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

Wall Street, Dust off Those Resumes!

Dear Wall Street-ers,

Wow, I used to BE one of you back when I worked on the PR and recruiting teams at Lehman Brothers. I launched my company as a result of Lehman’s bankruptcy and have worked with many of you across different functions since our inception. I can say without  doubt that you are an interesting brood.

Based on this article, I may be speaking to more of you soon. Are you worried about your job? Have you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile recently? Are you thinking about potential next steps in case you fall victim to the layoff hatchet? How’s that networking going (remember, late nights at the office or sushi place around the corner are opportunities to network; #ABN)?

Despite a slight adjustment, the old adage rings true: all bad things must come to an end:  “‘Most analysts say these cuts won’t go on forever. As soon as lending starts to pick up, banks will increase headcount,’ said Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski.” While that may be the case and you could either land a new job quickly or get your old job back, have you pondered the REAL question: is going back to Wall Street what you really want?

It’s YOUR career–whatever curve ball is thrown your way, refresh, revive, renew!

 

South Florida Resume Writer: Sun, Fun & Career Success

While this time of year in Miami often conjures up thoughts of crowded beaches, Art Basel, star-studded New Years parties and the Orange Bowl (not to mention this year’s BCS National Championship), ReFresh Your Step is here to keep you focused on your career. Real estate prices are on a positive trend for the first time in awhile, general investment in Miami is up, and South Florida unemployment is down by almost 2% since 2011, all of which make it a great time to re-evaluate your career goals.

While we have worked with clients from California to Canada to Spain, we also focus on assisting our fellow South Florida residents. As a Miami-based company, we are open to scheduling in-person meetings depending on our clients’ needs and preferences (we also speak with clients via phone and Skype).

Did you know that ReFresh Your Step’s founder and lead strategist is one of only a handful of certified resume writers in South Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach? So while tourists and other visitors are enjoying the sand, sun and attractions, we welcome the opportunity to assist you in resume and cover letter rewrites and updates, interview preparation, effective networking techniquesLinkedin and other social media updates as well as any other career development needs.

Contact us today at 305.209.9593 or [email protected] to take advantage of special resident rates and let us help you make 2013 your most productive year yet!

Tip #9–Reframing the “I don’t WANNA Work on the Holidays” Idea / 9 Days of Holiday (Career) Cheer

Tip #9: Working on the Holidays is a Blessing if you Use it To Your Advantage

We know what you’re thinking: “Working on the holidays could NEVER be to my advantage and anyone who thinks that deserves a lump of coal/burnt latke as gifts.” Please, though, hear us out!

First of all, let’s distinguish between doing work that:

A) You know your boss/team members need done, versus

B) Will help you finish up tbs year and get prepare for next year, versus

c) Will Greatly enhance your chances of getting out of a career rut and onto the optimal path.

Let’s dissect:

The Situation: Your boss and/or team members need you to work on said projects/initiatives/budgets/etc. during the holidays.

Reframed Situation: While this may be the most difficult to reframe (so let’s hope it does not apply to you), at least you will know that your work is valued and that should not change into the new year. Additionally, you can bring that point up in your next review to show your commitment to your team (and use it as a starting point for the “Promotion” or “More Money” conversation.

 

The Situation: Working now means tying up all loose ends for the year; then again, that’s still work.

Reframed Situation: If we see one more person posting on Facebook or Twitter about how there is no one in the office now and he/she is getting SO much done, we may demand office space there for the day. In all seriousness, though, working is a PLEASURE right now. Not only can you actually work for thirty seconds straight without a new email/phone call/person stopping by, etc. but you can possibly continue for an hour (or more!) on any given task. Remember what it’s like to see an empty inbox? Get ready to find out! (Added bonus: you may be able to don casual attire and who doesn’t love that?)

 

The Situation: Working now means refocusing on *gasp* your next career steps; but, again, this means working. Or does it?

Reframed Situation: We know there are people already falling into this “reframed” category judging by the recent flood of requests from new clients; let’s try to look at this through their eyes: “This is a quiet time of year; I can finally take a step back and reflect on where I’ve been, career-wise, over the last few years and where I want to go. Am I progressing the way I would like? Is this the absolute best field for me? If I were to make a change, what would that look like?” From there, you can go in several different directions with future plans but at least you would have gotten the ball rolling during the holiday season!
We are VERY excited for 2013 and look forward to collaborating with clients on their continued–and future–success! Happy New Year!

 

Tip #8–Gifting Smart as Leader of the Pack / 9 Days of Holiday (Career) Cheer

Tip #8: Gift Smart if You are the Boss–Your Team Will Remember

Our Head Career Strategist & Lead Resume Writer, Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, still recalls the worst gift she ever received from a manager at Lehman Brothers (clearly, this was more than a few years ago). “Everyone on the team bought gifts for everyone else and you could tell we each put thought into the various options–until it came time for our manager to give us ours. To be honest, she was actually late to the team lunch as she was apparently at the corner bodega…buying lottery tickets. For each of us. Besides the lack of care over what she purchased (and the fact that we each spent a lot more on her than she did on us), she handed each of us our ticket and said that she claimed half of our winnings. She wasn’t kidding.”

I am pretty sure we do not have to tell you that if you are in a managerial role, avoid repeating that particular Bossypants Gaffe. It was disrespectful, rude, and altogether grinchy in its delivery. But there are Dos and Dont’s for the Employer/Employee Gift-Giving Scenario and we cover a few below (all from the boss’s perspective):

Do…

1) Gift One and All (you can’t give a gift to one team member and not the rest)

2) Spent Some Time Thinking about It (we’re not saying you need to scour the interwebs for days to find a perfect gift but do make it somewhat appropriate)

3) Keep in Mind the Basic Gift-Giving Principles (if your assistant is pregnant, avoid alcohol; if your analyst is gluten-free, think of something other than fruit cake, etc.)

 

Don’t…

1) Spent a Ton of Money (your subordinates make less than you but try to avoid making that totally obvious)

2) Expect Something in Return (your employees will likely get you something but it’s in poor taste to downright expect a gift)

3) Give a Lottery Ticket…or a Jam of the Month (You will look cheap and Chevy Chase might bother you to no end about it)

 

Gift-giving is not rocket science, honestly; the basic rule of thumb is, “Is this appropriate and if I were in his/her/their shoes, would I want this?” Happy gifting!

Hint for tomorrow: I don’t WANNA work on the holiday!  

Tip #7–Career Envy: Using it to Your Advantage / 9 Days of Holiday (Career) Cheer

Tip #7: All I Want for Chrismakanukahwanza Is HIS Job. 

It happens to all of us–you are making it through the holiday season just fine when something trips you up: a totally misdirected comment or back-handled complement, a received gift for which you didn’t plan and now need to find something ASAP…and the conversation that leaves you wondering where you went wrong in your life.  Perhaps your brother’s decision to stay in the family business really was smarter than yours to strike out on your own in hopes of being the Next Big Thing in Silicon Valley; or, seeing an old college classmate’s success in marketing makes you re-think changing your major to political science and then going to law school.

Whatever sets off the chain reaction, you are stuck with, “Where did I go wrong in my career and how do I re-steer my career ship?” Quite honestly, this line of thinking (and whatever precipitates it) can happen at any point in the year but with so many holiday parties and family get-togethers–not to mention bonuses and promotions–you may find yourself falling into this one-sided mental conversation more often around the holidays. What’s a hard-working soul to do?

1) Remember that All that Glitters is not Gold: What looks like a bright and shiny career path on the outside may be nothing more than a carefully crafted one-man PR campaign. Here’s an example:

What you hear/see: “Yes, I am now the Director of Technology Maintenance–it’s a great gig!” vs the truth: “I am one-man show dealing website/IT needs and never leave my cubicle. Ever. I actually have to leave this party and go back to work before they realize I’m gone.”

2) Your Career Path is a Journey, not a Destination: So Cousin Brenda is an Executive Vice President at some Fortune 500 company–and three years younger than you. The challenge is not confusing her success now with what yours WILL be down the road. No two job evolutions are the same and even ones within similar sectors are fully comparable; talk to your carer advisor (and manager) about how YOU are progressing and make plans for immediate, medium-term and long-term success. You’ll get there…and perhaps Cousin Brenda will be left in the dust for long.

3) Rejiggering is always Possible. So is ReFreshing, Reviving, and RenewingHere at ReFresh Your Step, we don’t care if you are just out of college, considering retirement in the next five years or somewhere in-between: in some form or fashion, the chance to make a change in your career is always an option. The challenge is identifying where you are in your current career, figuring out what you may want to do in the future, and determining how best to get there. We can help.

Hint for tomorrow: You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch… 

Tip #6–A Connectivus Festivus for the Rest of Us / 9 Days of Holiday (Career) Cheer

Tip #6: Reconnecting with old friends, flames & colleagues!.

As we’ve pointed out in earlier posts (both within this series and prior), connecting with others is an essential part of a successful career search and we believe the phrase “Always Be Networking” (ABN) is even more valid this time of year. But how to make networking work for you?

Simply stated, work the holiday (not to be confused with “work on the holiday,” as we do not support that notion at all!); rather, use this holiday season as an excuse to reach back out to people and wish them a happy holiday season.Target the ones you really want to connect with/feel would be advantageous for you in the long-run, keep the message brief, and ask a question to increases your odds of getting a response–and keeping the dialogue going (any question can work but the more specific/professional, the better). We are including an example below:

“Dear Jim

Happy holidays! Are you staying around town this year or heading out on vacation? We are planning to hang out in South Florida with family and are looking forward to the warm weather.

Once the new year rolls around, I’ll be gearing back up for a targeted job search and have identified your company as a potential good fit. I’d love to her more about your experience there; perhaps we can speak in early January? How does January 4th at 2pm work for you?

Enjoy the holiday season and here’s to a great 2013!”

That’s it! The note is simple, targeted, and engaging from both a “I want to hear about you” and “let’s schedule something so respond now” perspective. The likelihood of Jim responding is stronger, given the precise request for a conversation; either it will or won’t work but he is more likely to let the sender now (and potentially suggest another time that does work).

This tactic works across email, LinkedIn, as well as Facebook (if done via Private Messages and done especially tastefully). As always, we are here to review any messages you would like to send out and make constructive suggestions.

Happy Connectivus Festivus!

Hint for tomorrow: Green with (Career) Envy…