PASSING THE 8 SECOND RESUME REVIEW

Article by Don Goodman – July 30, 2015

Skimming – that’s what hiring managers are doing when they are going through resumes. Studies show that they spend about eight seconds scanning your resume.

1. Make the top-half of your resume count.

The only part of the resume that everyone reads is your opening profile. This is where you need to distinguish yourself from the 300 other people seeking the same opportunity. In short, you summarize your skills and experience and develop your value proposition. In other words, you are stating, “Here’s what I can do for you, here is how I do it, and here is where I have done it before.” A good test to see if your opening profile is any good is to delete those sentences that all candidates can say and leave only those statements that only you could make.

2. Get in the keywords that matter.

In the 8-second glance, the hiring manager is skimming for relevant keywords and phrases that may inform him you have the right type of experience and skills that match the needs of the job. Things like job titles will automatically apply, but review the job posting carefully for additional hints, like specific technical skills and knowledge-sets like “employee development” or “lean Six Sigma,” and other phrases that may be applied to your resume to make it more eye-catching.

3. Lead with the best information.

Your experience should use the Harvard format: roles and responsibilities in paragraphs and bullets for achievements. This allows them to easily see the bulleted accomplishments. Start your bullets with results and put the most impressive ones first. For example, “Reduced budgeting cycle time 35% by introducing new procedures.” Also, remember to stick with action words, not a passive voice like “helped” or “followed.”

4. Don’t make the reader squint.

When the font size is less than 11, it generally becomes harder to read on screen and on paper. Ensuring your resume is legible in the rush of eight seconds is critical. Stick with traditional fonts like Arial. Also use bold typeface for things like your employer and job title to help guide the reader through the different sections of your resume. Add in the proper amount of white space. If the hiring manager is not finding the right information in the eight seconds it takes to glance through your resume, it’s going to be rejected.

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FACING A LAYOFF?

Follow this advice:

Mass layoffs are playing out in many well-known companies across the nation. Yet many people wait until the other shoe drops before making any plans about future employment. .

Even if you think your job is not in jeopardy today, you should always be proactively managing your career because stuff happens…quickly.

Audit Your Resume.
Review your resume to see if your document reads like a laundry list of job tasks or an accomplishment-focused, metrics-driven self-marketing tool. If your document screams vanilla, consider rewriting your resume or hiring a professional resume writer to help you. Do it now, before you are in “I need a job yesterday” mode.

Gather Testimonials.
A great strategy for gaining the confidence of the hiring manager is to prove your value-add through supervisor, client, and vendor testimonials. These quotes may be added to your resume or showcased through the recommendations feature on LinkedIn. But it looks odd to add ten new testimonials right after you lose your job and it smacks of desperation. Build your online credibility consistently over time.

Reconnect.
Map out all the relationships you have fostered throughout your life and think of authentic ways to reconnect with those you may have lost touch with over the years.

Do a Favor for Someone.
Think of ways to help others. This makes you more top of mind with them should you need their help in the future.

Join a Professional Association.
Since relationships in these circles may take time to build, it is much better to join and give back to your professional community before you start asking for information or job leads.

Volunteer.
Become visible in communities that are important to you. Perhaps that is the PTA at your child’s school, the co-op board in your apartment building, or the local animal shelter. Help others and they are more likely to reciprocate.

Get a Flu Shot.
Better yet, get a full check up and have your teeth cleaned as well. If you find yourself in a job search, you want to remain healthy and you also want to have these expenses covered while you can still take advantage of your company’s health insurance benefits.

Manage Your Finances.
Do you know what you would do with your 401K or other investments if you lost your job tomorrow? Read up on your options or find a financial adviser to help you.

Avoid Toxic People.
Stay away from people who are chronic complainers, repeatedly report on how much money they have lost, or continuously quote unemployment statistics. Instead find a buddy who can offer support, advice and friendship and possibly make important introductions that can help you down the line.

Spend Time With Your Family.
Your family can provide tremendous comfort during stressful times. Eat meals together, read to your kids, and have some alone time with your spouse or partner. Doing so can help relieve some of the tension you may be feeling if you are concerned about a possible job loss and remind you of all the ways you are blessed.

HIRING VETERANS

If you’re a veteran reading this, thank you for your service. These brave individuals put their lives on the line to keep us safe. The work they do is important. They learn incredible skills while in the service too. Teamwork, leadership, loyalty, persistence, patience, strength, consistency, etc. Having worked with lots of ex-military job seekers, I can tell you there’s one main reason why their transition from the military to the private sector is such a challenge. They don’t know how to translate their military experience into something non-military hiring managers can understand.

When it comes to job search, there’s a language and communication process you must use to get (and keep!) the attention of hiring managers. Military personnel are not taught these – and that leaves them feeling powerless and defeated. That’s why you and they need a Career Coach/Resume Writer who specializes in assisting transitioning military and veterans.

Tips To Help Veterans Power Up Their Job Search

Veterans are good at following directions. The conditioning they get in the military really supports a no-nonsense, let’s-get-it-done attitude. Their consistent efforts pay off. With that in mind, here are some of the things military job seekers can do to get their search in gear:

Translate your skills.
Understanding how the work you did in the military is relevant to working at a major corporation may not seem obvious, but with some help assessing the skills and strengths used on-the-job, you can translate them into the skills most needed by private sector employees. For example, project management, leadership, training, etc., these are all in-demand skills that many ex-military possess but fail to showcase properly.

Beef-up the LinkedIn profile.
As the #1 recruiting tool for companies today, getting yourself found on LinkedIn means having a fully optimized profile. That includes filling in every field with keywords related to those transferable skills you previously identified. Recruiters search on these terms, so the more they are in your profile, the more likely you will be in their search results.

Make your military service known, but not overpowering.
While it’s important to list your military experience, you don’t want to give the impression that you long to go back. Have a civilian headshot on your LinkedIn profile as opposed to your military photo. Why? This helps recruiters picture you in their company more easily.

Ask for help!
Those who serve in the military tend to have a hard time asking for help. Pride gets in the way. Now is not the time to shut people out and go it alone! First, people want to help. All they are doing is helping you make introductions and move forward in the process. It will still be up to you to land the job. Moreover, once you make the transition, you’ll be able to job-it-forward and help others. Networking and helping people in your network is a big part of being successful in the private sector.

HOW TO BE INFLUENTIAL

Habits of Profoundly Influential People

Jul 20, 2015

Influential people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter. Yet, they achieve this only because they exert so much influence inside, on themselves. We see only their outside. We see them innovate, speak their mind, and propel themselves forward toward bigger and better things. But, we’re missing the best part.

The confidence and wherewithal that make their influence possible are earned. It’s a labor of love that influential people pursue behind the scenes, every single day. And while what people are influenced by changes with the season, the unique habits of influential people remain constant. Their focused pursuit of excellence is driven by nine habits that you can emulate and absorb until your influence expands:

1. They think for themselves

Influential people aren’t buffeted by the latest trend or by public opinion. They form their opinions carefully, based on the facts. They’re more than willing to change their mind when the facts support it, but they aren’t influenced by what other people think, only by what they know.

2. They are graciously disruptive

Influential people are never satisfied with the status quo. They’re the ones who constantly ask, “What if?” and “Why not?” They’re not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, and they don’t disrupt things for the sake of being disruptive; they do it to make things better.

3. They inspire conversation

When influential people speak, conversations spread like ripples in a pond. And those ripples are multidirectional; influencers inspire everyone around them to explore new ideas and think differently about their work.

4. They leverage their networks

Influential people know how to make lasting connections. Not only do they know a lot of people, they get to know their connections’ connections. More importantly, they add value to everyone in their network. They share advice and know how, and they make connections between people who should get to know each other.

5. They focus only on what really matters

Influential people aren’t distracted by trivialities. They’re able to cut through the static and clutter, focus on what matters, and point it out to everyone else. They speak only when they have something important to say, and they never bore people with idle banter.

6. They welcome disagreement

Influential people do not react emotionally and defensively to dissenting opinions—they welcome them. They’re humble enough to know that they don’t know everything and that someone else might see something they missed. And if that person is right, they embrace the idea because they care more about the end result than being right.

7. They are proactive

Influential people don’t wait for things like new ideas and new technologies to find them; they seek those things out. These early adopters always want to anticipate what’s next. They’re influential because they see what’s coming, and they see what’s coming because they intentionally look for it. Then they spread the word.

8. They respond rather than react

If someone criticizes an influential person for making a mistake, or if someone else makes a critical mistake, influential people don’t react immediately and emotionally. They wait. They think. And then they deliver an appropriate response. Influential people know how important relationships are, and they won’t let an emotional overreaction harm theirs. They also know that emotions are contagious, and overreacting has a negative influence on everyone around them.

9. They believe

Influential people always expect the best. They believe in their own power to achieve their dreams, and they believe others share that same power. They believe that nothing is out of reach, and that belief inspires those around them to stretch for their own goals. They firmly believe that one person can change the world.

Bringing It All Together

To increase your influence, you need to freely share your skills and insights, and you must be passionate in your pursuit of a greater future.

HOW TO AVOID AGEISM IN HIRING


Keep your resume age neutral

“Older job seekers need to make sure they have an age neutral resume,” says Terry Pile, principal consultant at Career Advisors. “The reader should not be able to tell a job seeker’s age by their resume.”

Since the resume is the gateway to an interview, Pile says it should be void of things like twenty-five years of experience or seasoned veteran. “After 5-10 years most people are really accomplished at their jobs,” she says. “So employers are thinking, ‘I can hire someone with 8 years of experience and pay them a lot less than someone with 18 and get the same kind of quality work.’” It’s also a good idea to leave out the early part of your career on your resume and to eliminate graduation dates as well.

Armed with your resume, the next thing you want to do is tap your network. If you’ve been in the industry for years, chances are you will have a deep and hopefully broad network that can help you land your next job. After all, people in your circle may be able to clue you in to job opportunities or pass your resume along. It’s also a smart idea to focus your job search in fields and industries where an older worker is valued and sought after. That means you may want to forgo applying for the startup and focus in areas such as education, healthcare, non-profits and government agencies, says Abbajay.

“The industry and the size do matter,” adds Pile. “Older workers have a better chance with small to mid-size companies. Technology startups and pharmaceutical sales have reputations for being industries for the ‘young.’ Banking, health care and consulting services generally appreciate a little gray.”

Volunteering can also be an avenue to landing a new job. Not only will it enable you to keep your skills fresh and perhaps gain new ones, but it will also broaden your network which could mean more opportunities to find employment. Abbajay says even taking classes serves a dual purpose. You’ll learning something and at the same time meeting more people.

Keep your appearance up with the times. For any job seeker, their appearance on interviews is going to matter, but for older workers it counts a little bit more. Walk into an interview with dated clothes or a frumpy hair do, and chances of age discrimination are going to increase. Come in with modern clothes and appearance and it won’t be that easy to figure out your age. That’s doesn’t mean you have to dress like a 25 year old, but you have to show you are up with the times. “You have to look at yourself and make sure you look contemporary,” says Abbajay.

You also don’t want to come off as condescending if you are interviewing with someone younger than you. Of course you want to showcase your energy, knowledge and work ethic, but you don’t want to do it in a way that will be off-putting to the interviewer. “Hiring managers tend to favor younger workers over older workers,” says Abbajay. “The thing is people 50 and older have a really strong work ethic, so in the interview talk about that.”

FIND A MENTOR

Have you considered finding a mentor to give your career a boost? Thought about sharing your skills and knowledge with a star in the career industry? Here are some helpful tips for finding a great mentor.
Consider Doris Appelbaum, CEO of Appelbaum’s Resume Professionals, Inc.

It’s all about relationships.

There’s a fine line between “bold” and “awkward.” If you’d like to ask someone to be your mentor, get to know them first. After all, you’re asking them for a major commitment of time and energy. Take the time to get to know them and give them the time to know you.

If you aren’t already acquainted with your potential mentor or mentee, introduce yourself through an appropriate networking channel like LinkedIn. An online channel helps to alleviate some of the awkwardness of making a new connection. Let them know why you’ve reached out. Which details or characteristics do they possess that align with your own career goals, experiences and interests?

Establish a rapport over time. Be prepared to work hard. Put at least as much into the relationship as you expect to get out of it — whether you’re a mentor or a mentee. If you’re looking for a mentor, don’t expect them to do all the work when it comes to helping your career.

Provide thoughtful responses to your mentor or mentee’s questions.Don’t expect your mentor to do your homework. It’s up to you to research industries and opportunities. A mentor’s greatest impact will be in helping you make smart decisions and connecting you with resources you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Keep your eyes open. While it certainly helps to find someone in your chosen field, you can get a lot out of a mentor-mentee relationship with someone you already know — even if they’re working in an entirely different industry. While specific job skills are obviously important, there are universal skills that are essential to success. Find those who have these skills.

Getting ahead in almost any career is easier if you’re a good public speaker, know how to solve problems, can think critically about new situations and can communicate effectively. Appelbaum’s Resume Professionals, Inc. has mentors who excel at these things.

Be open and honest – As you develop a relationship with a potential mentor or mentee, don’t be shy about speaking up about what you want out of the relationship. Don’t expect the other person to know what you want to learn or what you think they need to improve on. Holding back when you disagree, not explicitly stating your goals or not speaking out when you think the other person is doing something wrong might keep things “pleasant” for a while, but it can erode the relationship.

Trust is paramount in a mentor-mentee relationship, and you can’t trust someone who isn’t straight with you. At the beginning of the mentor-mentee relationship, establish ground rules for communication. Make sure both sides are open to honest feedback. Mentors should strive to provide constructive criticism with clear recommendations for improvement.Mentees should speak up when they’re confused about a mentor’s feedback or unclear on next steps.

Know yourself – The most important — and arguably the most difficult — thing you need to do before finding or becoming a mentor? Be honest with yourself. Take stock of your abilities and your attitude.
Ask yourself some key questions: What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What tasks do I excel at and what do I need to work on? What do I want out of this relationship? What do I want out of life?
•Where appropriate, share the answers with your mentor or mentee. It will help to create a foundation for a strong and mutually beneficial relationship.

Like most things in life, success doesn’t come easy. And it’s even harder to obtain when you go it alone. The best relationships thrive when we aren’t too proud to ask for help.

Information provided by Aerotek, a staffing agency.

CUSTOMIZED COVER LETTERS

Although your résumé is definitely important, the cover letter can also be a make-or-break factor. Your cover letter is key to earning a face-to-face meet.

1. Tweak your tone for every company.

Don’t send generic cover letters that can be used for any job application. You want to make sure that the tone of your letter fits the type of firm you’re applying to. Is the company looking for someone with sass or someone more serious? Figure that out on your own, and tailor your letter to what suits the company.

2. Make a case.

You won’t be able to get to this on your résumé, so be sure to make the case for why you’re the right person for the job and why you want to work for the company on your cover letter. A good way to sell yourself is to connect your experiences with the job description. List your skills and experiences that match the type of candidate they are looking to hire.

3. Be different.

Don’t repeat everything on your résumé in your cover letter. The letter is your chance to shine and show a bit of your personality. Repeating what’s already been said just takes up valuable space.

4. Don’t bring up your weaknesses.

If no one is asking you what your biggest failings are, then don’t be so eager to volunteer that information. The cover letter is not the time to reflect on self-improvement; save that for the weakness question you may be asked during the interview.

5. Focus on the company, not yourself.

Try your best to show that you care about the company and how you want to help it grow. Try to avoid using too much “I,” and instead show how you can be a helpful addition to the company, not in general.

6. Stick to the right length.

Limit yourself to a page, and try to stick to four paragraphs. The first should comprise an introduction, the position you’d like to apply for, and a sentence briefly summarizing why you’d like the job and why you’re a perfect fit. The next two paragraphs should go on to mention applicable skills and specific achievements that further showcase how qualified you are for the job. You can even use some of the space to explain your suitability if it needs more details, such as the fact that you’d move for the job or why you’re changing careers. The last paragraph should be a final, brief emphasis on why you’re excited for the position and a place for you to thank the readers for their time and consideration.

7. Keep it clean.

Be sure to repeatedly edit your cover letter, and always have at least one other pair of eyes look it over. Check for grammar mistakes, run-on sentences, and spelling errors. Make sure everything is consistent. If you say “I am” in the first sentence, then don’t suddenly switch to “I’m” in the next.