LinkedIn Series – Profile Basics & Your Resume

You have your basic LinkedIn profile set up and have included (please) a snazzy headshot, but how do you work in your resume? Should your profile and resume match? Although your resume is an important part of your LinkedIn profile, they’re not the same thing. In fact, the two are more like supportive siblings than identical twins: they should complement one another but not match (exception: your basic contact and job info should always be consistent between the two!).

While completing your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that it should be a good self-representation of where you want to go with your career while indicating that you have the foundation for it (again, similar to your resume…but not identical). Your profile should be straight to the point, but unique at the same time. Remember that others will be viewing your profile. It is a good idea for someone else (who knows you and your work) to review it and provide constructive feedback to ensure you are on the right track. View your LinkedIn profile as your image. Build it accordingly to create a powerful reflection.

Once you have the work/education basics in place, it is time to flesh it out with details. Concentrate on your accomplishments for each role and provide context if that would suit your needs. Additionally, indicate your Core Competencies in the Summary section (though they will be referenced again in the Skills/Expertise section; more on that later!).  Remember to read our post on Resume Don’ts (parts I and II); though it’s true that the two should not be identical, many of our guidelines here still ring true for LinkedIn!

We have much to cover regarding LinkedIn profiles–today’s post barely scratches the surface on how to handle the basic profile. Next up:

  • Creating a strong summary and how to obtain a unique URL.

Other upcoming profile topics include:

  • The importance of outside validation and strategies for obtaining it.
  • Why projects matter and how to work them in to your profile.
  • An overview on increasing your “Subject Matter Expert” presence and why you want to do that at all.

After we cover the profile, we’ll move into the amazing features built into LinkedIn and discuss how to maximize your usage of each one. Until then, remember, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

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!

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

Yahoo!’s Big Gamble: The Workplace Flexibility Conundrum

With more and more companies offering workplace flexibility, it came as a shock that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued a memo late last month explaining that the company would require all of its employees to come into the office instead of working from home. This decision has received plenty of heat, with some calling the policy change “short-sighted”, “going backwards” and an “epic fail”. After all, 24% of Americans reported working from home at least a few hours per week and 63% of employers reported they allowed employees to work remotely.

Even though allowing workers to telecommute may save the company money in a sluggish economy, some firms are noticing definite drawbacks to having an emptier office. Studies have indicated that employees who work from home are more productive but less innovative – apparently, employees interacting with one another can lead to more new ideas and faster decision making. For a struggling company like Yahoo, having employees in the same place could mean the difference between growth and stagnation.

Job applicants shouldn’t always assume their future workplace will embrace workplace flexibility. It may be an attractive option to work from your couch all day, but it may not be the best decision for your career. Often, employees who primarily work from home miss out on crucial decisions and also may be passed over for promotions or special opportunities partly because they are much less visible in the office environment.

Recent college graduates and young professionals may be searching for jobs with greater opportunities to work from home, but Mayer may have started a trend with more companies focusing on keeping people in the workplace. Workplace flexibility must be kept in balance with other job aspects – how important is it to you to work at home compared to the possibility of job security or career growth? Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important, but no job will be perfect and in this economy, sacrificing working from home just might be necessary.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Proven App: Can You Trust It?

It seems like there’s an app for everything recently – with the help of your smart phone or tablet, you can order Chipotle, check the weekly coupons for Publix and find the nearest ATM. Now you can even find a job on the go with the new Proven application.

Users can browse Craigslist job postings, upload their resume and cover letter and apply right from their computer or iPhone. So far, Proven has received great reviews from users for being easy to use and the numbers speak for themselves – 18K users downloaded Proven in January. Proven received 5 out of 5 stars from users on the iTunes store and the updated version allows users to sync accounts on their phone and computer.

While using the Proven app may seem like the new frontier in finding a job, it also has its limitations. Although the app makes it easy to send resumes and cover letters to potential employers, it also is restricted to positions posted on Craigslist. Not all job postings on the site are exactly what they seem and there is often a larger concentration in service industry job postings. This may require more in-depth searches to find a legitimate posting that is well-suited for an employee. Jobs on Craigslist also represent only a fraction of available jobs, so Proven is not a one-stop-shop in finding your next job.

With other job search apps like JobMo, Job Aware and Ultimate Job Search gaining in popularity, it seems like thousands of people are taking advantage of the convenience of applying for jobs on the go. As so many aspects of our lives are virtual nowadays, it makes sense that we would use technology to apply for jobs. Keep in mind that your online presence should also be kept up to date to best utilize the Internet in your job search. With RYS’ Social Media services, we can help you put your best foot forward in your online job search.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

LinkedIn: The Ugly Duckling Gets the Last Quack

While our blog has made LinkedIn a focus on several occasions (most recently, here), a recent Wall Street Journal article provides further evidence of how powerful a tool the site can be when used effectively. Though some of the initial points focused on outperformance of the company’s stock since its IPO relative to some of its social media peers,  perhaps the more relevant information for job seekers is the article’s take on what has driven the company’s market capitalization  to more than quadruple since 2011 compared to decreases of 25%-60% for social media “darlings” Facebook, Groupon and Zynga.

 

This article’s main point is that companies both large (i.e.  PepsiCo and Starbucks) and small are devoting an increasing amount of time and resources to find applicants across a wide variety of industries and experience levels. Why? Because LinkedIn’s “pool of candidates is so  large and resumes tend to be more actively fleshed out and updated versus rival job sites and social networks.” What’s more, the article goes on to say, “LinkedIn also specializes in connecting companies with people who may not be looking for a job,” which can be appealing to a company.

 

What does this mean for those of us that don’t care as much about the company’s stock price? As LinkedIn attracts more users and expands its business lines, your LinkedIn presence is as critical as ever. Think that just means updating your profile with your latest job? Think again. There is much more to it and we can help. Whether in person or online and over the phone, we will ensure that you have the tools to maximize the benefits LinkedIn has to offer.

 

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

10 Job Questions You’d Better Ask Your Boss – Or Interviewer!

­­­In today’s stressful job market, many key components of hiring’s former life have fallen to the wayside. Being able to pick and choose among job offers is a thing of the past for most people, so it’s not surprising that the main focus of a job search is what’s available and not which job is the best fit. This Forbes article discusses some questions you could rework into a job interview to help determine if a position is right for you.

Although it seems strange for the interviewee to become the interviewer, never forget that you also deserve to get the information you need to determine whether this job is a good fit – because the interviewer is doing the same thing! While the questions in the article are written in the context of a boss-employee relationship, it’s easy to change some of the questions to fit into an interview situation.

Some possible job questions that can be used in an interview are, “How long have you been with Company XYZ?”  This can alert the interviewee to clues about how the company makes hiring decisions – are outside hires often selected to fill positions or is there a larger emphasis on promoting from within?

Another question that can reveal a good amount of information about a position is “What are your thoughts about professional development courses?” The answer to this will A) alert an interviewee as to whether the company is open to helping employees further their careers and B) let the interviewee see if the interviewer has similar views on the subject. If not, maybe it’s not the best fit.

Also consider asking about the interviewer’s career to date: “How did you select this particular field and what has been your career path thus far?” A response to this question can honestly reveal a great deal about the hiring manager–including whether or not he/she is truly passionate about the field and what type of manager he/she would be if you were to join the team. It can also open up the conversation to different topics that are more memorable than standard interview fare. For example, if in the response, the hiring manager reveals a more personal detail and you can in some way identify with that point, run with it! You will have formed an important bond with the interviewer and few people will be able to accomplish the same feat.

When considering any career move, it’s important to think about how a job will fit in with your personal and professional goals. If you need a refresher on your interview skills or want to learn how to get more out of meeting with a potential employer, ReFresh Your Step is here to help! With our Interviewing Strategies and Strategic Career Consulting services, you’ll be able to walk into any interview with confidence.

–Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Beware Phantom Job Postings

No matter if you are a college student entering the job market for the first time or a 30-year veteran of the working world, making a career change or seeking a promotion is something that may never be far from your mind. Unfortunately, as this Wall Street Journal article points out, you may have to face plenty of challenges while staying on the job search.

Even if you are actively applying for a new position or just looking to see what may be available in your field, many job postings may just be formalities – many positions are already filled by current employees or specially selected outside hires. While this may seem discouraging, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure the door to career advancement is always open.

First, never fall behind on networking. This ensures you stay on the radar of prospective employers while also forging new connections in your field. Networking can happen anytime and anywhere, online or offline, and it does not have to feel like work! Check out our blog post on networking to help get you started with this crucial aspect of professional life.

LinkedIn is a vital tool in keeping up with the opportunities available to you. Use the website and other social media to your advantage – connect with the people most relevant to your field, decide what you’re going to do with those connections, and decide on your final goal. Keeping those things in mind will make you an effective virtual networker. Check out our previous blog on using the Internet for continued career success for some quick tips.

While networking is a smart move in today’s connection-focused career world, you also need to strategically choose what jobs you apply to. As the article mentions, even if the NFL posts a job opening for a head coach, chances are you don’t qualify (no matter how well do in your Fantasy Football league). Look at exactly what the job is asking for and be realistic when deciding if it’s a position for which for you would be well-suited. As much as I would like to be a Cirque du Soleil performer, I don’t think my years of trapeze experience (which are non-existent) would get me hired.

Luckily, you’re not alone in this process. Our Strategic Career ConsultingNetworking Techniques and Social Media Presence services can help ensure you’re putting the best foot forward while in your current job or during a job search. With the right mix of smart socializing, a strong social media presence, and choosing potential jobs carefully, an amazing career opportunity is just around the corner.

Remember–it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

–Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern