9 Steps to Your New Career Launch Part I

Fresh out of college, ready to take on the world, but where do I start? This is a question that many recent graduates ask themselves, not to mention, countless 25-60 year-olds. The thought of stepping into this ocean of careers options, and a world filled with opportunities, might be overwhelming. The key to a successful career launch is to find a job that best fits your life goals and makes you happy. In order to find that job, there are a few key steps you can follow. This 9-step process will shine a light on what your goals really are, and how to utilize them to find the right career path; we’re posting the first several steps today and the remaining ones next week so check back!

1. Recognize the change 
Many graduates struggle with the transition from being in school to finding a job. Some might take some time off while others want to go straight into the workforce. Either way, you need to recognize that there is a change to be made in order to get to the next step. Going through this change might seem scary but it’s an important step that requires time and dedication. When you’re ready to make that change, you know you’re ready to lay out all the steps necessary to start your journey successfully.

2. Create a plan 
Creating your plan is a necessity, and a very helpful tool. Create your plan by asking yourself specific questions. For example, if you want to be a lawyer. What does that involve? What are the educational requirements? Are there any costs attached to that? An important part of your plan is that even though you are planning for your future, your current situation is also very important. Make sure you’re financially secure while planning, and don’t rush in or out of things. Finding and securing your dream job takes time. Always review your plan, discuss with family, especially if they are helping out financially, and make updates along the way.

3. Focus on meaning, not money
It is important to really think about your personal opinion on meaning vs. money. Having a meaningful job might not always pay out the big bucks, but the fulfillment you get makes the financial gain less important. If money weren’t a factor, what would your job be? It is also important to keep in mind that money tends to follow you in a career; if you find something you love but the money is not there initially, consider sticking with it for a few years as you will likely reach the dream: a thriving career and good income.

4. Determine your signature strength

As a truly unique individual, you have something special to offer. It is very important to know what you’re good at in order to link it to the right job for you. Knowing your strengths is also very empowering in the sense that you know what sets you aside from the next person. If you’re having a hard time recognizing your strengths you can take the VIA (Values in Action) Signature Strength questionnaire; this free tool assists in determining your strengths and helping you to plan for future career steps. Our Head Career Strategist, Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, ACRW, also recommends taking assessments from eCareerFit.com; they are more in-depth and absolutely helpful! Using your strengths will give you a better understanding on who you are and what makes you so unique.

5. Create “The List” 
Now it is time to revisit your plan, combine that with your strengths, and take things to the next level. You need to create “The List.” On this list you need to write down all the things that you loved to do when you were younger; the things in which you’ve always excelled and, really, can see yourself doing. You can also add the powerful qualities that you discovered while you were in college that adds value. This one-of-a-kind list is very personal but do ask friends and loved ones for their perspective as well. Once you review the list, you’ll see points that have consistently made you feel fulfilled and happy thus far. This list can help you discover your niche for an optimal career fit.

The next four steps are absolutely integral to launching a successful career path so check back early next week to view them. Until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

The Importance of Resume Certifications

As summer begins to wind down, many people begin looking forward to getting back to work and / or school and dealing with important issues in their lives. When it comes to picking important service providers (doctors, financial planners, etc…), most people look for professionals that (besides being recommended by a trusted source), have attained a certain level of education or training in their respective fields. Why then, settle for less when it comes services for your career, likely one of the most important aspects of your life?

Unbeknownst to many, there are a growing number of  national certifications and training programs for career-related topics such as resume writing, career coaching and human resources.

While many websites and companies advertise resume and cover letter writing and editing services (some promising unrealistic results and timing for a relatively low cost), it is important to understand who is behind the glossy website and will actually be doing the work. Just as you wouldn’t want to undergo surgery from someone who performs procedures as a hobby, or doesn’t have the level of knowledge and training with which you are comfortable, preparing yourself for a potentially career-defining opportunity should be the responsibility of a trained and certified professional. In this improving (albeit slowly) job market and economy, your resume can make all the difference between landing the right opportunity and…not so much.

ReFresh Your Step, is owned and led by, Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, ACRW, a career-oriented professional who has attained a Masters in Educational Psychology, has a professional background that includes journalism and recruiting roles, among others, and is a trained  writer backed by resume certifications from two prestigious organizations. Her first certification, the CPRW, is from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and the second, her ACRW, is from the Resume Writing Academy. The latter group is widely considered to be one of the highest levels of certification in this growing field. As one of a relatively small number of ACRW certified writers worldwide and one of only 2 based in South Florida, Emily Kapit, works with a wide variety of professionals from every sector/level in over 45 states, throughout North, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and India, and is ideally suited to help you achieve all of your career goals. Connect with us today and take the first step towards towards career success!

Credit Score and Jobs

Ever thought about the role a credit score plays in your job search? 750? 800? These aren’t just GMAT or LSAT scores. According to a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, an increasingly large number of companies are going beyond resumes and interviews by looking at job applicants’ credit history to get a more complete picture of an candidate’s background.While a well-written resume and online profile is a given, make sure you spend some time reviewing a recent credit report prior to interviewing for any career opportunities so that you can be prepared to proactively and strategically address any concerns instead of potentially being caught off guard later on.

We suggest spending at least one part of a quiet summer day not just reviewing your career goals but your credit profile as well.

With offices and affiliated writers in South Florida, Atlanta and New York, and a diverse clientele that includes professionals located in over 40 states as well as the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe, Refresh Your Step can help you with all of your career advisory needs including resume writing and updates, social media presence, interviewing preparation and career coaching.

It’s Your Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew. 

Credit Score and Jobs

10 Resume Don’ts (6-10)

It may not have been another 3-day weekend but hopefully it was pool-and-BBQ-weather where you live! Welcome back to our Ten Resume Don’ts, Part II. If you need a ReFresher on points 1-5, click here.

6. DUA – Don’t use abbreviations if you aren’t absolutely positive that the reader understand them.  A lot of people like to include very technical content in their resumes which is fine, especially if their field or background requires it. Far too often though, candidates include abbreviations and acronyms that may not be understood by a general recruiter or even an industry professional who may not be as involved in a particular subject matter, skillset, process or program. Make sure you either fully define any abbreviations or are very confident that anyone reading the resume will understand your references.  Ask us if you need advice!

7. Don’t rely on general statements regarding your achievements. In other words, be specific. For example, instead of mentioning how you increased sales during a given time period, make the point more powerful by saying how you increased sales of whatever product or service by (X%) over the last (Y) amount of months or years. Quantifiable objectives are easier to read and understand for most people. We have methods of helping you grab that info too!

8. Don’t forget to present your contact information clearly and concisely. Like many of these tips, this may seem obvious but it is definitely overlooked. Without a cover letter, this may be the only information a hiring manager or industry contact has about you so make sure it is clearly and accurately (typos in the email address or phone number are embarrassing and can result in you missing out on a potential opportunity to be contacted )represented on your resume.  And while you were at it, make sure you have a company or professional email address listed ([email protected] may be cute but you should probably create a more professional Gmail or Yahoo-based address for professional correspondence). Live email addresses and LinkeddIn profiles are a must as well!

9. Don’t make excessive use of different font types, SIZES and colors. Generally speaking, RYS is a big proponent of using bold, underline, italics, and other tools to make a resume stand out in a positive way; however, too much use of these can take away from the content and turn off the person reviewing the resume. If the reader can’t understand the content, it won’t matter how the resume looks.

10. Don’t SOLELY base your resume’s contact and format on what you think someone ELSE wants to see. All of the other tips included in this post notwithstanding, your resume needs to convey who you are and what makes you special. So while there are plenty of guidelines to follow to make sure your resume is accurate, informative, and engaging (all of which are very important), it also needs to tell your story and highlight your specific qualities so that the reader gets an understanding of who you are and ultimately wants to meet or speak to learn more about you.

We know that writing a resume can seem daunting and are always here for whatever level of involvement you ask of us and are happy to be a resource. Remember, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew. And enjoy your summer!

10 Resume Don’ts (1-5)

Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start of summer–has now come and gone. As many people use the hot summer months to step away and think about their next career move, we have put together a list of resume don’ts to complement some of our other resume advice. So as you approach the next few months, don’t forget to put on sunscreen and use the tips below to make sure you–and your resume–are protected:

1. Don’t assume your resume has to be one page. While for some younger or less experienced professionals, a one-page resume may make sense, it’s okay to have a 1 1/2 or 2-page document if that document captures the relevant highlights and proficiencies you want a hiring manager to see as a first impression.

2. Don’t then assume that your resume needs to be 5 pages either. Yes, you may be important and experienced and have a lot to share. Some of that can be saved for a subsequent meeting or interview. The resume still needs to be succinct so that someone can quickly look through it to get a sense of your background and accomplishments without feeling like they are reading a book. Some of our Advanced Professionals/C-Level clients had far stronger documents once we stripped them down to a more manageable 2-3 pages.

3. Don’t lie. Ever. Think this doesn’t apply to you? Think again. A good resume reflects the best of a person without crossing the line. Every detail of your resume should be presented with the assumption it will be fact-checked by someone during the hiring process. It is absolutely okay to build yourself up and make yourself as attractive a candidate as possible (it’s our job to know how and what the limits are!). But don’t…

4. Don’t submit a resume without running a spell check. And then check the proper nouns and other words (i.e company and town names) that aren’t in the dictionary. No matter how great your resume is, you will likely lose credibility if you spell the name of a state incorrectly (for those of you laughing, this happens a lot more than you think). We’ve also received resumes with obvious date mistakes (like the client whose resume indicated a job start in 1876). YIKES.

5. Don’t assume that content is the most important component of a resume. Of course, it is very important and as mentioned above, it needs to be accurate. But perhaps as important  as the content, is the format and style. Your resume needs to stand out to engage someone. If it is just a list of bullets, it may not get the attention it deserves, especially if it is being reviewed by a hiring manager, who has 100 others to skim through to decide the few candidates to recommend for the next round. Remember to check out some of our Case Studies and ask if you want to see more examples!

Check back early next week for tips 6-10! Until then, it’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

How Your Smartphone Could Get You a Job

Today’s technology has enabled smartphone users to stay connected with social media, the latest news, and newest apps almost anywhere. While it’s easy to check your friends’ status updates on Facebook and Twitter, this WSJ article highlights another use for down time with a smartphone – applying for jobs. 33% of Fortune 500 companies have application sites customized for a smartphone screen, and the trend keeps growing. From McDonald’s to Macy’s, more and more companies are utilizing apps that allow professionals to apply for open positions on their smartphones. This movement may make things easier for potential employees, but it also means that applicants will need to think about how their resume looks on a small screen.

When applying for a job using your phone, it makes sense to think that hiring managers may be looking at your application on their phones. While most companies will use apps that are formatted for a smartphone screen, it is still important to make your resume stand out on an even smaller display. This can be easy if you know how to properly format your resume to gain maximum attention from a possible new employer.

Using certain key elements in your resume design will make your document engaging, but not “busy” or too overwhelming for a hiring manager. Our brains are always looking to break down information into smaller pieces that are easier to process – and technology is available to help do just that. Techniques like shading and bolding will help your resume seem easy to read while bringing out important pieces of information that will catch an employer’s eye.

Implementing these formatting techniques is something a good resume writer will know how to do and can utilize an individual’s experience to create an effective and attractive document. A customized resume will help draw an employer’s attention and help emphasize an employee’s best assets. ReFresh Your Step’s Resumes & Cover Letter services can do just that – check out our Before & After results to see what we can do for your resume. After all, even on a small screen, a great resume could be the key to getting the job!

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Top Five Reasons to Hire a Resume Writer

Your resume – usually the first thing a potential employer sees  – is often a key determinant in whether you’ll be offered a job or even an interview. While it’s tempting to think that writing your own resume is the cheaper, easier option, it may end up costing you in the long run. Consider this: with so much riding on one document, using a professional resume writing service is a wise investment for jobseekers. There are many reasons to employ a professional resume writer – and it’s tax deductible (a BONUS reason)!

1. The experts agree! Some interesting statistics – according to www.theladders.com, a professionally written resume can make you 38% more likely to be contacted by recruiters, 31% more likely to land the interview and 40% more likely to land the job. With stats like that and an 8% unemployment rate (at least),  not using a professional resume writer can truly be hurting your chance at finding your next job.

2. You’ll Get to Recruiters Faster. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are widely used by employers and can work against you before your resume even reaches a hiring manager’s desk. With each job, there are certain keywords the tracking systems look for – with an 80% match of the right words, your resume will be sent directly to a hiring manager. A 60%-79%% word match may or may not be enough for your resume to move past the application process, and anything less than a 60% match will send your resume into the black hole of forgotten applicants. A professional resume writer will know exactly what keywords employers are looking for and can help your resume bypass the tracking system. Strongly accredited writers will even teach you how to quickly and effectively tailor your resume’s key words for individual job descriptions. Choose wisely!

3. Resume Trends Evolve: A professional resume writer is a trained expert and truly knows what employers are really looking for in a resume. Do you know what kind of accomplishments you should pull out of your experience and put onto paper? Are you aware of how your skills should be presented in order to show your potential to employers? Have you considered building in a strategy for how you want your document to be viewed by hiring managers? Resume writers aren’t inventing any of your experiences or abilities, but they know how to present them in a way to place you in the best light possible – and to show employers how valuable you are–and will be to them.

4. Accountability & Preparedness: Hiring a professional resume writer can also be a great way to reinvigorate your job search or achieve clarity and preparedness when looking for a new position. The fact that using a resume writer makes you 40% more likely to land an interview means that job seekers with professionally written resumes are landing interviews more often and thus have more experience putting their best foot forward with potential employers. Getting more interview opportunities will allow you to feel more confident and capable of finding a new job. Not to mention, seeing your new resume with all of your useful skills and abilities can enable you to communicate what makes you special to employers.

5. The Investment Often Pays off VERY Quickly. Although some may be reluctant to shell out money for writing something they could technically do themselves, hiring a professional resume writer may actually save you money in the long run. If you are between jobs or a new college graduate, you’re losing money the longer you remain unemployed – spending a few hundred dollars now can pay off when you land a job faster than had you written your own resume.

There are many more reasons to hire a professional resume writer – peace of mind that your resume is in the best hands, getting expert advice or even not having to stress out about whether or not you should have included your first job as a camp counselor. With statistics showing how beneficial a resume writer can be, the only question left is: when can I start using my new resume?

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

What Can a Professional Resume Writer Do for You?

In today’s competitive job market, there are a seemingly endless number of factors that can affect whether an applicant is hired or not. Not wearing the right outfit to the interview? Your application goes in the “No” pile. Accidentally submit a cover letter you used while applying for another position? Most companies won’t even give you a second look, no matter how qualified you are. This economy calls for great attention to detail – so while creating your resume may seem fairly easy, perfecting your resume means you’ll need a professional.

A professional, you say? Professional…resume writer? That exists? While such a writer technically falls under the “Ghost Writer” category (as you would not advertise having used our services on the resume), there has long been a job sector solely devoted to ensuring you get into – or move up in – your targeted job sector.

Remember: resume writers are not created equal; the top resume writers earn certifications in their craft while carefully honing their skills to include the most complex of cases. The main certifications are CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer, given through the Professional Association of Resume Writers), ACRW (Academy Certified Resume Writer, given through The Resume Writing Academy), and NCRW (National Certified Resume Writer, given through the National Resume Writers Association). Often the CPRW is thought of as the “undergrad” of resume writing certifications and the ACRW and NCRW are the more advanced or “graduate” certifications. Using a resume writer with these credentials means you will be working with a professional who knows their field and can help you succeed.

Now, going through a professional resume writing service may not be cheap – having an expert revise your resume will cost you hundreds of dollars. So why would you even bother? Think of your resume as a first impression – this is most likely what the company will see before you land any kind of interview. A professional will know what language businesses are looking for and how to ensure that all of your skills and experience are effectively communicated to employers. Additionally, writers whose services extend beyond resumes can collaborate with you on how to utilize the document in job searches, help you perfect your social media profile, as well as prep you for interviews. Often times, these particularly “well-rounded” writers can be a one-stop-shop to assist you in landing the job.

Just like you wouldn’t try to rewire your house without the aid of an electrician, hiring a professional resume writer means having someone who is a highly skilled writer helping you create your best resume. Luckily, ReFresh Your Step’s own Emily Kapit is a CPRW and finalizing her ACRW certification, making her a leading expert on resume rewrites and updates  as well as other career services. With the Resume and Cover Letter services and a pro lead resume writer, ReFresh Your Step will help you find the perfect job for you! Check out our Results and Services pages to see just what RYS can do for you and your career.

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern