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Tips for Recording Your Executive Success at Work

Tips for Recording Your Executive Success at Work

For executives in need of a resume lift: The time is now to record your executive experience, so you can create a rock solid executive resume. I believe in the need for executives to maintain an accurate written or electronic record of their accomplishments in every job they have held–and they should maintain those records for at least 10 years. Nevertheless, recording executive accomplishments will help you write the executive resume that will secure future promotions, job transfers, and selection for major new projects that can advance executive careers to the C-suite.

Smart Tips for Getting Professional Training in Salt Lake City

Smart Tips for Getting Professional Training in Salt Lake City

Enhance Your Professional Resume with these Great Tips

Professionals and executives working in the Salt Lake City metro area might be concerned about how to increase their professional upward mobility in a bad economy. Advanced job opportunities seem to be scarce. Your current opportunity for immediate promotion might seem bleak. You can improve your own chances for promotion within your company or for a new job in a different company with the following tips.

Custom Fit Training from Salt Lake City Community College Offers Skills Development at a Discount

The Custom Fit Training program from SLCC’s Miller Business Resource Center offers training to suit your Utah business. Utilizing Utah state funds, Custom Fit Training will work with your company to create and provide skills enhancement that address your company’s specific needs. Although you have to work within specific parameters to apply for program acceptance, the program will pay for a significant portion of your training fees. Says the Salt Lake Community College Custom Fit Training web site, “Custom Fit Training is one of Corporate Solutions most flexible, customized training programs designed to provide Utah businesses with a well-trained workforce. Utilizing Utah state funds, Custom Fit Training is designed to stimulate economic development and facilitate the creation of new jobs in our state.” Clearly, this type of education can improve your technical knowledge, because you can obtain almost any type of training or certification with the program. Additionally, you will have the cache of adding a local brand name to your professional resume that Salt Lake City companies will easily recognize and appreciate.

Attend a Local Utah College

There are so many local colleges and continuing education programs in Salt Lake City and in Utah that provide additional training that you might need to get that promotion. Although many colleges in the Salt Lake Valley require matriculation toward a degree, so many will allow you to enroll as a nonmatriculated student. If you are lucky, you might even be allowed to audit a class—you’ll get to sit in the lectures for free or at a reduced fee, and you can read any materials the teacher assigns, but you probably won’t be able to participate in classroom discussions.

Capitalize on Your Existing Experience in Your Professional Resume

Either way, the new coursework becomes a great addition to your professional resume.

  • If you happen to be unemployed currently, consider using this training as an addition to your professional work experience, in a line item entitled “Educational Sabbatical.”
  •  If you do not have a college degree, you can include a new line in your professional resume that indicates you are now in the process of seeking an associate of arts, associate of science, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Science. Including a line that you are in the process of seeking a degree prevents the online application systems from automatically rejecting your professional resume, if a degree is a requirement for the promotion you’re seeking.
  • If you are currently employed and want to get a new job in a different company, any updated training or coursework you might have will enhance your resume in the eyes of your future employer.
  • If you are seeking a promotion within your current company, enhanced education on your professional resume indicates to a hiring manager that you are seeking to prove you can handle greater responsibility.

Wondering How to Get a Job Fast? Six Tips to Focus Your Job Search

Wondering How to Get a Job Fast?

Six Tips to Focus Your Job Search

If you’re wondering how to get a job fast, you need to stop spinning your wheels and start focusing. Here are 6 tips on how to focus your job search so you can get the right job quickly.

  1. Hire a professional resume writing service. Your first impression has to be 100% perfect. If you’re not confident that you can write a resume that makes the phone ring, call a professional resume writer to get the job done. The money you spend will pay itself back in job search speed and increased salary.
  2. Stop sending out dozens of resumes. No local market has tens or dozens or hundreds of jobs that are right for you. You might find 3 or 4 in a day’s research, but certainly not more than that. Stop wasting time sending out resumes for jobs that you a) are not interested in, and b) you’re not qualified for.
  3. Join a job club. Networking is hard for job seekers, even for the savviest among you. By joining a job club, either locally or virtually, you’ll find there is a support structure that can help you overcome the difficulties of introducing yourself and communicating your needs effectively. Job clubs also often have the benefit of being led by experts in job search.
  4. Cold call one or two people you don’t know who have jobs similar to the one you are targeting. Politely request a phone meeting with them of about 15 minutes in length. Use that time to ask specific questions about their position, what they like, what they don’t like, how they got where they are. You’ll find that people love to talk about themselves, and you’ll get great information for your own job search. N.B.: Don’t ask these people for a job. If you have to ask them anything, ask if they know someone you should meet; get that person’s phone number and use it to set up another cold-call meeting.
  5. Rework your LinkedIn profile. Change your URL to a vanity URL. Pepper your profile with critical keywords. Ask or answer a question. Learn about anything with the Updates function.

Last:

6. Practice interview questions. You’ll need to know those answers when you’ve completed #1-5 above—the more focused you are, the easier it will be for you to get a job fast.

Have questions about how to get your job faster than you can do it alone?

Call me at 801-810-JOBS to learn about my professional resume writing service.

Crafting the Best Resume for You and Your Unique Job Search

The best resume you can write—or that a professional resume writer can write for you—is

  • Unique to your specific job search
  • Targeted to the positions you are trying to obtain
  • Authentically about your specific career history and your personal brand.

There are hundreds of articles on resume personal branding. There are perhaps thousands of articles on resume accomplishment statements. However, strictly speaking, using accomplishments in your bullets alone won’t convert your history into your unique branding, or make your career history into the best resume it can be.

Keyboard
Creative Commons License photo credit: Plutor

You could research resume examples written for anonymous other members of your industry (or look at a friend’s) and copy the bullets word for word. You could also use resume writing systems that you buy on the Internet, which are simply lists of bullets that you can use in your resume. And there are the professional resume writers that won’t even talk to you before embarking on the tricky process of writing a resume that best suits your job search.

These seemingly simple systems don’t work. They do not capture the authentic you. If you want to be authentic in your job search and to find the best fit for your specific job search needs, you need to think about your resume as an organic document that is borne of your particular personal history. Even if you worked in a factory, or even ran one, you are not a factory yourself. There’s no such thing as data-in, data-out in a resume writing process that gets you interviews. It’s much more thoughtful and careful than that.

The following are the minimum steps I follow to write the best resume that fits your specific job search needs.

  • I learn about what makes you special.
  • I learn about what makes you unique.
  • I ask you about every aspect of your job, in the context of your position, role, and industry.

When I start a resume writing project, I start with a blank screen. Yes, this process is tougher than using a resume template, but it’s much more authentic. I start from scratch because I make sure that each client receives 100% unique content that is 100% about his/her specific career history, branding, and personal excellence.

If this is the type of personal, one-on-one, targeted resume writing service you need, call me at 801-810-JOBS. I am confident it will produce the best resume for you.

 

Why Your LinkedIn Profile Is Not Your Resume

Your Resume Will be Your LinkedIn, if LinkedIn Has Anything to Say About It

There has been significant buzz in the last few weeks about what LinkedIn’s plans are for being the forum of choice the job application process. We already know that recruiters are using LinkedIn to source candidates. What about having job seekers turn that around and use LinkedIn as the application “app” of choice?

I recently spoke with Mary Cosgrove, of What’s Working Well? about how LinkedIn can enter this market so easily. She commented, “I think we are on a continuum to figuring this out. Current on-line applications processes are barriers to finding good hires. It’s like, ‘let me waste your time and energy to see how bad you really want to work here.’ We all know it’s broken – Linked in could be a strategy to helping.”

So if we start with the assumption that the online job search system is inefficient and frustrating, then we can be confident that there are lots of openings to make the system better, easier, and more efficient for both sides of the hiring process.

LinkedIn Has Stepped in to Fix This Problem

LinkedIn is promoting an app that dumps your profile into a pretty resume template, which users can save for downloading. At the same time, employers can now use an “apply with LinkedIn” button on their web sites. Both of these ease the burden on the part of the applicant and the employer to get applications in quickly.

Donna Svei, The Avid Careerist, recently weighed in on this issue in a recent blog post: “[S]avvy job seekers, who always begin with the end in mind, will write and format their profiles to please recruiters rather than themselves.” Regardless of whether candidates plan to use their profiles as their resumes, her thought–and LinkedIn’s, clearly–is that the LinkedIn profile will equal the resume. However, the profile remains static, unless job seekers are tweaking their public presence every time they apply for a new position.

Mary Cosgrove echoed this, saying, “If you are applying using the ‘button,’ I would recommend changing the profile to match the job. If you apply for more than one, that can prove problematic.” So, I don’t believe that LinkedIn has solved the critical requirement of resume customization per job target—yet.

LinkedIn Is NOT Your Resume

It can’t be. Not yet. LinkedIn is so flexible that it can’t serve as a resume that a job candidate can use to apply for every position worth applying for. The following criticisms of the process have been raised:

  • The templates that LinkedIn offers for resumes are pretty, but candidates need to use LinkedIn’s “Markdown” language to customize and lay out the resume text to bring the resume up to standard. The effort to do this for every new position would be significant on the part of the user.
  • Even though users can create multiple versions of their resume, and export them to PDF or save them in the system, each new resume targeted to a new position requires a live tweak of the profile. We all know that once a user hits “save” on a profile, the profile is live—there is no “holding space” for multiple profile versions. Job seekers would have to save their multiple profile versions on their desktops in Word or Notepad.
  • Resumes—and cover letters—are meant to be customized for each job search target. If a job seeker were to tweak his or her profile for every position, the world would be seeing new versions of that person’s candidacy every time he or she applied for a new position. To me, that’s just confusing.
  • There is no cover letter option in LinkedIn. LinkedIn does not provide an option for a cover letter. Because some hiring managers like them and some hate them, smart job seekers should include them. Enough said.
  • If this process moved forward, HR departments will be flooded with untargeted applications. Probably, with the ease of applying in place, candidates would apply everywhere, regardless of their actual qualifications, endlessly flooding human resources departments with resumes, which would place significant burden on HR to identify the truly viable applicants? There would have to be additional gatekeeper questions on the part of companies to eliminate the needless flood.
  • Hiring managers need to know MORE about candidates, not the SAME things about candidates. Last, and most significantly relative to managing your online presence, when people seek candidates out online, I would think they would want MORE about them, not the same stuff that exists on the resume. The profile is a candidate’s prime opportunity to demonstrate why he or she is unique, capable, and a good fit, using more than simple accomplishment statements. The rules are looser compared to those governing the stringent requirements of the resume, and candidates should take advantage of these open opportunities to enhance their online images.

Is LinkedIn the Promise for the Future of Online Job Applications

I think we all rather hope so. If there was a one-touch option for applying for multiple jobs, the process would be spectacularly easier for job applicants. We all have to work to figure out how best to customize the process so that it is more efficient for applicants and effective for the companies seeking them.

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Job Seekers Over 40

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Executive Job Seekers Over 40

If you haven’t written a resume in the last decade or more, that’s a good thing.

That means you’ve been working in jobs that loved you as much as you have loved them. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in an executive job search, and you’re probably of an age where you wonder whether your years of experience is going to hurt or help. Your new resume won’t be anything like the resume you used to get your first (or perhaps your most recent) job. Times have changed for executive job seekers, and so have resume strategies. Read on, so you don’t make these top 10 executive resume mistakes:

  1. Writing “Resume” at the top of the first page. On the one hand, that’s overstating the completely obvious, and you’re wasting important resume real estate that could be used  more strategically (see #10 below). On the other, if you ever upload your resume to apply for jobs, that is to an electronic applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll forever be known in the database as Resume No Last Name, which won’t  help you when a recruiter is looking for you.
  2. Including an I-want objective rather than a statement of value, (personal branding statement). Objectives are passé, as they focus on the candidate’s needs rather than the hiring manager’s requirements. Job seekers over 40 need to remember that until they are offered the position, everything they do or say in the job search process has to focus on solving the hiring manager’s pain, not their own.
  3. Including the dates of your college or university education. We can all subtract 22 from that year and get a sense of the applicant’s vintage. To avoid potential age discrimination, a job candidate should not telegraph her age on the resume.
  4. Not including an e-mail address. Older workers need to have a professional e-mail (not their company’s) for job search purposes. Including an e-mail shows that the candidate is not technology-averse and is available for communication at any time of day.
  5. Using a home telephone line. When a job hunter uses a home telephone number that is likely to be answered by children, it indicates to the hiring manager that the candidate might have certain liabilities, for example, insurance requirements or need for impromptu time off. As mobile phones are so prevalent and inexpensive, a job seeker over 40 should maintain mobile phone service, using a professional voice mail recording, that only she or he will be answering. For that matter, you don’t have to mention on your resume that the number you’re giving is your mobile number. People likely will expect you to use your mobile number, especially for direct accessibility but also for texting. Don’t have a mobile number? You can simulate having one, or add a separate number just for your job search at ZERO cost to you (this is my favorite job search hack—ask me about it. I’ve been using this hack for myself for almost a decade.).
  6. Writing a resume that is only 1 page when you have 3 pages’ worth of good, relevant experience. Let’s face it–hiring managers are likely to stop reading your resume after one or two pages if you are giving them boring details that don’t relate to their needs. But what if you have a lifetime’s worth of great, relevant experience? You absolutely should tell your future hiring manager about your great accomplishments, so they can see the answer to their problems in your professional history.
  7. Writing about more than 10 years’ worth of job roles (and balancing your breadth and depth of experience with #5 above). Hiring managers are focusing on what a candidate can do for them today—not what they were expected to do 20 years ago. Professionals over 40 should use resume real estate wisely and hit their most recent (or their most relevant) positions the hardest and give a fair amount of attention to 3–4 additional prior roles. If the candidate has a critical, relevant element of experience that is older than 10 years, he can include a line or two about it at the end of his executive experience section—without dates of employment.
  8. Not including a personalized (vanity) LinkedIn profile link. LinkedIn is the social medium most likely to be utilized by hiring managers and recruiters in the job search process. Candidates over 40 should take advantage of this free service and create a profile that makes a hiring manager want to pick up the phone. With that in mind, someone in the job market must create a vanity URL (available in the profile options) and put that link in the header of his resume.
  9. Writing about only soft skills and not about accomplishments. Soft skills are critical in any job, but would “great team player” be anything but an expectation for a hiring executive’s new employee? Job seekers over 40 must remember that reporting on accomplishments—the successes they’ve demonstrated for each job—is what gets hiring managers’ attention.
  10. Writing about only accomplishments and no soft skills (see #9 above). Challenge yourself to include the best of your experience by showing rather than telling your future hiring executive the half dozen reasons you’re the right choice to solve their problems right now.

“I’m an experienced executive—how do I prove it and avoid these critical resume mistakes as I go through my executive job search?”

Updated January 2017

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss: Resume Accomplishments Versus Duties

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss

The Difference between Resume Accomplishments and Duties

On your resume, for each position you’ve held in the last 10 years or so, you’ll need to include two key components: The description of your duties as well as your accomplishments. These two components are really quite different, and they serve completely different functions. Duties tell what you did; accomplishments tell why what you did was useful, valuable, and important.

I do know that good resume writing will prepare me for my interview, but how do I get there?

Job Duties

Your job duties are, quite literally, the work that you do every day. Think about the work you do; now distill it down to 3 or 4 sentences. Paint an accurate picture of the work you do that propels your manager, your division, or your company to rousing success.

Sample job duties for a company president or general manager might include:

  • Defining company strategy.
  • Increasing sales.
  • Recruiting executive team and vetting hires throughout organization.

Job Accomplishments

Accomplishments differ radically from duties. Your accomplishments are the specific successes you’ve demonstrated within your job duties (or sometimes outside of them!). These show how you succeeded within your role and rose to its challenges. Unlike the duties you’ve specified for each role you’ve had, the accomplishments tell the “so what?” about your job. They answer the question: “So what happened as a result of your work?” Usually, the answers to these questions involve some kind of metric, either numeric or evaluative, demonstrating how you improved or changed a system for the better. These accomplishments become the bullets that show why you’re the most qualified to support the hiring manager’s goals and needs—starting the moment you are hired.

Sample job accomplishments for the same executive could include:

  • Defined strategic priorities by month, quarter, and year, developing KPIs that focused company trajectory on reducing customer attrition, sales growth, and process improvements.
  • Converted sales process X to sales process Y, then trained sales managers on specifics, increasing sales conversions 14% in 16 weeks.
  • Recruited 2 directors in 2016, both poised for promotions to vice president roles in 2017 as company grew 22% faster than plan.

5 Keys to Identifying Resume Accomplishments

If you’re struggling to figure out what power the accomplishment bullets on your resume, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

  1. What was your hardest project? What made it difficult?
  2. What did you do that made it successful?
  3. How did your work on some project help you or someone else do their job better?
  4. Of which project are you most proud? Why are you proud of it?
  5. How does your job differ in reality from the human resources job description you were handed when you started the position?

By answering these questions specifically, you’ll choose the best parts of your career history that hiring executives and executive recruiters want to know about you. You’ll demonstrate that you have a proven history and strong talent for strategic leadership—and you’ll show how you can hit the ground running on your first day of work.

Updated January 2017.

What Do You Need in a Job Search Emergency? How Not to Be a Discouraged Worker

I recently wrote a blog post about the the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s (BLS) reporting on discouraged workers. This article received a fair amount of traffic—I learned from my search statistics that jobseekers are feeling pretty discouraged. Read on: Don’t become just another “discouraged worker” statistic. Instead, start preparing today to searching actively for your next great position.

What Does This Stat Mean to the Job Seeker?

Data on displaced workers are collected from a special supplementary survey conducted every 2 years. Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports of a variety of unemployment data, the number of discouraged workers has risen dramatically over the last 15 years, as the following chart represents (in thousands):

Discouraged Worker Statistics 1994-2009

Discouraged Worker Statistics 1994-2009

This year’s dramatic rise in average number of discouraged workers to about 600,000 greater than its next greatest value is a testament to exactly one thing, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being displaced. It means that you need to get your job search emergency equipment in gear, so that you can feel confident that you are ready, at a moment’s notice, to get your search started if or when your company lays you off.

Why Does This Stat Matter?

For you and me, that means that if you or I lose or left our jobs because of the downsizing that is a manifestation of our economic slowdown, we’re “discouraged workers.” If you’ve already been crushed in the economic avalanche, you are probably already feeling mighty discouraged. And whether you’re digging yourself out or watching the crumbling rocks bearing down on you, you need to have an emergency job search toolkit to minimize your lost work hours and lost salary.

Your job search toolkit should include:

  • Updated resume—with lots of references to your accomplishments.
  • Cover letter—and not the “Please accept this letter in application for” subtype.
  • LinkedIn profiled—up to 80% of hiring managers say they use social media.
  • Post-interview thank you letter—see my blog post on why you can’t forget the post-interview thank you letter.

Need some help assembling your jobsearch toolkit? Don’t get discouraged—just call me. I can help you get the materials you need, so you’re ready to start your job search.

Amy L. Adler is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a resume and career documentation company focusing on the health care and information technology industries. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents on behalf of clients at all levels of employment. Credentialed as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has earned a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology and Strategic Management as well as a Master of Arts in Publishing. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS or .

Podcast: Recruiters Will Respond to Your E-mailed Resume if They Can Read It!

Podcast 2

Resume ASCII Conversion — Recruiters Will Respond to Your E-mailed Resume if They Can Read It!

Converting a resume to ASCII before applying online for a job might make the difference between having your resume read and having it ignored. Creating an ASCII conversion of your resume makes a clean document suitable for human readability and applicant tracking system searchability. A certified advanced resume writer might be your best resource for proper resume ASCII conversion.

Resume Color: When in Doubt, Leave It Out

The Question of Resume Color

Time and again I get questions about using color in a resume design. The questions read something like this:

  • Should I use color in a resume?
  • Which resume color will make mine stand out?
  • Do recruiters and hiring managers love or hate resume color?

Some say color is the kiss of death in a resume. Some love it. I say “it depends.”

Before you even think about which shade of green to use in your resume, make sure your resume content is the best it can be. Don’t even think about designing your resume—color or no color—until you’ve written stellar content that highlights your best accomplishments. The design is window dressing for the content of your resume, not the other way around.

multicolored hands

Colors in Your Resume: Help or Hurt?

When you are sure that your resume content markets you in the best way possible, then start to think about the way you want to present it. You can make excellent resume content highly visible with careful use of color. Some good ways to incorporate color include:

  • Using a subtle color shade to call out a text box containing important resume skills.
  • Incorporating rules (lines all the way across your resume page) in a color that highlights section headings in your resume.
  • Drawing attention to your bullet points with a clever use of color in the bullet design.

It should go without saying that the color of the body text in your resume should be black. Only black.

Color in a Resume Depends on What You Want to Telegraph to Your Future Employer

If you are not completely sure that using color in a resume will help you, don’t use any color at all. You definitely won’t go wrong by being ultraconservative in your resume design approach.

For example, if you work in a very conservative industry, such as finance or banking, you’re not likely to win over a hiring manager who wants someone conservative like her. You wouldn’t appear at your interview wearing bright green socks with your navy pinstriped suit, so don’t be flagrantly untraditional in your resume, either.

On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer, and you want to show off your skills in a concrete way, take advantage of your skills and add a cleverly designed element to your resume. Use color in a way that shows your flair, cleverness, and capability.

The Truth Is Somewhere in the Middle

Most people aren’t corporate bankers or artists: They’re regular people seeking regular jobs. If this sounds more like you, then simply use common sense about color. As a professional resume writer, I like using color. However, I know that “less is more.” The most important part of the resumes I write—and the most important part of your resume—is not the design. Rather, the most important message in your resume is why you are the ONLY person for the job.

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, is president and founder of Inscribe / Express and your partner in your job search. I write exceptional resumes and cover letters that get interviews for savvy job seekers. Contact me at 801-810-JOBS.