Resume Do’s and Don’ts

When you haven’t updated your resume in a while, it can be hard to know where to start. What experiences and accomplishments should you include for the jobs you’ve got your eye on? What new resume rules and trends should you be following? And seriously, one page or two?

Don’t Put Everything on There

Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience).

But Keep a Master List of All Jobs

Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together

Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”

In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first.

 

Wrong Answers to “Why Do You Want This Job?”

1. A flippant or meaningless answer.

“Because I really need money” [wink wink].

“Because, um, yeah, this seems like a great place to work.”

Not the response of a competent, committed candidate, right? A better answer would be to explain how the position will fit your skills and allow you to advance your career — a win-win for you and the employer.

2. A generic answer.

It’s not a good idea to memorize one answer and use it every place you apply. The hiring professional will recognize that it’s just pre-programmed interview-speak, and will have learned nothing about your suitability for the job. Since you are researching the company beforehand anyway (we certainly hope), take a couple of minutes to figure out why this specific position and/or employer is perfect for you.

3. A 10-minute dissertation.

OK, maybe not really 10 minutes, but do resist the tendency to babble on that happens to many of us when we’re nervous. Don’t list every little reason you’d like to work there, just the most important one or two. You especially don’t need to mention factors that only benefit you, not the company, such as its location close to your home.

As with any other interview question, the secret to a successful answer is to be prepared, and even more importantly, be yourself. That way, both you and the interviewer will know when you have truly found the right job.

3 Things you need from every job

A Safe and Supportive Environment

Let’s start with the basics. You’re more than worthy of feeling safe and supported in your office. You should be able to bring your authentic self (your authentic professional self, of course) into work and not feel worried or threatened when doing so.
Rest assured that your expectations in regards to feeling secure in your surroundings aren’t unreasonable or out of line. Nobody should have to head into the office day in and day out wondering who’s going to throw them under the bus or stab them in the back. You’re entitled to a basic sense of respect and a company culture that isn’t overflowing with toxicity.

A Boss Who’s Invested in Your Growth

When it comes to your career, your manager should be your greatest ally. They should be in the loop on your desires and plans for professional development and provide necessary support and guidance whenever they can.
If you feel like your supervisor is always undermining your accomplishments, offering criticisms that are in no way constructive, and is completely disinterested in your growth and advancement, know that you’re justified in wanting more.
Your boss doesn’t necessarily have to be your biggest cheerleader, but they should at least be in your corner.

An Appreciation for Your Contributions

There’s dignity in all work. Your job exists for a reason. Regardless of your specific role, you’re serving your company in some important way—whether you’re in the mail room or in the corner office.
That means you shouldn’t ever be made to feel worthless. You should pack up and head home every evening knowing that your contributions matter and are respected by the people that you work with.
No, you shouldn’t expect ice cream cakes and celebrations in your honor each and every week. But, there’s a big difference between that excessive level of recognition and simply feeling heard and valued for what you bring to the table.

5 way to keep engaged in your current job

Life is too precious to waste on things that you do not care about, you spend a lot of your physical and mental energy on your job, shouldn’t you be at least interested, if not passionate about what you are doing.

Here is 5 ways in which you can get that level of engagement back…

Know your “why.” This is fundamental and where you need to start. Why do you do what you do? Make sure you’re in a line of work that you find interesting, and then clearly identify why you’re doing it.

Set digital goals. Now that you know why you’re doing what you do, set up short-term and long-term goals to keep you engaged and on track! use digital tools and apps since they can give friendly reminders. Want to get promoted in 12 months? What are the steps you can take to get there? Get them on the calendar, and start working.

Pick up a new skill. Keep your brain sharp by learning something new. Look into training’s at work, or ask to go to a seminar or conference.  Select something that falls outside of your comfort zone but that is still relevant to your career. Your boss will love the added value you’re bringing to the team, while it won’t hurt to add an additional skill to your resume either.

Ask for feedback. If you aren’t getting the feedback you need, ask for it. A good manager will want to see that you’re interested in your career as well. Feedback can motivate you to perform better since you’ll feel more valued at work, and it’s a tool for continuous learning. Staying stagnant in your career most likely won’t keep you interested in anything more than a steady paycheck…which can work for a while (if you’re getting paid what you’re worth), but generally isn’t sustainable for career engagement.

Be mindful. Start each morning with a positive mantra. Then, watch what you say to yourself and others throughout the day. Avoid negative thoughts and comments about your job, and skip the office gossip. Stop taking everything so personally.

 

5 great apps for increased productivity

Microsoft Office

Microsoft have always dominated desktop when it comes to productivity and their mobile version of Word, Excel and Powerpoint are exactly what you’d expect. Available on Android and iOS, the app offers exceptional file compatibility so that your work is in sync with the desktop version. Users can easily edit and view documents, plus cloud support makes it great for sharing and collaborative working. The free version allows basic functions to be carried out but the paid subscription offers more features.

WPS Office

Previously known as Kingsoft Office, the app offers an all-in-one functionality for word processing, presentations and slideshows. It works with a number of different file formats and its features enable the viewing and modifying of documents. There’s also a tab feature that makes it simple for you to work on a number of documents at the same time. Cloud support is also available for Google Drive, Dropbox and other services.

Outlook

The Outlook app from Microsoft is the full package—emails, attachments and contacts are easily accessible. The app brings important emails to your attention based on communications and it works with Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com and many other email accounts.

Workflow

Workflow is an iOS exclusive that allows you to consolidate phone tasks and apps that monopolize your time. You can organize a ride for your next calendar appointment, save images from a webpage and upload photos to your cloud storage. Create workflows and then open them in the app or create iOS Action Extensions. It allows you to carry out over 200 actions using a number of apps and users can share their creations.

Feedly

Feedly is a news reading tool that brings together a number of interfaces allowing you to browse news stories quickly and efficiently. You can have topical updates delivered from blogs and websites or add customer subscriptions form sources such as RSS. The app also allows articles to be saved so they can be viewed offline.

Searching for a job while employed?

Make Job Search Related Phone Calls Away From the Office

Make all calls related to your job search away from your employer’s premises. Even though you are using your own cell phone and data plan and are therefore eliminating the risk of electronic monitoring, someone may eavesdrop on you the old fashioned way—by listening. Although the break room may seem like a private place, you never know who will walk in on you. Go to your car or take a walk to a nearby coffee shop that isn’t frequented by your coworkers.

Use Former Employers as References

A new employer who is close to hiring may ask for a job reference. Since you don’t want your current boss to know about your activities, you obviously can’t ask him. Most prospective employers will be understanding about this. They are usually satisfied with a reference from a previous employer instead of your current one.

Be Careful About What You Wear

Your boss and coworkers will be suspicious if you show up for work wearing a suit when you normally dress casually. Find someplace to do a quick “Superman-style” change into interview attire. While there aren’t any phone booths around these days, the bathroom of a coffee shop will serve the purpose.

Career Breaks and how to deal with them

Whether your career break was planned or unplanned, returning to the workforce after an extended period away can be challenging. Some recruiters and hiring managers will be understanding about years away from the nine-to-five grind, but others may feel trepidation about hiring you. And, with time away from the workforce, your skills—along with your resume and interview skills—may need an update. It may be hard to feel confident and qualified, too.

Overwhelmed? Nervous? Don’t be: Here’s how to have a successful job search and transition back to employment after a leave.

Tips for Getting Back into the Workforce After a Career Break

Assess Your Job Wants & Needs

Don’t just dive into searching on job posting websites. Instead, take time to consider what you want: What type of job will be fulfilling and gratifying? And, do you want to go back to a role like the one you had before you left the workforce, or do you want to try something a bit different? Consider what you’d like to get out of a job, and why (aside from financial reasons) you’re interested in working again. Keep your needs in mind, too: whether it’s salary requirements, flexible hours, or anything else.

Re-Learn Your Industry and Network

If it’s been quite a while since you worked, you’ll likely need to refamiliarize yourself with your industry and the job opportunities in it. Some possible steps to take:

  • Research your industry
  • Network
  • Attend conferences & informational interviews

Freshen Your Skills

Freshen up your skills before you go out on interviews or send out cover letters—this will help you feel more confident as a candidate. Here are a few ideas:

  • Volunteer work
  • Classes
  • Newsletters, podcasts, etc.

Practice Job Search Skills

How long has it been since you last applied for a job? If it’s hard to remember, you probably need to update your resume. (And maybe your LinkedIn profile, too!) As you update your resume, consider opting for a functional version, rather than a chronological one—this may help de-emphasize the gap in your employment history.

You’ll also want to practice interviewing too

Explain Your Career Break—But Keep It Brief

If you’ve had a long break, you’ll likely have to discuss it within your cover letter, as well as during interviews. No matter what your reason for your extended leave from the workforce, keep your explanation brief. A simple sentence will do. Try, “I’ve spent time caring for a sick relative,” or “It was important to me to be home with my child until nursery school,” “I’ve been volunteering at a homelessness charity while taking bookkeeping classes,” or “I’ve spent the past few years traveling throughout the world, working on my language skills.”

Whatever your reason for being away, try to distill it down to something brief—and the return the conversation to the work you did prior to your time away. Your work experience remains relevant, even if some time has passed since you gained that experience.

Linkedin and the Job Recruiter

Although under-used by average LinkedIn members, LinkedIn Groups can be critical to a successful job search because they enable you to communicate directly with recruiters. And vice versa. You can leverage Groups for both visibility and credibility, demonstrating your knowledge and communications skills — when you use Groups with care.

LinkedIn members can join up to fifty Groups, although LinkedIn members belong to an average of only seven. My strong recommendation is that anyone in a job search join all fifty, at least while in job search mode.

It is easy to join most LinkedIn Groups — just click on the “Join” button. For some Groups, you may need to wait for approval (e.g. a Group for veterans will check to be sure you have military service in your Profile).

And, it’s very easy to leave a Group that is not useful for you. When you belong to a Group, run your mouse over the “Member” button at the top of the Group pages, and it will change to “Leave.” Click it, and you’re out.

Engage Using LinkedIn Groups

Over 2,000,000 Groups exist for jobs and job search (like our own Job-Hunt Help Group, of course!), industries, professions, businesses and types of businesses, locations, employers (and employer alumni), technologies, hobbies, publications, and more. You won’t have trouble finding fifty groups to join.

Communicating

One of the major benefits of Group membership is the ability to communicate directly and privately with other Group members, regardless of your connection status, in addition to communicating publicly in the Discussions.

Group members (like recruiters!) can send “private messages” in Group Discussions and also messages via LinkedIn’s InMail with the Group serving as the approved connection. So, you can contact recruiters — and they can contact you — because you belong to the same Group.

NOTE: Closing in on 2,000,000 members, the largest LinkedIn Group is for job search: Job Openings, Job Leads and Job Connections. Belonging to this Group will make you visible to thousands of recruiters, and it will also make them visible to you (using the Member search function, described next).

Meeting

Groups are a great way to “meet” people virtually. Comment appropriately on other members’ comments and discussions. Your Profile photo will make you recognizable, like a personal logo across all discussions (and social networks), and you will soon begin to look for the contributions of other LinkedIn “friends” by scanning for their Profile photos, too.

Use a Group’s Members Search function (the “Members” tab at the top of each Group page) to find people to reach out to – like recruiters at your target employers, employees of your target employers, people with specific job titles, people in specific locations, etc. This search is very simple (currently), but it can be extremely useful.

Once you have identified someone, you can click on the “send message” link from the Group’s members search results pages to contact them directly. You can also click on “Reply Privately” to contact someone from a discussion or comment they have posted in the Group.

Sharing

Demonstrate what you know by sharing good information you have written or found online. Comment carefully, respectfully, and knowledgeably because what you share in a LinkedIn Group is a live demonstration of who you are, how (and how well) you communicate, and how you work with others.

Researching

You’ll find amazing information available in LinkedIn Groups, from job postings to scientific discoveries and everything in between. In particular, LinkedIn Groups are excellent sources of information about many employers, directly from current and former employees.

Learning

Whatever your field, people are sharing the latest information about that field with other members of relevant Groups. Life-long learning is a fact of life (and career survival) for most of us, and Groups will help you stay up-to-date.

Beware the Hazards of LinkedIn Groups

Groups are excellent, but hazards do exist, and most of the hazards I’ve observed are self-inflicted wounds:

Comments and posts you make in Groups are usually visible in your LinkedIn Update stream. So, a “private” announcement in a small LinkedIn Group can easily become visible to way too many people. You can manage this in the Group settings.
I have seen several people act in Groups as though they were having a private conversation with someone they didn’t like. Not smart (or professional or polite), and very unlikely to impress a potential employer or recruiter. Or anyone else…
I have also seen people post comments full of misspellings and bad grammar. Since these postings are the only examples of your work that most LinkedIn members will see, better to take the time to carefully craft your contributions.
Linkedin allows you to manage the visibility of various Groups on your LinkedIn Profile through each Group’s settings. A Group is visible when the Group’s logo appears on your Profile.

You can also edit your Profile to select the Group logos to make them easily visible (or not) when someone — like your boss or a recruiter — is scanning your Profile.

If you are currently employed, don’t make your membership in any Groups for job search visible on your Profile.

Being SWAM’ed

In addition, most LinkedIn Groups have rules about what behavior is acceptable within the Group and what behavior is not acceptable. You can do what you want, of course, but ignoring a Group’s rules can seriously impact your visibility inside of LinkedIn.

A Group’s owner or manager can block your posts to their Group if you ignore the Group’s rules. The result can be putting you into “moderation” for all of your Groups. This is called “SWAM” (site-wide automated moderation), and it’s best to avoid it when possible because it can limit your LinkedIn visibility for a while.

Each Group’s rules are available by clicking on the “i” at the top of each Group page, and clicking on the “Rules” link, if one is there.

Bottom Line

You know the basics, of course: your Profile must be 100 percent complete, including a nice head shot photo (just you — no babies, pets, family, or friends). Groups will help you expand your LinkedIn Connections which is necessary for visibility inside LinkedIn. You will only be visible in the search results of people who are connected to you, so the more connections, the better.

Source: Susan P. Joyce

Searching for a Job in Seattle

Is your job search off to a slow start or getting stuck? Here are some quick time-saving job search tips that will help your hunt for a new job go smoothly.

Be Prepared. Have a voice mail system in place and sign-up for a professional sounding email address. Consider getting a separate email account to use for your job search, so you can stay organized. Put your cell phone number on your resume so you can follow up in a timely manner.

Be More Than Prepared. Always have an up-to-date resume ready to send – even if you are not currently looking for work. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, create a LinkedIn Profile and start making connections who can help you job search.

Don’t Wait. If you are laid-off, file for unemployment benefits right away. You will most likely be able to file online or by phone. Waiting could delay your benefits check.

Get Help. Utilize free or inexpensive services that provide career counseling and job search assistance such as college career offices, state Department of Labor offices or your local public library.

Many libraries provide workshops, programs, classes, computers and printers you can use, and other resources to help you with your job search. Here’s more on getting job search help at the library.

Create Your Own Templates. Have copies of your resume and cover letter ready to edit. That way you can change the content to match the requirements of the job you’re applying for, but, the contact information and your opening and closing paragraphs won’t need to be changed.

Microsoft Word users can download free templates for resumes, cover letters and email messages which can be personalized for your own correspondence.

Review Samples. It’s always a good idea to look at sample letters and resumes to get ideas for your own job search materials. Take a look at our collection of resume, cv, and letter samples.

Use Job Search Engines. Search the job search engines. Use the job search engine sites to search the major job boards, company sites, associations, and other sites with job postings for you – fast. You will be able to search all the jobs posted online in one step.

Jobs by Email. Let the jobs come to you. Use job alerts to sign up and receive job listings by email. All the major job sites have search agents and some websites and apps specialize in sending announcements.

References Ready. Have a list of three references including name, job title, company, phone number and email address ready to give to interviewers. Print a copy of your reference list and bring it with you to interviews. Here’s how to create a list of references.

Use Your Network. Be cognizant of the fact that many, if not most, job openings aren’t advertised. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. Ask if they can help.

Get Social. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a good way to get job listings before they are listed elsewhere. Plus, you can promote your candidacy using the social media tools that are readily available for free for job seekers and companies are increasingly using social media for recruiting. Here’s how to get started with social networking.

 

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Job Interview Tips

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Read More on Forbes