Four Ways Your Resume Should Show Off a Career Progression

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC –

M&A Research Analyst, New York, NY
Associate Analytical Scientist, Cambridge, MA
Investment Analyst, Chicago, IL
Vice President-Product Development, Washington, DC
Investment Banking Analyst, San Francisco, CA

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Whether you’ve worked for the same employer your entire career or lost count of the number of resignation letters you’ve signed, demonstrating how you evolved as a professional is key to a winning resume presentation.

Prospective employers find career progression very important. What better way to showcase your potential for future professional growth than exhibiting your capability of successfully doing so in the past? It also proves you have possessed ambition and drive throughout your career. Even more significantly, it can clearly convey the depth and breadth of your experience to lend you a valuable edge in today’s highly competitive job market.

That’s why exemplary format is imperative to maximize career progression on your resume presentation. Maybe you’ve worked 20 years in 20 different companies, or you may have invested 20 years with the same company. In either scenario, your career progression is easily demonstrated on your resume using the following four strategies:

1. Emphasize Titles

If you’ve spent considerable time at one company but held multiple titles, do not make the mistake of lumping everything under one heading for that company. Unfortunately, by mixing and matching duties of different titles in one master description, the progression gets muddled.

Be sure to let those promotions work for you! After all, you worked hard to get them, so they certainly deserve to draw attention. Instead of organizing your experience by company, do so by title. In this manner, you will be able to approach each role by giving it its own identity and importance on your resume.

2. Focus on New Responsibilities

Even if you leave a company for another in what would be considered a lateral move, you can demonstrate the progression in your career by showing how you increased task ownership in the subsequent capacity.

Rather than repeating duties used to describe your previous role, be sure your resume description for each progressive role clearly shows new tasks taken on when you advanced. No matter how similar responsibilities may seem, your experience for each time period is sure to be unique.

3. Recount Accomplishments

No matter what your title was, reach back into your memory and pull out at least three of your most valuable achievements for each role. It’s great to have old performance evaluations handy, but even if you don’t, a little brainstorming can help jog even the worst memory. Consider the following:

* In what successful projects did you play a key role?

* What were the main objectives you set out to achieve?

* Are there metrics you can cite to show measurable accomplishments?

* Did you form any strategic relationships that proved valuable to the organization?

* What awards did you win?

* Were you selected to serve on any special committees or to head any teams?

* How did you contribute to supporting the goals of the department or organization as a whole?

This doesn’t have to be done in one shot, either. Take a week to think about it, and jot down some notes for each role you’ve held as each detail comes to you. You will likely be surprised how much you’ve actually achieved!

4. Highlight Newly Acquired Skills

The next step in your career journey will build upon the skills and knowledge you possess today. With this in mind, think about how each past position expanded upon your abilities. What new skills did you use? What new knowledge did you apply? If you completed any specialized training, be sure to include it as well.

Regardless of how many companies one has worked for, every career is marked by numerous stops along the way. Career progression is what will most effectively illustrate your ability to make a valuable contribution in the future, which is why it is such a vital element to your overall resume strategy.

Your resume isn’t doing its job if it doesn’t tell an employer the story of your professional journey, so be sure to optimize your presentation to make your career progression shine.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Doostang News October 4: Tips for Making an Industry Transition

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant , Irvine, CA
Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Product Development Analyst, Chicago, IL
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With the job market making a fresh recovery, it’s natural that you may be looking to make the switch to a new industry.  But we all know that it’s hard enough transitioning to a new position, so what’s the best way to make the move into an entirely new field?  Check out some of our tips:

Do Your Research

Spend your time researching as much as you can.  Pour over the latest literature of the industry, brushing up on trends, research reports, conference call transcripts, investor information – whatever you can get your hands on.  The more you know, the easier the change will be.  Try to get to know the ins and outs of your field, going beyond what is expected of your desired job; that way, you’ll be better equipped to face challenges that come your way.

Revise Your Resume

Update your resume to reflect the transferable skills from your previous work that will best suit the type of employment you’re looking to gain.  And if a previous position didn’t require any of these talents, then leave it off.  It’s tempting to list all of the substantive work experience from your past to demonstrate that you are a devoted worker, but employers will spend very little time looking at your resume before moving on to the next one.  Highlight what’s relevant, and if you still feel the need to include the less relevant job experience on your resume, make sure to downplay it.


It’s also imperative that you get out there and get to know as many people in the industry as you can.  Use your existing network to get introductions to workers in the industry you are targeting. These new contacts will be the ones to vouch for you and get you jobs.  They’ll also be the ones that you’ll be doing business with if you land a new job, which will give you a huge leg up from day one.

Finding a new job is tricky, and navigating foreign territory is even trickier.  So make sure to prepare as thoroughly as possible so that you when the day finally comes, you’ll be ready to conquer!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Hot Career Tips for the Unemployed

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC –

Research Analyst, New York, NY
Account Coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
Associate Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Marketing Associate, Chicago, IL
Senior Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

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If you are presently unemployed, your days are likely spent scouring job postings, emailing prospective employers and submitting your resume to online websites. Even the most dedicated jobseekers, however, probably have too much idle time on their hands. With no set hours or routine, it could be very tempting to get lazy.

Before you resort to sleeping into early afternoon or reaching for the remote control, there are several ways to make productive use of this time.

Here are just a few suggestions as to how you can maximize downtime that will not only keep you active, but will make you a more attractive job candidate:

Perform charity work where you can utilize your professional skills.

There are dozens of ways you can contribute work-related talents for the betterment of your community. Signing up for a volunteer post within an established organization is only one option. If you get creative, you can carve out your own niche.

For example, if you are a marketing professional, find out if your favorite charity needs help launching their latest awareness campaign. A teacher can look into helping a local literacy organization. A sales professional can help an organization find donors and raise money. A technology professional can assist with a nearby school’s computer upgrade.

Such activities not only enhance self-worth by aiding a worthwhile cause, but they also enrich your qualifications and demonstrate to an employer that you are keeping your skills sharp while unemployed. You’ll likely make valuable contacts as well. You never know who you will meet! It could just be the person volunteering next to you is looking for someone with your qualifications or knows of a position opening up in the office next door.

Accept a temporary or consulting gig.

With unemployment at the highest it has been in more than two decades, it could take a little longer to land that dream job. Broadening the scope of positions you are willing to consider may mean you have to make some compromises. If you are adamant about accepting only a full-time job, you could be inadvertently doing yourself a disservice.

If you impress an employer during the course of a temporary assignment, it could lead to bigger and better things. After all, what better way is there to convince a boss what you are capable of than actually showing them? The best case scenario is that you are offered a full-time position and your search is complete.

The flip side isn’t so bad, either. Even if it comes to an end, a temporary position will help you earn some money, make some contacts, and provide an additional credential to include on your resume. That will help fill in the dreaded employment gap while showing employers your skills are not getting rusty.

Take a course related to your field.

Whether it’s a college course for credits or a one-day seminar, enhancing your education sends an excellent message to anyone in position to hire you. It exhibits your desire to keep your skills current and shows you are using your time wisely.

To make the most of this benefit, be sure to enroll in something related to your work. Though taking a course for personal enrichment can be rewarding, it simply won’t carry as much weight as something relevant to your field. For example, a partner in an accounting firm will be more impressed with a candidate who learned about the latest tax codes than one who took a photography course.

If you participate in any of these activities, don’t forget to update your resume and cover letter to let employers know. Finally, remember that while these activities will keep you busy, don’t neglect your job search. Job hunting should always be considered your number one “job” while you are unemployed.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

The Best Resume for a Bad Economy

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

M&A Analyst, New York, NY
Business Associate, Palo Alto, CA
Research & Trading Associate, Cambridge, MA
Business Development Director, Newark, NJ
Associate Analyst, Chicago, IL

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With unemployment at its highest level in more than 25 years, many professionals are out of work for the first time in their careers. Things may look bleak, but for those worrying they will have to go from earning six figures to minimum wage, take heart. Though no one wants to settle for a job that is far below one’s worth, there is good news.

There are some creative strategies a job seeker may consider that will not adversely impact his or her long-term career outlook. In fact, just a few small strategic changes to your resume can instantly increase your job-hunting prospects even in these rough economic times.

Broaden Your Scope

You may have spent your entire career in one industry, but it may be time to also look around for positions in related fields. If you not are willing to settle for anything less than your dream job, go for it — but be willing to wait. For most, especially those already out of work, finding a job as soon as possible is important. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must settle or take a step down. All that’s required is an open mind to consider a comprehensive range of lateral possibilities.

For example, a human resources professional who specializes in recruitment may now branch out into related functions such as employee relations, benefits administration or even generalist positions. A laid-off newspaper copy editor could move away from the struggling newspaper industry and apply his or her skills for technical writing or public relations roles. A real estate sales representative can look into sales positions for other industries by emphasizing his or her transferable skills.

To compete with others who may have had more direct experience, you can level the playing field by highlighting valuable transferable skills on your resume rather than focusing just on specialized experience.

Don’t Get Hung Up on Titles

Instead of seeking out positions based on job title, it may be time to adjust your strategy or you risk limiting your prospects. Concentrate on job descriptions rather than titles. This doesn’t only apply when looking through postings, but also when it comes to branding yourself correctly on a resume.

Rather than listing a very specific job title as your objective, indicate something more general. A more general objective will broaden your appeal to recruiters and hiring managers weeding through resumes.

Don’t Fall Into The Overqualified Pile

You may have far more experience for a position than required, but you still want to be considered for the role. Downplaying your achievements is never advisable, but if you are a job seeker with “too much” experience, simply avoid going back too far on your resume. After all, highlighting accomplishments from 1976 will usually not help you anyway since it is from so long ago. Employers are most interested in your recent experience.

As a bonus, you will avoid another pitfall in the process. Discrimination of any kind is, of course, illegal, but unfortunately, it does happen. As a general rule, there is usually no compelling reason to go beyond 20 years on your resume.

Don’t Agonize Over Employment Gaps

It wasn’t too long ago when a resume reflecting any gaps in employment was taboo. It was thought to raise glaring red flags, implying something amiss in your job history. In a robust economy, it’s understandable for an employer to question why a jobseeker didn’t work for a long stretch of time. But in times like these, an abundance of well-qualified people are out of work through no fault of their own. It is simply reflective of our times.

That’s why there’s really no reason to be overly concerned about gaps in a resume — within reason. If you haven’t worked for six months, it doesn’t really require an explanation these days. If you’ve been out of work three years, that’s a different story. In such cases, it’s usually best to tactfully indicate the reason right on the resume to prevent an employer from speculating.

Minimize “Job Hopping”

In tough economic times, many jobseekers accept temporary assignments or perform consulting work as they search for permanent positions. Such experience is valuable because it not only helps pay the bills, but also demonstrates a strong work ethic and shows you are keeping your skills sharp. However, listing a series of several jobs over a short period of time on your resume could project an inaccurate image of a job hopper to an employer who is just giving your resume a preliminary glance. The best way to present this on your resume is to group consulting work together so you showcase your contributions without giving it too much valuable space, adversely impacting your overall presentation.

There’s little we can do to change the economy, but with the right strategy, your resume can help show your true worth — even in today’s tough job market.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Doostang News August 23: Some Pointers for Requesting Time Off

Investment Banking Associate , New York, NY
Consultant, Washington, DC
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Requesting time off can feel a tad awkward.  Sure, you’re entitled to a life – but does your employer know that?  Many of us encounter frustration from managers or passive aggressiveness from coworkers when we make mention of our hiatus from the office.  So what’s the best way to slip out for a week or two unscathed?  Read on:

Give Plenty of Notice

While the standard notice for leaving a job is generally two weeks, it’s best to let your boss and coworkers know about an upcoming vacation as far ahead as you can.  Sooner really is better because it gives your peers enough time to digest the news and plan ahead for it.  Doing so will also make your own life easier, as more preparation beforehand will ensure a less messy aftermath when you return.  And really, what’s worse than returning from paradise to an office where all hell has broken loose?

Put Together a Plan

It will also make everyone’s life easier if you put together a plan, including a schedule that your coworkers can follow, important deadlines, and contact information – both for the people others will need to deal with on your behalf, and for you, should any emergencies arise.  The more thorough you are upfront, the fewer frantic calls and emails you’ll have to deal with when you’re miles away.

Don’t Jet During a Busy Time

While it may be tempting to flee the office during one of the busier periods, you’ll probably anger the people you work with if you do.  It’s more considerate to plan a vacation when you know things will be slow around the office, so that others can more easily take over for you.

Don’t Overlap

If possible, gauge when your coworkers might be taking time off, so that you can make sure not to jump ship at the same time.  Worse than missing one valuable employee is missing two – or more – so try to plan your time off strategically.  It may also be helpful to have these discussions with coworkers before you book your getaway, as some bosses may deny you time off if another employee will be gone at the same time.

It’s tempting to take off and leave as little information behind as possible when you’re trying to escape the office.  But some thoughtful planning beforehand will go much farther in ensuring a well-deserved, stress-free break!

Bon voyage!
The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — Time Efficient Job Searching

NYU Stern, 2007
Associate – Arlon Opportunities Investors

Doostang is a platform that excels in time-efficient job searching.  I used it because the posts on the site are high quality and organized in such a way that I was not forced to slog through useless posts.  A better organized site is worth the money — especially when your time is constrained by long finance hours.

I simply applied through the website’s standard platform, was contacted by the firm, and got the job!”

Here’s a small sample of the exceptional jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Investment Analyst – Leading Hedge Fund, New York, NY
Healthcare Strategy Consultant – Leading Business Strategy Consulting Firm, Boston, MA
Operations Associate – Prominent Investment Management Firm, San Francisco, CA
Business Advisory Services Manager – Top Consulting Company, Nationwide
Investment Banking Intern – Experienced Technology Investment Bank, Los Angeles, CA

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Happy Job Searching!

The Doostang Team

Resume Strategies for Career Changers

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Director, Mid Atlantic States
Investment Banking / Private Equity Analyst, New York, NY
Manager – Strategy & Business Development, Washington, DC
Junior Analyst, West Conshohocken, PA

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Are you considering a change in direction in your career? If so, you are not alone. Economic downturns often result in consideration of new, more lucrative career directions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American will change jobs at least ten times over his/her lifetime and will make a complete career change three times. A thirty-year career with one or two companies is no longer the norm. People move, change jobs, change companies, and change their minds on a regular basis about what they want to do with their working life. Handling that change on the resume can pose a challenge to job seekers.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen many people who have lost their careers due to the economic situation. Mortgage, real estate, and construction industries have dried up from underneath the professionals who worked in them. As a result, these individuals and professionals in other distressed industries are often seeking to return to a career field in which they previously worked, posing a resume challenge.

Returning to a prior career field creates an organizational problem with the resume, especially if the most recent career field is not well-related to the earlier one. How can you show the employer you have good experience in business analysis, for instance, if the first thing they see on the resume is your experience in mortgage sales? The challenge faced is establishing the focus of the resume from the start. That means a powerful summary and core competencies section right at the top.

A summary is the most important part of the resume. It has to establish the focus of the job search, show how you are qualified for that focus, and engage the reader to read further into the resume. If the summary does not engage the interest of the reader, he/she will not give the rest of the resume the attention needed to clinch the call for an interview. In a career change situation, the summary is even more important because it has to do double duty – persuade the reader to continue reading and set the idea in the mind of the reader the job seeker has the right qualifications, even if they are not exemplified in the most recent employment experience.

The wording of a career-change resume is crucial. Most career fields have similar base functions – customer service, team work, project work, or business sense. Some have similar skills such as sales and customer service; business analysis and financial analysis; or operations and project management. Other career fields are very dissimilar or require licenses, certifications, or specialized training. Regardless whether where you are going is similar to where you are now, the wording of the resume in terms of similar functions, common duties, and supportive accomplishments can help you make that switch.

Additionally, selection of information can make a significant impact on the effectiveness of the career-change resume. Often, the most important factor in information selection is what is excluded from the resume. When making a career change, it is very tempting to “throw in every fact” in hope that it will have some kind of impact in the mind of the reader. Unfortunately, the result tends to be opposite. Too much information overwhelms important facts and the reader has trouble seeing the real qualifications in the “static”.  When constructing the career-change resume, consider information presented to the reader very carefully. You have a limited amount of space to make your argument and you don’t want to waste it with irrelevant information that does not support your goal.

It’s not just what you’ve done in your career; it’s what you’ve achieved. When making a career shift, showing good performance can help you make the jump, even if the performance is not in your new career field. Skills will take you only so far and then it’s more a matter of attitude, drive, and willingness to learn. You can show those traits by demonstrating how you’ve performed well in your career to-date. Employers are more likely to give an opportunity to someone who shows drive than someone who just shows skills on the resume.

Career-change resumes can be challenging to construct. Make sure you understand clearly what the requirements of your target job will be in terms of both hard skills and soft skills. Look at your experience clearly to identify what will transfer well. Identify points of achievement that demonstrate an attitude of ambition. Coalesce all this into a document that sells your performance while showing your transferable skills and you will have a winning career-change resume.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Fear Will Cripple Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Greenwich, CT
Research Associate, Los Angeles, CA
Publicist, Atlanta, GA
Hedge Fund Monitoring Analyst, Chicago, IL

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A self-defense instructor talked to his class about the vital need to keep panic at bay. “Panic,” he explained, “Makes you freeze mentally. If you stop thinking, you’re dead”. The same can be true when you suddenly find yourself unemployed in a world of high unemployment. Panic can set in. Panic at unemployment has the same effect as panic in response to a personal attack. It can make you stop thinking and if you stop thinking, you significantly limit your job search options.

Andy is a 50-something industrial engineer. He’s never, ever had to look for a job. Jobs always found him through word-of-mouth or due to his great reputation in his industry. That changed last month when Andy’s latest project was cut due to lack of funding and he suddenly found himself without a job and no fresh prospects. With a mortgage and a daughter in college, Andy panicked. He was in uncharted territory and he didn’t know what to do.

Job search had changed dramatically since the last time Andy had put together a resume. Resumes aren’t mailed or faxed anymore and now he had to consider something called applicant tracking systems. He wasn’t just competing against other engineers in his state or region but with engineers from India, Japan, and China. His professional identity was on the line and he suddenly felt all his hard work over the years was worthless.

Sound familiar? Welcome to the new “normal”. It’s scary and it’s not pretty, but your response shouldn’t be panic. The correct reaction should be a concentrated effort on education, connection, and marketing. Just like the self-defense instructor noted, “If you stop thinking, you’re dead.” In job search, if you panic and stop thinking, you will find yourself making no progress toward reemployment.

The first thing Andy needed to do was get educated. He had no familiarity with modern job search techniques or the conditions of the market. He knew “things were rough” but the reality of the fight he faced was a surprise. Understanding what you are facing goes a long way toward killing the fear of the unknown. Andy needed to get with a career support professional to discuss his situation, find out the dynamics of the market, and learn about the different tactics available to him for finding his next job. He was far behind the learning curve because he had not had to job search in years and years.

Next, Andy needed to connect with his network. His long tenure in his industry gave him a huge advantage over more inexperienced competitors because he had connections and tentacles that reached deep and wide. Andy knew a lot of people, and many were in key positions to make things happen for him. He had kept this network fairly warm over the years, too, since he had been constantly working within the industry. To get things moving in his job search, Andy had to get busy reaching out to people to start searching out opportunities.

Employers are always looking for the most efficient way to hire. The entire Internet job search phenomenon was built on finding more efficient ways to find, screen, and hire candidates for jobs. In a market flooded with well-qualified, available candidates, electronic applicant tracking systems are blowing fuses trying to keep up with the influx of new resumes. With all the candidates rushing to the front door, Andy needed to come through the service entrance in order to get in front of decision-makers. That meant networking and talking to his connections. People hire people. Applicant tracking systems don’t hire people. They just sift through the masses. Andy needed face time and he had a network that could offer that to him.

Andy had never had to conduct a formal job search so the concept of marketing his career was especially foreign to him. Andy needed guidance on what to do. The career support professional he worked with helped him see that his career is an entity – a little mini-business – that has to be marketed to prospective buyers (employers). To accomplish that, Andy needed a marketing plan and the collateral materials to help him establish a profile. Andy worked with his career support professional to build a resume, cover letter, and all the other marketing materials he needed to conduct a top-shelf self-marketing campaign.

Once armed with knowledge, a support system, and the right marketing materials, Andy was no longer terrified. He was a man of action – one who had a plan of attack. He was putting that “fight or flight” impulse for survival to positive use and fighting to get his next job. It would have been very easy for Andy to become a deer in the headlights. Panic will cause you to freeze. Fear will cause you to strike out blindly in defense. Knowledge will give you direction, and support will give you the tools you need to overcome your challenges and win out in the end. Understanding the situation and having a plan will banish fear and help you make progress toward getting out of the pit of unemployment.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

How To Leverage the Holiday Season and Get Hired – 5 Reasons Holidays Are Job-Search Prime Time.

holiday-job-searchIf you’re about to put your job search on pause until after the holidays, here at Doostang we ask you to reconsider. Did you know that the holiday season might actually be the best time to apply to jobs, and has the potential to do wonders for your career search?

Here are the 5 reasons why the holidays are a great time for job seekers to get ahead, and some tips on how you can use this time to your advantage:

1) Spots Going to Waste

We’ve all heard those rumors about companies taking a break from hiring in December and resuming only well after the holidays. In reality, many employers are frantically trying to fill remaining openings before the New Year because of the fairly common “use it or lose it” policy for leftover spots. With a rapidly approaching deadline, hiring managers are more likely to hire (and hire fast!) the first person that seems to fit the job description. So make sure they have your resume!

For many companies, budgeting happens in the fall and as managers rethink priorities and positions, new openings might get created to fit the company’s growing needs for the upcoming year. The anticipated starting date for these jobs would fall on the beginning of the year. Do the math and it makes sense that the people getting hired for those spots send in their resumes and interview sometime during the holiday season.

2) Waning Competition

Many job seekers wholeheartedly believe that all their job-searching efforts during the holidays will be futile, and take a month-long break from sending in their applications. Not to mention, everyone is so distracted by the typical holiday frenzy that even the job seekers who have not completely backed off this season are much less active.

Use that to your advantage! Less competition means your odds of landing a job have just skyrocketed.

3) Networking Galore

The holidays provide an easy excuse to reconnect with your network and touch base with all your valuable business contacts. Catching up with old acquaintances could alert you of new insider hiring opportunities, while extending well wishes to your past employers might improve the quality of the references they provide.

Keep in mind that people are generally less busy with work (and in a more giving spirit) during the holidays, so they’d be more likely to assist you with your job search. Now is the time to get input on your resume, schedule those informational interviews, or ask for new introductions.

Furthermore, the abundance of holiday activities makes for easy new networking opportunities. From holiday parties to volunteering opportunities, the season is full of chances to meet new people who may prove to be invaluable in your job search.

4) Spark Up Conversation

With the end of the year, many employers are redefining the company goals and initiatives. Now more than ever, the hiring manager will have a clear idea of what the company’s long-term and short-term plans are, meaning it’s the best time for you to see the direction the company is headed in.

At an interview, make sure to inquire about these things. Ask leading questions about the company’s priorities for the upcoming year. Not only will you get a better sense of the company and whether or not it’s a good fit for you, you’ll have an extra chance to sell yourself. Tell your interviewer about the skills you possess that will help the company solve the challenges that will arise.

5) Self Improvement

With the extra free time you have during the holidays, do all those things you’ve been putting off that could make a difference in your job search. Rewrite your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, print out some business cards.

If you know you’re going to be receiving gifts and don’t know what to ask for, channel your job search into your wish list. Ask for things that can help you succeed, such as items to complete your interview look or resume prep books. If you’re short on ideas, here are some great gift ideas for job seekers to get you started.

Armed with that knowledge you can now take advantage of this holiday season and get the most out of your job search. If you pump up the volume while everyone else is laying low the employers are bound to notice.

So start applying to those top jobs on Doostang and take full advantage of everything this season has to offer.

Wishing you a happy job-search season,
The Doostang Team

Doostang News Sept 28: Consulting the Experts

Marketing Research Assistant, Philadelphia, PA
Private Equity Investment Intern, New York, NY
VP – Consultant Relations, Los Angeles, CA
M&A Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Major Gifts Director, Washington, DC

When it comes to advancing in your career path, extensive personal research and preparation can give you a great head start, but insight from someone already a few steps ahead can really propel you forward.

Here at Doostang, we know that singlehandedly catching up to people in high places (especially those involved in the hiring process) and asking them for behind-the-scenes career advice is no easy task. So we’re bringing the insider tips right to you.

Consulting the Experts.

We spoke with Dan Grabell who is currently hiring in the healthcare consulting industry at Bridgehead International, a widely-known and globally recognized boutique consulting firm. Read on for some tried-and-true methods that can help you get the upper hand and a behind-the-scenes look into the strategies that candidates have successfully used to land jobs in this challenging industry.

Tell us a bit about your firm – what do you specialize in, and what should someone know about your firm prior to applying for this job?

Bridgehead International is a globally recognized provider of strategic consulting in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device and diagnostics sectors. Our key services include pricing and market access strategies, opportunity assessment, and transaction support. The firm was originally founded in the United Kingdom in 1994. We currently have offices in downtown New York City, Boston, London, and Melton Mowbray (UK). Bridgehead was recently voted as the UK Strategic Advisor of the Year – Health Care by ACQ Finance Magazine.

From a candidate’s perspective, what are the most important responsibilities associated with this position? What would a ‘typical day’ look like?

There is no typical day at Bridgehead. Consultants usually arrive at the office and start by checking up on the status of projects they are working on, which may have changed overnight, since our offices in the UK and US frequently collaborate on global projects. Then we begin working our way through the project tasks on deck – whether it’s developing a client presentation, creating an interview guide for a market research project, or researching a therapeutic area and its competitive landscape. Other key project tasks include conducting telephone discussions with key external healthcare stakeholders and developing financial models for a transaction support project. Periodically throughout the day you may field client calls, scan the latest news for developments relevant to you project areas, or have a teleconference to help out another project team in an area where you’ve developed a particular expertise. At 3 pm, we generally take a small break to sample the cookies that are provided each day before getting back to the task at hand. By the end of the day, you are tired but have a feeling of accomplishment. The nice part about being a consultant at Bridgehead is that travel is limited to when it’s essential. Most of our meetings with clients are conducted by teleconference which provides a great work-life balance.

Can you provide a little insight into the hiring process? Do you have any suggestions for jobseekers that are interested in differentiating themselves? In your opinion, which personal traits/qualities/attributes stands out most during the hiring process?

As a boutique firm, candidates get the opportunity to meet everyone in the office they plan to join. For New York, applicants begin by submitting their resume to The resumes are reviewed by consultants in the NY office and candidates that meet the criteria for a particular opening will be called and scheduled for one or two phone interviews. If the phone discussions go well, we then schedule in-person interviews so that the candidate can develop a feeling for Bridgehead and vice versa. In person interviews involve a mix of fit and case-style interviews, in which the candidate will work through a business problem presented by the interviewer. After reviewing all the candidates the team makes a decision and extends an offer.

Candidates that stand out best demonstrate a long standing interest in and knowledge of health care. Our typical candidate for the analyst/senior analyst role has an undergraduate degree in a science area and has 1-4 years experience in consulting or at a life sciences company. Senior analysts often have a master’s degree in a life science area or in public health. To stand out, a candidate should be a creative thinker, have strong analytical abilities, excellent oral and written communications skills, the ability to manage several projects at one time, be able to take the initiative without direct supervision, and have strong client relations skills. We also value foreign language capabilities (e.g. fluency in Mandarin).

Is there a particular approach that candidates should take when preparing for an interview? In today’s job market, what would qualify as going ‘above and beyond’?

Candidates should be themselves and be prepared to talk about their experiences and background, about why they are passionate about being in consulting and why they want to work at Bridgehead. Of course the usual logic applies that the candidate should research the firm and know about the current issues in our industry. In my experience, the best candidates differentiate themselves by providing value during the interview process. One candidate developed a situation analysis of a therapeutic area she knew best. The proposal was very detailed and truly made an impression on me.

It is essential that candidates have interest and experience in both business and healthcare. Those particularly strong from a clinical perspective should expect to provide details of their business experience. Conversely, for those with primarily business/commercial experience, we will look to understand their interest in health care and pharmaceuticals.

Let’s assume that someone has been chosen for this role. What advice would you give to a new hire who was interested in building a successful career with your firm? Is there anything you have learned along the way that you’d like to pass down?

Being a boutique firm, we offer people the chance to take on a lot of responsibility fairly quickly, and being flexible is critical. We all take on a number of roles in any given week. In the same day I can be the project leader on one project and a contributor with a different project. Learning to adapt to the situation is critical to success at Bridgehead and most consulting firms. The other advice I have is some that my Mom used to say when I was growing up “You have two ears and one mouth; you should use them in that ratio”. In my experience, everyone has the ability to teach me something and I love learning from all of my colleagues.

Most importantly, I should say that we are looking to hire an analyst or senior analyst. I will be posting the job in the next few weeks on Doostang.

As you can see, the opportunities are out there. Provided you’re prepared, all you need to do is find them. And we make that easy – for access to the crème de la crème of job openings, visit us at Doostang.

Wishing you much career success,

Team Doostang