8 Tips to Master The Art of a Winning Handshake

 

Ah, the handshake. A simple social grace toward which thousands of articles and seminars have devoted countless efforts deconstructing, analyzing, and perfecting. And yet, the notion of the “ideal” greeting seems to vary across the board. Some advocate a tight grip, a slight squeeze of the elbow, a flick of the wrist…alas, you may feel as though you are mastering sleight of hand in the end. Bear in mind, however, that all tricky, crafted handshakes aim only to appear simple, personable, and to the point.

So it is with this in mind that we distill for you a few basic tips to ensure you will confront your interviewer with a winning handshake to match your winning self.

1. Make a Strong First Impression

A handshake is part of a first impression. You get one shot. No do over’s on this one – if you creepily go in for the other guy’s hand again, you may inspire alarm. The handshake is a chance for you to connect with someone the moment of your very first encounter. Use this to your advantage. A handshake can at once be warm and friendly, which sets a great tone for the rest of your meeting.

2. Find a Happy Medium

What if someone asked you to stick your hand in a vice? Would you do it? Unless you’re being surly, the answer is likely “No”. So please, avoid extending the death grip toward your unsuspecting interviewer. A handshake shouldn’t be a show of bravado. Likewise, don’t be a wet noodle. Weak, floaty handshakes are awkward, and leave the person on the other end of them hesitant to make the next move for fear that they might break you. A good handshake is one that is firm without causing pain. Relaxed and snug. You get the idea.

3. Don’t Sweat It

Offering up a clammy hand may ruin an otherwise masterful handshake. A handshake should be over when it ends, not stick around with your sweat. Make sure your hand is clean and dry when you are introducing yourself to someone. If you tend to perspire when you’re nervous, keep a tissue or a handkerchief in your pocket.

4. Calm with the Palm

A solid handshake should last for about two to three shakes. After that, it can feel like manhandling. Don’t let your companion imagine that they’re holding onto an old school generator.

5. Eye Contact

Another simple rule: eyes meet with the eyes, and hand meets with the hand. Looking a person in the eye exudes confidence and is much more respectful. Avoid looking down at the other person’s hand while you go in for the shake – it comes off as insecure. This may seem like a tricky dance, but if you practice with a friend, you’ll have the steps and coordination down in no time.

6. Say Hello

There’s nothing worse than dead silence when you go in for a handshake. A handshake is a greeting, so greet the person with a friendly, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” Top off the routine by showing off your pearly whites.

7. Show Initiative

When you walk up to meet with an interviewer, extend your hand first. This shows that you are poised and ready to take action. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make the overture, but never show hesitation when shaking hands. The gesture should be friendly and comfortable.

8. Seal the Deal

You walked in, made eye contact, smiled, said “Hello”, and executed an all-around wicked handshake. Now you get to do it all over again! (And you thought it was all over…) When you excuse yourself from another’s company, make sure to shake hands one more time. The great thing about handshakes is that they’re so versatile. Perfect for many a situation, and just as appropriate for a farewell as a greeting. A departing handshake reaffirms the kinship that you established with the other person, and serves as a final signing off.

And, once your hand is free from the clutches of another, don’t forget to wave goodbye!

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5 Hidden Resume Killers!

You may think you have the perfect resume, but you keep getting overlooked for all kinds of positions, and you can’t figure out what’s happening!  Perhaps you are sabotaging yourself in ways you don’t recognize.

Almost everyone is aware of obvious job search killers in resumes, such as spelling and grammatical errors; however hidden mistakes often end up costing you the interview when you have an otherwise solid resume. Protect yourself from being misperceived out of a job opportunity by carefully reviewing your resume for hidden killers.

1.  Highlighting Political or Religious Affiliations

Many people fill their time with charitable work and, in the process, make some strong community contacts.  Great idea and very fulfilling, most likely, but if that organization is your local church or political action group, you may be sabotaging yourself if you include this in the resume.  Just the mere mention of such groups may subconsciously create a negative response in the reader.  Don’t place yourself at risk for potential discrimination or a negative first impression because of an association with a group that may not align with the values of hiring managers.  We all know it’s not ethical, but better to protect yourself, than be naïve and lose another opportunity.

2.  Explaining Employment Gaps with too much Personal Information

Although it is critical to be honest about gaps in your employment history, exercise caution about giving too much personal information or suggesting that your personal life may overwhelm your work life.  Be brief and succinct in explaining any gaps in your personal work history, and be aware that caretaking for elderly parents, for example, is becoming much more common. Career change or geographic moves may be part of necessary family caretaking decisions, which could also be important to explain in your resume. However you don’t need to provide a lot of detail regarding the emotional toll and investment of time such caretaking has taken.  The explanation doesn’t need to suggest you have been consumed by personal obligations, hinting that personal obligations may be more important than your work life.

3.  Broadcasting Weaknesses

Everyone has skill deficits or areas where his/her work could improve.  However, by over-emphasizing these deficits or appearing nervous about them, you are likely to sabotage the strengths identified in your resume.  Being honest doesn’t mean you have to hang your head and kick at the floor like a school child; it’s likely you feel worse about these shortcomings than necessary.  Emphasize your strengths and practice a response to express information about potential weaknesses. What is it that bothers you so much about this particular deficit when you likely have other strengths? You don’t need to be “all things to all people in order to land the job”, and feeling shameful about deficits can only work against you.

4.  Too Many Positions within the Same Time Frame

Sure, you may have worked 2 or 3 jobs in college, but later in one’s career, this may send a message that you are scattered, unfocused, or worse yet, not committed to your primary field of interest.  Potential employers want to know that you are working toward company goals with the same level of energy that they are, rather than being tired and distracted. Review the job history realistically.  You cannot misrepresent your work experience, but try to look at “your story” during that time of your life.  If there were a number of part-time positions pieced together out of financial necessity, be certain to identify the positions as part-time. Perhaps the positions included experiences for certification.  If so, mention it – this denotes a commitment to professional growth, and more clearly explains seemingly dual, simultaneous employment.

5. Over-emphasizing Periods of Self-Employment

Many potential employers question your ability to be a team player if you are accustomed to being the boss yourself.  It may also intimidate hiring managers or suggest that you are over-qualified, if you have labeled yourself President of your own company.  Again, don’t be deceitful, but be cautious regarding labels. Describe creative development skills associated with self-employment in ways that will benefit the prospective employer, such as market analysis, client development, or full P&L.

Increase your own awareness of potential “resume killers”, and you will be well on your way to eliminating obstacles to employment.  Resumes can communicate in many more ways than just using words.  The nuances of a resume are similar to body language – people get the message even if not overtly expressed.  Rid your resume of hidden killers and move ahead in your job search!

Author: Alesia Benedict

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10 Most Common Resume Goofs

Private Equity Research Associate – Princeton, NJ

Financial Analyst / Associate – New York, NY

Fund Analyst – New York, NY

Investment Banking Associate – New York, NY

Financial Analyst – New York, NY

Venture Capital Analyst – Redwood City, CA

More Great Jobs on Doostang

Its very easy to make one of the most common resume mistakes. They’re the kind of errors that you never notice till its too late. When was the last time you checked your resume for the 10 most common resume goofs?Ten Most Common Resume Goofs.

1. Email Errors

One of the most common goofs we see is an incorrect email address. Since most job search efforts are centered around email communications, having an email address that is wrong or difficult to interpret can be a pothole in the road to success. Double-check your email address to make sure it is correct. Don’t use your work email address on your resume and try to avoid having an email that has the number 1 in it as it can be difficult to tell if it’s a letter or a numeral. Avoid goofy or cutesy email monikers such as vanhalenlvr83 or similar. Email systems that use automated spam authenticators are loathed by recruiters and line managers alike, so stay away from them during you job search. Remember, you can set up an email address that you use JUST for job search.

2. Mechanical Mistakes

Misspellings are the most common mechanical mistake. People rely on spell-check too much. Spell-check can’t tell the difference, though, in meaning. If you write “manger” instead of “manager”, spell-check won’t flag it. Other mechanical problems include verb tense shift and capitalization. It seems like when in doubt, job seekers will capitalize something just “to be on the safe side” but that just creates an error.

3. Fluff Phrases

The profile or summary is often the most difficult section of the resume to create. As a result, job seekers fall back on soft-skill phrases or fluff phrases such as “good communicator” or “hard-working”. These sound good but they tell the reader nothing. These are subjective traits that are opinion-based. You may think you are a good communicator but your peers might say otherwise. These traits will be judged in the interview so don’t load the resume down with these. Remember, 99.9% of all the other candidates will also be claiming these skills. Have you ever heard of anyone putting “bad communicator” or “lazy with sloppy attention to detail” on the resume?

4. Too Much Information (TMI)

Job seekers often forget for whom they are writing. The recruiter or hiring manager is going to be skim-reading the resume and will be looking for the main points. The job seeker, on the other hand, feels it’s necessary to put every bit of information possible in the resume, right down to including that Eagle Scout designation from 1984. Having too much information, or irrelevant information, is a common resume error.

5. Too Little Information (TLI)

The opposite of TMI is TLI – too little information. Being too general in the resume is just as bad as being too wordy. Usually too little information takes the form of no details on achievements. Most people can get their job duties or role descriptions down but falter when it’s time to detail their successes in some sort of quantitative or qualitative way. As a result, the content is thin or bland and doesn’t inspire the reader to make contact with the job seeker.

6. Passive Voice

We are all taught that formal writing is passive voice writing. Most people have a tendency to write in the passive voice, especially when composing their resumes. Passive voice – “responsible for”, “duties included”, etc. – is weak writing. Resumes need to be powerful sales documents and passive voice doesn’t persuade the reader. Make sure the resume is written in active voice with lots of solid keywords throughout the content.

7. Functional Format

Using the functional format (also called a skills resume) is probably the most deadly error you can commit in terms of the resume’s effectiveness. Recruiters and employers literally detest the functional format. It does not give them the information they need in the format they want. Additionally, it generally indicates that the job seeker is trying to hide something since the functional format is used to cover up problems such as date gaps, job hopping, or lack of experience. Just the mere appearance of the functional format is a huge turnoff to decision-makers.

8. Personal Information

The fact that you are an avid skeeball player, or that you collect old world coins has no relevance to whether or not you are qualified for the position. So why include information on hobbies, sports, or interests?

9. Poor Design

The old large-left-margin layout is long out of fashion and fancy designs, images or tables will really give the databases a hard time when you upload your resume. The best thing to do when it comes to design of your resume is KISS – keep it simple, sweetie. Yes, make it appealing, but over designed resumes will get scrambled in uploads, and thus not win interviews.

10. One Page Length

One page resumes are long gone unless you are a new graduate without much experience. Having said that, we still see plenty of one page resumes for more senior job seekers come in for critiques. It does surprise me! When a job seeker tries to limit the content of the resume to fit into one page, he/she is cutting vital information to adhere to a “rule” that is not valid for most resumes. Many resumes (including mid-level) are two pages in length and three pages are acceptable for some senior level candidates.

Author: Alesia Benedict

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Careers in Investment Banking: The Inside Scoop

Photo Source: Flickr

Choosing to pursue a career in Investment Banking is an endeavor that requires steady concentration, relentless determination and an ample dose of business sense. But for those who are willing to put in the work, this professional track provides an immensely satisfying opportunity to exercise one’s natural strengths and abilities.

Kyle Schroeder found an outlet for his ‘affinity for numbers’ in a career as an investment banker. His story is proof that with hard work and razor-sharp focus, talented young professionals can achieve the same level of fulfillment with an occupation that will make good use of their skills, and keep them challenged on a daily basis. We asked Kyle how he leveraged his own academic and professional interests to prepare for his ‘dream’ job as an Associate at Citi Group.

________________________________________________________

Navigating the Finance World with Kyle Shroeder, Citi Group Associate.

Tell a bit about your background: What led you to finance?

I grew up in Wayne, NJ and have an identical twin brother Matthew who is an attorney. I was fortunate to have both a strong academic and athletic career in high school and was sought after by many institutions of higher learning including all eight Ivy League schools. I decided to attend Dartmouth College because of their excellent academic reputation, their access to professors and their winning football program.

Even as a child, I always had an affinity for numbers and attempted to place values on things such as baseball cards. I was the guy who ran the fantasy football league before the advent of the Internet and took much joy in adding the statistics after each game to figure out which team won. When I was introduced to the stock market, a passion for finance developed. The markets seemed like a natural place for me to turn a hobby and talent into a career.

How did you get your first job?

My senior year at Dartmouth I interviewed with multiple Investment Banks. However, it would have been impossible for me to pursue a professional football career as an Analyst, as they typically work 80+ hours a week. Therefore, I decided to look into proprietary trading for a firm in which my hours would be limited by the market, thereby allowing me to continue to train and work out for professional teams. A former classmate and friend was working for a proprietary trading firm at the time. When I asked them if they would let me take a sabbatical to join a professional football team if given the opportunity, their response was very positive. The decision to join a firm that would be that supportive of me was easy.

Why did you join a start-up company? What was the upside and downside of the experience?

I joined the start-up company after applying to and getting accepted to Tuck’s MBA program. While my motivation for attending business school was to land an Associate position in M&A, I felt that given the lack of access to programs for pre-MBA interns, the next best option for me would be to acquire additional experience in a field unrelated to trading where I could develop a skill set that was sought after by Investment Banks.

The upside was huge. I was able to acquire a diverse skill set such as modeling, time management, and the ability to work on multiple projects at once. In addition, I was surrounded by brilliant, passionate people working together to create a business that had previously not existed. The downside was the pay. I earned $500 a week as an Operations Associate. Although the firm offered to pay for my business school education if I stayed with them for another year, I declined in order to pursue my passion for banking.

How did working in operations prepare you for your next job (e.g., lessons learned, skills gained)

As I have stated, the hard skills I developed such as modeling, time management, and project management were critical in preparing me for a role as an Investment Banking Associate. I also took away the ability to successfully interact with highly intelligent, motivated people.

What prompted you to go back for an MBA, and how have you benefited from it?

My desire to obtain a career in investment banking was the main motivation in acquiring an MBA. There was no other way to transition into an Investment Banking Associate position without the skill set and network acquired through an MBA program.

The MBA program exponentially increased my ability to think critically and strategically as well as enhanced my skill sets and time management capabilities. In addition, I have gained an invaluable network of colleagues. There is no shortage of Tuckies who are willing to help out, in any way they can, other Tuckies.

How does Mergers & Acquisitions compare to equities trading?

There is no real comparison between M&A and equities trading. They are two totally different beasts. As an M&A Associate, you need to be exceptional at communication and meticulous at understanding the numbers that are driving valuation. In addition, you must totally understand the strategy behind the proposed combination or divestiture. On the other hand as a trader, you must be able to quickly calculate odds in your head and have the wherewithal to place your money on your calls.

What advice would you give our community members who want to do what you do?

Do your homework. You cannot be over prepared for any professional endeavor. Figure out what skills the job requires and be prepared to articulate how you have gained those skills and how you can apply them to whatever position you want. If the job requires skills you do not currently have, figure out a way to acquire them. Also, network with people in the industry and job function you are seeking. They will provide valuable insights into the job and may be aware of openings.

Among your peers in the industry, what do you see as the secret to their success in finding and keeping good jobs?

The most successful Investment Bankers are those who add value to their team and continually attempt to learn more so that they become an indispensable part of the team. The great thing about M&A is that no two transactions are the same so there is always the opportunity to educate yourself and provide unique insights into a potential transaction.

________________________________________________________

Regardless of current economic conditions, there will always be opportunities for talented young professionals to put their skills to use.

By challenging yourself to attain even greater achievements, you can find a career that will give you access to the means with which to pursue your passion.

Whatever path you choose, Doostang can put you in touch with hiring managers along the way.

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6 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Resume’s Impact

Great Jobs on Doostang

You’ve written your resume and cover letter, spent hours trying to capture what makes you unique. The problem is – it’s not working. You are not getting calls. Perhaps it is time to drop back and examine your resume for some of these common mistakes people make when constructing their own resumes.

1. You skim the top of information, giving only general ideas of your career roles. You figure a hiring manager reading your resume will know what past jobs entailed simply by reading job titles, right? Wrong! Job titles are not standardized and can vary widely from company to company and even industry to industry. Don’t assume the hiring manager will figure out your past roles. The hiring manager is not going to do any work on your behalf! There are too many applicants in the market to waste time on “maybe” candidates. Give specific details about your roles, quantifying wherever possible. Concentrate on high-level skills and unique experience that will be valuable to the reader.

2. You fudge details. When nothing is happening for you in your job search, you may be tempted to fudge on your resume to seem more qualified than you really are. Don’t do it! Employers will find out and then you are in even more of a pickle. If you claim a certain skill on your resume, the employer will ask behavioral questions in the interview to elicit the depth of your knowledge. It will be very apparent that you are clueless or don’t have the skill level you claim. Not only will you be eliminated immediately, but you have burned that bridge forever for any possible employment. Don’t lie on your resume – you will be found out.

3. You don’t proofread. Spell-check is not the end all and certainly does not catch everything wrong in spelling, grammar or formatting. Have someone proofread your resume for you. After spending hours working on the document, you simply will not see your errors.

4. You give irrelevant information in the resume. Trust me – employers are not interested in the fact you like to fish, read, listen to music, or play hopscotch. Employers are concerned about information related to your experience, your skills, and your ability to do the job. Employers don’t need anything to “break the ice” in an interview. They know how to ease into an interview without having to rely on hobbies or interests from your resume.

5. You take your work history all the way back to the 70’s. Employers are interested primarily in the most recent ten years experience because that is what is most relevant to their needs today. Detailing your work history for many years longer than the past decade hurts you because the information is not relevant and it can also put an “age stamp” on you.

6. You don’t include a summary at the beginning. Just like the back of a book cover, the summary tells the reader what is coming and entices him/her to read further into the resume. Leave out the summary and you miss the opportunity to interest the employer.

Private Equity Senior Analyst – New York, NY

Fixed Income Portfolio Manager – Stamford, CT

Jr. Consumer Analyst – Boston, MA

Credit Research Analyst – Newport Beach, CA

Equity Research Associate – Jacksonville, FL

Junior Equity Derivatives Portfolio Manager – Santa

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By Alesia Benedict

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8 Do’s and Don’ts for Conducting a Smart Job Search

smart_job_search
 Great Jobs at Doostang

Are you conducting a smart job search or just an average job search? With unemployment at record levels, lots of people are in the middle of a job search. Some are going through all the right motions but they aren’t working smart. As a result, their searches take more effort, get fewer results, and take longer. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” of a smart job search:

1. DO set search agents on job sites. Let technology work for you. Search agents will “push” new job openings to you so you can apply if you wish. Search agents cut a lot of time out of job search and are very useful for the Internet portion of your job search.

2. DON’T stop at one or two job sites. In this recession, job search can be a numbers game. Cast a wide net in your job search and use multiple avenues to get your resume circulating. Make sure you update your resume regularly on job boards and include a cover letter if the system allows.

3. DO use a great resume prepared by an experienced, certified resume writer. Check credentials and find out how long the writer has been writing resumes. There are lots of “resume writers” out there who have appeared since the recession and who will “write” a resume for a few bucks. Don’t be fooled; the quality of the end product is not the same. Investing in professional help is a great way to get an edge.

4. DON’T ignore social media because recruiters and hiring managers don’t. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are the first stop for most recruiters seeking professional candidates. Work to build your online network and keep it professional. Make sure your profile is complete and work to extend your network across a diverse population. It does no good to add five personal friends and stop there.

5. DO follow up. With hundreds of candidates for each open position, names and resumes all run together for the hiring manager. Interviews will go to candidates who work to establish some sort of communication with the recruiter or hiring manager. Today especially, employers are overwhelmed with applicants and will often grasp the straw that sticks up highest. Work to be that straw by always following up with a great thank you, a personal note, or a phone call.

6. DON’T forget to pay it forward. Your network should work both ways. Not only should you be asking for help from your contacts but you should be offering it, too. A job search partner can be helpful in multiplying your efforts. Find a contact in the same industry but different function with whom you can team up. Your contacts can immediately be his contacts and vice versa. Your research can benefit him and his job search efforts can benefit you.

7. DO stay engaged. The worst thing you can do is sit at home and become isolated. Get out of the house. Volunteer, go to community meetings, take a class, or even teach a class! Isolation leads to job search burnout and dead ends.

8. DON’T give up. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases new unemployment figures, you often hear talking heads saying the figures don’t reflect those who have given up. Don’t become that statistic too. Those who give up have a 100% chance of NOT getting a job. Edison had over 100 failed designs before he finally hit on the right one for the light bulb. But he never gave up. Keep working at finding a job and you will succeed.

Fund Analyst – Capital Markets – New York, NY
Junior Trading Analyst – New York, NY
Investment Banking Intern – San Francisco, CA
Investment Analyst – Chicago, IL
Associate – Boston, MA
Finance Manager – Private Equity – Boston, MA

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About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

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8 Ways Your Contact Details May Be Turning Off Employers

Writing a resume is no small task, but one part that seems like a no-brainer is the contact information section. Unless you are suffering from amnesia, you know your name, where you live, and what your own phone number is.However, it’s not quite that simple. Your contact information is arguably the most important part of your resume, as this is the only means employers have to reach you for an interview!Many job seekers commit major blunders in their contact information, however, that can turn off employers before the first paragraph is read. Be sure to avoid the following eight pitfalls to maximize this simple — yet vital — section of your resume:

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1. Listing current work phone or email address

Though rarely enforced, most companies implement policies barring use of office equipment and internet services for personal use. Your job search certainly qualifies as personal, so keep it out of the office. Keeping your job search a secret from your current boss is only one of the pitfalls. Listing a work-related email address or phone number on your resume sends a negative message about your professionalism. A prospective employer could infer that you are abusing company time and resources, and that’s certainly not a good first impression.

2. Including your name and email only on the first page.

Envision how many pieces of paper must cover the desk of a hiring manager shortly after he or she publicly posts an open position. Now picture him or her sifting through dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes and misplacing a page. If no name is on that page, it may as well be in the garbage.

Don’t risk being discounted from consideration because a portion of your resume was lost. Be sure to put your name and contact information on each and every page of your resume to avoid this preventable scenario.

3. Providing a phone number that’s not caller-friendly.

Giving only phone numbers that make it easy to contact you may sound like common-sense advice, but unfortunately it isn’t always obvious. Without realizing it, job seekers who block lines from private calls or forget to clean out a full voicemail box for three weeks sabotage themselves. Making it easy for a busy employer to contact you is crucial, because rather than track you down, he or she is more likely to just move on to the next candidate.

Additionally, be cautious if you share the telephone line with your family or roommates. For example, if your teenage daughter uses the phone constantly but never answers call waiting or you live with your sister who is terrible at taking messages, perhaps your home phone line is not the best number to provide. A cell phone is usually the phone number of choice, but with newer technology offerings such as free Internet-based voicemail boxes, the modern-day job seeker has plenty of options.

4. Not verifying that the outgoing voicemail message sounds professional.

Using funny recordings or having small children as the voice a caller hears telling them to leave a message may be amusing or adorable to your family and friends, but it’s not going to make a professional impression on a prospective employer. Even though it’s your home and your right to do whatever you like with your own voicemail, the best message is brief and generic. Start making your first impression in person during the interview rather than through an insignificant message that could make you seem silly.

5. Listing an email address that’s a bit too personal.

If you chose an email address that refers to personal information, it’s typically not advisable to use it when applying for a job. Furthermore, using your birth year as part of an email moniker could lead an employer to figure out your age, which subjects you to age discrimination. (Though it’s obviously illegal, age discrimination is still alive and well in today’s job market, not to mention difficult to prove.) Be sure to let your qualifications speak for themselves.

Even if your hobbies are wholesome, they won’t put you in a professional light. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with “DogLover23” or “SailingAceJohn,” but such names don’t support a professional image. A simple solution is choosing an email address that contains your first and last name. This not only presents a polished image, but makes a sender’s identity clear. Seeing an email from “SailingAceJohn” in my inbox won’t tell me immediately which candidate it is, especially if I received 12 resumes from people named John! With such an abundance of free and reliable email providers, it’s easy to set up an account you can use exclusively for your job search.

6. Omitting a city / state.

Posting a resume online can be a scary thought for many, since contact information is out there in cyberspace. Nevertheless, an address is ideal to show the reader where you are located. Most job boards offer a job seeker the option of keeping contact information private. A good compromise, however, is to at least include your city and state so employers know whether you are a local candidate.

7. Opting for a nickname over a formal name.

Your birth certificate says your full name is Michael, but your friends call you Mickey. That’s fine, but remember, a prospective job lead is not your friend. Your resume is a formal marketing document, and as such should contain your full legal name. Once you interview for the position, feel free to tell the person or persons interviewing you to call you whatever you prefer, but until that time, it’s best to maintain a formal and professional tone.

8. Not hyperlinking an email address.

Hyperlinking your email address gives hiring managers the option of contacting you with one simple click! Why would anyone pass up this type of opportunity?

There may be more to the contact section of a resume than meets the eye, but optimizing this information for a successful job search is easy if you know the impression each detail makes on employers. (Now if only creating the rest of the resume was this simple!)

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The 6 Lessons of Job Interviewing

Whether you have been in the job market for some time or you’re just starting out, job interviews are always an essential part of the recruiting process. An interview is effectively a screening process that companies use to differentiate between individuals who look promising on paper. Making it to an interview already demonstrates that you have the background skills your employer is looking for. Now it’s up to you to make that first impression last.

#1: It’s not just about how smart you are

Many times you will be competing against candidates with very similar accomplishments, and there is only one way to stand out from the crowd. Show your employer why you want to be there. Do your research on the company and its particular culture and know ahead of time what you can bring to the table to help them grow. Anyone they interview will be qualified, intelligent, and driven – but employers want someone who will bring something more exciting to the table. What can you do for them? Be concrete, be creative, and show that you are more than just smart.

#2: NEVER open a sentence with an excuse or apology

Interviewers hear things like this constantly: “I know I don’t have a finance degree, I know I didn’t have an internship with your company”, etc. These are the kind of things you want to say at home around family and friends when you are secretly freaking out about your interview the next day – NOT to your employer! Work with what you have and highlight your redeeming qualities. Relate non job-specific experiences to your new employer in creative ways. So you worked for a summer as an ambulance driver and now you’re applying for a position in finance? Great! That experience shows that you can handle stress.

#3: Be succinct and do not ramble

Interviewers are people too, and like all people, they can get bored.

  • Don’t take 5 minutes to answer a question
  • Don’t give one word answers
  • Don’t drone; keep the interviewer interested

Remember, you are selling yourself to this individual. Think of other examples of sales. It’s often the personality – the excitement – the way the product is presented, that keeps us coming back for more.  Sell yourself effectively, and your interviewer won’t be able to let you go.

#4: Explain Yourself

Interviewers love to give brainteasers.

  • How many passengers leave JFK airport on a given day?
  • If this table was full of pennies, do you think they could stack up to measure this building?

If you get stuck, explain how you would approach the problem if you don’t know the answer. Interviewing is less about getting answers right and more about showing the interviewer that you are an effective problem solver. Companies want to know that you are capable of taking complex problems and breaking them down to find an answer. They are more concerned with how you think than with what you know.

#5: Count. If you are asked for 3 examples, don’t give 2

This blunder is made more often than should be allowed. It’s a no-brainer kind of mistake that you can easily watch out for and avoid – (please do!) It will make your interviewer’s job a lot easier if you mess something like this up, and by that I mean that you will probably be overlooked on the spot. You’re smarter than that – don’t let happen to you!

#6: Be able to explain everything in your resume

Your resume has been your stand-in until this point, and your employer is very likely to refer to it for clarification and explanation, especially if something you have done stands out. Be prepared with answers to any question about your past internship or work experience. Have examples ready to show your impact and what you personally accomplished during your time there.

 

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The 7 Words that Sabotage Your Resume

The wrong words can sabotage your resume, and nearly all of us have at least a few of these words on our resumes.  Learn the 7 types of words that can have a severe impact on your chances of getting an interview.

1. Generic Attributes

These words are on everyone’s resume.  They are so common that hiring managers simply don’t even read them. Do not bore the reader to tears with these trite, overused and tired phrases.

  • Hard worker
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Goal-driven
  • Strong work ethic
  • Multi-tasker
  • Personable presenter
  • Goal-oriented
  • Detail-oriented

It is much more effective to write description that is action-based and demonstrates these abilities rather than just laying claim to them. For example, rather than just stating you are an “excellent presenter,” you could say something like “Developed and presented 50+ multi-media presentations to C-level prospects resulting in 35 new accounts totaling $300,000 in new revenues.”

2.  Age Attributes

Under qualified candidates often try to look more mature.  Over qualified candidates sometimes try to look more youthful.  Hiring managers know these tricks.   Candidates near retirement are often the worst offenders.  Words to avoid:

  • Young
  • Youthful
  • Developing
  • Professional Appearance
  • Mature

3. Health Attributes

Candidates who claim to be “healthy” are telling hiring managers they feel they fear getting to0 sick to do the job.  Candidates with past medical issues are the worst offenders here.  Words to avoid.

  • Healthy
  • Fit
  • Energetic
  • Active
  • Able-bodied
  • Athletic

4. Appearance Attributes

Candidates who claim to be “attractive” are telling the hiring manager they get by on their looks instead of their skills.   Let the hiring manager see how attractive you are at the interview, but don’t expect to get that interview because you are attractive.

Age, health, appearance phrases to avoid:

  • Pretty
  • Attractive
  • Handsome
  • Cute
  • Adorable
  • Masculine
  • Powerful

Let the hiring manager see how healthy and fit you are when you come for an interview.  Don’t expect claiming to be as such will get you an interview in the first place.

5. Passive Voice Words

Forget what you learned in school and don’t write in passive voice.  Many people write in passive voice because that is how we’ve been taught to write “formally” in high school composition and then in freshman college English.  Its wrong for resumes.

Indicators of the passive voice:

  • Responsible for
  • Duties included
  • Served as
  • Actions encompassed

Rather than saying “Responsible for management of three direct reports” change it up to “Managed 3 direct reports.” It is a shorter, more direct mode of writing and adds impact to the way the resume reads.

6. Hyper-Active Words

Hyper-active words are verbs that are too violent or aggressive to be used on a resume.  They’re usually verbs better suited to a comic book than a resume.

  • Smashed numbers through the roof
  • Electrified sales team to produce
  • Pushed close rate by 10%
  • Destroyed sales competition
  • Blew away sales goals

7.  Profile Words

These are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the DISC Profile. While the results from these evaluations can be invaluable to the job seeker for evaluating an opportunity in terms of “fit”, employers and recruiters are more interested in performance results. Do not inadvertently “pigeon-hole” yourself by including your profile results in the resume.  Words to avoid:

  • A-type Personality
  • D Profile
  • Alpha Male

Consider your word choice in a resume. A resume is a marketing document for your career just as a brochure is a marketing document for a product or service. Companies put careful thought and consideration into each and every word that goes into marketing copy and you should do the same in your resume.

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6 Factors of Career Success

Finance – Investment Analyst, Boston, MA

Investment Banking – Corporate Finance Analyst, New York, NY

Finance – Investment Banking Analyst Intern , New York, NY

Senior Research Analyst, San Francisco, CA

Sales Trader, New York, NY

Acquisition Associate , San Francisco, CA

Discovery Leader, Detroit, MI

More jobs we think you’ll like…

What skills do employers value and seek in potential employees? That was the question posted to hiring managers, and the feedback might surprise you! Below are the most common skills mentioned, whether the employee happens to be a manager, network engineer, or a cook.


1. BASIC SKILLS

Employers are seeking employees who can read well, can write coherently, and who can calculate mathematics in a business environment (fractions, percentages, etc.) Add to that the ability to use computer tools to round out the basic skill sets needed for employment success.

2. PERSONAL SKILLS

Can a potential employee speak well? Can he/she answer questions of customers in a positive, informative manner? While not everyone has an outgoing sales personality, successful employees can communicate in a non-confrontational, positive manner with their coworkers, subordinates, managers, and customers. Being able to work well with others is a vital skill for success in all jobs.

3. JOB ATTAINMENT

Job search is a process that requires a great deal of dedication and attention to be conducted successfully. If you put in little effort, you will receive little results. Employers are seeking employees who know how to present themselves in a positive manner and who display enthusiasm and knowledge about the companies they approach. Not only do candidates get evaluated on their skills and experience, but also on how they are approaching the job search. Enthusiastic candidates that follow up and show true interest will win success above equally qualified candidates.

4. JOB SURVIVAL

Now there’s a hot topic in this period of layoffs! True, who gets the ax and who doesn’t is often a matter of numbers, but it is also often a matter of performance. Employees who have consistently demonstrated their worth and made themselves a valuable asset have lower incidences of being downsized than employees who put forth average effort. Surviving in a company during layoffs is a skill that makes a candidate stand out among peers.

5. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Successful individuals are constantly attending seminars, taking classes, attaining training, and otherwise learning new skills that will keep them marketable in their careers. Successful people are lifelong learners. Employers are looking for people who understand this.

6. CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Career Development differs from Professional Development. Professional Development is learning while Career Development is a planning and goal setting process. Successful individuals design a career plan with written goals for short term and long term. They lay out the steps needed to move their careers from Point A to Point B within Time Frame C and plan how they are going to achieve those steps. Employers seek individuals who (believe it or not) wish to commit to the company for a long period of time. Good career progression is a high selling point of candidates to prospective employers.

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