How to Get Your Resume Noticed

The ultimate goal of the résumé is to compel hiring managers to call the candidate in for an interview. For this reason, it is imperative for jobseekers to have branded résumés that present them as unique and a cut above the other candidates. While qualifications, job history, and abilities are all important, potential employers not review résumés that read the same as others. They are looking for that “stand out” candidate and may throw the template résumés into the slush pile. To avoid this pile, jobseekers should make sure that their résumé captivates the reader in the first few sections. Here are a few tips to capture potential employers’ interests enough to want to read more, and then make the call to arrange an interview:


Tip 1: Use Keyword Integration

Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to search for the most likely qualified candidates out of the hundreds of résumés they may receive for a given position. Therefore, human eyes may not even see the documents in the first round of the selection process. This is why jobseekers should make their résumés are keyword rich. In addition to keyword section in the opening section, the résumé should contain the employer’s keywords (which jobseekers can locate in the job announcement) in job position segments as well. Selection of the right keywords for the position will make the résumé stand out through the ATS process.


Tip 2: Be Unique

Today, there are likely to be five or more applicants for each job opportunity. Therefore, it is critical to have unique career marketing documents. Candidates can achieve this by conveying quantifiable achievements, project successes, awards, accolades, and the likes, in addition to their overall accountabilities. For example, candidates should not state simply that they were a team leader, as this may be common with many other applicants. Jobseekers should also state how the team and the company benefitted from their leadership by quantifying the accomplishments that would not have been achieved in their absence.


Tip 3: Add an Effective Career Summary

A career summary should consolidate the main points about a jobseeker’s brand and value. The reader should be able to visualize the potential employee’s fit in the company and his or her ability to make a positive impact on the bottom line. For this reason, candidates should avoid the generalized statements and phrases that are common on most résumés. If your career summary can possibly be used by many others and still be truthful, it is too general and will bore the reader. Rather, provide specific career overviews that will compel the reader to keep reading. Highlight cost savings over a career, fast-track promotions, or expertise in a certain industry or skill. Once they read the career summary, they should want to read more into the candidate’s supporting information, and then make the call for an interview.


Tip 4: Apply the Appropriate Résumé Design

The final tip is to have a résumé design that reflects the appropriate profession and professional level. The résumé should have a strategy and should flow. Repeated information may tell the reader that the candidate does not have enough experience to fill a page or that the candidate thinks the reader will not remember skill stated in a previous section. Improper designs, colors, and font styles and sizes may also throw off a reader simply by making them frustrated. Worse, a poorly designed résumé may not be readable by a company ATS. Jobseekers should ensure that their résumé is clear, concise, and free of errors, as well as correctly reflect their professional level and industry.


Cheryl Cooper, MBA, CPRW
Professional Best Writing Services

Interview Pitfalls That Ruin a Great Resume

Traffic Jam

The job of a great résumé is to win the interview. Once that has been achieved, it is then up to the candidate to land the job. Top-notch job seekers are aware of this and begin the process of preparing for the face-to-face meeting by doing the proper research, preparing questions, and the like. This is good practice, but unfortunately, they tend to forget about what they should not do on an interview, which is just as important, if not more. Saying or doing the wrong thing can cost you the job even if you have done everything else right. Taking note of the following tips can save you from small mistakes that can cost you the job.

Rule 1: Never Be Late

This is a common sense rule and some candidates miss it unintentionally due to unforeseen circumstances. To avoid this, give yourself extra time and arrive a few minutes early. If your interview is at 1pm and it only takes 10 minutes to get to the interview site, you should still leave at 12:20. You never know when there may be an accident (hopefully not you), a passing train, or a road closure. If you are unaware of the location, all the more reason to allow even more time to arrive. If you are more than 30 minutes early, find the location, and then feel free to drive around the corner to a coffee shop. You will have extra time to collect yourself and relax before stepping into the interview.

Rule 2: Do Not Talk About Climbing the Ladder

Having drive and being outgoing is a good thing in an interview. However, focus on the current opportunity and not your plan to run the company in a few years. An interviewer wants to know that you have a sincere interest in the job that is available today. They want to know that you take it seriously and plan to excel in that position. If you get the job, do well and let your desire to advance show through your achievements.

Rule 3: Steer Clear of the Money Talk

Though salary is important, try to steer the focus of you initial interview the value you can bring to the company and to the position. Never initiate the topic of money or benefits,  but rather seek to understand the nature of the position first. Sell yourself and your talents to the hiring manager. Inquiring about company benefits will shift the focus to your personal objective and to how you can make the company better. Save the money conversation for later, when there is expressed interest in bringing you aboard. Until then, focus on the position responsibilities, expectations, and your capabilities. The best way to a higher salary is to show them that they cannot afford to pass over you.

Rule 4: Never Show Up Unprepared

Before you head out to your interview, do your homework on the job and the company. Learn as much as you can about the business, company, department, and position, if possible. This shows your interest in having a career with the company and not just a temporary job until you can find something better. Prepare questions for your interviewer. Talk intelligently about what you offer. If someone shows up for an interview and appears unsure or lacks confidence, a job offer is very unlikely. An interviewer wants to know that you understand their business and its goals and that you’re just the right person to achieve them.

By just avoiding these few things, you will have a much better chance at making a good first impression, winning the interview, and getting the job. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression!

Key Interviewing Skills

Getting ready for an interview does not have to be a difficult thing to do. However, it is important to do your homework ahead of time and be prepared. In addition, good interviewing skills targeted to specific strategies can help you to overcome any roadblocks put in front of you. The following list includes great tips on key interviewing skills to have to have a fighting chance at landing the job of your choice.

Tip 1: Read and Reread

For your job interview, you want to know everything you possibly can about the company and position for which you are applying. Do not just study the job description, although this is key. You also want to obtain background information about the company and its history. In being aware of this information, you show your serious interest not only in the job you are interviewing for, but also in the company itself. The ability to discuss the company may be impressive to the interviewer.

Tip 2: Smile

This may seem like common sense, but in being nervous, candidates tend to forget their body language and facial expressions. When going in for an interview your smile is important. Not only does it show that you are friendly and approachable, it also exudes confidence, which is a key trait that most employers are searching for in a potential employee. Smile when you greet your interviewer, at least once during the interview and once it is ending. This is a great way to show your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Tip 3: Be Emotional Intelligence

With emotional intelligence, you can adapt well to the interviewer. This will put both of you at ease, and a comfortable situation is one that has a greater chance at ending with you getting the job.

Tip 4: Humble is Good – Just Not during Interviews

Humbleness is a fantastic quality for a person to have. However, being humble in an interview can cost you the job you are going after. No, you don’t want to come off as arrogant, but you do want to show your confidence in your ability to make contributions that will exceeds expectations and make an impact on the bottom line. Make the interviewer see that you are the perfect one for the job because you have what it takes. This is not being arrogant; it is being truthful, and again, interviewers love confidence. It shows that you can handle whatever comes your way with skillful grace and that will go a long way.

Items You Should Avoid on Your Résumé

Crafting the perfect résumé can be a very crafty undertaking. Some people are not exactly sure of what to put on it and what to leave off. It’s possible that general job applications are a source of blame for this confusion. A standard job application may ask for personal information such as marital status, or personal details and non-work related interests. In finding these items on a standard application, applicants may also believe that this type of information should be included on a résumé as well. For the 411 on some of the things you should NOT have on your résumé, keep reading. The information here will help you to get a better understanding of common things that you should not have on your résumé.

#1 Errors

This one should go without saying, but instead it must be said. Typos are common mistakes found on a résumé and can leave an employer with the impression that you are careless, think little of the position or company, or do not pay attention to detail. They may think that all of these things could be a reflection of your work ethic or it may even cause them to question your overall abilities. When you create your résumé, read it, step away from it, and then reread it. In fact, have a fresh set of eyes other than your own to read it as well. Use spell check, but also read each individual word aloud to ensure correctness. Demonstrating that you have good spelling and grammar shows that you care about your work and your personal presentation.

#2 Age

This is another question job applications may ask. They may not ask directly but when they request your date of birth, it is the same as asking your age. To avoid the possibility of age discrimination, a résumé should not include this information. Even though the employer may be able to add up an estimate age though your work history and any dates on education, your résumé should really be made to focus on your skills, abilities and accomplishments. Be careful with phrases such as, “over 20+ years of experience,” which could work as a plus or a negative, depending on the position and the hiring manager. Be sure to let this be the emphasis of your résumé and not how young or old you are.

#3 References Information  

As an age old practice, many people will still add “references available upon request” to the bottom of their résumé. This line item is no longer necessary. A potential employer will assume that you do have references and will request them when they are needed in their hiring process. Adding this is waste of precious résumé real estate space where an additional line of information that is actually useful to the employer could be presented instead. Rather, take the time to create a professional reference sheet that you can provide to potential employers upon request.

#4 Past Salary Information

According to the experts, adding in your salary from past jobs is unprofessional. It can make your own position weaker when it comes to time skillfully negotiate a new salary based on the opportunity and your past experience. This is something that should be deferred to a later date in the interview process and upon the initiation of the interviewer.

#5 Poorly Chosen Email Address Name

We all may have a personalized email address where we receive the bulk of our mail. However, you should refrain from listing email addresses with questionable names on your résumé. An employer will not be impressed with something like, or something even more descriptive. If you are a job seeker, create a new email account with something professional, such as your name or your initials, that is used just for job hunting.

These are a list of just a few things, but remember, when in doubt you should probably leave it out!

Résumé Check List

A résumé is more than a neatly formatted summary of your job history. In all actuality, it should be treated as a marketing document and must be considered seriously if you wish to land the interview for your dream job. If you browse internet, you will come across many eye catching and attractive templates that may come complete with simple steps to develop a report style resume. Less mentioned are those critical items that résumés should have to get immediate noticed from a hiring manager. The following list contains a few items that you should consider when crafting your own résumé.

Tip #1: Hit Your Target
For your résumé, be sure to create a compelling piece of work that amplifies the kind of position you seek. For instance, if you are a sales executive, you not only want to show off your skills in sales when it comes to developing territory and generating of sales; but customer service, staff and client management and public relations are skills to emphasize as well. Sales marketing has many secondary skills and you want to be sure to convey yourself as a multidimensional candidate for the position. No matter what your target job or industry is, make sure that your abilities jump off the page and convey that you will be the greatest asset to the company.

Tip #2: Add a Qualifications Summary
Unfortunately not many job seekers properly add a qualification summary (or profile) to demonstrate their capabilities. Rather, some candidates will present a personal career objective or a statement that tells an employer what they are looking for to benefit them, the candidate. A qualifications summary statement appears just under a résumé heading and can be as little as three or four lines to instead explain how a candidate can benefit the employer. It can serve as an overview of strengths, accomplishments, and achievements. The key is showing the employer what you can do for the employer, rather than what the employer can do for you.

Tip #3: Use Keyword Rich Language
Organize your key words properly because this will serve a very important purpose. Today, most businesses use keyword scanners, or Automated Tracking Systems (ATS), to select résumés with the candidate keywords they are looking for. To ensure that your résumé is captured in such a system, be sure to include the appropriate keywords for your industry or position throughout your document. For instance, if the core competencies for the job you are tying for include strong communication skills and the ability to multitask, ensure that these keywords are listed at least two times in your résumé. Following this practice will increase the chances of your résumé making the cut in an ATS system.

Finally, remember that when you are crafting your resume, use words and phrases to make your document shine and you will have a greater chance in landing the job.These are just a few tips that you can follow to boost the impact of your resume and increase the probability of getting the call for the interview.

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Finding a Job in Today’s Market

We all know of someone who is currently out of a job and quite possibly, that someone may be you. Or perhaps you are employed and trying to move into a more challenging position or one that is better suited your skills. No matter the reason for your search, finding a job in today’s market can be extremely difficult. It is easy to blame the ailing economy, but perhaps the highest blame should go to your methods in locating opportunities. Today’s job market is tough so you have to find the most fruitful way to secure the job you deserve.

In the past, finding a job was as easy as sending out resumes and corresponding though emails. There was even the occasional telephone interview. However, today the process has changed drastically. In order to be successful in your job search you have to be willing to think outside the box, go beyond, and get creative. With one job for every 100 applicants, employers will use the smallest thing to exclude potential candidates in order to narrow down the field. Those who survive are usually the ones who go through different and multiple channels to secure a position. Common methods can include:

  • Networking
  • Recruiters/Head Hunters
  • Job/Career Fairs
  • Job Boards
  • Direct mail
  • Phone calls

Today, networking is said to be the best way to find your next position. Job seekers can start with close connections to meet and work with additional potential connections. Networking within groups and associations such as churches, volunteer organizations and professional associations can produce noteworthy job leads. But even with networking, utilizing other methods simultaneously will increase your chances of finding a job quickly.

Job boards, direct mail, and phone calls are also viable options for job seekers in the current market. With these methods the key is to follow up after submitting your resume and cover letter. By following up, you show employers that you are a step above the competition and that is what employers want to see.

As one last tip on procuring a job in today’s market, in searching an online job seeking site, job seekers should not simply fill out an online application and wait for a response. Unless it is stated otherwise, obtain contact information and follow-up directly on your submission and the selection process. This could be a move in your favor because the competition is so stiff online that you must make yourself stand out. The main key to secure a job in today’s market is discovering ways to stand out above hundreds of other candidates who are competing for the same job.

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