Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Approach Writing a Resume When You’re a Jack of All Trades

By Adam Dachis 

Many job applicants do more than just one thing, and that can make getting a job difficult because employers often prefer you're great at one specific thing. Having many skills is fine, however, if you focus your resume and treat it like a sales pitch. Resume expert and co-founder of resume grading service RezScore explains:

A resume is not a fact sheet. You do not need to, and should not, include everything you've done, even if it was very important to you or to the company. Your resume is an advertisement pitching a prospective employer to decide to call you. That means you focus only on them—what do they want to hear? If they care about your sales experience but not your IT experience, for example, then don't include your IT experience because it won't help you. The bottom line is to write an employer-focused resume. If the thing you spent 10% of your time on is going to be what you spend 90% of your time on at a new employer, then that's the thing you spend your time talking about.

It's just like sales: figure out what the customer actually needs and then craft your pitch. If you pitch a car by focusing on speed because that's what you think is most important, but your customer actually cares more about safety, you will lose the sale. The same principle applies to resumes.

It might be tough to let go of those important deals from time to time, but you have to remember that your resume's goal is to get you an interview. When you're in the interview, you'll have an opportunity to talk about your other skills if they seem relevant to the job. Keep your resume focused and relevant, even if that means leaving a lot out, because if your employer has to look for relevant experience on a text-heavy document you're probably not going to get a call.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Avoid Getting Fooled Into a Bad Job by Asking These Questions

By Alan Henry 

If your job sucks, and there's nothing you can do about it, you may be tempted to look for another one. Be careful: remember job interviews are sales pitches as well as candidate evaluations, and all that glitters may not be gold. Here are some ways to cut through the pitch and find out if you're walking into a situation that may be as crappy as your last one.

We've mentioned before that job interviews are an opportunity for a potential employer to learn more about you, but also for you to learn about the company. The trouble is that they're also a sales pitch: you pitch yourself and your skills to the company, and the company pitches itself to you in the best possible light. It's not uncommon to interview for a job, think everything is great, and work there for a few weeks only to find out you're expected to travel more than you thought, or the hours are much longer than advertised, or your boss is nothing like he or she was in the interview.

You don't have to be fooled though; a couple of pointed questions during the interview will help cut through the fog. Over at On Careers, they suggest a few interview questions you may want to ask (if the position you're applying for warrants them):


  • What is the turnover rate for this position?
  •  Do you have any statistics regarding employee engagement? (Some companies do surveys.)
  • Can I see the full, official job description?
  • Who will I be working with most and can I meet them?

  • Can you tell me about the company culture?
  • Can you tell me about the dynamics of the team I'll be working with?

Some of these may be a bit more direct than you want to be, and some hiring managers may not have the data on hand that you're looking for, but it's safe to ask about things like turnover, to see the full job description, and even what the person who was doing the job you're applying for is doing now (eg, whether they quit or got promoted.)

Similarly, asking about the company culture and how well the team you work with likes each other and gets along with one another are great ways to determine whether you'll be working with a tight-knit team that actually enjoys one another's company or an adversarial set of colleagues who can barely stand one another. Also, research the company a bit on the web and see if you can find testimonials from old employees on sites like Glassdoor. That information can go a long way to help you make a smart decision if you're offered a job.

A Trick To Get Your Resume Past Applicant Tracking Systems

By Vivian Giang

When you apply for a job at a larger firm, there's a high chance that your resume will be scanned by a filtering software for words related to certain job vacancies.
 This kind of automation process will also reject your resume if it doesn't "meet traditional, business-dictated document formatting," writes Rick Gillis in his book Job!: Learn How to Find Your Next Job In 1 Day. 
Here are some formatting rules that Gillis says job seekers should follow to create a filtering software-friendly resume:
  • Do not place your contact information in the header of your resume, because filtering softwares can be set to ignore headers and footers so there is a risk this information will be deleted.
  • Choose a conservative font such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri. Gillis says that serif fonts, such as Times Roman or Cambria may be rejected by screening software.
  • Do not use any script fonts.
  • The smallest font size to use for the body of your resume should be 11 point. "Any smaller and you're probably asking for trouble."
  • No graphics or logos.
  • Do not format using tables.
  • No borders.
  • A one-inch margin top and bottom is best.
Do not use any lines that cross the entire page from margin to margin, because "some filters have been created that will reject a document for nothing more than having a single line run continuously across the page," he writes.