Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why Waste Time? What Not To Do When Sending In Your Resume

After employers have placed a job ad, they might have to go through hundreds of resumes to sort out which candidates they would like to interview. Why not give yourself a fighting chance by avoiding these pitfalls?

Not Qualified for the Job:
Why apply for a job that you are not qualified for? You shouldn't apply for a job when you do not have the essential skills being sought. Of course, if you have the skills, and are just shy some experience, you can certainly try. But if they are looking for someone with 5 years experience, and you only have 2 year's worth, you will likely not get the job. And that's wasting an employer's time.

Not Sure?
One of the biggest time wasters is people that apply for jobs they aren't sure they really want. When you apply for a job, whether through an employment agency, or through an employer directly, make sure you would be ready to take the job should it be offered to you. If you aren't, if you haven't talked to your family about it, or you aren't sure you're ready to leave your present employer, don't wait and see if they call you before deciding if you want the job. Of course, it's okay to change your mind later, but if you aren't sure in the first place, why waste their time?

You might not see it as lying, but essentially, it isn't too far off. Saying you are qualified at a certain aspect of the job requirement when you clearly aren't is a waste of time. We once had someone apply to us for a job that required French language skills who couldn't speak a word of French, despite his resume implying he could. Obviously on essential skills, you will likely get tested or evaluated somehow. Exaggerating to get a job is definitely NOT the way to go.

Confusing Resume:
Nothing slows down an employer like having to figure out what the heck your previous job was, and reading through a 10 page resume. Some job titles aren't really clear, so make sure you explain what the major duties and requirements were of your past jobs, that way employers know what skills you have and what sort of work you can do. Your resume should be succinct and to the point. It should not exceed two pages at the most. Avoid wordy paragraphs about your life goals. Your resume should tell the employer what you skills are and really, be a walking endorsement of your abilities, confidence, and previous experience.
Make sure there aren't any typos or spelling mistakes. Some common ones are "alot", "seperately", and "definately". Check with a dictionary if you aren't sure of a word before submitting your resume. If they hire you, you will be a reflection of the company and they will be looking for someone who presents an accurate, professional, and careful representative.

Applying Incorrectly:
If an employer looking for email resumes says they don't want you to include an attachment but would rather see your resume in the body of an email message, why wouldn't you do that? Many companies won't open attachments for security reasons and when you are not following instructions on how to apply for a job, you are telling employers you don't care. It shows a lack of respect and an inability to listen to directions, two things employers are certainly not looking for. Take the time to find out how employers want you to apply for a position. Then follow the instructions. If your resume isn't properly formatted for an email message, do up a plain text version of your resume so that, you'll have it for those employers not wanting a Word version. If you can't follow simple application instructions, how will you be able to do the job?

Not following instructions, applying for a job you aren't qualified for, and having an unprofessional resume are all ways to indicate to an employer that you aren't really serious about applying for a job. Why not increase your chances of being hired by making sure you don't waste their time or yours? 

By Sara

Thursday, January 20, 2011

6 Common Resume Questions Answered

Writing a resume seems like a straightforward endeavor--until you actually sit down to create one. For example, what's the right length? Do you need an objective statement? And what changes should you make, if any, if you want to reapply for a certain position?

Following are some guidelines for navigating these and other common resume quandaries:
Does the rule about one-page resumes still apply? Will I turn off employers if mine is longer?
Let your experience dictate the length of your resume. More than half of the senior executives recently polled by Robert Half International believe that a single page is the ideal length for a staff-level resume; 44 percent said they prefer two pages. People with limited professional experience, such as recent college graduates, will probably want to keep their resumes to one page, but someone who has been in the workforce for many years may need two pages to fully outline his or her qualifications. The key is to neither include filler--details that don't relate to the position you're applying for--nor leave out important information in an attempt to meet a certain page length.
Should I include an objective statement on my resume? 
No, an objective statement is not necessary. In fact, most objective statements are redundant: If you've submitted a resume to a software firm, the hiring manager already knows you're "seeking a challenging position in the high-tech industry," for instance. Instead, consider including a short summary statement of your relevant professional skills at the top of your resume, so employers can quickly get a sense of your qualifications.
I'd like to make a career switch. How can I modify my resume to target a job in a completely different industry?
Focus on your transferable skills, and consider changing your resume format to better highlight them. For example, consider a functional resume or a combination resume to explain your strengths in relevant areas, such as communication or leadership, and downplay previous roles and irrelevant job duties.
Also, conduct a little research into the new industry. Every field has its own language. Use keywords and phrases from the job description throughout your cover letter and resume, as appropriate, to boost your chances of grabbing a hiring manager's attention.
I took a step back in my career because of the weak job market and have been working in a position I'm overqualified for. Now I want to get back on track. How do I apply for a position that's on par with my prior experience level? 
Use a functional or combination resume to draw attention to your skills and qualifications instead of your current job title. Also, use your cover letter to briefly explain your background and, perhaps, the circumstances that caused you to take on a lower-level role. Whatever you do, don't eliminate your most recent job from your work history. It's unethical, and you may be surprised by how understanding most hiring managers are about the challenges of today's job market.
I applied for a job a couple of months ago and recently saw the ad reposted. Should I submit my resume again, and, if so, what changes should I make to it?
Rather than reapply, follow up with the firm to express your continued interest in the position. As long as you haven't received a rejection letter, try to find out who the hiring manager is and call or email him or her. It's not uncommon for firms to re-post a job listing. Sometimes the position's duties have changed, or the person who was hired for the role did not work out.
I held my most recent job for just one month. Do I need to include it on my resume? I'm worried it will look bad to employers. 
The answer to this question depends on the situation. If the position is relevant in any way to the job you're targeting, you should include it on your resume. Just know that the hiring manager will wonder about your short tenure. Address the issue in your cover letter and have some talking points ready if you are called in for an interview. If the position is unrelated to your career path--perhaps you are primarily an office manager but worked as a food server in order to earn some extra money--you can probably leave the position off your resume. In general, employment gaps of a few months won't surprise most hiring managers, particularly in this economy.

by Clea Badion

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

6-Great-Paying Jobs for Moms

Check out these mom-friendly jobs. One pays more than $50,000! Are you a mom looking to get back into the work force? Take heart. There are mom-friendly jobs out there that pay well. Here's a closer look at six mom-friendly career options with above-average salaries.

Job #1 - Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) generally provide bedside care, but can also measure and record vital signs, help deliver infants, administer medications, and teach patients about good health habits.
Mom-Friendliness: Nearly 20 percent of the nurses in this category work part-time.
Education and Training: You'll need to complete a practical nursing program, which usually lasts about one year. From there, you'll need to pass a national licensing exam to become a registered LPN.

Average Annual Salary: $40,110

Job #2 - Kindergarten Teacher
Teachers (and moms!) play a key role in the development of children and students. As a teacher, part of your job would be to create lesson plans, provide classroom instruction, and assess the progress of your students.

Mom-Friendliness: Kindergarten teachers, in particular, have the kind of flexibility that moms appreciate. Part-time schedules are common for this group of teachers, and the summer break offers time off.

Education and Training: A bachelor's degree from a teacher education program is the most common avenue to employment. All 50 states require teachers in public schools to be licensed, but those teaching in private schools do not have to be licensed.

Average Annual Salary: $49,770

Job #3 - Paralegal

As a paralegal, you could assist lawyers by conducting legal research, drafting contracts, and preparing written reports. The legal profession offers potentially high earnings and provides good opportunities to re-enter the work force after time away.

Mom-Friendliness: This field offers opportunities for flexible schedules and freelance opportunities. Some agencies and corporations will hire paralegals during busy times, offering temporary employment opportunities. Another plus: Some employers are willing to train paralegals on the job.

Education and Training: An associate's degree or certificate in paralegal studies is the most common means of entering the field. Some paralegal programs can be intensive, but only take a few months to complete.

Average Annual Salary: $48,790

Job #4 - Marketing/Public Relations/Communications Specialist

If you have strong communication skills, consider a career in marketing or public relations, where you can contribute to driving sales, promoting company brands, and keeping employees aware of news that affects them.

Mom-Friendliness: Marketing and communications jobs can work for working moms because they are so mobile. Much of the work is writing and correspondence, which can be done on a laptop (or even a mobile phone if you have agile fingers).

Education and Training: You can apply a variety of educational backgrounds to marketing and communications positions. Employers might prefer bachelor's or master's degrees in business administration (MBA), but you may also be able to transition from fields as diverse as advertising, political science, and journalism.

Average Annual Salary: $58,960

Job #5 - Personal Financial Advisor

Financial advisors help people plan their financial goals by assisting with investing, retirement, and more. If you have a strong business sense, you might enjoy the flexibility that this type of position can offer.

Mom-Friendliness: Financial advisors have the opportunity to coordinate their workload, and may be able to schedule appointments with clients in the evenings and on the weekends when needed. Working from home is also considered a viable option in this field.

Education and Training: A bachelor's degree or master's degree is generally preferred by employers. Suggested fields of study include accounting, finance, business, economics, mathematics, or law. Courses in investments and taxes, for example, are helpful.

Average Annual Salary: $92,970

Job #6 - Medical Transcriptionist

Transcriptionists listen to dictated reports by physicians and health-care professionals and transcribe the reports into text on a personal computer or word processor. Writing and computer skills are essential in this job field.

Mom-Friendliness: The options to work part-time, at home, or freelance make this a very desirable career for working mothers who want to be a part of the growing medical field. Job prospects are good for those who are certified.

Education and Training: Two-year associate's degree, or one-year certificate programs are the most popular ways into the profession. Certification, although voluntary, is possible by passing tests for Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT).

Average Annual Salary: $32,960

All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor's May 2008 national estimates for mean annual wage.

By Tony Moton

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Graduate Job Search

Get advice from professional resume writers on how to find your first job after graduation.
You know exactly what kind of career you want. Your resume is perfect. You've forced your friends to spend hours asking you practice interview questions. Everything is in order - except you don't know how to go about finding the job openings.
The first step is to shift your networking skills into high gear. Start asking friends and family members to ask their co-workers, friends, hairdressers, optometrists, accountants, and other acquaintances if they've either heard of any available, relevant job openings, or if they know of someone to whom you ought to talk.
Another good way to make connections is to contact your college alumni office or career services center to see if either has a list of alumni who have volunteered to serve as mentors and contacts to young jobseekers.
Also, if you've held internships in the past, get in touch with your employers and co-workers from those experiences and ask if they can point you in the right direction.
While there's truth to the adage that the best jobs are never advertised, that doesn't mean you can't find a good job outside the networking realm:
  • Check out Internet job listings.
  • Go to trade websites for the career field in which you're interested. Often, occupations have professional associations with websites that include job listings. If you don't know the name of the association or trade organization that unifies your potential colleagues, do a search or ask someone in the field. Those websites are also an excellent way to cull contact names.
  • Go to job fairs. You can usually find advertisements for job fairs in your local newspaper.
  • Visit the websites of companies for which you would like to work. See if they have any job listings posted within the site.
  • If you're interested in working for a medium- or large-sized company, call the human resources departments of potential employers and ask if they have any job openings.
  • Read the classified section of the newspaper. If you want to relocate, find out what newspapers serve the places you'd like to live and then browse those papers' classified sections on the web.
The most important thing to remember is that the job search is often like a roller coaster ride. You might find some great opportunities, only to find that positions have been filled. And, in turn, you might investigate something you don't think you're interested in, only to strike a gold mine. The important thing is to keep you head up, and keep pushing forward. As long as you're persistent and patient, you will either find a good job, or you'll find a job that will serve as a transitional job that will open doors for you.