Winds Of Change.

I don’t know about you, but my personal life is in a big transition phase this summer. While there is no denying that change amps up tensions, there is such a sense of peace and rightness in the changes my family and I are making. It is emotional and exciting at the same time. Alright, it is mostly exciting!

While I plan to continue blogging to share hiring trends, tips and tricks for those of you going it alone, I will be pacing back my resume writing. For my current and furture clients and referrals, don’t worry, I will continue to support you, your resume needs and those you have referred to my service until October. After October, the projects I accept will be fewer and based on very limited availability. In other words, I am sticking with you during prime resume season.

Why this particular change? Primarily because the needs of my family are changing. In addition, and while I feel resumes are here for the near future, I do see the very real trend toward digital portfolio’s and personal websites. Am I able to meet this new trend in the industry? Sure. However, I enjoy writing resumes… Building websites – not as much. I also don’t like the prices I would have to charge clients for creating their personal websites. My goal from the beginning has been to create high-quality product at affordable prices.

At the same time I began looking more closely at which direction I should take, going all-in on YRW or seaking out a new opportunity, I received a call from a friend about an amazing opportunity with an impressive organization. After speaking to John it would seem as though the stars have aligned for my family, clients and career. Great Impressions and it’s leadership are as passionate about putting the customer first as I am. At the same time, they believe in taking care of their team and, just arriving a few months ago from Dubai, they are at the top of their field – bringing cutting-edge, high-end marketing, communications and design to our front door.

My hope for each of you is that the winds of change are kind and the stars are aligning for you also this summer. I can not thank you enough for your endless support and your business. Grateful to you. Talk soon.

Keywords Versus Power Words. Which One Wins?

All my clients are super sharp people. Without exception, each one is highly trained, skilled and has a multitude of excellent achievements to their credit. You can be an intelligent person and still get tripped up by keywords. In fact, most of my clients are on the right track when they come to me – meaning that their resume has a good portion of quality content and, what I like to refer to as, power words.

Power words and industry phraseology are important on a resume. A hiring manager must believe you know the industry or role you are submitting your resume for, after all. It is important not to mistake power words for keywords. Keywords, like the hiring and resume industry, are constantly changing. Therefore, each new resume requires complete, fresh, industry and position-specific keyword research.

Keywords need to be included throughout your resume and cover letter. Keywords specific to your target position / industry are populated in the applicant tracking system (ATS). If you do not have the right mix of keywords in your resume, ATS filters you out and your resume is not seen by a human being. Similarly, if your format and content aren’t visually engaging when your resume makes it through ATS, the hiring manager will not add your resume to the stack for interview.

Without keywords, you don’t stand a chance. No chance of your resume being seen. No chance of be invited to interview. No chance at landing the job. Keywords win.

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I had My Resume Professionally Written 2-Years Ago. Would You Critique It for Me?

First, let me say that I do not even like my own work from 2-years ago! Second, resume and hiring trends are constantly changing and evolving. For this reason, I do not charge for, nor do I offer, reviews or to critique resumes. In all the years I have been writing resumes, there has never been a client that I have not had to do a total re-write and / or re-format of their resume. Not once.

There has only ever been a singular time that I felt I could not help a client. In his case, he had no relevant experience for the industry he wanted to transition to – and I can always find ways translate experience so that it lends itself well to the target position – even when switching industries. While there is a trick to resume writing, I never suggest false information on a resume. Not only does this devalue what you have to offer, it always comes out – and usually in the interview. That’s embarrassing for everyone. So, I had to turn that gentleman away. An experience I hope I never have to repeat.

The thing about my service is, while I don’t offer critiques, I am completely upfront. I charge you one fee, which includes my total service; resume, cover letter and interview. Many companies charge a separate fee for the critique, resume, cover letter and a fat fee if you want to actually speak to a human being. Many companies charge far more than I do. And the money is well-earned, I assure you.

My business model has always been a simple one. Serve people well, at an affordable price. This model has, in turn, served me well, as my clients continue to bless me with referrals and support. I know I could raise my fees and charge needless critique fees in addition to separate service fees for every product I provide my clients with. While it would be nice to make more money, I feel it is more important to serve my clients well and share my talents in an affordable way. No critiques. Just straightforward, quality service.

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Sites to Research Your Next Employer

Let’s talk about your next employer for a minute. What is the company culture? Are their values in line with your own? How do they treat their employees? What need do they have that you can fill? While 2019 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the candidate, after years of employees staying in a situation they were unhappy with, the job market is fierce.

As I have said on many occasions, it has never been more important to do your homework. Make sure you have done your research. Know the employer, the salary you want, and they are willing to pay, and how they do business. Employers are looking for anything they can use to eliminate a candidate from the hundreds submitting resumes. They want you to invest the time to understand them and their business needs. The internet and their website make this simple.

Quick side-note:  Another trend we are seeing is employers wanting you to find them directly, not through a search application, although many still post their open positions with job search apps. Whenever you can, apply directly on the company site.

To help you along with your research, below I share a few resources for learning more about your next employer (and, handy as they are, can be used to find your next employer/position):

Glassdoor

Indeed

LinkedIn

CareerBliss

Twitter

Facebook

Google

Fairygodboss

Whether this is new information or a valuable reminder, be sure not to overlook the details in any step of the hiring / job search process.

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I Live in A Different State. Can You Still Write My Resume?

You bet I can! I write for clients across the country – and have completed several international resumes and CVs. Resume writing, like many roles, has become a virtual gig. Sure, I still have those clients that prefer to meet face-to-face. While I deeply enjoy getting to know a person’s story, we live in a world where that can be done quite well through email and by phone.

The upside to our culture of expediency, is that a resume writer can remain accessible to you while you are able to go about your busy life. I find that the most important aspect of any client project is the “resume interview.” This is where I ask questions that I have developed from the initial information you provide me with (i.e. your last resume or timeline of experience), to dig into your achievements and pull out what I like to refer to as “golden nuggets” from your career. This is critically important because our culture is also one of humbleness – and the resume, and subsequent interview phase of the hiring process, require you to be the opposite of humble.

Location, in resume writing, is a non-factor. What is important to me as your resume writer? That you have reliable access to the internet, an active email account and that you have a working phone line (are willing to carve out one to one-and-a-half hours of your time for the “resume interview”). It goes without saying that you want an experienced resume writer that conducts in-depth keyword research and fresh formatting for each client. Beyond that, don’t let location stop you from using the resume writer you prefer.

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Do What You Love

Are you doing what you love? Yes, I mean in your career. But, also, in your personal life? Many of us need to take a job in order to get experience to build toward the career we will love. Work, though, doesn’t have to be what you love, as long as you are able to pay the bills – and afford to do a little of what you love / are passionate about in your personal time.

If you want to see an unhappy person, look for the person who isn’t doing what they love. Get creative. Perhaps you love volunteering (incidentally, volunteering frequently leads people to jobs and, the careers they love). Maybe it’s planning and you buy and work in a planner that helps you organize your family’s lives. It might be playing a sport, or reading, or learning. Whatever you are passionate about, make a little time in your life to do it each week.

As the phases of your life come and go, so too will your passions. Take inventory and adjust for the new passion in your life in each phase. Just make sure you are making a little time to dabble in your passion each week. You will find you feel more fulfilled and happier – and I am pretty sure this is what people are talking about when they say, “Make sure you take time for you.”

For those out there able to mingle their passion and career, congratulations. You are way ahead of the rest of us, but we’re getting there! 

Talk soon. Thanks for reading, liking and subscribing!

The Top Job Search Apps for You

In follow up to all these posts about the big obstacles to getting hired, I thought I would share some helpful apps to aid you in your search for your next career. According to http://cio.com, here are the top job search apps:

Glassdoor

Good & Company

Switch

Indeed

Monster

ZipRecruiter

LinkedIn

SnagaJob

Personally, I am happy to see LinkedIn made the list. I heard rumblings that it was trending out but have always found it to be a useful tool. On that note, be sure you are using LinkedIn to its fullest. Connect to counterparts, current and past. Be sure to request recommendations from your teammates, direct reports and previous supervisors. As you request recommendations, remember to jog their memory with a note about a successful project you worked on together, the time you led the team in results or the goal you exceeded, etc.

Hopefully you are already using these tools to your benefit or there are one or two new resources for you to get familiar with in this list. Either way, happy hunting.

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What is the Biggest Obstacle to Getting Hired? – Part 2

We have talked about the obstacle you yourself can be to getting you hired. What about before the interview? Well, if you aren’t getting interviews, that means there is a problem with your resume. Typically, after having your resume written (in current industry standards), the big problem is ATS. Many candidates still do not understand applicant tracking systems (ATS) or even know about them.

I know. I talk about ATS – a lot. The number of people that still ask what ATS is surprises me. Perhaps if I continue to talk about it, more people will learn and will be better for it? Fingers crossed, because with clients in Oregon, New York, California, Texas, Ohio, Florida – across the country – all asking about it, it clearly isn’t a regional thing. High-caliber candidates are being missed because they don’t understand ATS.

More than helping overloaded HR staff manage candidate interviews and which phase the hundreds of applicants for each position are in throughout hiring, ATS takes in, processes and sorts candidates that match pre-set criteria. If your resume doesn’t have the right criteria, i.e.keywords, a human being never sees your resume. This is where my appreciation of ATS ends – with so many amazing people being passed over for roles they would excel at in exchange for the automation of a process.

Sure, it’s great job security for me. I stay abreast of the latest trends and standards in resume writing and do excellent keyword research. My clients don’t have to worry about those things, but I worry about the people who don’t understand keywords, current hiring trends and don’t get the right help. Worse still, people applying for a promotion within their own company are subject to ATS. While it helps to have internal contacts and the inside track, we still see internal candidates passed over for lack of appeal and keywords in their resumes.

All this said, your homework is to take a critical look at your resume. If you don’t think you have a document that sets you apart from your competition, it’s time for a re-write.

Thanks so much for reading and subscribing! Talk soon.

What is the Biggest Obstacle to Getting Hired? – Part 1

In my experience,the answer to this question is twofold – so be sure to tune in for Part 2! For now, the obstacle I want you to consider in your career search is… you. There have been many times my clients have come back to me and shared stories of how the interview got the better of them. It could be going into the interview unprepared and/or not researching the company, but, in most cases, it’s a lack of confidence that I see holding those few candidates back.

Regardless of why you are looking for a new career, if you made it through ATS to the interview,your resume is doing its job. Now, its your turn. So, shake off that layoff, those doubts about your skill set aligning perfectly with the job posting or feelings of inferiority because you have been managing your household and every fundraiser at your kids’ school for the last several years. Sing that rock ballad that makes you feel like the rock star you are and nail that interview.

 If you have been invited to interview, you have already beat out hundreds of candidates to be the average 1 in 5 interviewees, per job. Your achievements, consistent track record of exceeding expectations and repeated successes have already impressed the hiring manager and laid a strong foundation for you to build on in your interview with the organization. Know what the company is about, be confident in how you fit in and let that shine through in your interview.

Not getting interviews? Then your resume isn’t doing its job. Take a hard look at your resume to see if it is visually interesting, makes you stand out and accurately reflects what you have achieved in your career. Does your resume help you outshine your competition? If not, it’s time for re-write. Or, to just give me call.

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Think Before You Selfie

Let’s face it – there are a million things to consider when you are on the job hunt. One of the most commonly overlooked considerations is your personal brand. We know that over 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. LinkedIn is one social media account that is great for networking, staying in touch with current and past counterparts and getting those recommendations. It is also a great job search aide – allowing employers to find you.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating. Take the time to clean up your social media accounts and beef up your LinkedIn profile. Ideally you aren’t posting rants or other items in poor taste… Keeping an eye toward your personal brand, make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is professional – if not taken by one. First impressions matter. Make sure you are setting a positive and inviting tone. The goal is, after all, being invited to interview!

Don’t have a LinkedIn account? It’s time! Use it as an excuse to re-connect with past bosses and coworkers. Many of my clients thank me for pushing them to do this, being pleasantly surprised by the responses they receive. Plus, you never know when a connection could result in a job offer.

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Have a Happy & Safe Memorial Day!

As we all head into a three day weekend and summer officially begins, I hope we take a moment to consider the fine men and women who have, and who currently, serve our great country. For those who sacrifice so much, sometimes their very lives, we celebrate an extra day off from work, have a picnic and/or spend time with our family. Let’s remember to celebrate these fine men and women, all they gave up and continue to, so we can enjoy our many freedoms.

May we never forget.

Thank you for reading. Talk soon.

Hiring Trends every Job Seeker should Understand.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting hired right now is the lack of understanding on the part of job seeker’s regarding how hiring is being done. Below is an informative article from FlexJobs, helping you learn what topics you need to dig in on and master for a successful job search.

First, companies are more flexible with work arrangements than ever before. If you have been looking for that opportunity that gives you the opportunity to work remotely or alternative work hours, you are more likely than ever before to find that situation. Many companies are moving to a mostly, if not 100%, remote workforce to reduce overhead. In addition to the benefit of flexible work arrangements, many companies are offering unique benefits to appeal to, and retain, top candidates. Think anything from gym memberships to box seats for spring training games.

Next, we see many hiring managers building a pipeline of candidates and going back to that pool as positions open. As a candidate this means you want to act with grace throughout the hiring process – especially if you were passed over as first choice. Also, be particularly open to non-traditional communication. We are all hyper-busy, including over-burdened hiring managers. Be prepared for text and social media messages in lieu of more formal communications.

Finally, because it is a competitive market, you can expect more pleasant handling by hiring managers. Remember, they are building their talent pipeline. As much as you need to make a good impression, so do they. With the ever-increasing dependence on automated tracking systems, hiring managers are learning to better populate keywords to pre-screen potential candidates, saving them valuable time – which they are now using to manage your hiring process experience.

For every job seeker candidate with an excellently crafted resume in hand this should mean a much more pleasant hiring, on-boarding and overall work experience. The process will still be lengthy, but has become more worthwhile in landing that ideal work situation.

Happy reading -> https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/new-hiring-trends-job-seekers-be-aware/ .

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Good News for the Q2 Job Seeker!

With graduation quickly approaching, experienced candidates want to be sure to dust off those resumes and get them circulating. Why? Many companies are preparing for an influx of candidates in the talent pool with all these new graduates coming on the scene. Companies are posting, or getting ready to post, their open positions.

There are (at least) two benefits for experienced candidates on the hunt for a new position in the second quarter. First, a majority of the experienced candidates began their search in January as part of their New Year’s resolution. Their job hunt is either complete or cooled off. Second, your competition is inexperienced. Being an experienced candidate with a multitude of workplace and position experience gives you a definite edge.

So, if you have been thinking about making a move, now is your time. The job market is still going strong, more open positions are about to or have already hit the marketplace – and you may get to experience a compressed hiring cycle with hiring managers preparing to go on vacation…

It’s a perfect time to begin circulating your keyword-optimized, achievement-laden, targeted position/industry resume. Let’s get to work.

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The Professionally Written Resume Edge!

I absolutely love the article I attach at the end of this post. Not only because the author makes a solid case for the professionally written resume – which happens to be my thing, but because I have found truth in my experience with real clients in every point she makes.
You can go it on your own, and some folks do fine writing their own resume. However, I have seen, time and again, the real boost it gives my clients to discuss their career with an unbiased 3rd party. We really are a humble culture. This makes for resumes that do not do a candidate justice.
In support of the points the author makes, many of my clients come back to me to let know how much the process of writing a resume with me helped them prepare for, and nail, the interview.
And this is what it’s all about, folks. You can have a bad resume and not make it through ATS for the chance to interview, you can somehow make it through ATS and have a mediocre interview, and you can go through the process of creating excellent-quality, professional marketing documents for your job search – and own the interview.
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