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How To Get A Good Job After 50

How to Get a Good Job After 50: A step-by-step guide to job search successHow to Get a Good Job After 50: A step-by-step guide to job search success by Rupert French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars – This is my Good Reads review of this excellent book, available on Amazon.com.au. 

How to Get a Good Job After 50 by Rupert French is a comprehensive guide for the over 50s job seeker. It is well constructed and written, enabling the job seeker to focus on the step by step actions required for a successful job search. The sections on creating a good resume, including dealing with the "challenging bits", and recognising then clearly expressing your achievements, are extremely valuable. This then flows onto how you can express your achievements in an interview, and how to prepare for an interview so you are confident and ready to show yourself in the best possible light. If a job seeker followed these steps they would find themselves standing out in their job applications. If they also followed the advice in the chapter on networking and research I believe they would be astounded at their success.

I particularly liked the author's recognition that getting the job you want over 50 can be a daunting task for many, and so a chapter is devoted to building and maintaining a strong self-image. Another outstanding feature is the appendix which has many pages of specimen resumes.

As an experienced career counsellor working with mature age job seekers I recognise this book as being a significant publication which I will be recommending to my clients.

 

Are You Making These Ten Job Search Mistakes Of Older Workers?

This infographic is a summary of the ten most common mistakes I see older workers make when they commence a job search. It was written in response to one client's request for help. I analysed her situation, her resume and cover letter, and observed the following 10 classic mistakes being made. Many of the mistakes were related to her resume which didn't give her the best possible chance of getting a job she wanted.

I hope this list of mistakes helps you to make the changes you need to make and that this results in you making the changes you want in your career. 

Infographic - 10 common mistakes made by older workers

10 Job Search Mistakes Often Made By Older Workers

There are 10 job search mistakes often made by older workers which cause them to miss out on opportunities for work that they want.

It’s easy to blame age discrimination, but consider if you could be causing your own employment problems? Many older workers make basic job search mistakes that lead to them being overlooked and then they have to live with the consequences of unemployment, underemployment, or being stuck in a job that they hate.

Today I had a phone call from a past client, a lovely capable woman who is currently unemployed.  She left her job because of serious bullying issues that management refused to address.  Rather than "make a fuss" she chose to leave a workplace that she found stressful and unhappy.

Her dream is modest – to have a job that enables her to prove her worth and to be given further opportunities for responsibility and some training so that she can grow in skills, confidence and value to the company. 

Female older worker being interviewed by male She knows what she would love to do but is unable to find work opportunities that lead towards that role.  She is not unrealistic and is prepared to work below her level of experience to get a foot in the door. However her work history does not show a steady commitment to a couple of companies.  On the contrary she has changed jobs quite a lot, a combination of personal circumstances and leaving work when she found she was unhappy.  Yet this woman isn't a quitter.  She is determined that she will find the work that suits her, that she suits, and where she can give great value. 

This is not an unusual situation.  There are many people, hidden from the jobless figures, who are unemployed or underemployed but don't want to be in this situation. Many ask, seeming not to expect a positive answer, "Are there any jobs for over 50 women/men?" They are unaware that their own job search mistakes are getting in the way of their success.

I have analysed her situation, her resume and cover letter, and observed the following 10 classic mistakes being made.  Many of them are issues of what to include in a resume to give yourself the best possible chance of getting the job you want.  I hope they are helpful to you too. 

Mistake 1: Resume Objective 

A resume should commence with a summary of what you have achieved, not your objective in applying for work.  Frankly the company doesn't care what you want.  They want to know if you can deliver what they need and want in the position you are applying for.  There are many sample resume sites online so read through some summaries and create one for your own resume which tells them, in 3 or 4 powerful sentences, about your experience and your achievements, blended in with some personal traits that they are looking for.  

Mistake 2:Not Adapting Resume For Each Application

Job Search Mistakes stop you from getting an interviewIn this client's case she has created a great list of her skills, which immediately gives strength to her resume. However she does not seem to be adapting this list to meet the requirements of each job for which she is applying. Your skills tell the story of your capabilities in the workplace to date. Make sure that they are adapted according to the priority given to specific skills in the job description. Using a generic resume for all applications does not showcase how well you are suited for a particular job, and is one of the most serious job search mistakes you can make. 

Mistake 3: Not Focusing On Achievements

When only duties are listed for each job a resume seems one dimensional.  It conveys no sense that the work has been carried out to the best of your ability (which I know is the case for this client). 

Even if you feel you were only a tiny cog in the wheel at your workplace, and that you didn't get the opportunity to achieve much, there would be things that you did there that no-one else did or that no-one else had thought of doing.  Whenever possible put a couple of achievements for each job.  

If you genuinely think you didn't achieve anything look at the list of duties and rephrase a couple of them to make them sound like achievements.  Separate Duties and Achievements to make it easier to read and understand, just using something simple like a small italic header for each. Achievements are generally written starting with a past tense verb – Adapted, Created, Organised etc.  When you write them in this way you just may realise that you actually did make a difference in that workplace. (That helps with Mistake Number 9 as well!)

Mistake 4:  An Unstable Work History

If you have changed work many times address that in your summary and in your cover letter.  "Adaptability and the skill to quickly develop rapport within teams has developed from 20+ years experience in health and environment related businesses throughout Australia……"  They know up-front that you have moved around but you have implied that this has some advantages that make you a better employee. 

Mistake 5: Going Back Too Far 

Business men on twisted pathIf you have been working for around 25 or 30 years or more you have a lot to share in your resume.  The sad truth is they don't want to know about it all. Most potential employers only want to know about the last 10 or so years in detail, with the briefest of outline of previous work. Including too much information and detail is a common job search mistake.

So what do you do if all the significant work you have done was prior to this? You must include roles which demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job you are applying for, so you have to find a way to do this without listing every job you have had back to when you left school.  There are no hard and fast rules about resumes, so be creative in how you share the information.  You can simply put a new section header PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT and list the jobs, elaborating on the one which is relevant to the job you are applying for.  

What if the job you are applying for is most closely related to one that you did twenty years ago? Try a few different ways of getting the message across.  So long as you have included some information about the job and outlined your achievements, you can draw their attention to it in the cover letter, stating that your most satisfying job was some years ago but it was because of your success in that role that you are now applying for this new position. 

Mistake 6: Unattractive Resume Layout

Make your resume look attractive, classy and professional.  Consider how you can divide the different sections using lines or different styled headers. Again get inspiration from professional resume examples online. The reader of your resume should perceive only what enhances your profile as an employable strong candidate, with no distractions that may encourage them to put your resume on the "don't bother" bundle. This is where I must mention spelling and punctuation which must be flawless in a job application. 

Don't ever be tempted to use one of the bright colourful Word templates to create your resume.  That screams "Year 9 double period resume class with a teacher who doesn't know much about resumes"!

Mistake 7: Not addressing the correct person in the cover letter

Whenever possible you should address your letter directly to the correct person.  Sometimes this is as simple as finding their name on the job description.  Often you will have to telephone the company and ask to be told to whom you should address your application.  If they just say some generic title "Just send it to the HR Manager" then ask if you may have their name.  If the person is not helpful in this area you may even look up the company online and see if you can find their name.   However if you cannot find out the name of the person then you can be pretty sure that others won't be able to either, so just use their title correctly and respectfully. 

Mistake 8: Not using your network

LinkedIn book coverIn the case of my client, she has a limited network in Brisbane and so is unable to reach out to her network to see if anyone knows someone who may be able to help her, with information about who is employing, with inside knowledge of the industry or with an opportunity to meet someone who may be able to help her. 

However it is a classic mistake that job searchers often do not speak to people within their network and so miss out on the help that they could offer.  I'll write more about that in a future blog post. 

LinkedIn is another wonderful way of using your network to find out about job opportunities and to make connections with people who may be able to help you.  Click on this link if you would like a free copy of LinkedIn: Cracking The Hidden Job Market, available from the top right of my Clarity Career Management website. 

Mistake 9: Not believing in yourself

It takes a lot to break the habit of not believing in yourself.  It's usually an ingrained habit, but one that you have allowed to grow and take over your view of the world.  Only you can change this.  No amount of other people who tell you that you are awesome and talented and deserve better will make any difference to you until you decide that you can accept that you do have some good things going for you.  

Instead of letting your head be filled with thoughts of your inadequacies, flip those thoughts around and remind yourself of the good things you have done. Instead of dwelling on your failures, look towards the future.  How do you want it to be?  What is your picture of your life over the next few years?  What can you do today to start working towards that future?  I'm not meaning to sound unsympathetic to your lack of confidence, but I do know that only you can change that negative thought pattern that is looping through your brain.  Here is a very funny, very old short Bob Newhart video which you may enjoy watching sometime. 

Mistake 10:  Not getting professional assistance

So often I see clients who battled on for a long time trying to get a job without success, never considering that they might be causing the problem themselves through their job search mistakes.  They believe that it is the current job market, age discrimination, the attitude of younger people, their work history….all perfectly valid obstacles in an unsuccessful job search.  So they keep on trying, hoping that next time will be the successful application…and getting very depressed about their prospects for the future, not realising that without these job search mistakes their results could be very different.   

Often it takes a meeting with a trained career professional to see what is really going on.  It may be a combination of the common job search mistakes that I have outlined here, or it may be another problem altogether, but usually it is something that you haven't recognised yourself.  You are too close to the situation, as are your partner, your best friend and your mother-in-law, to be able to see it objectively.  Value yourself enough to get some professional career management support

After reading through these 10 common job search mistakes I hope that you will review your own job search strategies.  

Creating a Visual Resume

Think Creatively About Your Resume!

In this online world sometimes you just have to think differently.  And when you are an older worker trying to find a job or a contract you definitely have to stand out from the crowd.  So I’d like to share with you a fantastic way to get yourself noticed! 

I’ve long been a fan of Slideshare and the great information they share on their blog, and I particularly like the concepts behind these two blog posts.  They suggest that if you want to make people aware of what you have to offer then you should consider doing so in a creative entertaining informative  way using the power of a presentation on Slideshare, enabling you to put a link on your LinkedIn profile and even make the link available to prospective employers, clients and colleagues.  

Creating a Visual Resume

How To Present And Sell Yourself Online gives you 6 basic tips about self awareness and self-marketing.  They serve as a good reminder that no matter what medium you use to self-promote, you have to cover the basics first.

4 Steps To Creating A Visual Resume That Stands Out interestingly shares 6 steps!

  • Make the first slide count – Get their attention or they won’t be interested.
  • Brand yourself – Colours, photos and typography all tell a story
  • Transparency matters – Be true to who you really are
  • Be expected – The viewer will expect to learn about what you have done
  • Be unexpected – Include some creativity
  • Ask for it – Be clear about what you want the viewer to do.

It also links to a number of visual resumes which give you a clear idea of how to set up your own visual resume.

I don’t advocate creating a visual resume and sending it off to a prospective employer in place of a traditional application process.   You could try it, and I’d be very interested to hear about the response, but I suggest that it might only be successful in a fairly creative visual Gen Y kind of work environment. 

How could you use a Visual Resume?

What could you use this for?  I think it has great potential if you are an experienced older worker seeking work but not finding the sort of jobs you want.  This could be particularly good if you want freelance or contract work, or if you want to be noticed in a particular niche.  I’m going to try this strategy as a marketing tactic to expand my profile in the baby boomers marketplace online.  I will blog about the results and let you know if it served any purpose beyond being a fun creative activity. 

If you create a visual resume share a link to it here so we can help one another get the formula just right to gain the results we are seeking. 

Resume Tips and Job Application Tips

Exceptional Person Required

Resume and Interview Tips by Julie Street from Life Path Career Coaching and Clarity Career Management.  Guest blogger Julie Street provides assistance for you to prepare a job application.  This document offers concise and invaluable tips on writing a great resume, creating a powerful application, using the STAR method in preparation for writing these documents as well as for an interview, and finally a checklist to ensure that you have not forgotten anything important in your job application. 

Top 5 baby boomer resume tips

If you’re thinking about switching careers or entering back into the workforce, as a baby boomer, there may be something deep within you that is a bit hesitant. Indeed, we are living in a time when the economic is still pretty challenging, the unemployment rate is still fairly high and technology demands that people stay current with the times.

However, if you do have a pretty solid work history, one of the things that you definitely have on your side (and in your favor) is experience; nothing that be an adequate substitute for a real on-the-job background.

So, don’t be afraid. Now is the time to pull out your old resume and do some fine-tuning. After all, in most cases, the first thing that potential employees see is not you, but your resume. If it’s well-received, an interview can’t be far behind:

Get rid of your old resume. By this, we don’t necessarily mean the content, but definitely the layout. For a lot of employers who have to look through dozens of resumes on a consistent basis, there is nothing worse than looking at one that appears old and dated. If you’re not a natural at creating resumes, you might want to ask a college student that you are close to for help. Or, you can check out resume templates online by going to your favorite search engine and putting “resume templates” in the search field.

Make sure that your headings are clear and current. Have you ever heard someone say that you have to make sure that when you write a report or story that the first paragraph is really important because that is what will determine if you hold a reader’s attention or not? This is the same thing to think about when writing up headings for your resume. For instance, if you want to change jobs in the same career-field, you should have “Work Experience” listed first. On the other hand, if you plan to change careers altogether, then you should list your “Education” first.

Be succinct. You probably already know that a resume should not be more than a page long, but if you have a fairly long work history, you might be finding it hard to condense all of your information. On your resume, the amount of time that you have spent on the job (or jobs) should really not go back more than 10 years (unless you remained at one place for a really long period of time). You can simply put “more information available upon request” after that point.

Be vague about gaps in time. If you are someone who is returning to work after several years of not being (officially) in the workforce, you might be tempted to supply a lengthy explanation as to why that was the case. It’s really best to not provide a lot of details. You can simply put something like “pursued education” or “did freelance work” or even “took a personal sabbatical”. If they want to know more, they can inquire directly during your interview.

Don’t forget about a cover letter. These days, since most things are done electronically, it’s a good idea to send a cover letter along with your resume. Whether you’re looking for a contracted position (www.umbrellacompanies.org.uk has some great info on freelance jobs) or something that is full-time, focus on expressing how excited you are to work within the field, the knowledge and experience that you can bring to the job and the willingness to learn more. Most employers can’t help but to give that kind of cover letter a second (or third) glance.

 

How to make a great video resume

Technology is amazing, is it not? It wasn’t too many years ago when we all were taking courses on how to comprise a good resume on paper. Now, thanks to the internet and the myriad of social media platforms that businesses are using, there are more and more people who are opting for sending an online video resume out to prospective employees instead. Not only does it spare a few sheets of paper, but in a world that moves at a really fast pace, it also provides companies with an opportunity to not just hear about your credentials, but to get a feel for your personality as well, all in the matter of a few minutes.

Are you interested in creating an online video resume? If so, we have enclosed five tips below:

Prepare a script. It would be nice if all of us could sit in front of a camera and automatically know how to convey our thoughts in a clear and concise way. The truth of the matter is that even newscasters have a teleprompter, so that they can translate well on television. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that you have a script prepared that either you memorize or have cue cards for. It needs to include your name, educational background, work experience, the kind of career path that you are looking for and why you would be good for the position. Oh, and it’s wise if it’s between one-three minutes, tops.

Look professional. You might be comfortable with talking on Skype with your family members and friends in your T-shirt, but remember that this is the first impression that you are going to be giving to a lot of potential employers. For this reason, it’s best to make sure that you are professionally dressed. If you are a woman, you also need to make sure that you have applied makeup to your face so that the lighting of the camera doesn’t make some of your features appear “washed out”.

Have a good start and finish. It’s definitely a good idea to start your video presentation by stating your full name (middle name is optional). It’s also wise to end the video by thanking people for making the time to watch it. Now, remember that it’s not only one person that you want to see it, so make your directed statements as general as possible (for instance, do not be gender or company specific).

Get a clear shot. When shooting your actual video (and you might actually want to get someone to do that for you), make sure that there is no background noise; that you pick a clean backdrop (meaning nothing too busy); that you use light to slightly overexpose the images on the camera during filming (it will help the images appear clearer during video compression); that you get a tight shot of your face while you’re talking and that you wait about 3-5 seconds before you start speaking and that you speak clearly.

Load it up. Once your video is complete, it’s then time to load it up. Job search websites such as CareerBuilder and MyWorkster actually have sections where you can load up online resumes. BestVideoDownloader can assist you with putting your video onto YouTube. Also, don’t forget to put it on your own website or blog and to provide a link to the video on your social media profiles, especially when it comes to LinkedIn. If you are submitting to a specific company online, you might want to send them an email first to ask if they take online video resumes as well. If they do, it could end up sparing you a lot of keystrokes by going that route. Best of luck to you.

 

Top 5 resume mistakes and how to avoid them

Your resume is the first thing any potential employer sees, unless you’ve got some kind of inside connection and are able to skip this step. For the vast majority of us, however, our resume is the equivalent of our first impression. This is especially true now, as most job hunting is done online, and resumes are looked at far before any other part of a candidate is seen or considered. Having a great resume means really putting your best foot forward when you’re on the job hunt, and with things the way they are now, you need every arrow you can possibly put in your quiver. We’ll talk about some of the most common mistakes that everybody makes when putting a resume together. That way you’ll be able to avoid most of the pitfalls of your competition’s resumes and introduce yourself with a killer first impression like you know you were meant to all along.

1. Being too Long. If you were under the impression that employers like reading resumes, you might be mistaken. And if you were under the impression that you’re the only person applying for the job, you are likely to be very mistaken. In most cases, employers have a ton of resumes to go through, so yours should get the job done quick. Keep your resume to one page, unless you’ve got enough experience to FILL two. No page of your resume should only be partially-filled; this doesn’t look good at all. Your resume should be succinct, so your potential employer really gets the feeling that time is a valuable commodity to you.

2. A Lack of Confidence. Be bold, and don’t be afraid to be apparent about it as you do so. Your resume should make it clear that not choosing you for the job would be a foolish mistake. Make yourself sound like the Indiana Jones of whatever it is you do, and portray yourself as a confident, executional genius. The way you communicate about yourself says a lot about what you really think about your abilities, and a smart employer knows this.

3. Irrelevant Experience. If you worked at a grocery store when you were sixteen and you’re applying for a graphic design position now, you can leave off that older experience because it’s completely irrelevant. Even if it’s recent, work that doesn’t apply to your potential position can be left off the resume. No need to waste anyone’s time, right?

4. Too Boring. Be adventurous, and don’t be afraid to invite your reader to crack a smile. Be moderate about this, as there’s a time and a place for everything. But your design and content should be fun, sharp, and clever. It should also be these things in a way that’s suited to your chosen profession. Obviously, a resume for a film production studio will look different than one for a financial firm. Both are a good opportunity to show that you’re a fun person to work with, though.

5. Lame Linguistics. This being said, don’t let the language in your resume get boring. Keep things fresh, and exciting. Bust out that thesaurus or have the best resume service take a look at what you’ve written. There is always a way to spice up your copy, and doing so can mean the difference between an entertaining break or the same old resume.

 

5 Reasons Your Resume Isn’t Getting Read

Have you applied for countless job vacancies only to receive silence in return? There are a few common blunders people make that cause employers to toss their resumes after only the first few sentences. Read on to be sure you aren’t committing these Resume Crimes:

 

1. Your resume is not relevant to the position available.With the economy in the toilet, more and more people who have been unemployed for a long period of time are running out of options and broadening their job searches. Some are desperate, willing to take fast food or janitorial jobs. Although you may even be applying for many different types of jobs, it should not look that way to employers. You need to illustrate why you are the perfect fit for their open position. When sending a resume for a position other than what you have traditionally done professionally, you need to modify your resume to reflect how what you have done in the past relates to the position for which you are applying. Remove association memberships and certifications that are totally irrelevant. Think of the skill set that the hiring authority for that position will be seeking and target your resume to emphasize those attributes. This applies to career-changers as well. Everything on your resume should be as relevant as possible.

2. Your resume is not getting past the computer. Many firms and agencies now use computer software to scan resumes in order to pare down the number that must be read by human eyes. The software searches for “keywords” which are commonly used vocabulary words specific to the position available. If your resume is lacking in keywords, it may never pass that first test. If you work in marketing, some specific keywords would be: relationship building, social media, public relations, generate revenue, ROI.

3. You are “overqualified”. Not only do you have the necessary skills for the position, you have an excess of additional skills or education above and beyond what is required. For example, you may be a career business manager, but you are applying for a receptionist job or a retail cashier job. Employers see you as a very temporary employee who will quickly move on when you find the position you are really seeking but are unable to secure at the moment. In addition, you may have more qualifications than the supervisor of the position for which you applied. Hiring managers may see you as a threat to their job, believing you have set your sights on their job and plan to move up the ladder quickly. If you are overqualified, consider either 1) explaining in your cover letter your reasons for applying (retired, resigned last job to return to college full-time, etc.) or 2) modifying your resume to exclude higher qualifications while highlighting what skills you have that may be equivalent to the position.

4. Your resume has errors. Hiring personnel notice these things and it does matter. You all have spell-check and grammar checking software. Use it. Otherwise, you look downright lazy. Beware of using manger where you should use manager; spell-check says it passes, but it doesn’t tell you when you have incorrectly used it.

5. You have unexplained gaps in your work history. Explain any gaps in your cover letter. Although employers may not ask, they notice gaps and want to know why they occurred. If you had an accident or illness, reassure the employer that the situation has been resolved and you are ready to return to the workforce. If it was a choice, definitely say so. It’s common for women to be stay-at-home-moms for a few years. Mention anything you did during the gap to stay current on information, skills, and technology in your industry. Include relevant associations in which you remained active.

It is taking longer for those in the current job market to secure job offers, so the above situations may not apply to you. It may simply be that you are in an occupation in which the market is flooded with applicants where employers are getting hundreds applying for a single job. However, many individuals are victims of the above mentioned mistakes.

 

Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer crafting resumes designed to showcase your qualities with maximum impact. My job is to provide you with your custom sales tool to generate job interviews. FREE resume reviews offered. http://www.composureresumes.com~pages for the next chapter in your career~

How to Deal With 3 Sticky Interview Questions

The good news is that you’ve been called in for an interview! But wait just a minute, the bad news is that you’ve been called in for an interview! The long-awaited interview can be your ticket to a new and better job, but it can also be an anxiety producer that keeps you up nights worrying. You are going to be called on to perform at a high level by people who may determine the course of your career and therefore you future. There’s no easy way to say it, this a critical chance to show them what you are made of.

 

Getting into the proper mindset is important. First, know that you need to prepare for the event. Second, realize you can’t memorize and rehearse every move you’re going to make, meaning over-preparation can hurt you. And third, you are going to have to rely on some confidence, instinct and self-knowledge.

Preparation for an interview involves a few basic things. Researching the potential employer, for example, makes you better able to align your skill set with their needs. Anticipating that you will need to communicate a positive attitude, subject matter expertise, interpersonal skills, and problem solving ability are important as well.

But knowing the type of questions you may be asked is one of the best ways to prepare. The purpose here is to see if you are a good fit for the open position. This is accomplished by directing questioning to see if you have the required skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform optimally. To determine this interviewers usually select questions that are behavioral and situational.

Behavioral questions are designed to analyze actual instances that you have faced in the past to see how you performed. A school principal may be asked how they handled an irate parent of a student, for example. Situational questions are similar except that the context is hypothetical. So a structural engineer may be asked what immediate steps she would follow if metal fatigue was identified in bridge supports.

But an interview team is probably going to want to get a general sense of your overall character beyond just your specific qualifications. There are three questions that often come up that attempt to elicit this.

#1: What is an example of a time you made a real difference for your employer? Even you felt that you were just a cog in a machine, being prepared to explain why you were a really good cog will help your cause. Telling how you increased production, saved costs, and handled unique challenges are ways of answering. Have a story or two ready for this question. And I do mean story, not just a short one or two sentence response.

#2: How do you deal with conflict on the job? No matter the industry one of the most common complaints of management involves employees, including managers, who can’t get along. Poor communication and mismatched personality types leads to lost productivity and poor morale. Having examples of how you did not contribute to and even improved a negative social climate at work will show you to be the team player every employers wants.

#3: Why did you leave your last job? Be honest. If the reason is because you truly see the next opportunity as an advancement for the new employer and your career, then the question is a softball. But if you were terminated, then answering honestly becomes more challenging. Still, don’t come across victimized, focus on what you learned and how it has made you grow, and explain on how you are even better prepared for adding value to their operation.

Here is your chance to shine, not shake. Do your part to turn the interview into golden moment.

 

William W. Ryan is a Concord, New Hampshire based career consultant specializing in customized career coaching, resume and cover letter writing, and personality assessments.

10 Things to Remove From Your Resume

20 seconds. That’s the average amount of time that an employer will spend scanning your resume. The phrase “Less is more” has often been used for design purposes, but it can apply just as well to your resume. The point is to keep only information on your resume that is clear, simple and that supports your brand /message. It is a balance of having just enough information to draw the interest of an employer, while leaving room for you to further explain during an interview. The more irrelevant information you add to your resume, the more it dilutes your key message. Employers today also look right through fluff words and are rather annoyed by them.

 

So, you ask, “How can I power up my resume and make sure it contains the precise balance of information?” Consider the following:

Replace the “Objective” statement on your resume with “Professional Profile.”

Employers today are not that interested in what you want. Your opening paragraph needs to be a strong message that summarizes your background and indicates what you are best at. That creates a theme that is then followed by your ‘proving’ that you are great at these things by showcasing supporting accomplishments in each job.

Eliminate superfluous, or “fluff,” words.

I can’t tell you how many resumes start with “Dynamic visionary…” I call these fluff statements as anyone can make them and they add no real value to your resume. Keep your message on point and stick to the facts. If you want to express these traits, demonstrate it with what you have achieved or accomplished.

Watch your grammar.

Sentences in resumes are written like headlines and are in the first person. In other words, the statement “I am known for consistently exceeding my sales quotas” becomes “Known for consistently exceeding sales quotas”.

Another one of the biggest mistakes when writing a resume is when people mix first person and third person. For example, although “Easily learns new software” sounds right, that is the third-person (“she learns”) and should really be “Easily learn” (“I learn”). Small but important point, as you do want your resume to be grammatically correct.

Include one telephone number rather than multiple numbers.

If you must list more than one number, make sure to specify under what conditions the other numbers should be used.

Do not include discriminating information.

Avoid information that can lead one to discriminate against you, including age, sex, religion, marital status, and ethnicity. This includes the use of photos that should never be on a resume unless your face is an important part of your job (e.g. modeling, TV, etc.). In fact, some employers are forced to ignore your resume if it contains such information because of the chance that they may be accused of discrimination later in the process.

Keep information on your education specific to the degree received, major, institution attended, and if appropriate, your GPA.

You do not need to reveal your graduating year, the institution(s) you transferred out of or high school attended.

Include only experiences that are relevant to the job.

Employers are not interested in achievements or abilities that are not applicable to the job. If you are in sales and you helped develop an Access database to track supplies, that’s nice, but not relevant. Also be cautious about listing your associations or volunteer work that is irrelevant or may be in conflict with the potential employer.

Eliminate technical skills for basic software programs.

Most employers today expect you to be familiar with the basic computer programs, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Do not include references unless requested.

Employers today expect you to offer references when requested, which is typically during the latter part of the interview process. A Top 5 Peeve of recruiters is seeing “References available upon request” on the resume. Do you really know anyone who would refuse to give references?

Maintain a reasonable length for your resume.

If you are a recent graduate, most employers do not expect your resume to be more than 1 page. However, if you have had considerable professional experience that your resume should be 2-3 pages. Note that the notion that all resumes should be 1 page is not true especially in this market. Resumes need to have enough detail to support your positioning so a 2-3 page resume is acceptable. I always tell my clients that a resume has to have a compelling message and be easy to read, so after you have tightened up your content, format it to have a decent amount of white space.

Finding the right balance of information for your resume can make it impactful. It’s not about how long or short your resume is or how many employers you’ve worked for, but finding the right information and words to present it in the best light to demonstrate that you have the specific experiences and skills the employer is seeking. So, keep in mind the phrase, “Less is more” when creating or updating your resume.

 

Don Goodman, President of About Jobs ( www.GotTheJob.com ) is a nationally recognized Career Coach and Resume Writer. A graduate of the Wharton School of Business and Stanford University’s Executive Program, Don has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Read his blog at www.GotTheJob.com/blog/ or contact him at 800-909-0109 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Resume Writing Tips to Succeed in a Tight Job Market

It’s an undisputed fact – today’s job market is tighter than ever before. During this period of economic strife and instability, competition for the best jobs is extremely stiff. Job stability seems practically non-existent. Turnover rates are at an all-time high, given the number of layoffs and agency closings. Millions of individuals are unemployed and clamoring for employment regardless of skill level. Whether you are a doctor, a chef, an engineer, a secretary, housekeeper or even a resume writer, individuals from all walks of life struggle to retain their current positions since the economic future is not promised.

But what route should you take if you yearn for a better opportunity or are even without a job right now? How can you ensure that your name is at least known to companies looking to fill positions? One way is to hire a resume writing expert to help ensure that your resume / CV goes to the top of the pile.

Let’s look at it in a simple way. If you want to build a new house, you can go online, research how to build a new house and go out and buy the materials to begin building your dream house. However, as building anything is probably not your expertise and you want the house built properly the first time, it makes sense to call in a professional builder who has all the expertise and experience in building homes. The same is true of the resume writer. You can easily pick up a pen and paper and write a resume, however a resume writer can do it a lot more effectively and professionally because they have the experience, knowledge and skills in the art of resume writing.

The first stage of building your professional resume includes starting off with supplying the information that you wish to have printed on your document. This includes the obvious, such as your basic information (name, address, phone number, city, state and zip code). You should also be prepared to have a chronological listing of your past and current employment (if applicable).

It is important to have an idea beforehand of how you’d like to word your list so that your job duties don’t sound mundane or discredit your actual tasks. Never simply state that you were just a “cook” if in reality, you were a culinary arts service person!

Make sure your resume includes targeted keywords that leave no doubt that your past employment was productive. Stay clear of the ordinary, eliminating redundant phrases such as “typed letters”, “filed documents” or “bussed tables”. Yawn!

Most importantly, you need to use achievements throughout your resume to highlight your skills. You need to turn your basic duties into “accomplishment statements” and, if possible, use quantifiable results to the duties you have performed. A successful resume will highlight achievements rather than focus on responsibilities.

Job seeking is a cut throat business and in order to succeed your resume needs to be 100% right, and it needs to be presented and formatted professionally and correctly. When you apply for a particular job you only have one chance to succeed. Make sure that you give yourself every opportunity to get that new job!

 

RedStarResume are the Resume Writing Experts. They offer a resume writing service that is unmatched in its professional attitude and quality of service. RedStarResume have helped thousands of job seekers meet and achieve their career goals through delivering specialist resume writing that seeks the attention of hiring managers and ensures that you stand out from the crowd. © RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com/

 

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