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Protect Your Resume and References

We have heard from clients and candidates who are displeased with other staffing firms sharing resumes and other personal information without consent. It is important to protect your resume and references – and Aclivity treats your personal information with care!

Did you know that when a staffing firm calls you for an interview, a position might not actually be available? Many times, staffing firms call on candidates to simply fill their database or “fish” for leads. Sometimes, they send your resume to multiple clients, making the selection pool look larger to a client even if you are not right for the position. Providing your resume and references might not always be to your benefit.

A reputable recruiter will ensure that they are sharing your information with your consent, and offering you available positions that fit your interests and skill set. When deciding on your next career move, be sure to find a professional advocate or online service that will protect your privacy.

Here are some tips to consider when sharing your personal information with a recruiter:

  • Ask the recruiter to identify the opportunity clearly, including the client name and job description. You have a right to know where a recruiter is sending your resume. If a recruiter claims he/she cannot tell you the name of the client, or that the company name is confidential, you should immediately disengage and seek out a more reputable staffing firm.
  • Tell your recruiter that he/she will need your permission before posting or sending your resume anywhere. In the worst case, a staffing firm can/will send your (and others’) resume to dozens of companies without your consent.
  • Protect your references. DO NOT list them on your resume, as staffing firms use the information to identify new business opportunities.
  • Ask the recruiter about the staffing firm’s placement success rate. How many of their candidates are placed in jobs? How soon after application? What is their job turnover rate? The answers will determine how much time recruiters spend matching you with the right job; not just any job.
  • When posting at online recruiting sites, avoid posting your resume to multiple job boards. Consider using other sources, such as LinkedIn, personal networking or a trusted recruiter’s website.

Whether you are actively looking for work or just curious about opportunities in the market, share your resume and references carefully. Research the staffing firm or recruiter website and review social media profiles and reviews. Avoid the temptation to restrict your job search to the Internet and speak directly with a recruiter. Ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident that the recruiter will protect your privacy before you share your personal information. An experienced, professional recruiter can safeguard your privacy while finding you a rewarding career!

For more help finding and landing the right job, contact usWe’re here to help!

The Value of Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn

The Value is in the LinkedIn Basics

There is so much untapped value that comes from becoming a member of LinkedIn, if you were unaware. LinkedIn can help you promote your business if you own or operate one, it is a fantastic way to network with others in the industry of your choosing, or locate either new talent or a new career!

LinkedIn is the place to meet:

  • Where else can you mingle with the more than 500 million members from all around the world?
  • More than 250 million active members each month
  • The average LinkedIn member has an average annual household income of $140,000
  • Two people create a LinkedIn profile every second!
  • LinkedIn now has 3 different job posting platforms in use.
  • Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision-making authority for their companies
  • The people on LinkedIn are there primarily to network or grow their business

The top ways that LinkedIn promotes you:

  • LinkedIn allows members to create a personalized professional presence
  • It’s an online resume that can work for you all day long by creating a place to post your experience and intentions.
  • LinkedIn encourages the community to endorse you via online recommendations that back up claims you make about your professional abilities and character.
  • LinkedIn is a professional forum to share links, images or documents that demonstrate work you’ve done.
  • The forum is set up to gain introductions to potential employers, colleagues, or clients in your field.
  • Follow companies that you are interested in pursuing and directly search member job postings.
  • Join various groups that align with your interests and participate in discussions. Having an interest group in common with another LinkedIn member is one way you can invite others into your network and have access to group job listings.
  • One of the most famous statements in business is, it’s all about who you know. So step towards the best way to be more connected than you could have ever imagined. With LinkedIn, you can benefit from the connections of people you know and benefit others with your connections.

To get started on LinkedIn, you’ll need to:

  • Know how you’d like to use LinkedIn. Are you directing people to your website? Are you looking for employment? What you want out of the social network will determine how you use it.
  • Create a login and take the time to create a profile that demonstrates your unique strengths and experience.
  • Check in frequently and make connections to resources that align with your current or desired field.

With a few basic steps in place, you can market yourself or your business worldwide!

If you’d like more help getting started on LinkedIn, email shenia.ivey@aclivity.com to receive information on personalized coaching and training!

How To Negotiate A Raise

 

Most Finance and Accounting professionals are well versed in the technical side of their jobs but are not as skilled at the behavioral and interpersonal side of business. Many employers assume technical skills are a given, so employee skills can quickly become an overlooked commodity. In this culture, Finance and Accounting professionals must develop effective communication and negotiation skills in order to receive performance-based pay increases.

“In business you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

Negotiating your salary with your employer is a good test of your negotiation and communication skills. Many people dread this often-intimidating process. However, it is important develop these skills for two key reasons:

  1. You would like more money and;
  2. You will be judged by your employer based on how you handle yourself during the negotiations. Most savvy employers are able to make quick, accurate judgments about your value to the company based on how you negotiate.

So how do you negotiate your salary? Consider these tips to demonstrate your masterful negotiation skills and improve your chances of getting an increase:

  • Understand the macro financial constrains that exist: How is your organization doing vs. the overall plan? How is your department perceived? Is your organization’s market growing? How is the organization’s performance vs. its peer group?
  • Remember that there is always budget for salary increases for great employees: Just keep in mind that there is seldom a reason to mention this to your employer!
  • Be able to quantify the value have you added to the company over the last year: What real, tangible cost savings or revenue enhancements can be directly attributed to your performance? It only counts if it has a real dollar impact, not if it “made us more efficient.”
  • Know how your boss is perceived in the organization and how much authority they have: Can they approve a raise without anyone else’s input or do they need to get approval? Are they going to go to bat for you? Why would they?
  • Consider your relationship with your boss: If it’s not great, it needs to be rebuilt before you request an increase. If there is no trust between you and your employer, odds are that you aren’t going to get anywhere in a salary negotiation.
  • Step into the shoes of your boss as you prepare for your negotiation: If you were them how would you respond to such a request? Your chances of success are greatly enhanced if your employer agrees that an increase is fair.
  • Be yourself in discussions: Prepare what you are going to say but make sure it’s in your own words and comes from the heart. If you are new to negotiating, tell your boss that you are nervous. Your honesty will melt all but the most hardened hearts. In certain situations, you could improve your bargaining position by asking for help. Getting your boss on your side of the table when negotiating with the organization can improve your chances of being heard.
  • Keep the negotiations face to face: Don’t use email or text, as these means are useless when trying to convince people to do anything for you. Using text or email will simply demonstrate that you’re not being direct; you’re actually avoiding face to face interaction.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal signals you are giving: Eye contact and hand movements are the most common means of non-verbal communication. Take a pen and notepad into the meeting and take notes if you need to keep your hands busy. Be sure to make eye contact.
  • Talk slowly and ask questions: Be prepared for questions that your boss might ask about why you think you deserve an increase. Answer the specific question that’s asked and listen well to responses that indicate you need to improve (or more clearly demonstrate!) your performance.
  • Plan the timing of your request: What day of the week and time of the day is best for your boss? Drop hints before your request to let your boss know what’s coming. Mention that you would “like to find a convenient time to discuss your compensation” so they can take time to think about it before you meet.
  • Prepare for your scheduled meeting: Do some industry comparisons as a guide or get some coaching from Aclivity or another trusted resource. Talk to colleagues and find out what tactics have worked for them. Write down your thoughts in advance and practice your negotiation with your trusted advisor. Be brief. Make your points and stress that you are seeking fair compensation for the value you provide to the company. If possible, don’t rely too heavily on your notes in the meeting. If you are trying to make more than 5 points, it’s too many.
  • Own your perspective: Truth is a matter of perspective. If you are going to make a point in the discussion that is subjective, be clear that you’re conveying “how you feel.” No one can argue about how you feel and it sounds less threatening than telling your boss what’s “true.”
  • Don’t compare your salary with others’: Don’t use comparisons of your compensation vs. other internal employees as a bargaining tactic. This argument will make you look petty since it attempts to justify your increase by comparing yourself with other people. It also reveals that you have had conversations about confidential topics with other employees, suggesting that you may not be trustworthy. Focus on the value that you bring to the table.
  • Don’t make threats: Don’t threaten to quit or say you will be forced to start looking for another job; your boss will know that’s a possible outcome if they turn you down. Listen and take feedback. Being told “No” this time will make it easier to get a “Yes” next time. If your negotiation is trending negative you could ask to defer the conversation and request their agreement to bring the topic back up again at a specified time. Ask your boss what behaviors, skills or contributions would necessary for them to consider giving you an increase in the future.
  • Don’t justify the raise by talking about your personal expenses: Bringing up your personal finances will be interpreted as a request for your company to compensate for the fact that you cannot manage your own affairs. Focus the negotiation on your tangible value to the company (how you personally make or save them money).
  • Remember that there are other types of “increases: There are a number of other things that you can ask for other than a pay increase which may be easier for your boss to grant. Consider asking for an increase in bonus potential, an extra week of paid vacation, tuition assistance, expense reimbursements like cell phone or home office, a spot bonus for specific tasks well done, or a 401(k) match.
  • Do your research: Communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills can be learned. We all have weaknesses in these areas, but we can compensate for them with a little effort. Learning about effective communication and negotiation methods will also help you “read” your boss—and adapt to limitations in their communication skills!

Negotiating a raise is a process, not an event. Introduce the topic and plan on having a number of discussions. Be patient and demonstrate your value without getting defensive. Let the other party warm to your point of view. Rarely will you go in, ask for a raise, and get it without a bit of negotiation. And, remember that we’re here for you if you’d like advice (or practice!) before your negotiation!

Good luck!

Conducting a Successful Job Search

Thanks to the Internet, searching for a job today is vastly different than it used to be. Until fairly recently, a job seeker browsed local classified ads, found a compatible-sounding job listing, prepared an elegant résumé on bond paper, and sent it out by fax or U.S. mail. That has changed. Today, finding and landing a great job comes with the challenge of learning how to utilize the many available Internet resources to aid in your search.

Searching for a Job on Internet Job Boards
Searching for a job online has become a common, but not always fruitful, approach. With all the publicity given to Internet-based job boards and career sites, you might think that online job searching makes finding a job easy. Job board sites such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com list millions of jobs, but actually landing a position is much harder than just clicking your mouse and waiting for a reply; it takes perseverance and wise use of online job boards.

  • Career Builder (careerbuilder.com)CareerBuilder claims to be the nation’s largest employment network. Users can search millions of jobs by category, geographic location, keyword, industry, or job type (full-time, part-time, internship).
  • Indeed (indeed.com)One of the newest and fastest growing job search sites on the Internet, Indeed.com is a metasearch engine that uses a Google-like interface to search the Internet for open job listings.
  • Monster (monster.com): Monster.com offers access to information on millions of jobs worldwide using a search technology called 6Sense that matches applicants with the best job opportunities for their skills. Because of this cutting-edge search system, many consider Monster.com to be the Internet’s premier job site.
  • College Grad (collegegrad.com)CollegeGrad advertises itself as the “number one entry-level job site” for students and recent graduates. In addition to searching for entry-level jobs, users can also search for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to help them develop marketable skills.
  • Career JournalPart of The Wall Street Journal; CareerJournal provides listings for high-level executive and finance positions.

Beyond the Big Internet Job Boards
Many job seekers may turn their backs on job boards but not on online job-searching tactics. Savvy candidates know to search for jobs in other ways. Some examples are:

  • Company Web Sites: Probably the best way to find a job online is at a company’s own website. Many companies now post job openings only on their own websites to avoid inundation by the volume of applicants that respond to postings via online job boards. Many job seekers find that they are more likely to obtain an interview if they post their résumés on company sites. This allows a more direct connection to decision makers, and job seekers can keep their job searches (and personal information!) more private than on job boards.
  • Professional Organization Web sites: Online job listings have proven to be the single-most popular feature of many professional organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Sales Professionals, the National Association of Legal Assistants, and the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Although you pay a fee to join, the benefits of being a member of a professional association in your career field are enormous. Remember that it is never too early to start networking. If you join a professional organization while you are still in college, you will be setting yourself up for future success as you build a network of professional connections.
  • JobCentral National Labor Exchange: JobCentral is a public service website provided by the DirectEmployers Association, a nonprofit consortium of Fortune 500 and other leading U.S. corporations. Many companies now use jobcentral.com as a gateway to job listings on their own websites, which results in the advertising of millions of jobs. Best of all, this service is free and bypasses the big commercial job boards. You can search for a job description or job title, and apply directly on the website of the hiring company.
  • Local Employment Web Sites: Although many of the big job boards allow you to search for jobs geographically, many job seekers have more luck using local employment websites such as CraigslistCumulus Jobs and JobStar.
  • Niche Web Sites: If you want a job in a specialized field, look for a niche website, such as Dice (dice.com) for technology jobs, Advance for Health Care (www.advanceweb.com/jobs/healthcare/index.html) for jobs in the medical field, and Accountemps (www.accountemps.com) for accounting positions. Niche websites also exist for job seekers with special backgrounds or needs, such as older workers (www.workforce50.com) and veterans (www.veteranjoblistings.com).

Social Media Sites
Perhaps you already use sites such as Facebook or Twitter to communicate with family and friends. Did you know that users are-increasingly tapping into social media sites to prospect for jobs, and that recruiters use these sites to find potential employees? Linkedln is currently the top site for job seekers, with over 200 million users, including job seekers and recruiters. Other popular sites include Plaxo, TheLadders, BlueSteps and Jobster. Twitter has created a job search engine called TwitJobSearch (www.twitjobsearch.com), and many companies now post recruitment videos on YouTube. Savvy job seekers use these tools to network and to search for available positions. Of course, the most successful job seekers understand the necessity of maintaining a professional online appearance and taking the time to connect personally with recruiters.

Use Caution
Be aware of dangers associated with using Internet job boards and other employment websites. Not only could your current boss see your résumé posted online, a fraudster could use your information to steal your identity. The following tips can help you safely conduct an online job search:

  • Use reputable sites: Stick to the well-known, reputable job boards. Never use a site that makes you pay to post your résumé or a site that makes you feel uneasy.
  • Be selective: Limit the number of sites on which you post your résumé. Employers dislike “résumé spammers.”
  • Use a dedicated e-mail address: Set up a separate e-mail account with a professional-sounding e-mail address for sending and receiving emails related to your job search.
  • Limit personal information: Never include your social security or other identification numbers on your résumé. Consider omitting your home address and home phone number to protect your privacy when posting on big job boards.
  • Post privately: If given an option, choose to post your résumé privately. Doing so means that you can control who has access to your e-mail address and other contact information.
  • Count the days: Renew your résumé posting every 14 days. If you keep it up longer, it will look as if employers have no interest in you. If you have not received a response in 45 days, pull your résumé from the site and post it somewhere else.
  • Keep careful records: Keep a record of every site on which you post your résumé. At the end of your job search, remove all posted résumés.
  • Protect your references: If you post your résumé online, do not include your references. It is unethical for job seekers to post their references’ personal contact information online without the references’ knowledge.
  • Do not respond to a “blind” job posting: Respond only to job postings that include a company name and contact information. It is unfortunate that many scammers use online job boards to post fake job ads as a way to gather your personal information.

Finding the Perfect Job (For Students)
A successful job search requires an early start and a determined effort. Students with proactive personalities are the most successful in securing interviews and jobs during and after college. These successful candidates are not passive; they are driven and “make things happen.” Recruiters respond to a proactive nature. They will also consider your education, life experience, grade point averages and internships when reviewing your qualifications. Communicating what you have learned inside and outside the classroom—and connecting with other—people will continue to be critical elements in landing a great job. Traditional job search techniques, such as those below, can help you find a position that fits your interests and skills, while building your professional and personal network.

  • Check announcements in publications of professional organizations: If you do not have a student membership to professional organizations, ask your instructors (or librarian) to share current copies of professional journals, newsletters, and other industry resources.
  • Contact companies in which you are interested, even if you know of no current opening: Write an unsolicited letter and include your résumé. Follow up with a telephone call. Check the company’s website for employment possibilities and application procedures.
  • To learn immediately of job openings, use Twitter to follow companies that interest you.
  • Sign up for campus interviews with visiting company representatives: Campus recruiters can open your eyes to exciting companies, job locations and positions. They can also help you prepare by offering mock interviews.
  • Ask for advice from your instructors: Your teachers often have contacts and ideas for conducting and expanding your job search and growing your skills.
  • Develop your own network of contacts: Networking still accounts for most of the jobs found by candidates. Therefore, plan to spend a considerable portion of your job search developing a personal network.
  • Attend career fairs: Job fairs are invaluable in the quest to learn about specific companies and future career options. The more you know about the company and its representatives, the more comfortable you will be soliciting a position and giving a great interview.

For information on conducting a successful search for a job, creating a standout resume or performing well in your interviews, contact us. Our Career Services can help you succeed!

Why Employers Should Use Recruiters to Gain Employees

Many managers would say that 90% of their success in their management role depends on the performance of the employees on their team. From this vantage, hiring the right people is a key to any company’s success. When you know you need help—the right help—it can be difficult to spare the staff, time or focus to search for the needle in the professional haystack.

When you need top talent, using a recruiter is a great idea!

  • Recruiters are the right tool for the job: If you need your car fixed, you take it to a mechanic. If you are sick, you go see a doctor. If you need outstanding human resources, you hire an agency that succeeds by leveraging their network of talent to meet client’s staffing and consulting needs.
  • Recruiters help you define what you’re looking for: A recruiter can help you flesh out your position description, understand the market rate for the role you’re filling and connect you to pre-screened, available talent.
  • Recruiters keep employers focused, saving time and money: For companies without a dedicated Human Resources department, finding new talent is not always the best use of time or energy. Recruiters save employers the distraction (and cost!) of hours spent evaluating resumes, managing online postings, scheduling interviews, testing basic skills—and then doing it all again every time a position opens up or turns over.
  • Recruiters know where to look for talent: Recruiters have the data-mining tools, subscriptions and network you need to find the right employee for the position you are filling. Recruiter’s networks develop with an eye for finding, and keeping in contact with, the best available talent.
  • Recruiters are less likely to lose the best candidates: The talent you are looking for should be handled with care. When a recruiter finds the one best candidate for an open position, they have already done their homework. Recruiters know the types of positions or companies the candidate is most interested in. Recruiters know the job market and what your competitors might offer the candidate for a similar role. And, recruiters can encourage the candidate that’s best suited to the position that it’s a good idea to join your team.
  • Recruiters produce risk-free results: Recruiters work on a contingent basis. Though they have no control over the actions you take to ensure the success of a placement, recruiters guarantee their placements. There is no risk since you pay after your needs are met!

When you’re looking for your next great employee, contact Aclivity! Our Five-Star Client Promise (www.aclivity.com) guides all of our actions, guaranteeing you a great recruiting experience. Call us today and let us put our network of Finance, Accounting and IT professionals to work for you!

Why Working With Aclivity Is A “Smart” Way To Jump Start Your New Career

Negotiating a Raise

The Aclivity interviewing and placement process streamlines the challenging task of finding the right career or candidate. When you join up with Aclivity, you’ll have our national recruiters working together on your behalf—connecting you with the right people and the right opportunities at the right time!

Clients, we save you time and money:

  • We free you from the work of posting and renewing employment ads, reviewing resumes, setting up and conducting interviews
  • We bring resources right to you; offering well-screened, position-appropriate candidates
  • We build your team and meeting your project deadlines – without the hassle of finding the right help
  • We adapt our placement services based on your specific needs. Need help locating qualified candidates, but want to handle the interviews yourself? No problem! Need a short-term consultant? We’ve got one! Our recruiters are flexible experts and will take on the parts of the hiring process that you don’t have the time, or resources, to manage.
  • We get clear on your needs up front! Our recruiters are great at helping you to define your needs, outline your goals, and clarify requirements and prerequisites of the role you need to fill.
  • We understand that sometimes skills aren’t everything! We get to know your company culture—and our candidates’ behaviors and proclivities—to find the right fit for your team. Our candidates are interested in actively developing their skills, and in the right environment, they—and you—thrive!

Candidates, we make your job search easier:

  • We get to know who you are and what you bring to the table before trying to fit you into an available position. It’s important to us that you find a job that fits to ensure that you’re happy and that you’re offering our clients the expertise and professional attitude that meets their specific needs.
  • We represent your interests and needs in a market that can often be impersonal and difficult to navigate without the right personal connections.
  • We leverage our well-developed professional network to market your expertise to a trusted community of successful clients.
  • We offer support throughout your career! Our Career Services include educating you on the ever-changing job marketplace, mentoring you on career development goals and coaching you on creating a resume that highlights your unique experience and skill set.

At Aclivity, we believe in building relationships that endure. That’s why we consistently offer well-targeted connections between candidates and clients. We succeed by helping candidates put their unique skills to work and by offering our clients stable, qualified talent. And, we stay connected over the long term, so you know that when you need us, we’re here to help! Contact us when you are looking for a new job opportunity or star-candidate. Our placement and consulting expertise will help you succeed!

Don’t Forget the Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is more than an official notice that you are terminating your employment with your company, it is also a professional means of ensuring that you will leave your employer on good terms. When it’s time to move on to another position, don’t forget to resign at least two weeks in advance with a tactful, diplomatic letter. You will show respect for your employer and better your odds of a positive reference in the future.

To create a resignation letter, use the basic elements below (or search online for a template):

[Company Name] [Supervisor Name] [Supervisor Title] [Supervisor Department] [Company Address] [Company City, State, Zip Code]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Supervisor Name],

As of [Date], I will be resigning my position as [Your Title] at [Company Name].

I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had during my employment with [Company Name] and offer my best wishes for your continued success.

[Conclude by providing summary information relevant to the next steps that you will take; i.e. offering to help with the transition, or terms for return of key cards or company equipment.]

Respectfully yours,

[Handwritten Signature] [Typed Signature]

Though you could resign verbally (or leave a Post-It on the computer saying “Goodbye!”), it’s a good idea to take the time to tactfully end your relationship with your current employer. It will give you good practice at communicating in a potentially difficult situation, and will remind your employer that you are a respectful employee.

Need help with your resignation letter? Want to find a new career?

Call us! We’re here to help!

Hiring an Intern

Have you considered the benefits of hiring an Intern?  Real-world experience for a student is invaluable to their future—and incredibly beneficial to your company!  An internship can be part-time or full-time, long- or short-term, and at any time during the year.  Many employers think that internships are primarily beneficial to students. However, the benefits to your company are equally important:

  • Interns bring in new perspectives on organizational issues: Interns are not stuck in the “This is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. They can bring fresh, new ideas to your company. Interns are good at questioning processes and can often see a different way of doing things that an existing manager might not.
  • Young professionals are familiar with new technology: Social media, computer programs, smart phones, and iPads; new technology is a piece of cake for young professionals. Even if you are a young entrepreneur, you can always use a hand from a fellow Gen Y tech-savvy professional who is up to date on the newest tech trends.
  • An Internship allows a trial period that could lead to something more: Your company gets the opportunity to screen and work with potential entry-level employees prior to making a full-time commitment. Moreover, if the Intern becomes part of your team they have already screened your company and received on-the-job training, reducing your training outlay and risk of turnover.
  • Interns can help you meet important project or task deadlines: There are always projects or tasks that you need help with or are struggling to complete. Utilizing an Intern offers you an eager helper to meet your most pressing deadlines.
  • Interns are productive, courteous and trying to make an impression: Your company can capitalize on the convenience and flexibility of hiring additional staff during peak seasons, without the issues that often come along with short-term hiring.
  • Your company can gain brand advocates and free advertising: The best marketing tool is social media. You can expand your company’s online presence in an organic way as the Intern posts online about their favorable experience with your company.
  • Hiring an Intern can develop your existing team: Junior-level managers within your organization can gain supervisory experience by working with Interns. By screening Interns, your company can grow its pool of qualified candidates for future recruiting needs.

Hiring an Intern is a great opportunity for your team, and for the future graduate! Aclivity has teamed up Colorado Universities to identify and recruit developing talent in the Accounting and Finance fields. We would be happy to leverage our connections to help you find the right Intern!

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

Do you enjoy your job? Are you living up to your potential? Can you answer yes to these questions on most days? You’re going to have good days and bad days at work. Every job has some elements that are less pleasing than others; the goal is to have many more enjoyable than disagreeable days. Here are 8 steps you can take to maximize your career potential.

  1. Make sure you are in the right job. Do you enjoy what you do? If yes, great, if no, then determine what you’d rather be doing and what it takes to get that job. Perhaps you took this job under financial pressures or as a stop gap. Then don’t lose sight of your dreams and values. Get back on track and go for your dreams.
  2. Always have an up-to-date resume and an exit strategy. Be prepared to make a move when an opportunity presents itself or if a change in business jeopardizes or eliminates your job.
  3. Continue to learn new skills and technologies. Explore educational opportunities that will make you more valuable and attractive to employers.
  4. Take on new challenges. Volunteer for the projects that your peers avoid.
  5. Become a valuable resource. Be the subject matter expert that everyone goes to. Mentor and coach new hires and struggling associates.
  6. Continue to challenge yourself. Always have a goal you are striving for and a plan to achieve it. Once you achieve that goal, set another goal and begin working toward it.
  7. Invest in yourself. Attend conferences. Meet new people. Expand your influence.
  8. Always give a little more than what’s expected. Go the extra mile in all that you do.

Energize Your Job Search

Energize Your Job Search

            By Roberta Gamza, JCTC, JST, CEIP, Founder, CAREER INK (www.careerink.com)

Entering the job market is a daunting task, and even more so in today’s volatile economy. It is easy to get frustrated, angry and lose confidence as your job search yields little or no results. The following tips will help you stay on task, keep your spirits high, and maintain confidence.

  • Expect your job search to take at least four months depending on the economic climate in your target industry, profession, and location.
  • With so many highly qualified candidates for so few jobs, luck and timing will play a big part in the process.
  • If you’re frustrated by a long unfruitful search, step back and breathe deeply. Do something fun or ego boosting and regroup. Now, evaluate your job search actions and resources.
  • Are you approaching your job search as you would a work project? Do you have clear goals, an action plan, and measurements?
  • Be clear and focused on the position you are seeking. An “I’ll take anything” strategy will work against you. Determine what positions you are qualified for and enjoy the most. Build a resume for each position.
  • Identify and prioritize the companies you would like to work for and study them. Follow the hidden job market. Check local business journals and newspapers for announcements that will impact the local economy.
  • If you are getting interviews from your resume, your resume works. If you are interviewing but not getting offers, then your interviewing skills need help. Seek professional help for your resume or interviewing skills if they are not working. Consider the cost of professional help an investment in your future. The sooner you are back to work, the sooner the investment pays off.
  • Schedule your action plan. Allow time for research, correspondence, networking, and follow-up. Track your actions and results. Keep copies of your correspondence. Make notes about the outcome of your networking activities.
  • Network! Network! Network! Be prepared to network and network often! It’s not only who you know but who knows you! Networking is the number one method for finding work. About 85% of all jobs are filled by networking while only 4% are filled through the Internet. Contact everyone you know and find out who they know in your target companies.
  • If you’re networking, have a great résumé, and a solid strategy, but are not getting results, you are not alone. There are many reasons beyond your control for no response:
    • The posting was an effort to test the market. No real position exits now.
    • There is an inside candidate and the company must post the job according to policy.
    • The funding for the position is under review or has been revoked.
    • Re-organization or downsizing eliminated the position.
    • The competition revealed many qualified candidates with the exact skill set required.

Remain confident. Looking for work is a full-time job. Schedule your day. Allow time for enjoyment. Stay focused on what you do well. Don’t let frustration or desperation take over and steer you off course. Approach your search just as you would any work project. Set realistic expectations and reasonable schedules. Be patient, but persistent. It will pay off.

Is A Coverletter Right for You?

Is A Coverletter Right for You?

Shenia Ivey, Ivey Concepts & Solutions LLC (www.ivey-solutions.com) | © 2017

When We Are Applying for Jobs the Question is Coverletter or No Coverletter?

The internet has allowed us to apply to many jobs and get responses much quicker than years ago.  Some employers request a coverletter and when one is requested, yes you absolutely need to spend some time to research the following areas and write the coverletter in a manner in which it is personal to not only the position, but also to describing you and your fit into the organization.

Coverletter Do’s

  • Address the coverletter to the hiring manager
  • If you choose you may opt out of attaching a coverletter, unless mandated
  • Personalize how you will make a difference in the organization if hired
  • Adjust the coverletter according to the job description
  • Close the coverletter by giving a date and time to loop back to the hiring manager
  • Use the same formatting on your coverletters as your resume’

Coverletter Don’ts 

  • Address the coverletter “Dear Hiring Manager”
    • The internet is an excellent resource to identify the hiring manager by name
    • Use social media applications, such as Linkedin.com to determine an internal company connection
  • Allow the coverletter to be a complete regurgitation of your resume
  • Treat the coverletter with disrespect when you do attach it, it does have power when done right.
  • Use multiple fonts in a coverletter
  • Leave off the organization’s address (do your due diligence)
    • Once again use the internet to research the company
    • Many times larger organizations have multiple office spaces

There are those who believe in coverletters and if this is you then you need to utilize it for all for the bang and if you do not believe they hold all of the power that they could possibly do to catapult you into the position of your dreams then do not send one unless it its mandatory.    Those that are successful with coverletters are those that truly believe in the power of the coverletter.

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

 

Do you enjoy your job? Are you living up to your potential? Can you answer yes to these questions on most days? You’re going to have good days and bad days at work. Every job has some elements that are less pleasing than others; the goal is to have many more enjoyable than disagreeable days. Here are 8 steps you can take to maximize your career potential.

  1. Make sure you are in the right job. Do you enjoy what you do? If yes, great, if no, then determine what you’d rather be doing and what it takes to get that job. Perhaps you took this job under financial pressures or as a stop gap. Then don’t lose sight of your dreams and values. Get back on track and go for your dreams.
  2. Always have an up-to-date resume and an exit strategy. Be prepared to make a move when an opportunity presents itself or if a change in business jeopardizes or eliminates your job.
  3. Continue to learn new skills and technologies. Explore educational opportunities that will make you more valuable and attractive to employers.
  4. Take on new challenges. Volunteer for the projects that your peers avoid.
  5. Become a valuable resource. Be the subject matter expert that everyone goes to. Mentor and coach new hires and struggling associates in your career field.
  6. Continue to challenge yourself. Always have a goal you are striving for and a plan to achieve it. Once you achieve that goal, set another goal and begin working toward it.
  7. Invest in yourself. Attend conferences. Meet new people. Expand your influence.
  8. Always give a little more than what’s expected. Go the extra mile in all that you do.

You Have an Interview, Now the Question is How Should You Dress?

You Have an Interview, Now the Question is How Should You Dress?

Shenia Ivey MBA, CPC, Ivey Concepts & Solutions (www.ivey-solutions.com) | © 2017

 

What you wear to the interview will demonstrate how serious you are about the position.  It does not matter if this is the recruiter, hiring manager, or the CEO that has called you in for the initial interview  it is your immediate job to get off to a great start.  Here are some key elements that will not let you down.

  • Be on time
  • Be prepared
  • Take notes
  • Ask Questions
  • Have done your homework about the company
  • Know how you are going to be instrumental
  • Dress professionally

Just because the employer set an interview does not mean you have the job in the bag.  Remember you never get a second chance to make that first impression. So now you need to impress the decision maker with what you know, and basically you should treat your interview as if it is an audition.  What are you auditioning for you might ask? The interview or job audition is usually to determine if you are a good fit for the culture of the organization, the office, the team or all the above.  It could be the first of many, so take a deep breath and be yourself.

  • Do Not over dress.
  • Do Not wear jeans.
  • Do Not wear flip flops.
  • Do not wear shorts.
  • Do Not wear anything with holes in it.
  • Do Not wear tennis shoes or sneakers.
  • Do Not wear tank tops.
  • Do Not wear anything too revealing.
  • Do Not wear strong cologne or perfume as it may offend the decision maker.

Have you ever heard the saying “Dress for the position you want, not the position you have?”

Keep in mind that being called in for an interview is wonderful and gives the decision maker a great deal of power and being successful in the outcome of an interview requires that you feel confident with yourself. Confidence is portrayed in a number of methods, knowledge, communication skills, and appearance.  Allow your confidence to give you back some of the power.

  • Do choose attire that is clean.
  • Do choose slacks that are not too tight.
  • Do choose a dress or skirt that is of appropriate length.
  • Do choose wrinkle free clothing.
  • Do choose a nice shirt (possibly a button down collared shirt).
  • Do choose closed-toe shoes.
  • Do wear appropriate make-up.
  • Do manicure nails and or facial hair.
  • Do try to cover up body parts that have been tattooed.

Women do not have to wear a dress to an interview, however a nice pair of slacks that fit appropriately will do.  Do not wear anything too low cut or revealing as you do not want to offend anyone.  If you have body piercings or tattoos you may want to keep them covered (if possible) until you understand the climate of the organization.  Men: a tie is not always necessary; however, it does provide the professional look that most corporations are looking towards.

Keep in mind that you may be given leverage to wear more casual attire once hired and tattoos or body piercings may not be against company dress code.  What we are talking about is how you should dress for is the interview.  It is about the initial impression you are sending to your potential new company when asking them to embark on a journey with you.

 

 

How to Write Your First Resume

How to Write Your First Resume

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

Hot Not to Lose the Job

Congratulations Graduate!  You’ve earned that degree; now is the time to put it to work and land your first job. You’re going to need a resume!

Sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal of a resume is to generate interest and interviews, so your resume must position you as a valuable candidate. As a new grad, you may feel you lack the experience necessary to do that, but you have more experience than you think.

Resume writing must start with a goal and that goal is to land a desirable job with a desirable employer, not just any job with any employer. Make a list of companies and positions that are of interest. Then look for job postings that align with your choices. Carefully examine those postings and look for keywords. Keywords are the words applicant tracking systems are going to use to filter online applicants; they are industry buzzwords and terminology, the names of applications and tools you use in performing the job, action verbs, and hard skills you need to perform the job. Job postings are loaded with keywords and your resume needs to contain about 70% of the keywords the hiring manager selected to pass the filter. Now that you have your targeted employers and positions, you can work on your resume content strategy. Resumes are future-focused marketing documents intended to position you as the best candidate for the job. They must contain content that is meaningful and relevant to the hiring manager and demonstrate your potential to learn and perform. To gather content, take a fresh look at your classes and class projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and jobs, even the menial jobs you’ve held. There’s a lot more there than you think.

There are 3 resume sections that are a must for new grads: Education and Relevant Coursework, Work Experience (paid and unpaid), and Extracurricular Activities.

Education and Relevant Coursework

  • Course work and projects often simulate real world work and can add valuable experience to the resume just like internships and fellowships.
  • Academic or project competitions can highlight your contributions, teamwork, and accomplishments.
  • Participation in special academic programs and international studies speak highly of you.

Work Experience

  • Summer jobs demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, accomplishment, and growth in responsibility.
  • On-campus and off-campus jobs while attending classes demonstrate time management, organization, and prioritization skills while revealing your motivation and determination.
  • Internships

Extracurricular Activities

  • Volunteer roles, working with community charities and fundraisers can show everything from leadership, commitment, and problem solving skills to passion and kindness.
  • Roles and responsibilities in fraternities, sororities, as well as student clubs and organizations show your commitment, initiative, and often teamwork and/or leadership qualities. If you’ve planned and led a special event, you have experience in project planning, logistics, leadership, and fiscal management.

Be sure to write powerfully and concisely; use active tense. Allow sufficient time for this part of the process. It takes much more time to write tight, concise, and targeted content. Be prepared to write and rewrite a few iterations of your resume. Remember format is equally as important as content. You must make it easy for the reader to consume this content, so forget gimmicks, slick fonts, and brightly colored paper unless you are a graphic artist. Stick to tried and true, common fonts and use plenty of white space and bold judiciously. Don’t use templates unless you want to look like everyone else. Most importantly, never determine length before you have your content. You resume may fit on one page, but don’t try to cram it onto one page. If your content demands more than one page, go to two pages. Just be sure all content is meaningful and relevant to the position you seek.

Networking for Students

Networking for Students

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” The saying is true. Ask any senior executive, politician or community leader which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career. An overwhelming majority will respond with one word: Networking.

Developing relationships with a network of other people provides you with professional and personal opportunities—and connects you to people who need what you have to offer. Students who take the time to create a network of connections during college can jump start their careers, finding opportunities for development through recruiters linked to their personal network.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making personal connections; creating long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals in a web of interconnected people. Your network might include friends, professors or students in your classes, co-workers or professional mentors. You can network anywhere, anytime—in your personal or professional life, on the ski slopes or golf course, at school or cocktail parties. Your network will provide references for you, and points of reference for you as you grow, learn and develop your career.

Why Network?

Networking might be initially daunting, but you will find compatible personalities in your networking whether you are shy or outgoing. Consider a few good reasons for networking:

  • Personal relationships enable you/your organization to stand out, rise above the noise and remain at the forefront of others’ minds
  • Relationships are a catalyst for success
  • People do business with (or hire) those they like and trust
  • If you offer others your experience, knowledge and connections, you can help them succeed
  • Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization
  • Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities to learn, share and grow
  • Networking could quite possibly open the door to your next career move
  • Networking goes hand in hand with recruiting. When it’s time to find a job, your network can help you find opportunities you’re well-suited to
  • Networking with accounting societies provides many opportunities for recruiting, including the opportunity to intern during your college years.
  • Every year companies send their top recruiters to colleges to start identifying future employees to court for positions within their company. If you have built strong connections, odds will be good that a member of your network (who is connected to the recruiter’s network) will speak up for you when recruiters ask for recommendations.

Networking: A True Story

A senior-level accountant lost his position during a corporate restructuring and did not want to relocate. He received company-paid outplacement counseling and spent the next few months following the standard process of researching opportunities, making calls, scheduling interviews, tracking listings on online job boards, and sending resumes to employers. This process led to a few new leads every week, but none that were such a perfect match that his interviews brought job offers.

On his way home one Friday afternoon (after another unsuccessful interview) the accountant pulled into his local gas station. The station owner struck up a conversation with the accountant and asked, “How are things going?” Instead of giving a thoughtless reply like, “I’m fine”, the accountant answered honestly. He explained that he had lost his job a few months before and was not having any luck finding a new position close enough to home. The station owner asked what he did, and when the owner learned that this customer was an accountant said, “My sister was telling me last weekend that her company is having a hard time finding a new accountant, and she’s just a few miles from here.”

The accountant had a job interview a few days later. An offer followed within a week. He accepted.

Where Can I Go to Network?

Many professional associations offer networking events, which connect you with a circle of contacts in a particular field or area of interest.

  • You can get information on local networking events from various industry organizations. The accounting organizations below provide networking forums:
    • The Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org
    • The local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors iia.org
    • The Institute of Management Accountants: imanet.org
  • Look into student accounting societies such as Beta Alpha Psi
  • Talk to your professors; they can help you make connections with people in varying circles of influence
  • Try a student membership for the Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org. They can connect you with a mentor that can help you chart your career path and recommend networking opportunities

Tips for Networking Events

When you attend networking events, you are opening the door to making many acquaintances that could grow to become part of your network. It can be a little intimidating to attend social events focused on making personal connections, but you can set yourself up for success by considering the ideas below:

  • The purpose of a networking event is solely to meet potential business contacts and to have them meet you. Go in with an open mindset and be willing to share yourself in a professional, authentic way.
  • Hold your drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one you will be using to shake hands. A cold and clammy hand does not make a good impression!
  • Put your nametag on your right shoulder. This way, while you are shaking hands, your contact can focus on your name.
  • Do not be afraid to mingle, introduce yourself to strangers and shake hands. That is how people strike up new connections!
  • Searching for conversation ideas?
    • Offer to introduce people, and share a few details about each person during the introduction: “Edgar, this is Mary. Mary is an auditor at CompanyX and a chess champion. Mary, this is Edgar. Edgar is a CFO at CompanyY and a great golfer.”
    • Share your opinions about a great book you have just read or movie you have seen.
    • Ask people to tell you about themselves. Many people like to have an open invitation to choose what they will tell you about their life and experience. They may give you an answer to a question you did not think of asking!
  • Remember to have fun! Networking isn’t just about finding a job, promoting your company or keeping your name “out there.” At the core, it’s really about making personal connections.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected! In a world of text messaging and e-mails it’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch. Distance breaks networks down, so be sure to reach out to your contacts frequently to let them know you are there.

Networking is an important skill in every stage of your career. You can benefit from connections made through your network, and you can help others by making connections for them. Next time you’re looking for new opportunity, put your (or our!) network to work!

Do you want help learning the art of networking?  We offer candidate coaching!

Call us! We’re here to help!

Never Look for a Job Again

Never Look for a Job Again

Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again? We’ve all known people who seem to get all the breaks. They often get offers for highly coveted positions the rest of us didn’t even know about. Ever wonder how they do it? Why is it that recruiters call them first?

The answer is simple, these people have become very attractive passive candidates, the recognized experts in their field, the people you go to for the answers, the ones you believe can solve your problems. These are the people companies want to hire and recruiters want in their prized database.

So how did they become so attractive? They capitalize on their strengths, are always authentic, outperform their job descriptions and peers, and build strong networks and enduring relationships they can call when needed. They provide extra value to the company; they plan and manage their business and career and don’t waste time, energy, or resources. They become so good at what they do that they don’t have to look for jobs, jobs find them. They may not be looking for work, but are open to the right opportunity when presented with it.

If you start with these 5 steps and continue them throughout your career, opportunities will come your way.

  1. Know your strengths and drivers and use them. If you match your abilities, natural aptitudes, and values with the right work environment, the result will be workplace success and satisfaction. When you work outside your strengths, you dread going to work. You are going to have more negative encounters at work and you will probably treat customers or co-workers poorly. You’re likely to complain about the company, achieve less, and have fewer creative ideas. When you work within your strengths, you’ll build energy and excitement, increase your productivity, and feel good about your work and yourself. You will do good work; success and satisfaction will naturally follow.
  2. Exhibit leadership qualities: initiative, influence, collaboration, and communication. Leaders volunteer and show initiative; they formulate and implement strategies; solve problems; respond to threats and adapt to change. Leaders support innovation and collaborate across boundaries. They engage and inspire employees, co-workers, and even customers. Leaders set or influence goals and readily accept responsibility for outcomes, good or bad.
  3. Find meaningful work that builds career value. Meaningful work is the intersection of your strengths, drivers, and values with company goals. When these things come together, there will be no stopping you. If you’re not experiencing career value, ask yourself why. Are you in the right position? Is something stopping you? Can you negotiate it into your job or do you need to find another job?
  4. Commit to lifelong learning and invest in your career. Change is the one constant we face. What is the minimum investment required to stay meaningful and relevant in your field? What is required to make you a thought leader? Join professional associations, read trade publications, attend conferences and online training. Find a mentor or adviser. If your employer doesn’t invest in your development, don’t let that stop you. It is your career; your investment will ultimately pay off in a better job with a better employer.
  5. Build powerful connections and communicate frequently with stakeholders who have a vested interest in your efforts. Having a robust network and connections builds professional credibility, keeps you relevant, can eliminate obstacles, and create opportunities. Make yourself visible, but not annoying. Communicate business benefits and results; be sure to share the spotlight and credit contributors.

Highly attractive passive candidates always practice these 5 steps; they are second nature to them. With a little practice, you can become an attractive passive candidate that hiring managers and recruiters seek out for their opportunities. Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again?

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2016

When to Call a Professional Resume Writer

When to Call a Professional Resume Writer

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2016

It’s time to call in a professional when:

  • YOU REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT THE POSITION!
  • You don’t have the knowledge, desire, or time to write your resume or LinkedIn profile.
  • You’re frustrated and confused by all conflicting advice you’ve received and found on your own.
  • You’ve spent hours upon hours on your resume or LinkedIn profile and you are still not happy.
  • Your resume hasn’t produced any responses or interviews.
  • You have employment gaps or an eclectic career history.

Do you have the knowledge, desire, and time to write your resume or LinkedIn profile?

So, what does it take to create a professional quality resume or LinkedIn profile?

Knowledge: Resume and LinkedIn profile writing is much more than sitting down to write your career history. It is presenting your career history in a powerful, concise, and compelling way that captivates employers by predicting future performance.

Both the resume and LinkedIn profile require a strategy to position you as the most qualified candidate. The content must be meaningful and relevant to the position and use the language of the job you seek. This kind of writing uses a combination of technical writing, marketing, and sales skills. And simultaneously you need to optimize the resume for applicant tracking systems with keywords, language, and formatting that ensure your resume is not rejected by a computer and your LinkedIn profile is found by recruiters and hiring managers.

Desire: Do you really want to write your resume and LinkedIn profile? Are you excited about it and really looking forward to doing it this weekend? Or, is it that you just can’t put it off any longer and now it’s become a chore like cleaning out the garage? You set aside 4 hours on Saturday morning and come what may, you are getting it done! If that’s the case, you lost sight of the goal. The goal isn’t to get a resume written, the goal is to land that new position. The resume and LinkedIn profile are tools to help you win the job.

Time: Are you a writer? Does it excite you to find the perfect word to convey the exact meaning? Do you frequently look for alternative words in a dictionary or thesaurus? It takes much more time to write tight, concise, and targeted content than longer content. As the saying goes, if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. Are you willing to put in hours needed to tighten and perfect the content?

How about Microsoft Word? Are you an expert or merely proficient in Word? Can you format a visually appealing document? Do you know how to support your message with formatting? Do you know when and how to use emphasis, tables, and graphics? That’s where technical writing skills come into play. Are you aware of good resume writing practices?

Impact on your livelihood, potential income, and job satisfaction!

It takes specialized knowledge, precise skills, a deliberate strategy, and commitment to excellence to create a powerful and compelling resume. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are your calling card and brochure. They enable your network to be your champion when opportunities arise.

These powerful documents have a direct impact on your livelihood, potential income, and job satisfaction. Do you really want to rely on well-meaning amateurs for these critical documents? Maybe, it is time to consider a professional resume and LinkedIn writer who spent years honing their knowledge and skills, developing their intrinsic writing talents, and is committed to excellence in their field.

A professionally written resume is an investment, not an expense. The most expensive resume you will ever have is the one that does not get responses.

Written By: Roberta Gamiza (www.career.ink)

 

Why Isn’t My Resume Getting Responses?

Why Isn’t My Resume Getting Responses?

So, you’ve got a great resume and a solid job search strategy. You’ve networked with everyone you know. You’re still not getting much response or those great opportunities you were hoping for still elude you. What’s happening?

There are some good reasons that a great resume may not get a response:

  • The posting was an effort to gather resumes early and test the market. No real position exits now.
  • There is an inside candidate and the company must post the job per policy.
  • The funding for the position is under review or has been revoked.
  • Re-organization or downsizing eliminated the position.
  • Competition revealed many qualified candidates with the exact skill set required. It’s a matter of numbers.
  • The hiring manager is so swamped, he feels he cannot stop long enough to hire anyone.

These reasons are all beyond your control and have nothing to do with you.

However, there are two reasons that are completely in your control.

  • You are qualified, but your resume doesn’t show it.
  • You are not qualified for the position.

You may need a reality check and an objective review of your resume. Despite your best efforts, if you are not getting responses from employers for positions you are fully qualified for, the most likely reason is your resume does not demonstrate your qualifications and value. If you suspect this is the case, have your resume reviewed by a professional resume writer.

The last reason for no response that is in your control is you are simply not qualified for the position. Be realistic when you apply for a job. You know if you’re qualified or not. Don’t let yourself fall into the desperation trap of applying for anything hoping something will come through. You are only doing yourself a disservice and damaging your credibility with employers.

Written by: Roberta Gamza (www.careerink.com)

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Does your resume grab the attention and hit home with employers? Does it generate responses? A resume is not just a history of your career, a listing of jobs you held and tasks you performed. It’s a future-oriented marketing piece positioning you as the most qualified candidate for a position. To do that, the content must be based on the position you are seeking, not just the ones you held. The content needs to be meaningful and relevant to the employer. It must demonstrate initiative, problem solving, and value to previous employers.

Know what’s important to the employer. Begin with a strong focused introduction. Concisely summarize responsibilities and focus on your accomplishments. Be very strategic; paint the right picture with your words. Use formatting to enhance readability and drive your message home. Write tight; trim and polish at least three times. Take these 10 tips to heart when preparing your resume.

  1. Get into the right mindset. Overcome procrastination and don’t lose sight of the real goal. It may seem like your goal is to write your resume, but your real goal is to capture the employer’s attention and land a job.
  2. Start fresh. Get rid of old resume baggage. Keep your eye on the job you are seeking. Approach your resume with today’s perspective.
  3. Assume the employer’s perspective. It’s not the story you want to tell, but the story the employer wants to hear. Demonstrate you can solve problems, save money, and make money.
  4. Don’t tell me, sell me! Job hunting is a sales job. Your resume is a sales tool, marketing brochure, and calling card. In sales features attract, but benefits sell. Load your resume with benefits. Articulate your value, previous contributions, and successes.
  5. Use industry keywords liberally and appropriately. Don’t just dump them in the resume, use them in context throughout the resume.
  6. Capture attention with a combination style that includes an introduction, career history, short job descriptions, bulleted accomplishments, education/professional development, specialized training, credentials, and certifications as well as affiliations, memberships, and community involvement.
  7. Distinguish responsibilities from accomplishments. Responsibilities are the tasks they hired you to do; anyone with your same title has the same responsibilities. Accomplishments tell us how well you performed those tasks and how valuable you were to your employer. Accomplishments are unique to you. They differentiate you from other candidates.

Avoid weak responsibilities; they do more harm than good. Ineffective resumes include long laundry lists of bulleted responsibilities. They tend to be passive, uninspiring, and make you look like every other candidate. (i.e., troubleshoot networking components, install, configure, and maintain computer equipment). Do not just repeat your job description.

Use strong responsibilities that paint a robust picture of what you did. (i.e., Service Manager. Managed a 7-member team repairing an average of 390 warranty and non-warranty repair orders per month.)

  1. Make accomplishments strong. Maximize the most powerful content on your resume. Quantify or explain the impact of your work on the organization. Frame your results with context. State how you improved or streamlined something, mentored someone, avoided a crisis, helped a customer, increased productivity, saved money, and so on. (i.e., Consistently beat annual profit target of $1.5M by at least 2X. Delivered 20% of company’s total 2015 revenue with 15% profit margin.)
  2. Avoid standard templates that make you look like every other candidate and follow good resume writing practices. Be generous with white space; select a common font; vary sentence structure and employ parallel construction; use emphasis sparingly; be consistent in capitalization, punctuation, spelling, type, and line spacing.
  3. Edit, proof, and polish at least twice, then walk away and look it over with fresh eyes in a day or so.
Written by: Roberta Gamza (www.careerink.com)

Really Different or Rarely Different?

Really Different or Rarely Different?

I hate labels such as “Millennials” – a term first coined by Strauss & Howe in their book Generations.

My wife asked me to write an article on Millennials in the Workplace. The general definition of Millennials seems to be those born between 1980 and 2000. Now, I am in the habit of doing (almost) everything my wife asks of me, but why me? I doubt I have anything more to add to the myriad of opinions out there. Everyone has a position on the topic, and none of the research is conclusive. I have spent the last week having an internal debate in my head and thinking of reasons why I should not do this. I can’t justify turning down my wife…

So here are my Generation X (generally born between 1960 and 1980) observations, solely within the workplace.

This is based upon what I have observed, what I feel etc., not scientific conclusions, just my biased non-researched views. So there, you can’t challenge me for this article. And, by the way, what qualifies me as remotely capable of writing down my views? Probably because I have three Millennials as kids and that I work with about 30 of them at Wazee Digital every day.

The way I think about Millennials in the Workplace is to begin by understanding what they faced when they entered the workplace. Yes, there could be all sorts of psychological factors that influenced them prior to that. However, I focus on what they faced from about 2005 to 2010 when the earliest group of them left their college and protective parent years behind and entered the workplace. Not quite losing the generational lottery, but during this short 5-year period here is what they generally saw:

  • Global Financial Crises & the Mortgage Loan debacle
  • Many of their parents unemployed and or savings depleted
  • Disastrous and costly Middle East Wars
  • Climate Change and an Environmental mess
  • Political gridlock
  • Corporate scandals
  • Resurgent China and offshoring depressing wages
  • Terrorism close to home

As I think about it, the only things Generation X have provided Millennials that provide great utility are: The Internet, the cellphone & e-commerce.

So, I totally understand why Millennials often exhibit a high degree of skepticism and distrust with Generation X. Estimates say that by 2020, nearly half of all workers in the workplace will be Millennials. I believe all workplaces have this unavoidable Millennial/Gen X combination – typically with Gen X as management and Millennial as non-management. Workplaces will have to understand these factors and challenge the traditional management/employee dynamic. For me, the cornerstone is all about inspiring the Millennials, understanding the different views and avoiding stereotypes.

While I agreed with my wife to write an article (short) not an essay (long), let me close by listing all the disparaging terms I hear about Millennials and give you my opinion as they relate to the workplace: They..

  • Have a lesser work ethic than Gen X – untrue. You are not inspiring them.
  • Want to do meaningful work – true. What’s wrong with that?
  • Have been so sheltered – why is this even relevant? If it’s true it’s the Gen X’s fault – so fix it.
  • Are overconfident – great.
  • Provide immediate candid feedback – who wants to work with folks who “suffer in silence” anyway?
  • Think communicating is texting – true. Texting and email are great for information sharing but awful for convincing or relationship building.
  • See supervisors as mentors not bosses – yes, Gen X’ers they actually want your help!
  • Are over entitled – sometimes. Probably because Gen X parents over protected them and are not finding that “air-cover” in the workplace.
  • Don’t have a defined career path – fair point. Keep encouraging and give them freedom to explore.
  • Value job satisfaction over financial rewards – correct. But the Gen X obsession with money has not worked out so well.
  • Look for a better work/life balance – correct. Why not? Travel, health, and rest are proven to provide more productive employees.
  • Don’t trust management – correct. Most Gen X management teams have not earned this trust.
  • Change jobs when the going gets tough – fair point. This is one the Millennials must own. The grass is rarely greener.
  • Don’t ascribe to Corporate Values – partially true. But most corporate values are BS anyway.
  • Rudely multi-task – yes, Millennials (and a number of Gen X’ers) you are guilty as charged. You can’t fully participate in a conversation and have one eye on your phone.
  • Have a strong BS detection antennae – correct. They sniff this out very well.
  • Have a greater sense of community purpose – correct. Companies should be part of the societies in which they live. Millennials are challenging companies to turn this from an annual report fable into a true commitment.

Hopefully my views can form part of the beginning of a generational understanding in the workplace not the end of the debate. Yet most of all, I hope that Millennials have the courage to mimic the Gen X strengths and learn from our Gen X’s many mistakes – so that they can preserve my social security benefits for years to come!

Mark A. Pougnet | COO and CFO

——————————————————

Wazee Digital

1515 Arapahoe St, Tower 3, Suite 400

Denver, CO 80202

E  mark.pougnet@wazeedigital.com

 M 720-635-5276

www.wazeedigital.com

 

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