Up Close and Too Personal – What to Leave OFF Your Resume

A resume serves as a reflection of who you are:  it contains your education, your illustrious work experience, various ways to contact you…  But then, a resume should never really reflect who you are.  We’re talking about the personal details – the little things that make you the fabulous person you are today, but that should really have no bearing on landing a job.

So whether you’re just starting to apply to jobs for the first time, or are a seasoned job search veteran, here’s a refresher course on things that you should never include on your resume:

Religion

If you’re not applying to a job at a religious institution, keep your views off the page.  It’s irrelevant to the job, and hiring managers are not allowed to take it under consideration anyway, so there’s really no place for it.  If you volunteer at a religious organization and you consider this experience especially relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can mention it briefly.  However, if you must include it, keep the organization anonymous and focus on your role instead.  For example:

Volunteer Instructor – once a week, taught a classroom of thirty children, ages 10-12.

Also, keep in mind that anything you mention in the resume is likely to come up during the interview, so include this information at your own risk.

Politics

Again, if you’re not going into politics, leave it off.  These sorts of matters are controversial in the first place, are irrelevant, and if anything, just take up valuable space.  Like with religion, if you consider your political experience extra valuable and relevant to a particular job – and just can’t bear to take it off the resume – avoid mentioning the organization name, and be prepared to discuss further during an interview.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual preference may be a key component to who you are, but it has nothing to do with how well you can perform on the job.  More than this, even though discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it still exists in some places, so don’t take your chances.

Age

Though you may be the perfect fit for the position, ageism in the workplace certainly exists, and you may be eliminated from the pool prematurely if you are perceived as being too old or too young.  If age is an issue, be cautious with including specific dates on your resume as well (most hiring managers can do the math).  So if your 30-year college reunion is around the corner, you might want to keep that graduation date to yourself and also leave off some of your early, less relevant experience.

Health and Disabilities

The law protects persons with health issues or disabilities, but again, you should leave this information off of your resume.  It’s irrelevant and opportunity for discrimination exists.

Criminal Record

The general rule with a criminal record is to be upfront and honest with a hiring manager, but the resume is not the place for this.  Wait until the interview to bring this up.

While you want to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are, there’s definitely a point where you can become too personal in what you decide to disclose.  Always aim to flaunt how great you are on your resume – just be a bit discerning while you do it.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

5 Tips to Enhance Your Job Search

Autumn is finally settling in again, but before you start laughing and pointing fingers at all those young children who still have years of school and torment ahead of them, just think about what YOU get to do.  That’s right, school may be out forever, baby, but check out what’s in store now:  the job search.  So tighten those backpack straps, throw on a bicycle helmet, and off we go!

Don’t Even Think About Cutting Class

Make sure to hold yourself to a schedule.  Wake up at a reasonable hour and park yourself at your desk for a generous period of time, giving yourself an opportunity to really focus on your job search.  You may feel inclined to soak up these last few weeks of sunshine, but make it a priority to devote a good chunk of your day to researching opportunities, sending out resumes, and networking.

Keep Your Homework Out of the Dog’s Reach

While you’re looking for a job, it’s important to set goals for yourself.  Assign yourself tasks such as applying for a minimum of five jobs a day, reading one book a week that will educate you in an industry that interests you, or perhaps creating an updated draft of your resume.  Homework is almost never fun, but it’s where we make a lot of our progress – so no slacking!

Get There Before the Final Bell

No one likes getting marked off for tardiness, so avoid the hassle altogether and get there early!  Be mindful of any application deadlines you have coming up, and plan your schedule accordingly.  And instead of sliding into your seat right as the bell rings, try to show up a few minutes ahead of time.  Hiring managers often look favorably upon candidates who turn in their materials promptly – and it’s also quite possible that they’ll make a decision before they close off the position, so stay on top of things and apply as early as you can.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

The best part about school is getting to suffer through it with all your best buds.  So find a few pals who are also treading along in this perilous world of job hunting, and share your woes, tips, and contacts with each other.  Having a support group while you look for a job can invigorate you when you’re down, expose you to new opportunities, and make you realize that you’re not alone.

RECESS

Sometimes when you’re starting to fidget in your seat and can’t peel your eyes off the clock, the best thing to do is to throw open the classroom door, fling your arms out into the air, and just run around outside.  Few of us can sit through an entire day pounding out a bunch of work, so don’t feel shy about taking a break every once in a while to de-stress.  Ultimately, it’ll help your productivity when you get back to the grind with a clear mind and a fresh outlook.

Happy job hunting!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

Investment Banking Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing & PR Internship, Miami, FL
Vice President, Philadelphia, PA
Sr. Consultant, Boston, MA
Quantitative Analyst Intern, New York, NY

More recent jobs you might like…

It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Tips for Relocating without a Job

Investment Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO
Administrative Intern, New York, NY
Research Analyst Intern, SF Bay Area, CA
Marketing Manager, Charlotte, NC
Private Equity Intern, New York, NY

More recent jobs you might like…

Simply picking up and leaving is romantic when you’re young, but as you come into your own and have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s a lot more difficult to work out the logistics of a move. At Doostang, we advise you to always look before you leap! However, we also recognize that sometimes circumstances may dictate that you have to leave on short notice, and without a job lined up.  If you thought finding a job in your own hometown was difficult, finding employment in a new one is even tougher.  You won’t know as many people and you will have a myriad of other things to juggle with the move.  Here’s some advice on how to lessen the burden of finding a job in a new town:

Do Your Research

Before you pack up and leave, try to do as much research as you can about the city where you are moving.  Figure out what the hot industries are, which companies call the shots, and whom you might be able to contact to help get you in the door.  The more you get to know your new city, the less likely you are to feel like a deer in headlights once you get there.  Try to gain your bearings prematurely, and you’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Grow Your Network

Yes, networking is tricky enough from the comfort of your hometown, but it’s important to reach out a little bit before your big move. Try to leverage the network you have to help you meet people in your new city.  Make it a goal to get in touch with a short list of new people, so that when you get to your destination you can immediately start to grow your social network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have access to, and the more individuals you will have on your side looking out for your best interests.

Reach Out to College Career Centers

Oftentimes, college career centers will be happy to help recent graduates who have moved to a new city.  Check to see which ones are around you, and stop by for an informational meeting.  Your own college may also have a reciprocity program with another school in your new area, so look into that as well.

Consider Temporary Work

If nothing seems to pan out, don’t be afraid to take on temporary work.  This is another great way to establish connections and get your foot in the door with your new city’s job industry.  Don’t take just any old job out of desperation, but find something for the interim that keeps you busy, gives you face time with people, and perhaps teaches you a few new skills.

Have a Solid Plan

You should put together a plan for your new life in the new city, including your living expenses and how far your money will take you while you don’t have a job.  It’s also important to bear in mind an exit strategy if worse comes to worst.

Making a big move is exciting and presents a multitude of opportunities.  It can be stressful as well, but do your best to plan ahead and do the leg work before – as well as after – you get to your destination, and you will certainly lighten your load.

Bon voyage,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thinking of Relocating? Location, Location, Location

 

When searching for the perfect job, it’s important not to forget one key component: geography.  Where you are and where you’re looking can have a huge impact on the work you eventually find.  It’s important to consider the upsides to where you’re currently located, as well as the upside to packing your bags and relocating!

Look Elsewhere

If you find that you’re just not landing the position you want, figure out if you’re searching in the right place.  Perhaps you’re having a difficult time finding a job in academia – consider moving your search into a college town or a suburban area with lots of public schools.  If you want to go into entertainment, perhaps you should be scouring opportunities in Southern California instead of Southern Iowa.  When looking for jobs, it’s easy to forget to look outside the boundaries of our own neighborhood.  Contemplating relocation might be difficult, but it might just be the solution.

It’s Not Forever

It’s important, too, to realize that relocating is not something that’s “forever” if you don’t want it to be.  For example, if you want to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, it’s often the case that you have to relocate to a smaller market, which may require moving to the middle of nowhere.  But as you gain experience and recognition, you can transition to a bigger market in a bigger city.  Sometimes you need to get your start in a place where you don’t see yourself staying long term – remember that it’s just the first step.

Quality of Life

One thing to consider when you are looking at relocating is the quality of life that you’ll find when you do.  Is having a family important to you, and will a certain city lend itself well to raising one?  Can you see yourself living in a big city or a rural countryside?  Your job is important, but so is your quality of life.  Don’t forget to factor that in when searching for the perfect position.

Available Networks

A factor that may affect your decision to move to another city is the networks that will be available to you when you get there.  Perhaps it’s wise to stick around the area where you went to college, as you’ll have an extensive alumni network there.  It might also be helpful to move back to the town you grew up in.  There are many different networks that you can use to your advantage, and it’s up to you to figure out where you can take advantage of them.

When looking for a job, the sole focus for many people is often the job itself.  But don’t forget that location is just as important, and could be the key to why you’re not currently finding the job that you want!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to Handle Resume Gaps


Trading Assistant, New York, NY
Manager, Boulder, CO
Credit/Risk Analyst, Broomfield, CO
Strategy & Operations Extern, Chicago, IL
Analyst, New York, NY

More recent jobs you might like…

Job seekers often assume that in order to score the perfect job, one has to be the perfect candidate.  That the right mix of education, titles, and skills is needed in order to land the career of their dreams.  So when faced with resume gaps, an individual may rightly feel disheartened.  But continuous employment is not the be-all, end-all to nabbing a great job, especially in these times.  It is important, however, to know how to treat employment gaps on your resume, in your cover letter, and in your interview.

The Functional Format

One way to gloss over gaps on your CV is to create a functional resume.  This focuses on your skills and achievements, rather than on specific dates.  There are certainly other advantages to formatting your resume this way as well, as it allows you to pinpoint exactly what it is that you bring to the table.  The trick here is to tailor it to the specific job that you are applying for.

List Your Achievements

Another way to downplay a gap in employment is to highlight your accomplishments on your resume.  While you may not have continuous experience, various honors will convey that you have quality experience, and that you have been recognized as having done an outstanding job.

Include Extracurricular Experience

Hiring mangers understand that qualified candidates may have gaps in employment.  What they want to avoid, however, is a candidate who is qualified but who lacks work ethic.  What did you do while you were out of a job?  Did you volunteer or become an active member of an organization?  Even though you weren’t necessarily paid for your extracurricular activities, it’s perfectly okay to list them.  Highlight your transferable skills here, and focus on how you can apply them to the position you are currently seeking.

Explain Your Reasons

It also works well to just come out and explain why you have a resume gap and what you did to fill your time.  Don’t be afraid to address the matter in a cover letter or an interview.  Hiring managers will respect your willingness to be forthright about periods of unemployment, and will be interested to learn about the creative, productive ways in which you were able to spend your time instead.

In a time where everyone’s looking for an edge, an employment  gap can seem like a major setback.  But if you know how to strategically position yourself and your experience, a hiring manager will be much more interested in what you have done, rather than what you haven’t.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang News November 15: How Social Networking Sites Can Help You Land Your Next Job

Trading Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Mexico City, Mexico
Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Director/Manager Corporate Strategy, Charlotte, NC
Hedge Fund Business Development & Marketing Assistant, New York, NY

More recent jobs you might like…

You’re likely aware of the necessary precautions to take when posting certain information to your Facebook or Twitter profile.  After all, a scandalous picture or status update can doom your chances of bagging a respectable job, especially as more and more hiring managers take to social networking sites to screen prospective employees.  Even though these platforms started out as tools for the youth to connect and share information, they’re slowly starting to lose their youthful flavor.  In fact, social networking is one of the most effective ways to find and land a job these days, and here’s why:

Connect with Relevant People

The open nature of online networking gives you access to a multitude of people you wouldn’t have had the ability to contact otherwise – people who may just hold the keys to your future.  After a little bit of research to determine who the hiring managers and other key figures are, you can then track these people down on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.  It’s not unusual to reach out to people you don’t know on a social networking site, especially if you introduce yourself in an appropriate manner.  If you don’t have a friend in common that can make the introduction for you, start off with an initial dialogue that explains who you are and what you’re looking for.  It’s best if you can offer something that the other person might need, like an article relevant to their interests or an introduction to someone they might like to get to know – after all, social networking sites are all about sharing information and connecting with people, so they’re liable to appreciate the gesture.  Establish a good rapport with your contact first, and then go ahead and ask about available positions; if there aren’t any, stay tuned, because hiring managers often turn to their networks with opportunities before posting them on job boards.  Moreover, a human connection will be more likely to ensure that your application is actually seen by someone, instead of disappearing into the digital vortex that is online resume submission.

Build Your Personal Brand

No matter what a search result yields when you enter your name, it’s nice to have control over this content.  So another way to use social media to your advantage is to become an avid producer of content that is helpful to others.  Doing so conveys that you are current, involved, and in the know.  You may find that others approach you with opportunities once you gather a following on a blog or various social networking sites; alternatively, you can use this content to supplement your job applications.  You can also use this material as a conversation starter, reaching out to others with articles you have written that they might find interesting.

Be an Active Community Member

Take advantage of the enormous Twitter community and start reaching out to people and having conversations.  Twitter allows you to communicate and share information with everyone from your neighbor to Lady Gaga, so sign up today and start conversing with key players in your target industry.  Once you become embedded in the community, you can also reach out to followers who now know and trust you, and seek out opportunities.

Get “Linked In”

Many individuals spend hours crafting the perfect Facebook profile, but stop short when it comes to filling out a page on LinkedIn.  However, it’s important to take the time to upload your resume, gather references if you can, and connect with as many people as possible.  Since the premise of the website is to establish an online professional network, you won’t seem awkward or boring when you reach out to people with career related matters.  Another feature you should take advantage of is LinkedIn groups – join the ones that are relevant to you and become an enthusiastic contributor.  The more involved you are, the more likely you are to stand out and garner opportunities that become available.

Networking is a crucial part of the job search, and online networking makes that process much easier.  Staying up to speed with various social networking sites is sure to make a world of difference in a job search, and is something every job seeker should pursue to some degree.

Stay connected,
The Doostang Team




facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang News November 8: How to Handle a Friend Request from a Coworker

Analyst, New York, NY
Digital Advertising Sales Manager, Los Angeles, CA
Director of Finance, Chicago, IL
Sales Trainee, Boston, MA
PE Investment Analyst or Associate, Philadelphia, PA

More recent jobs you might like…

Scroll through your list of friends on your various social media profiles, and if you’re like any other online networking obsessed time waster, you’ll probably notice a myriad of names you don’t even recognize.  How they got there you can’t quite recall, but at some point you’ve given them full access to your profile information.  Yet ironically, those are not the people you’re worried about – it’s oftentimes the people you do know well.  We’re talking about coworkers.  You see these people everyday, you work in the next cubicle over, you eat lunch together during your break.  But when it comes to connecting over the Internet, that’s where you feel you must draw the line.  You like to keep your business life and your personal life as separate, and with good reason.  Goody-two-shoes though you may be back at the office, you’re an all-out hooligan after 5pm, your antics better suited far outside the office.  But how do you bring yourself to turn down a friend request from a coworker and continue leading a double life?  Read on…

Deny Requests from All Coworkers

This doesn’t really seem to answer the present question, but a strict policy that involves denying all office related friend requests diffuses most awkward interactions.  If you make it a point to remain cut off from all of your office peers online, no particular coworker will be personally offended when he or she gets rejected.  If, however, you accept some requests and deny others, you’ll likely have some explaining to do.  Certain cast-out individuals will wonder what’s wrong with them, and worse still, what you’re hiding…

Ignore the Request

You could try to make life easier on yourself by dismissing the request altogether.  Don’t address the issue, and maybe your coworker will forget about the overture they made in the first place.  If they happen to bring it up, simply explain that you don’t spend much time on the website, and thus you haven’t gotten around to connecting with them yet.  You can further spin your web of untruths as you explain that you likely won’t be logging on in the near future, and so they can expect your continued absence from their friend network.  If you do take this approach, just make sure that you avoid making all sorts of public changes to your profile, dispelling the illusion that you have limited your online activity.

Create a Different or Limited Profile

An alternative to denying a coworker’s friend request altogether is to create a different, or in some cases, a limited, profile that your office friends can see.  This is less likely to cause any hard feelings, and the coworker will often be none the wiser.  Yet here too, consider creating a general policy for all coworkers.  You don’t want to get caught up in an awkward situation where a good buddy at work brings up the table dancing pictures you just posted, but hid from others in the office.  (Though is said buddy really a buddy if he sheds light on your rowdy weekend first thing Monday morning?)

As we all know, the advent of social media has brought with it some tricky dynamics in both the job search and the workplace.  Always make sure to put your best foot forward online, and do what you can to protect your privacy.

The Doostang Team would like to add you as a friend!




facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang News November 1: Time to Consider Those Transferable Skills!

Jr. Analyst, New York, NY
External Relations Manager, Los Angeles, CA
Investment Fund Operations Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Engagement/Project Manager, Boston, MA
Jr. Traders, Chicago, IL

More recent jobs you might like…

Being able to identify and highlight your transferable skills is crucial in transitioning to another industry, or even to another job.  Not every job is the same, and hiring managers may not entirely relate to the tasks you list on your resume.  But if you can fit your talents into one of these five main categories, you’ll present a resume that is much more to the point:

Human Relations

This category relates to any sort of interpersonal skills you use to deal with people in the workplace.  Think listening, sensitivity, cooperation, empathy, or motivation.  Chances are that if you worked with people at any point during your last job, you’ll bring some of these skills to the table.

Communication

Communication is all about effectively conveying knowledge and ideas to others.  It also has a lot to do with how well you receive information from others.  Are you a great writer, speaker, or listener?  Can you negotiate, persuade others, pick up on nonverbal cues?  If so, then you are likely a great communicator.

Research and Planning

This is just what it sounds like – the ability to seek out information and to formulate new ideas for the future.  Any time you come up with new proposals, find an alternate solution, solve a problem, define a need, or set a goal, you are engaging in research and planning.

Organization, Management, and Leadership

This one is all about rallying your troops and leading them into battle.  A good leader will coordinate plans of action, initiate new tasks, delegate responsibilities, teach, and manage conflict.

Work Survival/Professionalism

This last category includes all of the day-to-day skills that get you through the workday and promote an effective working environment.  Skills such as showing up to work on time, meeting goals, paying attention to detail, and organizing fit into this category.

Even if you’re applying to a job from a field in which you have no experience, there’s always a way to pull from what you do know or have done on the past, and make it relevant to the unfamiliar.  So the next time you apply for a job or draft a resume, bear in mind these transferable skills and show them what you’ve got!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail