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The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

While we have already discussed what should not be included in a resume and common myths, there are pieces of advice you should never follow when working on your resume. As professional resume writers, clients are encouraged to ask questions about the writing process and share advice they have heard. While some advice can be useful, other bits are completely off-base. No recommendation is perfect, but this article will discuss some of the worst tips resume writing you might have heard.

You should always include soft skills. – NOT

First, what are soft skills? Things like great written and verbal communication, the ability to multi-task, professionalism, and excellent time management are soft skills. Those are great things to mention in your cover letter, with examples, but your resume should have skills that are unique to you.

Career summaries are a must. – NOT

When describing your responsibilities in a previous or current position, you want to have a short, bullet type list of the accomplishments unique to you during that time. Be specific – don’t generalize – and include numbers, time-frame, and anything else that would create a portrait about your experiences and career history.

It’s okay to close gaps in your work history by adding time to other positions or give yourself promotions. – NOT

If you jump from job to job, it will not benefit you to omit some of the jobs and close gaps by adding time to the most stable position on your resume. Say you were a stay-at-home parent until your children started school full time, the worst thing you can do with that time, on your resume, is to give yourself a promotion such as ‘household manager’ or ‘home engineer.’ Changing the truth to make yourself appear better does not differ from lying directly to the hiring manager. If you are chosen as one of the top candidates for a position, the company will check this kind of information.

If you don’t have specific skills a company is searching for, add them to your resume anyway and hope you never need to use them or talk about them during the interview. – NOT

You should never claim to know or be the master of a skill you know nothing about. Chances are, you will need to demonstrate the ability in one way or another before you are offered the position. If a company has dictated they need a candidate with this skill, then you should have this skill before applying.

Don’t pay attention to the skills necessary for each position you apply to, just apply to everything and hope you get an interview. – NOT

Instead of seeking out jobs you are qualified for, apply to every open position – you’re bound to be called to at least a few of them, right? You will only receive interview invitations for jobs for which you are qualified. So, yes, there is a chance you will be called for a few of the positions you apply for however, if you apply to everything, your resume will be added to a file for that company. Some companies discard unwanted applicants while others keep applications on the chance that you are qualified for another position within that company. Over sending applications is not only a waste of time, but besmirches your reputation the more you send.

If you are changing career paths or moving positions with another company after decades at one company, just give a brief job description. Anything you accomplished was part of your job description. – NOT

Your accomplishments are your own. While it was necessary for your position, you still set out to complete a project, increase productivity, or implement something new and realized that goal. The base description for any position is a generalization of expectations.

Be sure to send your resume to many peers to seek their advice and then incorporate all the advice you are given. Then, start sending out your resume without checking it again. A professional resume writer is a waste of money. – NOT

Not every person who has ever written a resume of their own knows what is better for your resume. Double checking your resume for mistakes is incredibly important as even the smallest mistake can stand out like a sore thumb to any prospective employer. When in need of advice, it is best to seek a professional resume writer and use their services. There are tips and tricks for each position type. However, you should make sure you are asking your professional resume writer questions about their service and your personal resume.

The internet is a font of wonderful information as well as misinformation. There is a great deal of advice to be found that can lead you astray when delving into your resume. Resumes are a complicated style to master. While there are many useful guides out, utilizing a resume writing service can be an incredibly beneficial investment.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

For Immediate Release: Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

For Immediate Release

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

Now Available on Kindle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 25, 2013). Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

Amy L. Adler, first-place winner of the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award for Best Executive Resume, announced today that she has published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters. This concise, inexpensive, and accessible e-book contains Adler’s top-secret techniques for determining your next job and writing the resume that gets you there. This new e-book promotes the best career transition strategies and the most powerful resume writing techniques available.

Six interactive worksheets give every reader the chance to implement Adler’s strategy right away. Job seekers who need to identify the right job titles, the right resume formats, and the right cover letters to win interviews need to read this book. Says Adler, “The economy is tough. If job seekers are unemployed, or underemployed, they need access to the right techniques that will give them the same chance to achieve the interviews they need. This e-book levels the playing field.”

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters
Only $0.99 at
http://bit.ly/easyjobsearchstrategiesforresumesandcoverletters

Bloggers: Ask for a free review copy.

About Amy L. Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won first place in the TORI Awards 2012 for Best Executive Resume. Amy is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on career advancement, executive résumé writing and interview strategies. Having written hundreds of job search documents, several examples of her work have been published in Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th Ed. (David F. Noble, JIST Publishing, 2012).

 

# # #
For interviews and media appearances, contact Amy L. Adler
2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com

Looking for Work Is Now Your Full-Time Job

Would You Hire Yourself during Your Job Search: Looking for Work Is Now Your Full-Time Job

If you’re unemployed, looking for work should be your full-time job. Although your effort to look for work in this touch economy isn’t something you can put on a resume, your job search has to be your main focus, and that means up to 40 hours per week.

Does a 40-hour weekly investment seem too much? Think about it this way. If you worked for a company and didn’t spend every valuable moment doing something profitable and productive, you’d get yourself fired. If, in a perfect world, you could hire someone else to find you a job, and that person failed, you would fire him/her as well for failure to perform. Thus, if you’re not looking for work some standard number of hours every work week in effort to find yourself a job, you should probably fire that persona and take on a new, successful job search strategy.

If You Worked only 22 Minutes per Day, You’d Be Fired

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Creative Commons License photo credit: pj_vanf

A recent white paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research* reported on what the unemployed generally do instead of looking for work. It turns out people sleep more, work on their houses more, and attend to their medical care. But they don’t spend a great deal of time looking for work. Surprisingly, they spend only 1% of their time in job search mode. If a typical work week is about 37 hours (down about 9% over the last couple of years), this means that the average unemployed person is spending 22 minutes per day looking for work.

Your Job Search Plan of Attack

Every hour, every minute you spend on some other activity during work time is unrecoverable time lost that you could be using productively as you are looking for work. Use this list to jump-start your new daily grind:

  • Join a Job Club. There are in-person job clubs, virtual job clubs, formal and informal job clubs—and all are designed to help you as you are looking for work. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, come to the Salt Lake City Job Club—it’s free. Call me at 801-810-JOBS to participate.
  • Get training. You’ve got the time, so go take a class in something you can talk about in your next interview. It also fills that gap on the resume since your last position while you are looking for work.
  • Shadow someone in a new industry or position for a day. Learn what they do. Ask questions. Pay attention. This might be your job target.
  • Network with people you know—and people you don’t know. Expand your circle. Become visible.
  • Apply intelligently for jobs. Your resume is one of the keys to your success. Tweak it for choice positions. Don’t know how? Don’t have a killer resume? Not getting those interviews? Call me at 801-810-JOBS.

Don’t just “do” something. Everything you do in your job search should have a purpose. If you don’t have a strategy and have no idea what the best use of your time is while you are looking for work, call me.

What do you while you are looking for work? Comments welcome.

* “Time Use During Recessions,” NBER, July 2011, http://www.nber.org/papers/w17259.pdf.

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 .

The “Discouraged Worker”—July 2, 2010 Unemployment Data

Like most in my trade—and most of you out there looking for work—I keep my eyes and ears open to the new monthly data on unemployment. I have heard all sorts of spins on the data most recently available from the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics (BLS). In fact, you could hear the glee in reporters’ scribbling as they happily reported the declining unemployment rate, currently at 9.5%, down from 9.7%.

I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the unemployment statistics. The report used a term we’re probably not too familiar with as a statistic, but we all know the punch-in-the-gut feeling it represents: “Discouraged workers.”

According to the BLS, discouraged workers are those who have ceased to search for work because they believe that there are no jobs out there that are suitable for them. The BLS statement reports that the number of discouraged workers has increased an incredible 289% to 1.2 million over the last 12 months.

To translate, that means that the number of people who have simply given up for lack of finding a job has almost tripled in the last year. This statistic differs from the number of unemployed, as “unemployed” assumes that those counted are actively seeking work. The discouraged worker surrendered to the poor economy.

Are You Discouraged?
If you are reading this blog post, you’re probably one of two things: You’re interested in the job market and actively seeking as well as shocked by the idea that things could get so bad you, too, might give up. Or you are, truly, a discouraged worker, and you’ve decided to give it one more shot.

Don’t Give Up! Get Connected to Career Resources
Regardless of how you see yourself at this very moment, don’t give up. My advice is the same. There are resources that can help you. If you need a resume, let us know. If you need career advice, we can help you with that, too. If you want to scrap your current career path and start over, let us find you a professional who can deconstruct where you’ve been and help you figure out where you want to go. If you already know all of that, and you simply need a recruiter who knows your specific industry, send us a note, and we’ll connect you with someone we know personally.

If you have a great resource, let us know why it’s incredible (it might even be you!), and we’ll add it (or you) to  my favorite career resources page .

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, is president and founder of Inscribe / Express and your partner in your job search. She writes exceptional resumes and cover letters that get interviews for savvy job seekers. Inscribe / Express is a full-service career documentation company and provides a 3-day turnaround time for resumes and cover letters. Contact us at 801-810-JOBS to speak one-on-one with a professional resume writer.