional judgment. Don’t be the cause for something crazy being said.

Any of these things are potentially disqualifying offenses. You do your part in presenting yourself in the best light. Overall, just be S-M-A-R-T!

 

Image courtesy of Office.com

 

30 for 30 Suggestions to Keep Your Resume In Top Fiscal and Physical Condition in 2012

 

 

There are hundreds of posts around the web that can cover a lot of ground for resume tips. I am offering a few to help jump start your job search for 2012

1. Great networking conversations will result in updating your résumé if you had a great conversation. Think about it

2. Grammar, spelling, font consistency, and correct alignment is the bare minimum to perfection

3. Take off the address and zip code

4. Forwarding a paper résumé is rarely requested, but if you must, then use  resume paper  (non-white, and not too pretty)

5. Understand the words and its meaning you use. Know the difference in using assured, insured, and ensured

6. One resume, one job. Second job, needs customized resume

7. One résumé, one phone number, one email address

8. E-mail addresses should use your name: markdyson@competitiveresumes.net not moonshine@gmail.com

9. Use active verbs when describing your job duties (i.e. tackled, orchestrated, executed). A thesaurus is a writer’s best friend

10. Try not to use an active verb more than once

11. Show that you are a perpetual learner. Include your training and continuing education classes

12. Don’t write when you feel anxious, desperate, or too emotional. Find clarity, then come back and write. It’s normal, but manageable

13. Keep several versions of your résumé active and circulating (i.e. one management, one non-management, one career changing)

14. Correct and proper preposition usage is essential such as “…before meeting (before the meeting)…”

15. Use Dropbox to keep copies of your résumé

16. Irrelevant job and experience will only inspire unwanted and useless scrutiny. Build around relevant facts

17. Your résumé, your voice, and your vernacular

18. What problems did you solve? What measures prove your claims?

19. The bold, italics, and underline functions have very rare use when writing resumes. Refrain from using them unless you are listing publications, movies, and news articles you created

20. Avoid clichés. Stay away from vague job descriptions (e.g. Team player, excellent verbal skills, experienced working in a fast paced environment)

21. Leave off “References upon Request” off of your résumé. It is often asked for when filling out an application

22. Awards are great. Team awards are great. Special cash awards everyone in the company received is not that special

23.  Use a “Core Competencies” or “Key Competencies” section between your Summary and Professional Experience section. These are specific skills related to your prospective job

24. Don’t inundate your résumé with acronyms without defining the term once in full

25. Don’t lie or hype your résumé. Stick to the facts, results that you can demonstrate and describe

26. Highlight your accomplishments, results, and impact (Measures that use % and $)

27. Max 2 pages for private/civilian industry and 4 pages (or more at times) for federal

28. Proofread, proofread, and proofread. Then, let someone else proofread, like an English major

29.  Exclude the passive voice, include active voice (use the online tool polishmywriting.com for help with this)

30. Make sure your résumé speaks the language of your industry. Don’t fake, it will show during your interview, if not before then

31. It is your marketing document, not a flyer, nor an obituary

32. Unload unnecessary words such as all, ultimately, and every. Use quantitative results instead

33. Establish value, not vanity. Better to show that you are excellent, dynamic, and great than saying it. What did you change, fix, or resolve?

34. Consider that others want this job as much as you. They are the competition! Your résumé must stand out by its content, not by fonts and features alone.

35. Keywords are necessary and effective when sprinkled, not poured

36. Write a short description and  get to the point, but avoid commentary. Just the facts.

Although I gave you several bonus suggestions, you can still add a few in the comment section. Or maybe you hate one or more suggestions I listed, let me know!

 

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