employment, job hunting, job interviews, job search, resumes

Old School: Please and Thank You

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It used to be common courtesy to politely ask for something, and then to give thanks when receiving it. Over time, this courtesy has become less common.

Despite the advanced technology, lack of parenting, or erosion of social skills, humans have not yet evolved from wanting to be appreciated.

Your resume is to get you an interview, and your cover letter should conclude by nicely asking to meet.

The most overlooked tool is the Thank You note. When you’ve gotten far enough into the process to actually have an interview, congrats, but don’t stop there!

There’s an often quoted 2012 survey by The Ladders, whereby, 75% of interviewers said that receiving a thank you note from a candidate affected their decision. However, only 21% send them sometimes, and 10% never do!

I’ve hired a lot of people, and receiving a thank you email or handwritten note has always made a difference. Not only did that person now get another opportunity to be top-of-mind, but also they got a follow-up chance to impress me.

There are thousands of free thank you notes online to sample, but show your personality and your genuine interest in THEM.

1) Keep it short. This is not for you to re-hash your cover letter or attach your resume. Three paragraphs (Nice meeting you…reminder of you with what got their attention…and then showing your passion for the job) are all you need.

2) No mistakes. Don’t implode after getting this far. Have others read it before sending. Check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and that your name and contact email/phone is legible. Be sure to have the correct spelling of their name.

3) Send it soon. Email it within 24 hours, but not as soon as you get home since it may look desperate. If mailing it, do it right away since it will take 2-4 days to be delivered. Send one to each person with whom you met. Trust me, they compare notes about YOU.

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

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employment, job hunting, job search, resumes

Size Doesn’t Matter. Or, Does It?

“How long?”

That’s the question that I’m asked most often.

Human resource managers, school career counselors, and even professional resume writers can’t agree on what’s an appropriate length for a resume today.

The Internet, Linkedin, and websites have changed how we now look at resumes. Instead of hard-copy pages, we now can seamlessly scroll through a resume, not knowing its length. Linkedin breaks our profile into different sections, so it’s not stitched together. Video resumes that showcase the person and their portfolio have only running times.

An article by Kim Isaacs for Monster.com, suggests that you should have a ONE-pager if you have less than 10 years of experience or are pursuing a career change or only had one employer; a TWO-pager if you have more than 10 years of experience relevant to your new goal or need space to list engineering/technical skills; a THREE-pager if you’re a senior-level executive or in an academic/scientific field with extensive credentials.

I totally agree with these suggestions as guidelines. My answer as to the proper length is always, “What will it take to convince the reader?” If you don’t start strong and keep their attention, they will bail out, regardless of length.

I’ve seen good two-pagers and bad one-pagers. I’ve seen strong, concise one-pagers, and cluttered or boring two-pagers. Size doesn’t matter unless you abuse the space. Tell your story, quantify your accomplishments, and sell yourself as the best candidate for an interview.

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

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employment, job hunting, job search

What Did You Eat For Dinner Last Thursday?

That’s what I thought…I don’t remember either!

If we don’t remember something so recent, how can we accurately recall details of an event from months or years ago?

The more I consult with students and working professionals on their resumes, the more I realize that they have forgotten crucial information—information, that they all once had at hand, but have now forgotten.

A resume is NOT a list of your jobs’ descriptions. We know what a bank teller does; what a bar manager does; what a retail salesperson does. Don’t waste valuable space telling your reader (the HR person or hiring manager) what they already know.

You NEED to quantify what YOU accomplished while at each job. How many people did you hire, train, and supervise? How much money did you save the company, generate for the company? What did YOU do to make things better?

Answers to these and many other questions are demonstrated with citing achievements in $, %, #s, volumes, sizes, etc.

Don’t just say that you’re “responsible,” or a “team player,” or a “hard worker.” PROVE IT! Demonstrate those traits through your accomplishments.

And that brings me back to…update your resume EVERY TIME that you have achievements, get kudos at work, or win awards.

Updating this living document will keep you from leaving out or having to reconstruct events, achievements, $, %, #s, volumes, and sizes, years later. And, if you don’t believe me, what did you have for dinner last Thursday?

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

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employment, job search

Don’t Waste End-of-the-Year Job Opportunities

Conventional wisdom has been that the end of the year was the worst time to look for a job. That Bermuda Triangle period from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years was a waste of your time, since decision makers and HR folks were on vacation.

I’d like to propose that NOW is not the time to kick back…NOW is the time to turn up the heat!

Why?

1) Most others are sitting on the sidelines waiting for mid January, so you’ll have less competition.

2) Despite the holidays, time keeps on marching. Budgets that are on a calendar fiscal year are about to end and a new one begin, so departments have the green light to spend-to-hire.

3) Not all corporate personnel go on vacation, or, at least not for the whole season. The ones left are still opening resumes, processing applications, and working to fill vacancies.

4) Use the chance to rehearse your elevator speech. Get it down to 60 seconds and memorize for a confident, professional pitch.

5) Take advantage of networking at holiday parties.  Don’t be handing out your cover letter, but do hand out your business card (name, address, phone, email, and give yourself a title, like “Marketing Professional”).  This is important so that days/weeks later, the person will remember meeting you and why. Talk to many and be sure to ask about them BEFORE you tell them about you. Politely ask for their card  and give them yours. Remember key facts about them and go write them down…so you can follow up later with a “Nice to have met you” email.

Grab some egg nog and then get your resume in shape; call to get a research interview or appointment to fill out an application; and get out to meet people because they know more people [who may be able to help you].

It’s the end of the year, not the end of the road.

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