Archive for November, 2011

Does an “Apple” a day boost your resume?

I’m a longtime Firefox user, but it’s been crashing on me lately for some reason. The last time it froze on me, I aimed my mouse towards my trusty backup, Chrome. But I must have zigged when I meant to zag because next thing I knew Safari was opening up. I’ve got a PC and never even knew Safari (Apple’s browser) was installed.

“Wow!” was my first impression. It was so sleek and sexy. Then the page that was freezing on Firefox loaded quickly. I found the interface for bookmarking and saving files to be intuitive. I am now a Safari user.

What does this have to do with your resume? Your resume will yield interviews if it:

  1. Gets in front of the right market: Safari somehow worked its way onto my desktop or I never would have tried it.
  2. Looks beautiful: That “wow” feeling captures interest like nothing else. That doesn’t mean you should jump the shark and have a blinking lights and rainbows on your resume. But it should follow solid design principles that were thought out according to your career marketing strategy. Take a look at some samples to see what I mean.
  3. Follows through with relevant content: If I had tried Safari because of its sleek look but found it didn’t suit my needs, I would have abandoned it. Make sure your resume is targeted to a specific position, industry, and type of company and that it speaks to why you are a uniquely qualified match.

I listen to much more music than I used to before I got my iPod. It’s so sleek, sexy, and easy to use. I don’t use the iPhone because I don’t need a smartphone, no matter how sexy. But for some lucky consumer, an iPhone is just what they need, and Apple will be sure to find that person by getting in front of them, being beautiful, and providing the functions they need.

I guess you could say that an Apple a day boosts your resume!

Need help? Contact us!

Follow your bliss,

Kim Mohiuddin, NCRW, CJSS

Chief Career Storyteller, Movin’ On Up Resumes

November 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

On a Resume, Context is King — Free Resume Sample

This month’s newsletter from Resource Development Company, an HR consulting firm, caught my eye. The title was, Look Beyond Results When Assessing Talent. It goes on to advise that hiring teams take a close look at context when taking stock of a candidate’s potential.

Maintaining revenue in a shrinking market, for example, could be a more difficult task than doubling revenue in a booming market.

So, as a candidate, how can you express the context of your accomplishments? One of my favorite ways is to create business case studies in miniature and include them in the resume. Take a look at this example from a wine industry executive:

Wine Executive

What do employers need to know about company and market forces that make your accomplishments even more impressive? One way to get at the answer is to think of each accomplishment in terms of CAR.

Challenge: What was the reason you started the project or what was the problem you had to address?

Approach: What was your strategy?

Results: What were the results?

From the above example, you can see that results (accomplishments) themselves tell only a part of the story. Don’t shortchange yourself by giving decision-makers anything less than a complete picture of all you’ve done.

Need help? Contact us for a quote on a professionally written resume.

Follow your bliss,

Kim Mohiuddin

Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Chief Career Storyteller at Movin’ On Up Resumes

November 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

If Youth Knew: 3 Ways to Prevent Reverse Age Discrimination in Your Job Search

“If youth knew; if age could.” – Sigmund Freud

This week’s newsletter is inspired by my client Tony who asks, “Even as a ‘younger’ person in the workplace, is it still good to keep things that would give an idea to my age, like graduation year etc., off of the resume?”

Most job seekers are aware of the potential for discrimination against an older candidate, a topic I addressed in this article.

But what about the younger applicant? Is youth a plus or a minus?

It depends. Consider your field and industry. Often, creative industries like web design, IT, and advertising have a positive bias toward youth. If this is you, yippee! Go ahead and use that ultrasound image as your Facebook avatar.

On the other hand, if you are a financial advisor or a life coach, youth will likely be a hindrance.

If you feel your career hopes could be dampened by people perceiving you as naive or inexperienced, there are a few strategies you can use to encourage decision-makers to fall in love with you before they know your birth date.

  1. Leave graduation dates off your resume and LinkedIn profile. It used to be you had to put a graduation date in LinkedIn. Thankfully, that is no longer the case!
  2. Take a photo that makes you look older than you are. Use it on LinkedIn and other social media. Consider hiring a professional photographer for this if you’re not getting good results on your own. (Just adding 5-10 years is enough. You don’t want people to feel duped when they meet you.)
  3. If you don’t have a long work history, focus on the depth of your experience. On your resume, instead of terse bullet points, opt for more context. Express the problem you were addressing, explain how you did it, and then share bulleted results.

Deception is not your goal. Of course, your real age will become apparent at some point during the hiring process. But you want to get your foot in the door so the hiring process doesn’t end before it’s begun. These strategies allow hiring managers to base their decisions on who you really are, not on their preconceived notions.

Follow your bliss,

Kim Mohiuddin, Chief Career Storyteller at Movin’ On Up Resumes

November 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm 2 comments

Networking not working? Craft a more compelling message.

Working with a marketing executive recently, I mentioned the importance of using networking in his job search to target hiring managers directly. The exasperated exhale on his side of the phone spoke volumes.

“I’ve tried that,” he said. “Twice I actually got to a hiring manager and both times the hiring manager told me to go through HR.”

With my background in sales, I know very well that you have to go through a lot of NOs to get to YES. But telling my marketer about the numbers game (which he’s very familiar with) didn’t seem enough. What meaty insight could I add that would make a real difference in his outlook and his results?

The answer came to me on Thursday. I was attending my Certified Job Search Strategist class and I posed this question to the instructor, job search luminary Beverly Harvey. On the line were several career experts. We all know the situation. The traditional approach of sending out resumes in response to posted openings is not effective. HR departments are down to a skeleton crew. They don’t have time to go through hundreds of resumes and are relying on internal referrals to fill positions.

But what can I say to the savvy job seeker who gets that, is using targeted networking, and is experiencing disappointing results? Once Beverly gave me her answer, I thought “of course!” Then I came up with three ways to make the most of her insight.

She said, “If the hiring manager is referring you to HR, your message is not compelling enough. You should be presenting yourself as a solution to a serious problem.” Here’s my suggestion for doing just that, in three simple steps.

  • Define your value. What urgent problems does your industry face—that you can solve?
  • Research your target companies’ needs. What are their specific pain points? This research can include informational interviews that would help you hone your message while also making important contacts—very efficient!
  • Lead with generosity and sizzle. Once you understand your contact’s problems, and how you are uniquely qualified to alleviate them, lead with an offer to help. This could mean sending over a case study describing how you solved a similar conundrum, or an offer to sit down and brainstorm ideas. Don’t mention your need for a job. Just think sincerely about how you might help, regardless of what it would mean for you. Opportunities will spring from this!

Note: Sending something other than a resume, such as the case study mentioned above or a value proposition letter, is key since many companies strongly enforce a policy that requires all resumes to go through HR.

I know, simple steps aren’t necessarily easy ones. But if you go back to replying to job ads and shooting your resume into the black hole of corporate application portals, you’re almost certain to be disappointed.

Follow your bliss,

Kim Mohiuddin

Chief Career Storyteller, Movin’ On Up Resumes

November 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm 2 comments