J Patrick + Associates Blog

6 Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Jarrett Zike on Sun, Nov 27, 2022 @ 12:53 PM

It’s a perennial question: “What should I put on my resume?” There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a resume should say and how it should look. But, when looking for employment, it's important to stay focused on your goals in sequence. Here is what I mean: You are not writing a resume to get a job; you are writing a resume to get an interview.  

Here are 6 best practices for writing a winning resume:

1. Create a Personal Brand When Writing Your Resume

When writing your resume, don’t list your strengths and expect a hiring manager to take notice. Rather, make every effort to tell a story that builds a personal brand. What, you might ask, constitutes a “personal brand?” For our purposes, your brand will be a synthesis of your professional capabilities and the positive aspects of your personality. 

Let's say you’re a talented public speaker. Instead of just listing the speaking engagements in which you have participated, give some indication of your enthusiasm for speaking and the impact your rhetorical talents had on your audience.

Did you “present information to colleagues in ____,” or did you “interpret and explain pivotal data and statistics for professionals in the ____ industry?” One phrasing sounds like a description of a slideshow, and the other leaves an impression of personal expertise and agency. 

The key here is to connect your experiences with real-life successes and tell potential employers why they should care. When possible, include observable and quantifiable outcomes in your descriptions. If an employer can look at your resume and see evidence of your strengths, it will put you at a marked advantage. 

Finally, do not lie. Not only is lying unethical, but it is far too easy to sniff out a tall tale these days. 

2. Use The Right Keywords

Working in a recruiting office, I bear daily witness to how sorely neglected keywords can be.

The bottom line is that recruiters in my office sort and search through untold heaps of resumes, and they do so by using applicant tracking systems, i.e., robots: unconscious, hyper-literal, ruthlessly precise robots. If your resume doesn’t contain the exact keywords that map onto the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land an interview. 

How can you access the occult words and phrases that open a portal to the interview? Start with the job posting. In almost every case, the employer will include specific skills and qualifications you must possess in order to be considered.

Copy their language directly. Touch up your resume to incorporate their verbiage, then touch it up again for the next job. Does this seem tedious? Yes. Seemingly unnecessary? Probably. But these are the rules of the game. You can be confident that whoever lands the job will have adhered to them.  

3. Tailor Your Resume to Each Potential Employer

The easy path is tempting, but as efficient as it would be to crank out a generic resume and fire it off to everyone who might be interested, this tactic is not a winning one. You will almost certainly get overlooked for missing keywords (see above). You will also blend right in with the nameless mass of resume gamblers who their job searches into something similar to a spam campaign. 

The rationale here is pretty straightforward: Every job is different, so don’t make every resume the same. The screening technologies are too good to countenance blind optimism when it comes to hoping for an interview.

Take the time to tweak and tailor your resume into a customized document that aligns with each job description. Absent this consideration, you will be wasting the time you thought you were saving. 

4. Only Relevant Job Experiences, Please

Many people write their resumes under the misguided assumption that they should cram as many professional experiences as possible onto the two pages of real estate offered by their resume. This is somewhat understandable. They want to impress a potential employer and, thinking quantitatively, more must be better, right? 

This approach is actually the direct opposite of what should be done. When listing professional experience, you should prioritize quality and relevance over quantity. There are a few reasons for this, but the first is simple legibility. A concise and clean resume is a much more eye-catching and inviting document than one with a single-spaced block of micro-fonted text. 

That being said, you do need to list the most current and relevant jobs on your resume. A good rule of thumb is that any job worked before the last 10-15 years is unlikely to be of interest to anyone but yourself. 

5. Grammer  Matters 

This one doesn't require too much explanation. Grammarly and programs like it are so widely available that having an ungrammatical resume impresses as sheer laziness. While it is true that most people cannot recite exact grammatical or usage rules, most people notice when a sentence doesn't make sense. Since the rules of grammar are essentially the accepted logic of the English language,  failing to abide by them can result in nonsense. In a text, there are no nonverbal cues to bridge the gap between what you mean and what you say. So, whatever your creative writing teacher told you in high school, writing like you speak is not a good resume decision.     

6. Begin Narratives With Strong, Descriptive Action Verbs

One of the biggest risks you run when submitting a resume is sounding bland, being forgettable. In order to avoid this, you need attention grabbers. Describing your accomplishments with strong action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, and etc., conveys the active role you played in your stated accomplishments. 

The key here is emphasizing your agency. You did something; you made it happen. Avoid language suggesting that you were merely “responsible” for some outcome or “contributed” to it. These words are vague and reek of passivity. Choosing strong action verbs will also help build your personal brand. Think: You are the kind of person who…launched an initiative, spearheaded an campaign, organized an audit, etc.

Final Thoughts

When you sit down to write your resume, carefully consider what you have to offer an employer. Your resume is the base ingredient of your personal brand–a first impression that should not be improvised. It is a tool to place you in an employable position.

If you find yourself at a loss for ways to improve a resume, don’t be afraid to get professional help. There are people whose entire livelihood depends on creating top-notch resumes. Key details that most people would overlook will stand out to such a person.

 

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Crafting a Living Resume to Stand Out in 2022 and Beyond

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:31 AM

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2022 is here, and while many are still trying to navigate the fallout from (gulp*) 2020, others are bearing witness to the perennial wisdom that upheaval creates new opportunities. Industries across the board have had to retool and rethink strategies that reliably produced results until all of a sudden…they didn’t anymore. Change, the other cosmological constant, was intensified to a revolutionary pitch. 

We are all in new territory, and employers are looking for innovative, forward-thinking assets to help them capitalize on new opportunities presented by–among other things–the decentralization of the workplace. This means, in part, that candidates who are equipped to gracefully maneuver across shifting ground are in high demand. On a practical level, presenting yourself as just such a person with a living resume is a great way to start.  

A “living resume,” is one that is dynamic, ever-evolving, and reflective of your individual competence, flexibility, and potential. The following 8 strategies are steps that you can begin taking immediately in order to ensure that your invaluable first impression is memorable, impactful, and effective in 2022. 

 

  1. First the elephant in the room–you must be disciplined. Building a standout resume takes discipline and dedication, especially when you find yourself in a comfortable position. As we all know, the days of working a few decades in the same role are long gone, which means that you must force yourself to be constantly thinking about the next opportunity. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the future and consistently acting with this uncertainty in mind is the first step; it is the “inside job” that allows you to prepare and position yourself effectively. 

  2. One great way to do this is to develop a pattern of consistent and thorough documentation of your accomplishments and responsibilities. You don’t have to add them to your resume right away, but you should keep a running list of any new projects, skills, and responsibilities you assume in your current position. If nothing else, such a document will allow you to update your resume quickly when the time comes. This is especially useful if the worst-case scenario forces you to find a new job yesterday. Stress is inimical to memory, and if you have to send out resumes in a hurry, the last thing you want is to short-change yourself. Document now so you don’t forget later.   


  3. Schedule specific time slots for updating your resume and stick to them. This isn’t exciting work, plus it forces you to think about the contingency and possible precariousness of your employment. These are strong disincentives that must be overcome. The best way to do this is to set dates for yourself. Think of it like scheduling an appointment with the dentist or going to the gym. You will never feel like doing it, but will inevitably appreciate the effort when the time comes to present your resume to a new potential employer. 

  4. While working on your resume in the allotted time slot, focus on impact. Employers want concrete examples of how you have delivered results. This is particularly true regarding your demonstrated ability to encounter the unexpected. Here, numbers are your best friend. How many days before a deadline did you complete a project? How much money did you save your employer? What specific actions did you take to solve a problem? Impact is demonstrated in concrete terms. Don’t claim to have simply “improved” a situation, tell a story about precisely how your actions constituted an improvement for your business.    

  5. Check on details that affect style and readability. Believe it or not, there are trends in resume writing that stand to affect your reception by a potential employer. Click here for a checklist of style considerations to make when updating your resume.


  6. Selectively cater your resume to each position in which you are interested. It is extremely tempting, once finished, to clap the dust from your hands and bombard any and every interesting position you find with your freshly refurbished resume. This is not ideal, and in all likelihood will not work very well, especially as the desirability of a given opportunity increases. The last thing you want is for a recruiter or hiring manager to look at your resume and have to connect dots in order to understand how you are a viable candidate. Take the time to investigate the particular job descriptions in which you are interested, pull key terms from those descriptions, and explicitly incorporate them into your resume.


  7.  After tailoring your resume, save several iterations of it for future use. If, for example, you know that you are interested in positions that are not peculiar to a specific employer (project management, corporate training, or human resources, for example), craft and save a version of your resume for each and reuse it whenever an appropriate position blips your radar. You should still tailor your resume to each position, but the number of changes needed will be minimized if you have several versions of your resume on deck.

  8. Include a “hobbies” section in your resume. Your hobbies might seem irrelevant, but briefly including them highlights your curiosity and individuality. Employers want human beings, not robots, and your hobbies are a reflection of your personality. That being stated, your hobbies should not take up too much space in your resume and should not appear to take precedence over your education, professional experience, and accomplishments. Think of hobbies as garnishings–a little goes a long way.  



    Every time January 1st rolls around, we take stock of the previous year while anticipating the future and imagining how we might improve it. We set goals and mark up calendars, magnet photos of ourselves to refrigerators that remind us of where we have been or where we would like to end up. We invariably consider our careers and how they stand to be improved. If you have found yourself dreaming of new opportunities in your career, one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your situation is to ensure that you are as appealing as possible by maintaining a living resume. 

Your resume is the invaluable first impression that sets the tone for all subsequent interactions with a potential employer. Make it a goal this year to give yourself every advantage that is within your power. Schedule time each month to enliven your resume. You’ll thank yourself when 2022 rolls around, and ‘23… 


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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization

6 Ways to Ensure The Cover Letter You Write Is Read

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:14 AM

6 Ways To Ensure (1)

Writing a great cover letter that is specific to each job search application is a must in today’s career marketplace. Using a one-size-fits-all, general cover letter for all your applications and communications is not an effective means to uniquely present yourself in a job search. The following six cover letter tips will help you write a concise, impactful cover letter, that will improve your chances of getting noticed and receiving that call for the coveted interview:

6 Ways to Ensure Your Cover Letter is Read

1. Ensure your cover letter is short

No more than a computer screenshot or a couple of scrolls on a smartphone. That’s it! Hiring managers and associates do not read much more than that length. If it is longer, you run the risk of your letter getting skipped over.

2. Address your cover letter to a person

An actual person! Do not send it “To Whom It May Concern” or “Hiring Manager.”  Do the homework and research who you should be addressing your cover letter to for your submission. 

3. Specify how you found the person that you are emailing. 

Most people have an instinctive response like, “How did they get my name?” when receiving an unsolicited, yet personalized inquiry. To be sure your email is received positively, indicate early on in the cover letter email how you came to discover the person in order to put the receiving party at immediate ease to continue reading. Whether it was research on LinkedIn or your former co-worker that led you to reach out to this person, informing the recipient of how your email landed in their inbox makes the person feel better.

4. Be explicit as to what job you are looking for

Do not leave it up to the hiring manager to decide which job you are applying to or where you may fit within their organization. If you do, your cover letter may get filed under the “T” file (Trash).

5. Do not write the cover letter as a prose version of your resume.

Period. It is not meant to be a regurgitation of your resume. A cover letter is supposed to summarize to the reader the value you will bring to the prospective organization and how your background fills a need they have. Nothing will put your credentials in the ‘no’ pile faster than a lengthy, synopsis of your career history with no ties as to how your credentials benefit the hiring organization.

6. Help the reader connect the dots as to why they call you

Use bullets, and no more than 3-5 bullets, to outline how you are a fit for the prospective position. Lastly, of course, end your letter with the professional niceties of thanking the person for their time and assertively offering to follow up to set up an interview time. Polite enthusiasm and humble persistence are never out of style and always stand out in a positive light in today’s marketplace.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

 


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Tags: Resume Optimization

3 Ways I Know You May Be Lying On Your Resume

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 @ 01:14 PM

3 Ways I Know You're Lying on your resume

3 Ways I Know Your Lying On Your Resume

I have spidey-senses that can tell me if someone is lying or fudging the truth on their resume. I mean if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense and it’s probably false or fudged. It’s that simple to me.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are other signs, too. However, these are signs that almost 100% of the time are false….other signs are red flags and are not always indicative of a lie. I wanted to focus on the top three, in my experience:

1. Slash Titles

Unless you are a business owner where you have your title and function listed in your resume title, i.e. “President / Marketing Consultant” and you run a marketing consultancy, regular corporate HR departments do not issue formal slashed titles. In almost all cases where a slash title exists, the candidate added words to the title to make it reflect what they did (or what they think they did) and was not an HR-issued title.

 2. All the percentages end in 5’s and 0’s

Even in a perfect world, percentages do not all end in 5’s and 0’s. So when I read a resume where all sales achievements end in X5% or X0% or all expense cutting efforts result in a X5% or X0% savings, I believe a candidate’s fiction writing abilities have entered the picture. Yes, I believe you are probably making it up when they all end in 5’s and 0’s. Life doesn’t work that way.

3. Ghost Consulting Roles

When you say you have been consulting, but list no companies or experiences outlining the consulting you did, I call BS. If you didn’t work, then own it and explain what you did do. Recruiters are way on to it when you say “consulting” nowadays. They want to know where, when and how.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

 


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Tags: Social Media, Resume Optimization

The Right Way to Use Overused Words In Your Resume

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Oct 06, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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While researching how to write a good resume or LinkedIn profile you often times run into the advice of using certain words like “creative” or “efficient.” The problem here is that anyone who knows how to use Google is probably using all the same buzz words in their resume as well.

Over time this leads to an apparent overuse of words that recruiters and hiring managers can spot in a heartbeat. As such, a word that was once a great way to stand out in your resume is reduced to fluff.

This doesn’t mean that certain buzz words aren’t still great for your resume. The key is to use them effectively so your resume doesn’t sound like everyone else’s.

 

Avoid being subjective.

With a simple Google search you can easily pull up a list of some of the most overused words on resumes and LinkedIn.

According to Careerealism some of the top overused words on LinkedIn are “motivated,” “responsible,” “analytical,” and “innovative.” In fact, the chances of you having a few of these words on your own profile is pretty high.

The issue here is that these words break a common rule of personal branding: stay objective.

These overused words by themselves are very subjective. That is to say, you are essentially stating an opinion of yourself instead of a factual account of your work history.

Essentially, if you have “Responsible and motivated individual with extensive experience” on your resume or profile a recruiter’s immediate reaction will be one of two things:

• “Gee, this guy Googled how to write a resume and must have copied and pasted what he found.”
• “Who says you are all of these wonderful things?”

You can avoid this by describing what you actually did at the job. How can you support that you are a responsible individual? What is your extensive experience, exactly? Do you have an example that shows how you’re motivated?

 

Use evidence to back up your statements.

If the only word to describe what you did is “creative,” then so be it. The issue is that most people don’t back it up with evidence.

What you need to do is show how you were creative by using achievements based bullets. For instance, if you are a creative Human Resources Executive Vice-President, you can outline how you created an evaluation system for a 200 person organization that resulted in an 11% drop in turnover and an increase of 25% internal staff being promoted.

This provides a picture for the person reading your resume so they no longer have to guess what “creative” means. Furthermore, this is a results driven example that would be totally unique to you as a candidate.

 

Use numbers.

Numbers are perhaps the most compelling way to demonstrate your skills. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those small things most people forget to put on their resume or LinkedIn profile.

Start writing your resume and LinkedIn profile with numbers in mind and you’ll easily avoid falling into the trap of fluffy buzz words. Did you increase revenue? Do you have percentages to prove how you solved a problem? How many projects did you create?

For some good examples of how to apply this technique to your resume make sure to check out our resume samples.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Resume Optimization

5 Powerful Ways to Incorporate Soft Skills Into Your Executive Resume

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

5 Powerful Ways to incorporate soft skills in your executive resume

Up until relatively recently, companies thought that hard skills are what would get them their bottom line.

Now we’ve come to realize that soft skills are just as important when it comes to growing a company. Soft skills are considered to be behaviors and traits such as adaptability, critical thinking, people skills, likeability, time management and so forth.

Essentially soft skills are those that aren’t as hard-driving or as upfront. Often times they are skills that have more to do with your personality, making them slightly more difficult to put on paper. That’s why how you present them is crucial in whether or not you’ll get the job. 

The following are some ways to effectively & strategically incorporate soft skills into your executive resume.

Use soft skills mentioned in the job ad.

Job ads will often times have soft skills written into them. This will give you a clue as to what the employer is looking for. For instance, one employer may emphasize that a candidate be “results-oriented” while the other may prefer “high energy and enthusiastic.”

Once you’ve identified the soft skills in the job ad make sure to incorporate them into your resume. This way you customize your resume for the position at hand. This technique is far more effective than sending everyone the same generic resume. 

Provide solid examples.

Anyone can say “strong communication skills” and “detail-oriented” on a resume, but not everyone can prove it.

As with any of the skills you reference in your resume, make sure you have examples and facts to back it up. For extra effect see if you can use examples using the STAR Method. That is to say, think of an instance when your soft skills fixed a problem for the company and yielded great results.

For example, let’s say your company was about to lose a big client over a misunderstanding. The client was irate and ready to terminate the contract but you swept in and saved the day with your communication skills. This is where you can say you “Communicated effectively with clients whenever there was a misunderstanding.”

Use verbs related to soft skills.

One of the biggest mistakes executives make when writing resumes is, avoiding the use of verbs. A quick way to remedy that is to use verbs that are associated with soft skills.

For instance, if you work in healthcare you often need to deal with a lot of people who are going through a hard time. Your ability to empathize with patients and their families and provide them with what they need is a key indicator in whether or not you are suitable for the field.

Highlight your leadership qualities.

Being a leader in the workplace requires the use of multiple soft skills at once. Simply put, you can’t be a leader if you don’t know how to deal with people.

Highlighting your leadership qualities on your resume can help you bring in very important soft skills into your resume. It’s also a very useful way of looking for examples that demonstrate soft skills.

Try to use quantitative examples.

If you really want to impress a potential employer try to find some quantitative examples of your soft skills. For instance, let’s say one of your soft skills is being “detail-oriented.” You can mention how you noticed a numerical error in a report that would have cost the company a lot of money had it continued unnoticed.

In a day when relationships build business, it’s important to highlight your soft skills in your resume.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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Tags: Resume Optimization

Resources for a Well-Balanced Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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I believe that a successful, well-balanced job search is more than successful strategies and tactical actions a job seeker can take to get closer to finding that right job. A successful job search offers well-balanced advice to address the mind, body, spirit and financial well-being of a person. A balanced job search prepares the job seeker to be in the right frame of mind and in good health to perform well throughout the entire job search process.

Here are suggested websites that enable a job seeker to take a balanced approach to their job search by shoring up on wellness, positive mindset, health, money, global business knowledge and efficient job search tactics action to help them be viewed as ‘in-demand’ by prospective employers.

 

1. Zen Habits

I feel Zen Habits helped me change my own life and I encourage readers to use this minimalist philosophy, lifestyle and mindset suggested put forth by Leo Baubata, the founder of Zen Habits, to put life in its proper perspective and bring more joy to day-to-day living.

 

2. Tiny Buddha

www.tinybuddha.com

This website helps with your positive mindset each day. It helps you learn how to stop negative thoughts, manage stress, present yourself confidently, and empower your to the choices that make your life better.

 

3. WELL – Tara Parker-Pope on Health

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

This leading NYT health and wellness blog by Tara Parker-Pope gives tips on how to eat well, exercise and take care of our bodies, that will ultimately help us perform better inside and outside of work.

 

4. MintLife

www.mint.com/blog

Effectively managing your money before, during and after a job search is paramount. Properly managed money, no matter what your job or income level, can take mounds of pressure off of the already pressure some situation of looking for a job and/or remaining employed, allowing you to make much better, qualitative decisions about your future.

 

5. Harvard Business Review

www.hbr.org

Show your next manager that you are up to speed on cutting edge management through leadership and demonstrate its application in preparing for yoru interviews. This is an amazing resources for lifelong learning.

 

6. Daniel H.Pink

www.danpink.com

Understanding how the world of work and employment is changing can help you present better in your next interview. Daniel Pink is a thought-provoking, motivational read, whether he is referencing content from his bestselling books or sharing favorite excerpts from TED Talks. Reading his blog, always leaves me feeling motivated and empowered.

 

7. The Recruiters Lounge

http://www.therecruiterslounge.com/

I have always said, “Want to find a job, understand how a recruiter thinks and then employ those strategies in your search to find opportunity and be found by hiring managers.”  Go right to the source to understand recruiters with this blog.

 

8. MeetUp.com

www.meetup.com

Feed your mind and your network by seeking out Meet Up groups that are aligned with your professional goals and personal interests (or the other way around). By finding like-minded people and engaging those with differing perspectives we grow our connections, increase our opportunities and expand our minds.

 

9. Tim’s Strategy

www.timsstrategy.com

Tim Tyrell-Smith has a blog that embodies a number of writers (full-disclosure, I am one of those writers) that address many career topics, effective job search tactics and resume strategies for all phases of one’s career. His blog is a job search tactic gold mine…

 

10. Jackalope Jobs

Jackalope’s  blog brings tactical expertise in ways to optimize your connections and your network to get closer to open opportunities. In addition, Jackalope Jobs has a great tool that enables job seekers to take their LinkedIn and Facebook network’s and leverage these contacts to see how the job seeker is connected to open jobs. Perfect complement to existing social media.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Resume Optimization

Is Resistance Killing Your Job Search?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Sep 04, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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Everyone knows that the job search can be a stressful time marked by hopeful ups and defeating downs. You get excited about new leads and suffer disappointments on your hunt for that perfect job that can become the next step in a successful career. This is normal. However, during your job search, you could be your own worst enemy by not accepting this is normal and, instead, taking it personally. Without even knowing it, you could be throwing up resistance and making mistakes that will kill your job hunt success from the start and throughout the process. These mistakes can be both physical and even emotional and will hamper your ability to land that great new job.

Whether you are top level executive looking for that next big advancement in an already successful career or you are a recent college graduate seeking that first job to kick off your career, you could be guilty of throwing up emotional roadblocks or making common mistakes that will stop you in your tracks from ever setting foot in the door of many companies.

 

6 Job Search Mindset Killing Mistakes

There are many common mistakes that job seekers make when looking for that next big job. Some of the most common you see are in their actions before they ever land that first interview.

• Research Fails – Often candidates believe they are properly prepared for their interview by researching all there is about the company. However, they fail to research their needs and their history and aligning what they bring to what the company they are looking to join needs. This can cause a candidate to flounder in the interview and erode confidence.

• Talk Down Accomplishments – During the interview, many candidates seeking to appear humble often talk down their own accomplishments making it seem like they really didn’t do anything in their past employment. Be proud of your accomplishments, but don’t be boastful.

• Go It Alone – Often job seekers feel they must pursue their next job like a lonely hunter in the night. The truth is, you can get a lot of valuable information and learn something from others in your position as well. Talk to them. Seek out the help of recruiters, similar positioned colleagues and job search experts, but don’t rely on them as your only source for new opportunities.

• Begrudging Attitude – No one likes searching for a new job. But in the end it all comes down to your attitude. Approaching it with a bad attitude will only result in poor quality work on your part. Be excited for your new opportunity and enjoy the hunt as you broaden your horizons. You may even learn a thing or two along the way.

• One-Size-Fits-All Resume and Cover Letter – One of the biggest mistakes you can make is sending the same cover letter and resume to many different companies. If you are truly interested in a position, you should do your homework and tailor both your resume and cover letter specifically for that position.

• Negative Head Trash – Assuming all setbacks are because you are not a desirable candidate or only unique to you is the biggest emotional and mental drain at the root of stalled job search. It is important to realize ALL job seekers have positives and negative aspects of the search and it is normal. It does not mean you suck. It means that was not the right employer for you.

 

Emotional Roadblocks

Your own emotions could be getting in your way as well. What’s worse is you may not even know it. Often if you aren’t getting where you want to go it is because of your emotions. You don’t believe you are worthy or are capable of that next big step. These feelings are often felt deep down and you may not even be aware of them. So, on the surface you are seeking that next big career advancement, but on the inside you don’t think you are ready even if you really are. This can cause you to appear less confident during an interview and you may not be willing to take the risks you need to take to get where you want to go.

 

Final Thoughts

Remember, when you are job seeking, look at your actions in an objective manner. Really look inside yourself and ask yourself why you are having a hard time and not finding the type of job you want. You could find that it isn’t because you simply can’t find something, but that you have become your own worst enemy creating unnecessary resistance in your job search. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all guilty of it at one time or another. Just pick yourself up and recognize what you are doing and correct it. You will soon find that you not only find the perfect job for you, but you nail the process every step of the way so your job search comes to an end.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization

On-Demand Economy Executives – 6 Tactics To Land Lucrative Assignments

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Sep 01, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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The Economist reports that the On-Demand Economy in the U.S. currently employs 53 million free agents. A growing number of those free agent consultants are executives. The odds are that you will be among them, as a bridge to your next full-time job or as a new career path.

Fewer Executive-Level Openings Projected

From 2010 until 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall full-time jobs will grow about 14 percent. However, top executive positions are only projected to increase 5 percent. It’s in your professional self-interest to learn how to be hired for the plum executive-level contract assignments.

If your first choice is to land a direct hire role, then don’t give up on searching for a permanent position. However, rejection might be the way the marketplace is telling you to do course correction in how you are going about the process and expand your options on where you look for work.

 

Why You Should Consider Free Agent Consulting Assignments

There are many reasons why you could choose or find it necessary to become a free agent. Currently, these are the most common:

• Demand is there. With the current volatility, more executive positions become vacant abruptly. The top tier or board wants it filled on an interim basis while a comprehensive search is done. As that interim, you may or may not have a shot at the permanent job. But you are earning income, achieving and learning. That’s what counts. Another need comes from start-ups which require specialized skills short term. A third represents the way companies are maintaining manpower flexibility.

• Executives want more control over their lives. Traditionally this is known as the “work-life balance” issue. Executives with highly specialized skills that are marketable find that they can take this option, without downsizing income. Also, in this era of 80-to-100-hour workweeks, the stigma is gone in choosing to be a free agent.

• The infrastructure is in-place. Executives don’t have to hit the pavement searching for assignments. Established headhunting firms unofficially or officially have units for contract work. Also, there are boutiques tailored entirely to place executives in interim posts.

Okay, you have decided you are going to experiment with or commit to this way of working. The odds are that you will have the greatest satisfaction and success if you are open to modifying how you usually compete for professional opportunities. Just as with full-time jobs, you will have to compete to be hired as a free agent for contract roles and here are 6 proven tactics to land plum assignments:

 

Executive Free-Agent Playbook

1. Get up to speed on current formats for resumes. You may not have searched for work since college or your M.B.A. Even in a year or two the winners’ approach to resumes might have changed. Also, different industries and different companies now may have their own preferred formats. Research tone, organization of categories, length, fonts and use of color.

2. Create a resume oriented for short-term projects. You will continue to follow the overall guidelines for the resume geared for full-time work. For example, you will begin with “Summary,” not “Objective.” However, you highlight recent assignments and the results you achieved for employers. That presentation will describe the project, objectives, skills leveraged and what can be quantified in terms of outcomes. Yes, you can use a pattern resume. But, you increase your marketability if you custom-make the content for the specific kind of assignment you are applying for. In cover letters and interviews, emphasize the value you created that was measurable.

3. Switch mindset from job history to recent achievements. If this will be your first kind of project work, then focus on what you have just accomplished for your full-time employer. Introducing a job history per se in isolation distracts. The exception is if the achievements from the last few jobs align with what is needed for this assignment.

4. Leverage skills, results, and references from current or recent projects to landing the next one. 

For now, you have mutated from a permanent employee with a set job description and routine to a free agent. The latter is always looking for the next assignment. That means you have to continually sell what you can offer to the next buyer. What is most marketable are the outcomes in current or recent assignments. Bundle that into a powerful elevator speech.

5. Have a great attitude, even when turning down assignments. Employers hire human beings, not just a set of skills. In the downsized workplace you have to fit in with the team to get things done. That’s why you will be screened as to your ability to go with the flow. That counts even when you decide that an assignment is not the right fit for you. Yes, you can turn down some offers, but not too many. And do that with humility and gratitude.

6. Be hungry. In his iconic 2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech, the late head of Apple, Steve Jobs, told the graduates to “stay hungry.” Of course, you don’t want to transmit the message that you are desperate. But you have to let the world know that you are available for assignments. Those include recruiters, contacts from project work and past jobs and those in your industry groups.

 

Staying Open

Few careers, especially executive ones, are linear. X doesn’t necessarily yield Y any more. What you manage to absorb and achieve in contract work can, if you are flexible, create myriad possibilities. You may be offered a full-time position with that or another company. Other plum assignments could be presented. You may decide to launch your own business.

In essence, time spent in the on-demand economy could have a major payoff in your long-term career.

 

 

Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization

7 Must Have Components for an Eye Catching Executive Resume Summary

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Aug 04, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

7 Must Have Components

Six seconds is the window of time you have to catch a Hiring managers attention as they are busily flipping through resumes. Resume summaries can be the key to having your resume examined versus just being tossed into the trash. However, in order to be successful, they need to be written with great care. 

A resume summary should be written by job seekers who have three or more years of experience and should give a future employer some insight of the benefits you can provide them. Remember your resume summary should be no longer than 3-4 sentences so getting right to the point is key.

Here are the 7 Key Components that you must have for an eye-catching resume

1. Eye-Catching Visual Layout

Use Microsoft Word’s Borders and Shading function sparingly. to great white space and visual breaks to draw the eye through the document. The goal of the summary is to keep the reader’s eye moving through the document using a visually compelling layout.

 

2. Clear Target Position in the Title

Hiring managers scan hundreds of resumes when they are searching for the right candidate. Studies have shown that they often make the decision to call you or just discard your resume in only a few seconds. So, you need to hook them quickly if you hope to have a shot. When creating your summary, begin with something that will make them do a double-take and encourage them to read on.

 

3. Emphasize Your Top Selling Points

Once you have their attention, you need to then quickly emphasize your best selling points that demonstrate why you are the right person for the job. When hiring managers are searching, they will quickly skim resumes looking for the right criteria. In order to increase your chances, put your best foot forward right away and show them what makes you the best candidate for the job.

 

4. Correlate Career Achievements to Job Requirements

Once you have them reading and they know your best selling points, it is time to briefly go over your career so they get an idea of how your experience is relevant to their position. This gives them an insight into your experience so they begin to understand what you can bring to the table if they decide to bring you on board.

 

For example: If you are applying to an AV sales job your resume summary may look something like this.

 

" Professional AV sales manager with five years of experience. With certifications in Crestron and Avixa, I bring a wealth of information and experience to the table. Exceeding sales goals by 25 percent in 2021 allowed for team growth and company expansion".

 

5. Communicate Motivation

While the simple objective statement may be out of style today, that doesn’t mean you can’t briefly share your motivation, when applicable. Are you a great team leader that has led your team to success? Go ahead and tell me as it pertains to the job you are applying for and let the rest of the resume tell the hiring manager about this success.

 

6. Be Concise

Remember, you have the rest of your resume to explain in detail everything you have accomplished and why you would be the perfect candidate for the position. Think of the summary as a hook that will keep the hiring manager's attention and prompt them to continue reading your resume.

 

7. Don’t Underestimate Keywords

While you should never just write your resume for keywords, you shouldn’t forget about them entirely. When creating your resume be sure to use keywords found in the job description in the summary and throughout your resume to help ensure it ends up in the hands of the hiring manager.

 

While you may think the interview is the most difficult process of your job search, the truth is just getting your foot in the door and getting an opportunity for an interview is often far more difficult. However, you can improve your chances just by crafting the perfect resume summary. A well-crafted resume summary will help you get noticed and allow you to quickly put your best foot forward so hiring managers will give your resume a closer look.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

 


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization