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When it Comes to Your Résumé, Focus is Key

One of my clients is currently in staffing, has a payroll background and wants me to tweak her résumé for a job in HR. I asked her to send me a sample HR job, so I can begin the work. She told me that I must use the résumé I have on file. That résumé is all about payroll.

It occurred to me that many people are not aware that a one-size-fits-all résumé, especially if one is applying to a variety of positions even within the same industry, just does not work. As accomplished and qualified as you may be, if your résumé lacks focus and does not address the employer’s needs, it will be tossed in ‘File 13’, which is the garbage bin. You can have one résumé as your master, but be prepared to tweak it for each position.

To begin writing or reformatting your résumé, dissect the job posting to see exactly what the employer is asking for. Think of your experience and see how closely it aligns with the requirements of the job. Do not include any information that does not relate to the position. Then, take your time to reflect on the challenges you faced in each situation, the actions you took, and the outcomes or results of your actions. This process allows you to show your accomplishments, gives an idea of your potential, and let the employer know that you understand their needs, and if given the opportunity, you can replicate youre successes, and even exceed their expectations.

If you would like to give your résumé a better chance of being plucked from the pile, make sure it’s focused and answers the employer’s WIIFM question: What’s in it for me? I tell my clients from time to time that if the employer asks for apples in thejob posting, give them apples, not bananas, oranges and grapes, unless these will enhance their chances of being called for an interview. When it comes to your résumé, focus is key.

If you require help with this very important job search document, don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance. Consider it an investment, not a cost.

Proactive Workers Know How to Stand Out from the Pack

“It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared”. ~Whitney Young

According to a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half International,standingout 82% of workers polled said they would be ready to conduct a job search if they lost their jobs tomorrow, but only 20% had updated their resumes in the last 3 months.  What differentiates the 20% from the rest? They are proactive. You won’t find them passively waiting for their pinkslips. They are constantly preparing for new employment opportunities (in or outside their companies) just in case the layoff axe falls on them. Here’s how you, too, can become part of that 20% of proactive workers and set yourself apart:

P Be prepared. Have a carefully laid-out plan ready for the next opportunity. That means your resume is up-to-date, voicemail is professional, and interview skills are sharp.
R Research companies and target only those employers for whom you would want to work. Do not send unsolicited generic resumes to every company in the telephone directory.
O Remind yourself that your objective is to convey to the employer how you can solve their problems, not to ask for “a challenging position that offers opportunity for growth”.
A Be active and visible. Attend networking meetings, volunteer on committees, participate in discussions on social media forums like Twitter, LinkedIn and others, and get noticed.
C Commit to ongoing professional development if you want to set yourself apart. It’s one of the best investments you could give yourself.
T Take time to develop and nurture relationships and build your network of contacts. It is a fact that people do business with, and recommend, people they know and trust.
I Become good at generating ideas, and learn how to influence key decision makers so they will accept and implement your ideas.
V Have a vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Don’t get sucked in to people who don’t share your vision and want to divert your attention from your goal.
E Exude confidence, not arrogance. Confidently communicate to the employer why you are uniquely qualified for the position and why you should be the one they hire.

These steps actually spell the word P-R-O-A-C-T-I-V-E, and if you follow them, you will always be ready to pounce on an opportunity, and lessen the impact of a sudden job loss.

We welcome your comments on this or any other topic covered.

7 Attributes of Highly Attractive Candidates

The following is a very interesting post by Head2Head Recruiting in Toronto. The link to the full article and credit is listed below.

Job applicants love to complain about recruiters. They say that their online applications end up in a cyber black hole and are never read, responded to or recorded. While that might be true in some cases, there are candidates who always get a response and this is what they do to help us out as recruiters with limited time to fill specific positions with highly qualified candidates.

1. They save us time. They write their applications to be scanned. Qualifications and experiences are listed up front using the language used in the original posting.

2. They solve our problems. Recruiters, like employers, aren’t interested in what a job can do for you. We’re interested in what you can do for the company. Good candidates know what the pitfalls are and have thought about how to bridge them.

4. They are excellent at doing researchers. They are up-to-date on major events, performance issues and current trends in their industry.

5. They know how to leverage social media. All of their contacts know they are looking for work, what they want to do and how they intend to get it.

6. They’re passionate about their work. A dedication to their careers shines through difficulties. Further education, training and involvement in industry associations are listed on their CVs.

7.They give our clients a reason to feel inspired. Clients can tell when fresh blood is going to bring fresh thinking. When you’re a special candidate, it shows in your CV in your cover letter and, most importantly, in how you STATE YOUR GOALS. Ambition, combined with practical steps toward achievement, are the most attractive qualities in any candidate anywhere.

Article originally posted by Recruiting Head2Head in Toronto. Cut and paste this link: http://ow.ly/kwK7

Connecting your Brand to your Value Proposition: Recognition to Reputation

How is Brand connected to your Value Proposition? What is your core value message? Are these terms confusing as they relate to your career transition and career development? Have you established what they are and incorporated them into a self-marketing strategy? If you have an interest in this topic; have no clue what these concepts even mean or what’s their relevance to your job search, then join my guest Wayne Pagani and I, for an informal discussion about these concepts and explore some practical ways to develop your value proposition, your brand, and how to use them to leverage your career transition.

Who is Wayne Pagani? Wayne is a talented career development strategist who brings over ten years of unparalleled service delivery in the field of career development complimented by extensive management experience in the corporate world. He has coached executives, managers, and other professionals with diverse backgrounds. Wayne delivers inspirational workshops and services to clients seeking career and professional development solutions in all sectors of business.

Listen on the Internet or call 646-478-5137

Seven Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

How many times have you heard that “first impression counts”? Many job seekers believe that a professional resume package is all that’s required for a successful job search. They don’t realize that an email address, the message on an answering machine, or the inappropriate use of cell phones could severely derail their job search.

The seven mistakes outlined below are real situations culled from unsolicited information that either arrived in my Inbox or was mentioned in conversations with an individual or two. None of the individuals are clients, so the element of confidentiality does not apply.

1. Email Address. Cute email addresses should be used only with your cute family and friends. They will not be considered cute by potential employers. All correspondence that pertains to your job search should have your real name or something that demonstrates professionalism. Consider the young woman whose email address was lazygirl@xxxxx.com. (The domain name has been changed to protect her identity). This young lady was looking for a job in a restaurant where they required someone to work in a fast-paced environment. Why would an employer hire someone who is announcing that she is a ‘lazy girl’?

2. Voicemail. Your voicemail should convey your professionalism. In your absence, it becomes another tool to market yourself. Give yourself a call and listen to your message. Is it short, clear and businesslike? Don’t be like this other young woman I met at a job fair who wanted to know what she was doing wrong why she couldn’t find a job. When I called her home to follow-up, part of her voicemail message said “If you got this message, you may be someone I don’t want to talk to, and if you are someone I don’t want to talk to, you know what to do”. Why would a hiring manager give her a second call after such a message?

3. Résumé. Don’t be a part of the ‘cheating culture’ by submitting someone else’s résumé as if it’s your own. That is never acceptable, particularly when you didn’t take the time to remove the other person’s name. A man sent me an email asking me to hire him. The name on his email address was different from the one he had as his signature, and the name on the résumé was also different. Three aliases! When I wrote back suggesting that he decides who he really is, his reply was “do u think i am dumb?”

4. Cover Letter. Take the time to write a proper, professional cover letter to accompany your résumé whether you are applying by email or sending it by snail mail. Your cover letter is another opportunity to market yourself to the employer; an opportunity to draw attention to your special skills or to explain something that was not covered in your résumé. The majority of hiring managers still want to see a cover letter whether or not the job posting asks to “fax a résumé”. The man referred to above (the one who wanted me to hire him) had as his subject line “looking 4 work”, and his one-line cover note said “I am looking for permanent work. Please hire me”.

5. Interview. Your résumé and cover letter brought you to this important stage. It is now time for you to shine; to tell the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the job. It’s inevitable that you are going to hear the question, ”Do you have questions?” You should be prepared with a few good ones. Do not be like the candidate who answered “No” to the question, then went home and sent an email with a long list of questions to the interviewer.

6. Job Offer. If you have reached the stage where you have been offered the job, it means the company really wants you. While it is normal, and sometimes expected, that a certain amount of negotiation will take place, don’t blow your chances by asking for the impossible. One young man, fresh out of graduate school, thought he should push the envelope by informing the interviewer that the other company was offering him much more money. He lost out on an opportunity as this company could not match the offer, and the other company didn’t exist.

7. Cell Phone. Watch your cell phone manners. One of the last things you do before going into an interview is to turn off your cell phone. Do not put it on vibrate, but turn it off. Not only will it be embarrassing to you if it rings during the interview, but it could spell disaster to your job search. A salesman was at an interview when his boss called. In the midst of the interview he told the boss that he “was meeting with a client”, and could he call back.

Your job search is much more than a resume and cover letter. It entails honesty and professionalism starting with your first contact with the company. Overlooking proper job search etiquette could be detrimental to your career success, so beware.

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Daisy Wright is Chief Career Strategist at The Wright Career Solution and author of No Canadian Experience, Eh? A Career Survival Guide for New Immigrants. Email: careercoach@thewrightcareer.com.

More Tips on Using Twitter in Your Job Search

Twitter is the one of the coolest job search tools. Click on the link to find valuable tips on how to use this fascinating tool in your job search.

Some topics include:

* How to get the most out of your page
* How to evaluate a recruiter on Twitter
* Job search tools
* Specific job search accounts

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/daisywright

Daisy Wright’s Interview with CHUM 104.5 FM

Interviewed this morning by Sara Konings of CHUM 104.5 FM for a new job search series about how to survive job layoffs. I will post the date the series will be aired as soon as I am advised. In the meantime, listen to an earlier interview at http://www.chumfm.com/podcast/MP3s/Interviews/Career%20Coach.mp3

Are you Conducting Your Job Search from Work?

** Are you using your company’s computer, fax machine, business e-mail account and office supplies to conduct your job search?

** Do you believe you are entitled to use the workplace to find a better job?

Though such activities are widespread, they are usually against company policy and could result in your dismissal.

Use common sense when conducting your job search at the office.

** Do not neglect the work you are paid to do

** Do not use the company’s telephone number or email address on your resume

** Conduct your job search outside business hours and away from the office

** Visit the local photocopying centre to make copies or fax your resume

The fact that you are unhappy with your job does not give you the right to use the workplace to find something better.