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Your #Career : 10 Résumé Mistakes that Make you Look Old…Here’s How your Résumé is Giving Away your Age & How to Fix It.

It is often difficult for older job seekers to get interviews.  A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that sent out fictitious résumés to job postings found that older applicants received the fewest interview requests.

"Once it's clear that you are an older worker, you are less likely to get callbacks," says Patrick Button, an assistant professor of economics at Tulane University and co-author of the report.

Here's how your résumé is giving away your age.

1. Your high school or college graduation years

Potential employers can infer your age from the year you graduated from high school or college. "If you list your high school graduation year, they can get within a couple of years of your age," says David Neumark, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and co-author of the report. "It's not clear you should hide your age, but it's not crazy, either."

 

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2. A long work history

You may want to downplay or leave off roles you held in the 1970s or 80s. "The last eight to 10 years of experience are considered the most relevant on your résumé," says Dana Leavy-Detrick, the founder of Brooklyn résumé Studio. "While you may not want to cut earlier roles off altogether, consider how you can condense earlier – and potentially less relevant – experience to keep the bulk of the focus on your current skills and contributions."

However, if you worked for a high-profile employer or earned a prestigious award several decades ago, it might be worth finding a way to include it. "You can get creative in how you present earlier experience without using the traditional chronological approach," Leavy-Detrick says. "Create an 'additional experience' section that omits the dates, but still lists employers and job titles, or include a footnote in the 'experience' section that highlights your earlier roles in a much more condensed way."

3. Failing to emphasize computer skills

Older workers are often perceived as being uncomfortable using technology. Take care to refute this stereotype. "I recommend including as many technical and computer skills as possible, and social media skills if they might be part of the job," says Janet Raiffa, a career advisor and former corporate recruiter who shares résumé advice at résumémama.com. But don't take this too far by writing that you know how to use a web browser or word processing software, which goes without saying in many fields.

4. No social media presence

An interested hiring manager might type your name into a search engine or want to see a personal website. He or she will probably check out your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other sites. "Build out a solid LinkedIn profile, customize your profile URL so that it includes your name instead of all characters and include that on your résumé," Leavy-Detrick says. "Having a polished digital presence really complements the résumé and shows that you put serious thought into your personal brand."

5. Listing two phone numbers

There was a time when many professionals had two or more phone numbers, including a cellphone and a landline. But many younger people now get by with only a cellphone. "Having two phone numbers can be seen as aging since millennials tend not to have landlines," Raiffa says. "Younger job seekers generally only have one."

6. An old-fashioned email address

Your email address might be saying something about your age. "AOL addresses suggest being beyond 40 or 50 [years old], so I recommend using a Gmail address," Raiffa says.

7. Using an out-of-date format

résumé formats go in and out of style. "Having an objective statement and 'references upon request' were common résumé features in the past, but both should no longer be included," Raiffa says. "Your objective is to get the job you're applying for, and any verbiage about the types of job you want should be saved for the cover letter."

8. Mailing a paper résumé

Your résumé is probably going to be viewed on a computer screen and needs to look good in that format. "Avoid using antiquated visual elements, such as page borders, drop shadows or tired font styles," Leavy-Detrick says. "Go for a polished, clean look that uses thoughtful design decisions and appropriate layout that's designed for screen reading."

9. Not including personal interests

Some employers want to get a sense of who you are outside of work, and you can provide some clues by listing a few hobbies or volunteer work. "I also suggest adding interests that convey vitality or youthfulness, such as marathoning, fitness, hiking, skiing, Tough Mudder, weightlifting or kickboxing," Raiffa says.

10. Using the same résumé for every job

Employers increasingly want to see a résumé that conveys skills relevant to the open position. "Candidates often want to keep options open by creating a general résumé they believe will resonate with varied audiences. When doing so, however, they do not realize they are alienating each audience by not being able to include the keyword relevance needed to get through both the automated and human screeners," says Samantha Nolan, a résumé and job search advice columnist and owner of Ladybug Design. "The more on-point you are at marketing your candidacy and relevant skills and experiences to your target audiences, the more traction your résumé will receive."

Emily Brandon is the author of "Pensionless: The 10-Step Solution for a Stress-Free Retirement."

Businessinsider.com | August 1, 2017 | Emily BrandonU.S. News & World Report

Your #Career : This Is Exactly What To Put On Your Resume To Get An Interview….There isn’t a Straightforward Answer, but Relevancy Plays a Big Part.

Whether you are well into your career or have a gap in your employment, it can be tough to decide what to include on a resume. This is especially true when you reach a point where you question whether your work experience happened too long ago to include on your resume.

Most people are looking for a straightforward answer or rule that tells them exactly how many years is too far back to include on their resume. However, career experts and coaches say there’s no hard-and-fast, right answer.

We spoke with Michelle Aikman, NCRW, cofounder and director of Adventure Learning of Cerno, to discuss just how far back your resume should go.

THE RULE OF THUMB

The standard rule people will often hear is that any experience past 10 years is not relevant and should be kept off a resume. But Aikman points out that there is no hard and fast rule that applies to everyone, because some people don’t have work experience that leads them to what they want to do next.

My rule of thumb is to consider how important the experience is to convey your ability to do the job, and whether it is absolutely critical that you communicate your qualifications or past experiences with a timeline attached to it,” says Aikman.

Related:The One Question Your Resume Needs To Answer (But Probably Doesn’t) 


If the experience still applies, regardless of when it occurred, Aikman says you should still put it on your resume.

“As long as it gives the employer enough information to understand it, it opens the door for you to talk about that experience,” she explains. “It might not be recent, but is still relevant.”

 

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IT’S ALL ABOUT RELEVANCY

When it comes to placing old work experience on your resume, Aikman says to focus on relevancy. If you did something in high school or college that is more relevant to what you are trying to do than other recent experiences, then Aikman says you absolutely should include it because it adds to your qualifications.

For those with a large gap in their employment, filling out a job application or going to an interview might be nerve-wrecking if you’re worried an employer will notice how far back your resume goes. But if you accomplished things in your personal life that you are proud of, you can find ways to showcase those accomplishments on your resume as relevant experience.

For example, if there is a gap in your employment because you had to care for a family member or loved one, you can explain what you learned or accomplished through that experience in a way that showcases the relevant work to the job you are now applying to. Maybe that experience taught you how to manage another person’s life–so you can showcase why you’d be a great assistant or general manager.

“It just comes down to pulling out the relevant words to describe what you did,” says Aikman. “It may mean you need to be skilled in how you present the information, because you may not be able to use the language you used before. Think about how you can communicate this experience using language that will resonate with the employer.”

TRANSLATING OLD EXPERIENCES

Moreover, not only is providing relevant experience important, but it’s also important to translate the experience for your future employer. Aikman says you must come to terms with the challenges you are facing while unemployed, but showing the employer why you are motivated and want to work for them.


Related:The Most Common Resume Mistakes And How To Fix Them


“The cover letter is a really good place to explain this,” advises Aikman. “It’s important that you provide details on why you are trying to transition right now, because employers tend to get nervous about why you are unemployed or haven’t been hired yet.”

Aikman explains this is a significant issue for many people with a large employment gap, and that many career services centers or professionals are not able to help because they don’t know how to.

GO BEYOND THE RESUME

Unfortunately, a stigma still exists around being unemployed. When you are looking for a new job, the standard process of filling out an online application or dropping off a resume isn’t always enough. Aikman advises that those in this situation should be more proactive in reaching out to employers by attending networking events and building relationships with other professionals.

When it comes down to it, Aikman says you just have to communicate to the employer that the experience you have, regardless of when it occurred, does make you qualified for the position.

“You have to believe in the resume for it to work. I think anything can go on a resume, it’s just how you communicate it using the right language,” she says.

 

FastCompany.com | June 26, 2017 | BY ISABEL THOTTAM—GLASSDOOR

Your #Career : Just Got Laid Off? This Is The Two-Month Plan You Need To Follow….Take it One Day at a Time—Here’s How.

You just lost your job. You may be crushed. You may be in denial. You may realize your work was toxic and be genuinely happy you never have to go back. Or you may not fully understand how you’re feeling.

Regardless of your state of mind, it’s hard, and finding a new job can be even harder. Many people simply update their resume and apply for positions that look interesting. That’s one way to handle it, but it’s also likely to be insufficient. Plus, it’s important to give yourself time to process the loss.

I’ve been in the exact spot you’re in now. I was laid off from an investment bank at a time when finance roles were hard to come by. Through personal experience, and through my work as a career coach helping countless people find jobs, I’ve put together a comprehensive timeline of the steps to follow if you’re in this situation.

DAY 1

The very first thing you should do after leaving the office is find someone to talk to. You probably won’t be in the mood to talk to everyone about your situation, but speaking with a close friend can help.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to vent, it’s time to start writing. Write about what just happened, how you’re feeling, how this impacts your plans, and what you might do going forward. The goal isn’t to come up with a full game plan or even to write coherently. Rather, the goal is to capture the thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing so you won’t replay them over and over in your mind.


Related: Could The Way Unemployment Is Reported Change Under Trump? 


DAY 2

When I was unemployed, I spent days sitting on the couch in my pajamas. My wife would get home from work to find me in the exact spot as when she’d left in the morning.

Without the structure of a job, you’re likely to feel less productive and your well-being might suffer, and that’s OK. But even if you’re not ready to start looking for work, there are other things you can do, including filing for unemployment benefits if you’re eligible. This was a step I didn’t take for a few months and I missed out on a lot of money. Don’t let that happen to you.

 

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DAY 3

The next step is to update your resume. Depending on the condition it’s in, this may take more than a day. Here are a few resources to help:

DAY 4

With your resume in tip-top shape, let’s turn your attention to LinkedIn. Check out these links to get your profile looking amazing:

DAY 5

Make a list of companies you’d absolutely love to work at. Start with a minimum of five, but no more than 20. Once you have this list, think about people you know at each company. LinkedIn’s a great tool to help with this as the company page will show the first and second degree connections you have at each one.

Starting with companies rather than just looking for openings will put you in the mind-set of pursuing opportunities you love, rather than looking for what’s available. Additionally, 80% of roles never get posted, and the majority of people find jobs through networking.

DAY 6

With your networking efforts underway, now you can start searching for positions. Depending on your industry, you may also find these niche job-search websites valuable.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to set up alerts on each site as this will automate a lot of your search, saving you both time and energy.

DAY 7

Make a list of 10 people you haven’t connected with in awhile and invite them to lunch or coffee. This may take you out of your comfort zone. Do it anyway.


Related: The Idiot’s Guide To Networking, No Work Experience Required


Then, I strongly recommend sending an email to your network letting them know you’re looking. Head over to LinkedIn and click the “My Network” tab. In the top left, you’ll see your total number of connections. Select “See all.”

From this list, identify people who can help. Put them into two groups: those who’ll receive a personal note and those who’ll get a mass email. In your message, explain what you’re looking for and how they can help. The more specific you are, the better they’ll be able to help. For more details on this approach, check out “Help Me Find a Job!” Emails to Send to Your Network.

DAY 8

You’ve been at this search for over a week and could benefit from a day off. After losing my job, I worked hard on my search Monday through Friday, then unplugged on the weekends. This gave me the stamina I needed to keep moving even when I faced setbacks.

Now may be a good time to plan a fun trip. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a change of scenery, even if just for a few days, can be a nice break from your search.

DAY 9

As you continue your networking efforts, check out the LinkedIn Alumni Tool. I think it’s the most underutilized feature, and it’s a great way to connect with people who have a similar background.

DAY 10

Have you started a daily practice? Are you exercising, writing in a journal, reading uplifting content, or doing whatever you committed to? It’s not too late to get started. I can’t overstate how important it is to take care of yourself during this period.


Related: Here’s How To Find A Minute Of Mindfulness Anywhere


If I may, here’s one more thing to add to your daily practice. Identify one thing you’re grateful for each day and write it down. Studies have shown that regularly expressing gratitude will make you happier, and who doesn’t need an extra dose of happiness during a job search?

DAY 20

If you haven’t already, start prepping for interviews. “The Ultimate Interview Guide: 30 Prep Tips for Job Interview Success” provides solid advice for putting your best foot forward.

DAY 30

You’re one month in. Now’s an appropriate time to assess how it’s going. Are you actively interviewing for several roles? If not, continue the networking activities outlined in days five through nine. In fact, even if you’re experiencing some success, don’t stop until you have that offer in hand.

One of the mistakes I made was taking my foot off the gas pedal when I was confident I was going to land a position. The role didn’t work out and since I had put all my eggs in one basket, I had to start back at square one.

Focus on completing the activity, and not just the outcome. Set a goal for the number of people to connect with each week and then follow through.

DAY 60

Now’s another suitable time to take stock of how things are going. If you’re not having success, it may make sense broaden your search. Are there similar roles in a different industry? Are you open to moving to a new city? Is now the time to change your career path?

If you’re several months into your search and not making the kind of progress you’d like, you may start to lose confidence. This is why it’s critical to surround yourself with positive influences. Negativity is contagious, so avoid people who will bring you down. Seek out those who are uplifting and will bring out the best in you.

You can do this. Keep up with your daily practice. Keep networking. Keep applying for relevant job openings. Focus on the things you can control and ignore those you can’t.

My final piece of advice is to treat your job search like a full-time job. Show up each day, do the work, then wrap things up and start over the next day.

Losing your job is hard, and we all handle it in different ways. But by following the timeline shared above, you’ll be well on your way to landing on your feet. And hey, you might end up finding a job that’s even better than the one you had before.


A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Muse and is adapted with permission. 

 

FastCompany.com | June 20, 2017 | BY NATHAN TANNER—THE MUSE - 7 MINUTE READ

Your #Career : What Your Cover Letter Should Look Like in 2017…Cover Letters are a Tough and Tricky Business

Striking the right balance between formal and conversational—while differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market—is no small feat. And the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting.

 But make no mistake: a stellar cover letter is still a job search must-have, and it could be key to catching a hiring manager’s attention.

Here are some tips, and a downloadable cover letter example, to make yours stand out.

1. Personalize

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.

“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”

If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.

Avoid nameless salutations — it might take a little Google research, and some LinkedIn outreach, but finding the actual name of the position’s hiring manager will score you major brownie points. “Do not start a cover letter with, ‘to whom it may concern,’” Holbrook Hernandez says. “It concerns no one.”

2. Tell a Story

To grab a recruiter’s attention, a good narrative—with a killer opening line—is everything.

“The cover letter is a story,” says Satjot Sawhney, a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes. “What is the most interesting thing you’re doing that’s relevant to this job?” Use that to guide your letter.

Ideally, the story that drives your resume will focus on a need at the company you’re applying for. If you’re a PR professional, maybe you have a list of clients in an industry the team wants to break into. If you’re in marketing, a successful promotional campaign might be the ticket in. “A hiring manager wants to see results-driven accomplishments with a past employer,” says Holbrook Hernandez. “If you’ve done it before, you can deliver it again.”

If you have a career gap or are switching industries, address it upfront. “If there’s anything unique in your career history, call that out in the beginning,” says professional resume writer Brooke Shipbaugh.

(Here's a downloadable sample.)

3. Use Bullet Points to Show Impact

Hiring managers are usually slammed with applications, so short, quick cover letters are preferable to bloated ones, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of human resources at job site Indeed.

“Make your cover letter a brief, bright reference tool,” he says. The easier you can make it on the recruiter the better.”

Bullet points are a good tool for pulling out numbers-driven results. Job seekers in creative fields like art and design can use bullets to break down their most successful project. Those in more traditional roles (like the one in the template), can hammer off two or three of their most impressive accomplishments.

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4. Highlight Culture Fit

It’s often overlooked, but a major function of the cover letter is to show a company how well you’d mesh with the culture.

As you research a potential employer, look for culture cues on the company website, social media, and review sites like Glassdoor. Oftentimes, employers will nod to culture in a job posting. If the ad mentions a “team environment,” it might be good to play up a recent, successful collaboration. If the company wants a “self-starter,” consider including an achievement that proves you don’t need to be micromanaged.

The tone of your letter can also play to culture. “The cover letter is a great place to show [an employer] how you fit into their world,” Shipbaugh says. “Show some personality.”

5. End with an Ask

The goal of a cover letter is to convince the person reading it to make the next move in the hiring process — with a phone call, interview, or otherwise. Ending on a question opens that door without groveling for it.

“You have to approach this with a non-beggar mentality,” Sawhney says. “Having an ‘ask’ levels the playing field.”

Your #Career : What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2017…Resume Trends Change Quickly. From Head Shots to QR Codes to Company Logos, it’s Hard to Tell which Extras will Get your Application Noticed, and Which will Get you Tossed Out of the Running.

Some things never go out style, though: When it comes to packaging your work experience, crisp writing and brevity still reign supreme. Add a clean, modern design and some descriptive storytelling, and you’re well on your way to landing at least an interview -- if not a whole new gig.

While the job market is expected to keep booming in 2017, competition will be stiff. As you shop the job market, make your resume stand out by using the tips (and the accompanying downloadable template) below.

1. Pay Attention to Format

Design matters. What you want is a balance -- a smooth, clear look that's got just enough panache to stand out. Adding a small pop of color is an easy way to spice things up without jarring the reader, says Dana Leavy-Detrick, owner of Brooklyn Resume Studio. Also, put some thought into the font you choose. Times New Roman is dated and boring, she says, but “a clean, sleek font gives a more tightened-up presentation.”

2. Make the Top Count

“The top one-third of your resume is what a recruiter or hiring manager scans to determine if they will read the rest … and they only give it three seconds,” says career coach Jennifer Braganza. Make yours an attention grabber: Point the reader to places where you have samples of your work product -- LinkedIn, a personal website -- and add your phone and email address. Bonus tip: If you're still using a Hotmail or Yahoo account, now’s the time to get a Gmail address -- or, if applicable, an email tied to your website. “Having a Yahoo, AOL, or education-based email address makes you look like you’re living in the past,” says Christy Hopkins, human resources consultant at Fit Small Business.

3. Promote Your Brand

If you've still got an objective section underneath your header, dump it. You want to show what you can do for an employer, not what they can do for you, says Sam Nolan, a professional resume writer and the blogger behind the career advice column “Dear Sam.”

(Some resume elements in the above courtesy of Wendy Enelow; downloadable template here.)

“A qualification summary should take up the most valuable real estate on your resume,” Nolan says. “The point is to highlight what you can’t afford a potential employer to miss ... It’s a high-level overview of your candidacy.”

This should also parallel the "Summary" section on your LinkedIn page, which serves as a virtual resume, says professional resume writer Laurie J. James. In both places, you'll want language that calls out some of the achievements and attributes that make you most valuable to an employer.

4. Emphasize Key Skills

Also near the top, catch the hiring manager’s attention by emphasizing your skill set. Doing so cements the value you can bring to the role, as opposed to what you’re looking for in a job, Leavy-Detrick says.

As you eye different postings, rework this section to emphasize the skills that make the most sense for each (rather than using the same boilerplate language for every job). Applicant tracking systems, or the software used to scan resumes, look for relevant keywords to move a candidate forward. The trick to making it in the “yes” pile, Nolan says, is to identify phrases from the job posting and mirror them on your resume.

Also note: No bot, nor human, is looking specifically for soft skills, James points out. So delete overused phrases like “quick learner,” “hard worker,” and ”great attitude,” and sub in a list of hard skills. Distinguishable tech and social media knowledge is particularly relevant in today’s job market, she says. (And no, the Microsoft Office suite doesn’t count.)

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5. Highlight Performance

Don’t make hiring managers hunt for your achievements, says executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx. Instead, pull out a standalone summary of what you've accomplished. This is another place where you want to tailor the mix of awards and benchmarks to a job you’re applying for. If you were promoted, why? If you saved your department money, how much? Did you successfully lead a high-stakes project? How?

If you’re having trouble populating this section, Smith-Proulx suggests looking to past performance reviews for ideas. What have your bosses and coworkers said that you do better than anyone else? Or, as Smith-Proulx puts it, “What is your superpower?” Differentiate this section from the summary at the top by focusing on quantifiable evidence.Think dollar signs and percentage points.

6. Show Key Work Metrics

When you get to your work experience, don't just list titles and dates. Use a few lines of text to weave a story for hiring managers. When did you change industries? Why were you promoted? Where do you aim to go next?

Then, use bullet points to back your claims with relevant facts and figures. “The only way to make yourself look unique is to dig into what you did beyond the expected,” Nolan says. Statistics are an easy way to prove you did more than the job description demanded.

7. Control Your Timeline

Your resume is a selection of your most relevant work history. If you’re anything beyond an entry-level employee, your internships and other early jobs are taking up valuable space, Smith-Proulx says.

Omit experience that dates back further than 10 years unless it’s essential to your narrative -- say, an internship with Jeff Bezos that changed your career trajectory. You can also leave out graduation dates. No sense giving an ageist hiring manager an excuse to pass you over because you're too young -- or too old.

Related: What Your Cover Letter Should Look Like in 2017

Money.com | June 5, 2017 | Kristen Bahler

Your #Career : 6 Logical Tips to Finding a Job…People Feel Good when Asked to Come In and Interview, Because they Think the Interview is About Them. In Fact, It is Not.

It would be interesting to review a few perceptions that job seekers have on issues stemming from feelings rather than from logic. Such perceptions are based more on gut feelings rather than thinking.

Examples follow.

Related: 10 Interview Tips for Tech Companies

1. The interview is about me.

People feel good when asked to come in and interview, because they think the interview is about them. In fact, it is not. The interview is about the interviewer’s needs and the interviewer’s competitive evaluation process that considers the candidate’s ability to provide what the interviewer needs.

2. Accept LinkedIn invitations only from people you know.

When in transition, it’s not about whom you know so much as it is who knows you. After all, it’s you who is looking for a job. And the more connections you have, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you’re hiding in a box, no one will find you.  Surprisingly enough, most help comes from the 2nd and 3rd degree connections and not from the 1st degree connections.

Related: 5 Essential Steps to a Great Job

 

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3. Create your own résumé.

People in transition need to preserve their savings, and so many compose their own résumés, which eventually get changed or edited or rewritten by others equally unqualified yet willing to help. The typical outcome is a less than competitive résumé that generates very few or no bites. The best advice, therefore, is to hire a trusted and recommended professional, certified and experienced résumé writer. A less expensive solution -- provided you’re absolutely certain your résumé is a good one -- is to have it edited by a professional editor. Such an editor or resume writer knows what sells and would put that knowledge and expertise to work for you. And yes, the good ones are not inexpensive.

4. No need to tell family about being in transition.

Many people feel uneasy or embarrassed about revealing too many details of their transition. That’s a big mistake, because family and friends really are the people who will go out of their way to be of help.

5. No need to pay for career and/or interview preparation coaching.

Again, like with the résumé, people want to preserve their savings and do not want to spend on professional help such as experienced career and interview preparation coaches. This too is a huge mistake.  A career coach will not only shorten the in-transition period but also teach you pertinent interviewing skills as well as how to negotiate a job offer. In most cases, fees spent on career coaching are dwarfed by the benefits gained from knowing how to negotiate a better compensation package.

Related: 3 Important Tactics for Job Interviews

6. Focus only on your past career path and ignore other possibilities.

In today’s fast-changing business environment, new jobs are being invented every day, and many of the past’s traditional jobs are morphing into new ones or becoming totally eliminated. Job seekers who do not consider job opportunities in fields unrelated to their past ones make a mistake. Some reach a point -- possibly because of age discrimination or the elimination of their traditional jobs -- at which a change in career might be a wonderful solution. It worked for me extremely well.

 

Entrepreneur.com | June 10, 2017 | Alex Freund

Your #Career : Five Job-Search Myths That Are (Still) Holding Back Your Career….What Used to Work for your Parents Might Not Work for You.

Between parents, friends, colleagues, and common “wisdom,” there’s no shortage of sources you can get advice from when you’re applying to jobs. The problem is, however, that not all of that advice is good advice. While our friends and family often mean well, the labor market changes rapidly enough that one job-hunting best practice is no longer relevant a couple years later.

And sometimes, advice-givers are just plain misinformed; I once had an acquaintance tell me that I shouldn’t even consider applying to a particular job without a graduate degree, which a recruiter for the position later confirmed would have been completely unnecessary.

So if you’re really looking for tips that can help you get your foot in the door at a new job, don’t rely too much on well-meaning friends and family–leave it to the experts. J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of career advice site Work It Daily, shared some of the most common misconceptions among job seekers, and what the truth of the matter really is.

MYTH NO. 1: YOU NEED TO STAY AT YOUR COMPANY AT LEAST X YEARS

Once upon a time, employees were expected to stay at their companies for years on end lest they risk looking flakey or unambitious. But today, the rules have changed. Millennials change jobs an average of four times in the decade after graduating from college, about double the rate of gen Xers. And this happens for good reason–new jobs tend to be the quickest way to advance in title and salary. Besides, if you’re truly unhappy in your current position, you shouldn’t force yourself to stay–life is too short to be miserable at work.

Related:New Graduates: These Are The Unspoken Rules Of The Workplace No One Tells You 


“I still hear parents saying that you need to stay at least three years to earn credibility. But no you don’t–not if it’s not working for you,” O’Donnell shares. “You need to go find your cadence and your stride, and if it’s not happening [at your current company], you’re not helping them. You’ve got to find your own thing.”

Now, that’s not to say that you should necessarily quit a job you’re unhappy at without anything else lined up first. But if the main thing holding you back from exploring other opportunities is that you haven’t been there long enough, don’t worry. If you’re the right fit for the job, recruiters aren’t likely to write you off based solely on your previous tenure.

[Photo: Unsplash user Alexandre Chambon]

MYTH NO. 2: YOU NEED TO APPLY TO AS MANY COMPANIES AS YOU CAN

You may have to apply to more than one company before you find the perfect fit, but that doesn’t mean that more applications directly translates into more opportunities. When it comes to applying to jobs, the key to success is working smarter, not harder. So rather than sending out as many applications as humanly possible, it’s better to get strategic and only apply to the companies that you feel are a great fit for your interests and experience. So how exactly can you identify those companies?

“One of the things we have job seekers do is create a list of 10 companies that you absolutely love–the product, the service, whatever it is they do, you absolutely love it. Don’t get hung up on whether you’d ever work for them or not, don’t get hung up that they’re not in your backyard. Just 10 companies you love. Then [ask yourself], ‘What’s similar about these 10 companies?'” O’Donnell says.

From there, patterns will emerge, whether that’s companies with great customer service, a culture of innovation, a commitment to helping the less fortunate, or whatever matters most to you. “It gets a lot easier to find employers once you know what those are. And the beautiful part about going to Glassdoor is it tells me similar companies,” O’Donnell adds.

 

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MYTH NO. 3: YOUR RESUME SHOULD ONLY BE ONE PAGE

Don’t worry–despite what you may have heard, submitting a resume that’s more than one page doesn’t mean that recruiters will automatically gloss over it. “The reality is that you can go to two pages as long as you create white space. When I see a one-pager but they’ve got half-inch margins, nine-point font, and they’ve tried to stuff everything on the page, it’s awful. So I’d rather see you go to two pages as long as you’ve really created that white space since it’s easier for me to read,” O’Donnell explains.

However, it’s a good rule of thumb to err on the side of concision.

“Under 15 years of experiences is a two [pager], in the rare instance you’ve had a killer career of 15+ [years] is a three [pager]. The exception to that is usually people in academia or science have a lot of papers and things that they have to cite and that can take up some bulk, but aside from that . . . no more than two,” she adds.

[Photo: Unsplash user Helloquence]

MYTH NO. 4: YOUR COVER LETTER SHOULD SUMMARIZE WHAT’S IN YOUR RESUME

“In cover letters, people tell [job seekers] to basically summarize what’s in their resume,” O’Donnell says. But using your cover letter simply as a way to repurpose what you’ve already laid out is a waste of your time. “I’m not going to read your cover letter if I know that everything in [it] is what’s in the resume,” O’Donnell shares.

Beyond being redundant, using your cover letter as a resume summary means you miss out on demonstrating passion and culture fit for the company and role in particular.


Related:Six Tips For Improving Your Digital Job Search While You’re Unemployed 


“The cover letter is your opportunity to tell me how you feel connected to me as a company–I want you to tell me how you came to learn that what we do is different, special, valuable, important. The resume will speak for itself,” O’Donnell says.

This is especially important if you’re still relatively early on in your career.

“[If you] don’t have anything where you can say, ‘Check out my incredible track record,’ what you do have is that emotional connection. And that’s what every company . . . is looking for. They’re looking for your passion for them,” O’Donnell shares. “They know they’re going to have to train you, so tell them about how you learned that the medical devices they [make] saved your grandmother’s life, or how being in financial planning is what helped your parents pay for your college–whatever the story is that connects you, that’s what you tell those employers.”

MYTH NO. 5: DON’T BRING UP GAPS IN YOUR WORK HISTORY

It’s natural to want to avoid highlighting the parts of your application that aren’t so strong, but addressing issues head-on is a good way to assuage any doubts that a potential employer might have. And while you don’t want to necessarily make it front and center on your resume, recruiters and hiring managers will respect an honest, thoughtful answer if they inquire about why you took a break from the working world.

“What we teach people to do is answer that question using the ‘experience, learn, and grow’ model–what did I experience, what did I learn from that situation, and how did I grow. So if I didn’t do an internship and I goofed off for the summer . . . and they ask me what happened, my answer would be, ‘That was a really great question. At the time, I had the summer off and I opted to not pursue an internship. What I learned from that experience is that I wasted an opportunity to really get some valuable experience for my career, and what I’ve learned is I’ll never do that again.’ That’s exactly what an employer wants to hear,” O’Donnell says.

On the other hand, if you’ve had a meaningful life event that’s gotten in the way of your work–whether positive or negative–you shouldn’t be afraid to proactively bring it up.

“If you were out of work because you took your sabbatical and traveled around the world . . . that would be noteworthy. If you stayed home and cared for an ailing relative or parent who passed, you may want to say [you were a] primary caregiver,” O’Donnell advises.

 

FastCompany.com | May 26, 2017 |  BY EMILY MOORE—GLASSDOOR

Your #Career : This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First…If you Don’t Have their Attention in the First 10 Lines, you Probably Never Will.

Here’s what it takes to make the best use of that high-value real estate.

USE LIMITED SPACE WISELY

In web design, this section is referred to “above the fold”–an expression that originated in the newspaper industry, where the most important headlines were printed literally above the part where the paper folded in half. For designers today, the same principle holds true: What’s visible to a reader when they open a webpage or document is the part where those crucial first impressions take place.

On your resume, the area above the fold sits within the red-dotted line in this example.

Since you can only fit so much into this amount of space, you’ve got to choose wisely what goes in there. Keep your page margins to a minimum and your contact details brief, this way you can squeeze the most critical info into that area.


Related:Three Ways To Add Personality To Your Resume (And Three Ways Not To


But don’t just cram in as much as you can. Think of your resume’s top quarter as your shop window. You want to place the most attractive items inside it, to entice more visitors into your store. That means you want to use this space to introduce yourself in the most compelling–though not necessarily the most comprehensive–terms possible, bullet out your core skills, and still have some space left to show off your most recent role.

 

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SELL YOURSELF WITH A PUNCHY PROFILE

Your resume is essentially a marketing document for your services as an employee, so starting with an elevator-style pitch is a great way to reel people in.

A profile section of around five to eight lines that gives a high-level summary of your abilities in a well-written, persuasive manner, can set the tone for your resume.

Just make sure that your profile doesn’t read like an objective statement–employers don’t want to know about what you want (presumably, that’s the job you’re applying for). Your resume should be written purely to sell your talents and get your foot in the door. A profile, on the other hand, while a little unorthodox, lets you summarize your experience and skills persuasively and tells the employer the benefits that you can provide to the role.


Related:The Most Common Resume Lies (And Who Is Most Likely To Tell Them) 


If you decide to write a profile section, avoid tired clichés like, “hardworking team player, dedicated to achieving results.” Although impressive-sounding, this overused, generic expression doesn’t describe what you’ll actually do in the workplace. You may well be a hardworking team player, but it’s better to demonstrate this point with evidence, rather than simply stating it. Instead, try something like: “established IT sales consultant with five years of experience providing multimillion-dollar database solutions to global retail organizations.”

The key is to offer a concise snippet of context, factual evidence, and even metrics, while giving the impression that you’re a results-driven hard worker—all before getting to your work experience section.

ADD A CORE SKILLS SECTION

A core skills section is a simple bulleted list that sits underneath your profile and highlights your most in-demand skills and knowledge. This section should give recruiters an instant snapshot of your skillset at a glance.

Make sure you do your research to determine which skills to promote here. This section should be reserved for essential talents only, and each point should be kept short and punchy–at three words or less.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR MOST RECENT ROLE

If your most recent role is the most relevant one to the vacancy you’re applying for, then you should make sure a good chunk of it is visible when someone opens your resume.

Head the role up with an outline giving a description of the organization you work for, where you sit within the hierarchy, and an overall summary of your accomplishments on the job. The key here is to demonstrate as many sought-after talents above the fold as you can.

If possible, try to add some impressive achievements with quantifiable results to prove the impact you’ve made. Any instances where you saved costs, generated revenue, or improved efficiency are always worth noting. For example: “negotiated new supplier deals resulting in a 10% decrease in budget spend annually” or, “delivered all project deliverables three months ahead of scheduled deadline.”

Statements like these allow recruiters to see the true scale of your work and benchmark you against their own standards.

If you can create a well-structured resume that highlights the best you’ve got to offer all within the first third or so of the document, you’ll increase your chances of landing interviews. Remember, if you can’t get recruiters interested in the first few lines of your resume, they’ll have no reason to read the last few.


Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV, and author of The Ultimate CV Writing Guide.

 

FastCompany.com | May 26, 2017 | BY ANDREW FENNELL

Your #Career : How To Trick The Robots And Get Your Resume In Front Of Recruiters….Writing a Resume that Can get Past Applicant Tracking Systems Doesn’t mean Boring Recruiters to Tears.

Confession time: I hate applicant tracking systems (ATS) with a burning passion. Why? Because in the name of making things easier for companies by “pre-filtering out” unqualified candidates, the peddlers of ATS software have dehumanized the hiring process and sent a terrible message to jobseekers: Conform to the requirements of our machines, or risk being ignored. Does that sound like a great way to attract the best and brightest?

Now to be fair, ATS software has grown more sophisticated in recent years, moving away from simply tallying up keywords on a resume to studying the context behind them. This means a drive toward substance, and that’s a very good thing.


Related: I Built A Bot To Apply To Thousands Of Jobs At Once–Here’s What I Learned


In this post, I’m going to show you how to communicate that substance in a way that works for these systems, and–here’s the tricky part–also works when a hiring manager is reviewing it.

USE THE LINKEDIN PROFILES OF COMPETITORS TO IDENTIFY KEYWORDS

A big misstep jobseekers make is trying to use job postings to identify keywords. This is wildly ineffective, because most job postings are a mix of “must have” skills, “good to have” skills, and “pie in the sky” skills that someone decided to stick in at the last minute. Try to play to all of these areas and your resume will end up looking like Frankenstein’s monster.

Instead, I recommend that you create a short list of 10-15 direct competitors. For example, let’s say I’m going after a chief medical officer position. By using LinkedIn’s search function to pull up fellow CMOs, I can quickly gather together the URLs of highly qualified people who currently have this job.

Now, I’m going to scroll down to the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section of their profiles. These are keywords, and the best part is that they’ve been pre-optimized by going through the LinkedIn system. You don’t need to wordsmith any of these keywords.

Start by opening up a document and writing down any and all keywords that you might remotely possess. Examples for CMOs would be keywords like Good Clinical Practice, Clinical Trials, Cross-Functional Leadership, Performance Improvement, Quality Management, Talent Acquisition, Community Outreach, Medical Affairs, and others.

 

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Now that you have this general list, do the following:

Circle the five to seven keywords you are strongest in. This is your wheelhouse, the engine behind why you’ll succeed at this job. These will be highlighted prominently within the resume and expanded upon within your work experience section.

Circle the keywords you have some working experience with. These are electives, which you have the option of briefly highlighting within the resume.

Cross out those keywords which you have zero experience with. And no, taking a course in college doesn’t count!
THINK CONTEXT, NOT KEYWORD STUFFING
Early types of ATS software used what’s known as semantic search technology, a fancy of saying they counted up the keywords they’d been programmed to look for, and those resumes with more of them were passed along. As a result, all types of bad behavior proliferated on resumes, including “stuffing” the document with dozens upon dozens of repetitive keywords. These days however, it’s all about contextualization, analyzing the document to see how these skills are expanded upon within the document, and weighing that instead.

Related: This Is What Recruiters Look For In Your LinkedIn Profile

Here’s how to lend weight to your keywords:

1. Create a large, boldfaced title at the start of your resume (after your name and contact information) that either lists the position you’re going after or offers a powerful branding statement.

Title example: Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

Branding statement example: “Clinical/Medical Affairs Executive with a focus on improved patient outcomes and growth in Managed Care environments.”

2. Ditch the “Objective” section at the start of the resume in favor of a couple of powerful bullet points that highlight your strongest keywords.

Here’s an example highlighting clinical trial design: “Expert in working with medical directors and contract research organizations (CROs) on developing robust clinical trials and managing areas such as site selection.”

3. Create a standalone keywords section where you simply group together the major keywords you wish to highlight.

List the strongest ones first, followed by the second-tier keywords. Remember: Be sure you can credibly defend any keywords listed during an interview.

4. Don’t be afraid to go longer to tell the story. Forget about adhering to a one-page limit–fleshing out keywords is well worth the extra space. Provide examples of project successes, or even small wins at work, where you applied a keyword skill to really stand out.

5. Write out all acronyms, and provide the abbreviation:

Worked with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to rapidly establish a presence within Albuquerque, New Mexico territory.

6. Keep fancy graphics and elements to a minimum.

I recently worked with a client who had some excellent content in a 3D text box within the resume. Problem was, the ATS software perceived this as an image, not text, and none of the information passed through. Keep the layout simple, use visual elements sparingly, and remember: Content is king.

7. Don’t place your entire career strategy in the hands of ATS software. Connect with others. Demonstrate your value and passion. Ask for help. Success in the job search is still all about the human connection–not forgetting that is the real way you game these systems!

FastCompany.com | May 22, 2017 | BY ANISH MAJUMDAR—GLASSDOOR

 

Your #Career : The Résumé will Soon be Dead, According to a Careers Expert…In the Age of LinkedIn, the Paper CV is Dying. There are More Effective and Reliable Ways to Show a Company What you’re Made Of.

When applying for a new job, the first thing most people do is dust off their résumé. It's the go-to way of showcasing your work experience and skills.

But in the age of LinkedIn, the paper CV is dying, according to Charlie Taylor, the founder of careers app Debut. He believes there are more effective and reliable ways to show a company what you're made of.

"This conversation has been going on for 10 years, about how much value does a CV hold," he explained. "And my honest feeling is it's going. It's slow but it is going."

Debut matches recruiters with candidates and Taylor said the companies on the app that request a CV are in the minority. In fact, some firms joined Debut so they wouldn't have to look at a CV ever again. In as little as five years, Taylor said the CV could be completely obsolete.

"It's a bit of a cliche, but CVs are part of an analogue, restricted world," he said. "And the world we're living in is a digital, unlimited one. I think the CV is one part of that industry that is still left behind that we're trying to modernise."

 

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Debut wants to be able to capture the skills you say you have on your CV and back them up with evidence from the hiring managers that meet you. Through Debut, candidates are being interviewed by its clients, including Deutsche Bank, Rolls Royce, and Deloitte, and their skills are being logged.

"If you sit in front of a recruiter and they see you practise that skill. They see that you're really intellectually curious for example, so for the 10 minutes they're talking to you they know you have that skill," Taylor said. "When a conversation finishes and they walk off and you walk off...that raw skill you've got is lost."

Debut wants to capture these skills by asking companies for feedback on all the interviews they have arranged and collecting that information on your profile. Because notable companies like Microsoft and Ernst & Young, for example, have noted that you are organised or a good leader, a potential employer is more likely to take that information at face value.

 

Businessinsider.com | May 14, 2017 |