Monday, February 17, 2014

Less Can Be More on Your Resume

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog  

More is not always better, especially on your resume. Many job seekers feel that listing all of their experience will show employers how much great work history they have. Job hunters picture HR staff and hiring managers studying every detail on their resume. But this is not the reality. First, with today’s automated resume tracking systems, your resume may never be seen by a human if it doesn’t contain the right key words for a job. Second, when resumes are looked at by employers, it’s done quickly because they have so many resumes to review. So if your resume is too long, too wordy, and too full of details, it will head straight to the trash.
Less Can Be More on Your Resume [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Start cutting irrelevant information from your resume.

Unfortunately, I’ve talked with too many job seekers who can’t let go of their past work experience. It’s important to them. A few seemed indignant when I’ve suggested they drop old jobs and delete jobs that are not relevant to their desired occupation. Frankly, in today’s job market, many employers don’t care what you did 20 or 15 or even sometimes 10 years ago. They want to hire people who can do the job now and who have a relevant and proven background in the work that needs to be done. As a shy or introverted person, you may want to let your resume do the talking by including every detail of your past work life. But this is not a good approach.

If you taught tennis 10 years ago but want to get back into IT, tennis is not relevant. If you were a pet sitter 15 years ago, it shows you are dependable, but the job is not important if you have more recent work experience that shows reliability. If you worked in marketing three jobs ago and are now doing work that has nothing to do with marketing, the old job is clutter. 

Put yourself in an employer’s shoes and look at your resume with a fresh eye. Remember, the employer is harried. What do employers see when they look at your resume? Does your resume say (through numbers, action verbs, job-relevant terms, and key skills/background), “I can solve your problems! I can ease your pain! I can help you grow!” Or does it say, “Here’s my life history. I think it’s just fascinating.” If your resume gives the latter impression, it’s time to start cutting and combining.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What first impression does my resume make?
  • What stands out on my resume to employers?
  • Does a quick glance of my resume give the impression that I’m a good candidate for the job?
  • Am I tailoring my resume for every job opening?
  • Does my resume show results through action verbs, numbers, percentages, and accomplishments?
  • Does my resume have a professional summary at the top that quickly explains my top skills and achievements?
  • Have I minimized or eliminated irrelevant experience? (If you need to include a job so you don’t create employment gaps, simply list the irrelevant job without additional detail or list the tasks and transferable skills that are relevant to the job you’re seeking.)
  • Do I have key words in my resume that match job ads and the types of skills employers will search for in a resume database?
  • Is my resume so long that even I’m tired of reading it?
  • Do my jobs go back 20 years or more—possibly before the HR person was born?
  • Is my resume free of spelling and punctuation errors? Am I sure?
Remember, on a resume, less can be more. By focusing on employer needs and how you meet them, you can shorten your resume and increase your chances of getting called for an interview.

Image courtesy of Keerati /

Saturday, February 1, 2014

5 Ways to Turn Self-Doubt into Self-Assurance for Job Searching

You can become
more self-assured in
your job search.
By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog  

Are you full of self-doubt? Do you lack confidence? These common problems can affect your job search effectiveness. If you are introverted or shy as well, mustering fortitude and self-assurance for a proactive job hunt is extra challenging.

So take these steps to gain the confidence to go after the job you want: 
  1. Know what you want. Define your ideal job and know how your skills and background suit it. Write down your job goal and keep it clear in your mind. This step alone will you put you ahead of other job seekers who will take any job. This focus on your skills and your desired job will bring clarity and add power to your resume, your job interviews, and your entire job search.
  2. Know you will get hired. Remind yourself that if you do the footwork and actively contact prospective employers, you will eventually get a job. Keep a positive attitude and avoid slowing down your efforts. Above all, don’t quit looking. 
  3. Rehearse. Build your confidence for phone calls, networking, and job interviews by writing down what you want to say and rehearsing it. Be sure to emphasize how you can help employers solve problems and grow. You may have heard of an “elevator speech,” where you explain who you are and what you can do in the time it takes to ride an elevator. The value of an elevator speech is that it gives you a strong opening to use with prospective employers. You will make your point clearly and quickly, which is especially important on the phone, at job fairs, and in networking situations. Be sure to memorize your elevator speech and to practice it until it sounds smooth and natural. And smile while you say it! For job interviews, write down the questions you anticipate and rehearse your answers. Preparation will give you a huge shot of confidence and help you to feel more in control.
  4. Ease into networking. Finding a job by networking is the most effective way to get hired. Employers don’t like interviewing dozens of people and hiring strangers. As an unconfident introvert, however, networking can be as frightful as public speaking. So if you can’t muster the strength to call people for job leads, perhaps you can email people  and then follow up with a call. Or you can ask someone you know comfortably to introduce you to a potential employer, thereby breaking the ice and changing the employer from a cold contact (someone you don’t know) to a warm contact (someone you do know).
  5. Pull out all the stops with your appearance. If your job search materials, including your resume and cover letter, are impeccable, and if you dress up for networking and interviews, you will feel more confident. So even if you don’t feel confident, you and your resume can look like you are. And that alone will make you feel more self-assured in your job hunt.
If you can't conquer self-doubt, at least you can fight it. Using the preceding tips will help you take a big leap forward in getting the right job soon.

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