Improve Your Image to Increase Your Income

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Equity Analyst, New York, NY
Resource Manager, Nationwide, US
Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
Sr. Consultant, San Francisco, CA
Associate, New York, NY

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Being unemployed, under-employed, or under-paid may happen at any time. Several strategies can be effective in increasing your income, regardless of how fully employed you may be.  Savvy approaches to get your skills noticed aren’t just for the unemployed.  If you are dissatisfied with your employment situation, try these methods to improve your bottom line!

1.  Make your accomplishments visible.

Use the corporate structure in place at your organization to ensure that your contributions are recognized by the right people.  For example, almost everyone serves on committees of one kind or another and the purpose of a committee is to accomplish certain goals deemed important by the company.  Volunteer to take on additional responsibilities as part of a subcommittee and clarify everyone’s tasks for inclusion in the minutes. The documentation you have just created is typically circulated throughout the organization, so you don’t have to highlight your own contributions. The corporate structure has taken care of announcing your accomplishments for you. Follow up after the task is completed to close the documentation loop with your contribution clearly recorded. This type of strategy works equally well with non-profit Boards and community groups.

2. Make yourself valuable.

Contributions outlined above will also make you valuable to the organization. Most companies offer many opportunities to extend your value, such as special projects, community involvement, or employee morale-boosting events. Being valuable doesn’t mean compromising yourself.  Select an activity that is consistent with your own values or interests and your value will be multiplied by your enthusiasm for the project.

Be certain you are central to the corporate mission.  It is easy to lose sight of your value if you have been under-valued in this serious economic downturn. Don’t allow a negative job climate to erode your confidence.

3.  Make yourself viable (as a candidate).

Qualify for special projects and new positions within an organization as well as for an entirely new position by presenting yourself as a viable candidate. Basic credentials form the foundation of a solid applicant, however key aspects include skills and characteristics that set you apart from the competition. Enthusiasm is one example, but also consider areas of additional training. Broadcast the unique work history that qualifies you for the position, project, or negotiation.

4.  Be a Team Player.

A “can-do” attitude and quiet acceptance of responsibility will be noticed.  What is your work ethic?  In other words, if your work is caught up, do you kick back or look for areas to jump in?  The latter is highly valued in most organizations. Say, there’s a major direct-mail campaign that everyone is discussing, but it’s in another department. Walk over and offer to help out.  Even if you feel the task is menial, the work has to be done – that is the sign of a hands-on manager, a role that is typically valued.

5.  Learn a New Skill or Language

It is the time of year for Adult Education catalogs to start arriving in the mailbox. The programs offered are often not as trivial as one might think.  Adult Education has progressed far beyond ballroom dancing and ethnic cuisine. Think critically for a moment about the competition – peers at your current job or other candidates.  How many actually have second language skills or specialized technology training? These are two common offerings in most community education programs, so begin using a few evenings to develop skills that set you apart from others.

6.  Tune in to Market Perception of the Company.

Hear some less-than-positive reports from customers or the competition?  Let the boss know.  Granted he or she may already be clued in, but this behavior speaks volumes about your loyalty and business acumen. If the boss already knows of the bad news, you have still distinguished yourself by identifying trends and putting the well-being of the division and company first.

Build on this basic list to polish your image. Everyone has had experiences with poorly performing staff members, as peers or subordinates. At the other end of the spectrum, there are also examples of outstanding employees.  Typical characteristics include ingenuity, good work ethic, and pleasant demeanor.  Consider what is valued in your own industry, and project the image of the type of person you would like working for you! Highlighting unique qualities can increase your value, visibility, and personal bottom line.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Language Secrets for a Successful Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Technology Research Analyst, SF Bay Area, CA
Consultant, New York, NY
Junior Trader, Chicago, IL
Junior Consultant, Boston, MA
M&A Analyst, Los Angeles, CA

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On the job circuit, it is important to be yourself and clearly express your experience and ability in a way that will resonate with recruiters.  Sincerity is a critical component of being authentic, however you may need to massage your language to make sure the hiring manager is listening.  Of course you don’t want to deceive a potential employer with a trumped-up version of yourself.  That is very similar to padding your resume – a definite no-no in the world of successful job seekers. What you must do to ensure a receptive audience is to say all the right things – in the right way.

1.  Use the Language of Results.

Most CEOs are interested in how your behavior and enthusiasm can help the company move toward specific goals and objectives. An effective strategy includes researching the company for new initiatives, pet projects, or even community involvement and aligning your key work experiences with the activities receiving corporate attention.  Critical information will provide the frame for presenting your skills to the employer. Highlight strengths and experiences that parallel the business intelligence gathered in your research efforts.

Tailor your presentation to garner extra attention from a hiring manager.  Interest may be generated from shared efforts on a community project, HR committee work on social events (translates to improved morale in the language of the CEO), or attending city council meetings on zoning issues (the Division Manager will see you as a trusted representative of the company, as well as a Subject Matter Expert on community relations and regulations).

2.  Verbalize How You Get Things Done.

Gather several sample job descriptions for plum positions and study them for skill areas emphasized.  Sure, every position will share some basic skills that form the core of that profession, but each company has unique expectations within a specific corporate culture.  Compare the job descriptions with your personal work history, not just in terms of basic qualifications, but also in terms of added-value you bring to the table from your personality, extensive contacts, or significant accomplishments. Help the hiring manager understand how you will enhance the team’s functioning, levels of productivity, or bottom line when you deliver your significant skill set.

3.  Listen for Clues.

Many companies share an idiosyncratic language that reflects the corporate mission. Listen to how individuals talk and write.  By identifying trends, such as “do you see what I’m talking about” or “I hear what you’re saying”, you have tapped into clues about how individuals understand the world around them.  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests mirroring the language of those around you helps to create a bond of shared vision and direction. You will make a solid connection.

4.  Utilize Action Words.

Using powerful language conveys your individual influence and authority. It is not necessary to be in a position of authority to communicate that type of strength to others. When job-seeking, you may feel as though you are an underdog in interactions, but this is the time to step up your game and project your confidence and competence. Action words are a great way to do so. Your list of accomplishments may include “projects executed”, “costs contained”, or “profits accelerated”.

5.  Express Professional Passion.

Passion ignites interest. Define your professional passion by listing all the career-related activities that excite you. Don’t be afraid to express those professional passions by talking about what energizes you. Enthusiasm is contagious and most employers are drawn to candidates who are energized about the profession, their company, or the mere possibility of making a well-defined contribution. Whether you are a dreamer or a doer, you have specific skills to offer – get excited and don’t be shy about sharing.

6.  Incorporate Nonverbal Messages.

Remember the power of body language in addition to all other types of communication. Pay attention to your nonverbal messages as well as those of the hiring manager. In any face-to-face interactions, use the basics of good eye contact, a firm handshake, and an open stance.  If the body language of the other person doesn’t seem as open, try engaging him/her in conversation that is appropriately upbeat. If you are in the office, pay attention to objects on the desk for clues to possible conversation starters – a favorite sports team or plaque of recognition. Over the phone or email, introduce your interest in a special corporate project.

Put these secrets to work and you will be communicating with prospective employers at many different levels. Being able to effectively match the hiring manager’s communication style in multiple ways maximizes a sense of connection and shared vision. Speaking the same language helps the prospective employer see you as part of the team, getting you a few steps closer to landing that plum position!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Ace the Resume and the Interview!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Stock Analyst, Boston, MA
Director of Human Resources, New York, NY
Junior Research Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Product Marketing Associate, Jersey City, NJ
Wealth Strategy Associate, San Francisco, CA

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Think it’s too early to consider questions you will encounter during an interview?  The answer is a resounding “NO”.  It is never too early.  In fact, thinking about questions you will be asked can strengthen your resume and create a consistent impression as you formulate your “brand” for potential employers.

Consider the first impression you want to deliver to potential employers and hiring managers.  You control first impressions by being meticulous about details contained in your resume, and that process can help you develop consistent answers to commonly asked interview questions.  The resume begins to build your brand, reflecting positive impressions of you from very first glance to final reading.

Convey Strengths instead of Weaknesses

Focusing on “duties or responsibilities” emphasizes your reporting to others.  A better presentation showcases your initiative, creativity, and ability to exceed expectations on your own efforts.  A description of your role as an “underling” can diminish the power of accomplishments. Balance accurate job descriptions with a presentation of your skills as achievements to convey strengths.

Present a Progression of Professional Growth

Using a chronological resume provides a progression of accomplishments and professional development, culminating a forecast of the next step in your career.  The progressive professional summary replaces the old career objective with a sense of how your talents can complement the potential employer’s mission and “bottom line”. Past success predicts future contributions.

Don’t Detail Reasons for Leaving Past Positions

Although most interviewers will ask the reasons for leaving your more recent positions, you don’t want to use the limited space in your resume to explain this part of your professional history.  These are definitely answers you want to prepare for the interview, but extensive explanations in the resume direct the reader’s attention away from your strengths. Prepare to provide answers during the interview, but not before.

Ask Pointed Questions About the Company

Appropriate questions can highlight research you have done about the company’s strengths and new directions.  Do not use the interview to explore salary or benefits. Avoid including salary history in your resume as well, so you don’t under-estimate the ceiling before negotiations even begin.

Highlight Unique Skills

Compare your job history and accomplishments to other likely candidates.  What skills are unique and which are considered routine?  Using common software, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, is unlikely to distinguish you from the 100 other candidates.  Analyzing current trends in the field and creating forecasts to help the employer stay one step ahead of the competition, however, are clear strengths that set you apart.

Handling Conflict

How have you managed difficult situations successfully, such as counseling or terminating an underperforming staff member?  Have you facilitated consensus among a diverse team? Quantify these successes in typical results you are likely to produce for the new employer, such as increased productivity or team cohesiveness.

Managing Competing Demands

Multi-tasking is a common requirement in most positions, particularly as companies downsize.  Have you effectively managed and delivered multiple projects simultaneously? What about directing teams remotely? Have you over-delivered despite challenges of tight time-frames and reduced budgets? These are valuable skills that deserve the spotlight in your resume.

Performance under Pressure

Typical examples of this quality include being calm under pressure, bringing structure to chaos, and rapidly responding to unexpected obstacles. Not all candidates bring these high-level skills to the interview. Demonstrating a history of consistent performance despite challenges conveys your value in being able to manage unexpected obstacles by innovating process and procedure.

Turning around Failure

None of us like to think about shortcomings, however interviewers often want to know how you perceive past failures to gain a sense of your own objectivity and ability to grow from challenges and constructive criticism.  Be cautious about how you present these scenarios.  Remember, you are not talking with your best buddy no matter how comfortable you may feel with the interviewer.  Package the “failure” in the context of how you turned it into a success by emphasizing a short time-frame or major results achieved.

Establishing Credibility

Describe how you establish authority as you take on a leadership role.  Do you use the position to create leadership or cultivate respect in leading by example? Do you unintentionally sabotage your authority by being too much of a worker bee?  Is your status as a Subject Matter Expert your basis for credibility?  Each approach creates a different type of respect, affecting interactions with your team.  Review your work history in the context of what kind of leader you have been and what kind you want to be.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

This classic interview question can provide the framework for your resume.  Your answer should build on your individual career progression by highlighting accomplishments in each position that provide logical steps toward your 5-year plan.  Be certain your plan is career-related. Your life-long goal of being on the pro-golf circuit is unlikely to help get that coveted position you seek. Ideally, your 5-year goals dovetail nicely with the mission of the company where you plan to interview.

Translating the Big Picture Produces Results

Reviewing your answers to likely interview questions and incorporating them into your resume will help you present a consistent brand to potential employers.  Your ability to condense the big picture into a practical presentation of skills and accomplishments provides an example of your planning and communication strengths to potential employers.  These skills can translate into success for you in the interview process, as you translate your big picture into positive results from your resume.


About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Fire Up your Job Search by Broadcasting Strengths!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Operations Analyst, New York, NY
Sales and Trading Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Financial Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
IT Manager, Boston, MA
Analyst – Private Equity Firm, Philadelphia, PA

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Think in Terms of Strengths

Being unemployed, under-employed, or under-appreciated in your current job can erode confidence.  In order to “fire up” your job search, you may need to re-assess the strengths you are emphasizing.  Follow these simple strategies to shift to a position of strengths.

1)    Brainstorm about what you love to do.  This first list should be exhaustive, including strengths from work and personal areas of your life.

2)    List specific skills developed throughout your work history.

3)    What results did you achieve from strengths listed in the first 2 steps? Review positive comments, good performance evaluations, or actual awards to jog your memory.

4)    Think of job requirements for positions in which you are currently interested, and combine the top 2 or 3 items from each of the areas above that you want to emphasize. Use this information to create an “elevator” speech for yourself – a brief, 30-second to 1-minute summary to describe your assets, not a laundry list, but a mini-story. Consider the director pitching his new movie project to a potential producer, or the inventor describing her idea to a potential investor. This becomes your “pitch” – a brief overview of strengths that set you apart from the crowd by outlining what you can do for the potential employer.

Write it Down

Why write it down?  It helps you own the statement.  Not only does seeing the statement in writing help you feel more confident, but it also helps you begin to believe it more strongly yourself.  However, if you notice what you have written down actually rings false or makes you question strengths you have identified, then something about what you have written “doesn’t fit”.  Stretching yourself to fit a particular job opening can be positive, but stretching the truth is never wise. If you can’t believe it yourself, the hiring manager will struggle, too.  Compare your “pitch” with what you created for the first 3 steps above.  Pay attention to how you feel in reviewing the lists and you will be able to fine-tune your pitch into an authentic statement of your strengths.

Practice

Making a brief statement of your strengths isn’t easy.  Practicing the statement will make you feel more comfortable and help you prepare to use it whenever the opportunity arises.

1)    Use the old “in front of the mirror” technique to help you own your new view of yourself, just like you did in speech class or for that first presentation at the office.

2)    Ask family and friends to serve as an audience – request honest feedback about your delivery – how believable are you?  If you don’t believe what you’re saying, it will show. They may notice it even if you didn’t.

3)    Use your network to practice.  Perhaps a small group of job seekers – whom you trust – can try out elevator pitches on each other and incorporate comments to improve the approach.

Networking Contact Follow-up

Remember to follow up after any type of networking contact, whether casual or formal. Incorporate your “pitch” into the follow-up correspondence.  You can send a “thank-you”, “nice-to-see-you”, or “I believe we have a mutual acquaintance” note – all of which can include a comment about your strengths.

Examples of situations where you might send a follow-up note include:

1)    Casual contact (“nice to see you”)

2)    Initial Meeting (“nice to meet you”)

3)    Job Fair Follow-up (“I enjoyed learning about your company and how closely my experience aligns with your needs.”)

4)    Introduction from a friend (“I believe we have a mutual acquaintance, Bob Smith, who suggested I contact you as my strengths could benefit your organization.”)

5)    Thank you (for any suggestion of an opportunity). Even though thank you letters may seem old-fashioned, they can be effective for that very reason – they set you apart from the crowd!

You can be sure the competition isn’t shy about broadcasting strengths and achievements, and their boldness could walk them right into your dream job! You have golden embers smoldering in your work history that, if stoked, will “fire up” your job search. Write down those strengths, practice your “pitch”, then confidently broadcast it!


About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Use Statistics to Make Your Resume POP

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Resume statisticsAnalyst, Washington, DC
Business Consultant, Chicago, IL
Investment Associate, New York, NY
Marketing Intern, San Francisco, CA
Portfolio Manager and Researcher, Boston, MA

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Many people hold negative perceptions about statistics, but in a resume, they may be the keys to opening interview doors.  Performance statistics are applicable to most industries although more “obvious” in some fields than others.  In sales, for example, statistics are a basic part of the professional language, conveyed via $X in revenue or sales.  However, statistics can be created for any position. In fact, the move to quantify performance has been around for a long time.  Surely, you have been in an organization where you were asked to “log” how you spent your time while at work. Put that tedium to work for you by including statistics in your next resume.

What Statistics Say about You

Statistics are usually used as part of a persuasive argument.  Your goal is to persuade the hiring manager to schedule an interview. Use statistics as part of your persuasive toolbox.  One way to persuade the reader you are the right person for the job is to be certain your statistics send the right message.  Typical messages include “getting results”, “knowing how to get things done”, “cutting costs”, “increasing productivity”, “generating revenue”, etc.  All of these characteristics and achievements are more compelling when conveyed through statistics.  The statistics provide a solid record of your accomplishments.

How to Build a Statistical Base

Remember the persuasive message you want to send to potential employers?  Use this “argument” to build a list of statistics from your work history (actual numbers provided are just examples).

Examples include:

  • Generated $15M from ….
  • Reduced on-the-job injuries by 25%….
  • Acquired 200 new client accounts ….
  • Cut costs by 50% through ….

First, think of the image or message you are trying to convey and then identify a “matching” statistic.

For example, do you want to broadcast your dependability or commitment to the company?

Corresponding Statistics:

  • 0 days missed for 12 months.
  • Worked 12 holidays to maintain continuity of service.

Have a keen eye for on-the-job safety?

Corresponding Statistic:

  • Logged 15,000 hours without injury to any team members.

Don’t Make it Just About Numbers!

Yes, statistics are all about numbers, but by adding a brief explanation of how you achieved those numbers, you can also emphasize other skills. Let’s expand one of our examples.

  • Logged 15,000 hours without injury to any team members by improving training programs and increasing awareness of safe work practices throughout the organization.

Statistics Set You Apart

Statistics are powerful because they convey a lot of information succinctly.  Not only will your accomplishments stand out, but you will be distinguished from the crowd because main points are easy to pick out. Space is limited on the resume.  Balancing a strong message with the right amount of words and white space is an important strategy in getting positive results. Statistics perform that function and set your resume apart from the competition.

Use Statistics to Compare Your Achievements to Others

You completed 15 projects in one year?  What is the typical expectation?  If others in similar positions usually complete 10 projects, this is impressive, however if others complete 30 in the same time frame, clearly you don’t want to include the comparison.

Is the usual teaching load 3 courses per semester and you always take on additional courses when asked?  You can use this measure to indicate your willingness to be a strong team member, as well as your efficiency and ability to multi-task.

In the healthcare field, do you typically shoulder a smaller caseload than peers?  Explore the reasons for those differences.  You may be providing service to a more challenging segment of the population, requiring a smaller workload to maintain quality.  Specialized skills can be identified by statistics, such as completing audits, interviews, or inspections, just to name a few.

Translating Skills to Numbers

Numbers may not be your “first language”, but they definitely translate to results in the job search.  This “second language” doesn’t take long to learn, and you don’t need specialized training to master it. It is just a different “package” in which to present your strengths.  Think in terms of how many, how much, and in what amount of time, and you will be on your way to making your resume POP – using statistics.



About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Beef Up Your Job Search – Get Tech Savvy!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA
Deal Flow Associate, Miami, FL
Private Equity Associate – Direct Investing, Toronto, Canada
Attorney Development Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Associate/Analyst, New York, NY

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In case you haven’t noticed, the old paper resume isn’t getting the same results it once did – even with special formatting or high-quality paper. Electronic resumes are the ones grabbing all the attention these days.  In some markets, job candidates may as well be sending out paper airplanes as submitting hard copy resumes. To avoid such disappointing results, use the following tips to check your technology use and online presence for greater impact from the job search.

E-Mail Basics

Review your e-mail address.  How professional is it? Golf4me@aol.com may be memorable, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Setting up a new e-mail account doesn’t have to be complicated with so many free sites for e-mail addresses available.  A simple e-mail address with your first and last name at free sites, such as AOL, Gmail, or Yahoo! will work well. Bobsmith@aol.com is easy to remember and emphasizes what you want the hiring manager to recall – your name!

It is also critical to avoid using your current work e-mail address.  Use of a work-related e-mail address can convey a number of potentially negative messages, ranging from a perception of impropriety to a sense of naiveté about business matters.  In other words, if you are comfortable receiving e-mails about your resume or job search while at the current job, hiring managers may question your ethics or judgment.  These are not good perceptions to create in the reader’s mind. The associations you want to create include an enthusiasm about meeting you, a feeling that you could fit nicely into their organization, and most importantly, how you can positively impact their bottom line.

Web Presence

Personal Internet sites can strengthen or sabotage a career search.  Even if the CEO or hiring manager isn’t Googling you, it is very likely someone in their office is conducting such a search for them.  It’s becoming common business practice. So, Google yourself first to see what shows up, and then make sure that what is on the web is consistent with the impression you want to convey.

Are you on Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Though a level of caution should be exercised when using these sources, you can make a positive presence utilizing social networking sites. It is not necessary to have a personal website to make a professional presence on the Internet.

Check out alumnae groups, professional organizations, or even the local Chamber of Commerce. Most of these groups have a section for members to post basic information, ranging from contact details to a brief overview of your skills. However, just as with the e-mail address, make sure posts are consistent with the professional presentation of a mini-resume.  Each of these Internet sites should build a comprehensive perception of you as a professional in your field in order to enhance the job search.

Finally, what career sites are you using, if any?  Available sites range from Monster.com to Craigslist. However, indiscriminately posting the resume “everywhere” on the web is unlikely to achieve positive results. The old “shotgun” approach of sending the resume to “everyone” typically delivers a sense of defeat. The lack of response is likely related to where and how the resume is posted.  Make sure the site has the type of positions you are targeting.  Next, review the format of the resume. Does it “translate” well or are those snappy formatting features you included to set your resume apart from the competition preventing a legible upload of the resume? Formatting the resume in an electronic version that another computer can easily read is crucial to success on these job sites.

Technological Tools

For job seekers searching beyond their geographic region, technological gadgets may be necessary to conduct a remote interview. Webcam or Skype for a distance interview may be important tools to consider. Many new computers and laptops have these options built in, but if not, explore other local options. Libraries, for instance, are expanding services available to job seekers. Check and see how extensive the local library’s collection of technological tools may be.  National copy and office chains offer these tools as well. If not, you may be able to pick up a webcam on sale for just a few dollars – definitely worth the investment to be prepared if the hiring manager calls suggesting a remote interview as an option to reduce travel while still getting the interview done.

Getting Help with the Final Review

Adding in the technological component to an already complicated job search may feel overwhelming. If you can’t manage all these issues yourself, look for existing resources – whether it’s your niece, nephew, or the local librarian. That’s the value in using “ready-made” sites, such as the Chamber of Commerce mentioned earlier.  It is not necessary to “re-invent” the wheel to create a positive presence on the web.

Finally, when reviewing the presence you have created on the Internet, try to do so with a critical eye. If this wasn’t your Facebook page, how might you respond to it?  What is that all-important first impression? The first impression is just as critical for an online presence as during the interview.  In fact, that technological first impression may be the important link in obtaining an interview.  Optimizing online tools can garner the kind of attention needed to launch a successful career search. This is the first place many hiring managers are going to review potential candidates, so make sure you get there first and have a positive resource ready.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!




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Don’t Let Your Job Search Stagnate!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Manager – Office of CEO, Atlanta, GA
CFO/COO, Miami, FL
Assistant Account Executive, Chicago, IL
Finance Intern, New York, NY

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The US Department of Labor provides direction for your job search as they report on a number of areas actually experiencing growth despite overall stagnation in the market.

The private sector is trending upward, while government jobs reflect a downturn.

Health care employment continues to rise, particularly in ambulatory services.

Employment in professional and business services has increased, but the majority of that has been temporary help services. It is not always negative to look in the temporary field – sometimes doing so can create the “foot-in-the-door” phenomenon.

Leisure and hospitality have shown increases, with the highest growth in food services and drinking establishments. Although we’ll leave most of the editorial comments aside, just remember there is always the opportunity for a bit of “escapism” in challenging times.

Mining employment continues its upward trend, smaller than in some of the other areas, but if you live in a part of the country where this is a growth industry, you have an opportunity right in front of you.

Manufacturing employment has changed little since early in the spring, as has wholesale, trade, retail, transportation, warehousing, information, and financial activities – your efforts are probably better placed elsewhere.

Changes attributable to seasonal changes include losses in construction and the end of temporary census positions. Local governments have seen decreases across education and non-education jobs. Save your energy by avoiding these slow or no-growth areas!

Use local social networking

Libraries are enjoying a renewed vigor in their role as a resource in the job search process. Traditionally libraries have been a source of information, but are becoming increasingly important in building communities. Start a local job club at the library, a coffeehouse, or even the Chamber of Commerce – invite retired workers and younger workers alike. Brainstorm strategies and make connections at the same time!

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to join a professional organization when you are out of work, this may be the best time to get involved. You may have more time to take an active role in a national or regional organization – like the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis or Rotary Club. Not only will you be making new contacts, but a positive by-product of this type of involvement is it can simply help you feel more confident, which will always boost your job search.

Some of the other advantages for getting involved in professional organizations at this point in your career include greater flexibility in your schedule, greater motivation to be involved in meaningful activities, and the always-critical networking.

Opportunity favors the prepared mind – Pasteur

I love this paraphrase of a quote by Pasteur. With a little preparation, you will be ready for opportunities! How, you may be asking? Planning is almost always the answer. Networking can help with those unexpected opportunities – the inevitable serendipity of a job search. But planning is one of those skills that is transferable – not just from one job to the next, but within your own job search, too.

This post has identified a couple of areas for planning – market areas that are ripe for growth and local networking. The library was mentioned as another resource. Use the library’s numerous subscriptions to regional and national newspapers to explore trends closer to home. What companies are undergoing changes? Are municipalities breaking ground on new retail centers, research or think tanks? Being a sleuth, whether online or in the old-fashioned newspapers, may give you a clue to new opportunities in your area.

If you are thinking of switching careers, use the library again to learn about position requirements for those new fields. There is always the old standard – the DOT or Dictionary of Occupational Titles available in the reference section of most libraries. Another classic title is “What Color is Your Parachute?” Although originally designed for job seekers earlier in their careers, the series has been expanded to provide more tips for people at various stages of employment seeking.

Finally, comb the calendar or bulletin board at the library. As noted, many libraries are branching out to offer a wider range of services through workshops, listings of reference sources similar to those discussed earlier, or possibly regional agencies available to assist with tangible job search assistance. Even though you may not be looking for temporary employment, some temporary agencies do have a finger on the pulse of the local business community and may be able to help point you in the right direction.

Focus on Your Strengths

In the next phase of your “plan”, focus on your strengths. You may start by brainstorming a comprehensive list of every talent you have. Even if the skill seems completely unrelated to your job search, such as your avocation in handling dogs with the local animal rescue group – include it! The first list should include everything – if it makes you smile, that’s a little bonus in the process.

After compiling an exhaustive list, begin to pare down to skills that more closely match your current job search. Determine how you can maximize your strengths from seemingly unrelated areas to incorporate into a current job search.


About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Gatekeepers Replaced by Databases

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst – Trust Company, New York, NY
Business Advisory Services: Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Research Analyst, Kansas City, MO
Jr. Project Coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
Corporate Strategy Analyst, New York, NY

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With the change in the economy, many professionals are suddenly finding themselves in the job market unexpectedly. There are many new aspects to job search but the same basic core process is still at the heart of the matter. Companies are seeking candidates. Job seekers are seeking employers. Recruiters help the two come together in some situations. In other situations, it is a matter of in-house HR departments finding candidates that match their needs. How this entire matchmaking process occurs has been radically affected by technology over the past decade.

Many woebegone job seekers fret over the loss of the “personal touch” in the job search and take the lack of “the human touch” as a personal affront. While job search has become rather automated, it is not because of the people who do the hiring or recruiting – it is simply because the numbers of people in market for a new job have skyrocketed. It is logistically impossible for recruiters and hiring managers to manage by hand the influx of resumes they receive daily and respond to each one individually. Job seekers truly need to understand that and not take offense at the lack of personal response.

The gatekeeper in the job search has changed. Before job search became a huge, Internet-based endeavor, people would snail mail resumes or even drop them off at the HR department of companies. Resumes would be faxed in response to a newspaper advertisement or HR departments would provide a phone number for interested candidates to call. Every company had a gatekeeper of some kind – the person whose job it was to receive resumes and talk to job seekers who called. The challenge for the job seeker was to get past the gatekeeper and get in front of the hiring manager.

Today, the gatekeeper is not a person. It is a computer database. Recruiters and hiring managers use computer databases to manage the astronomical number of resumes that are submitted to them daily. Most people understand that the big job boards such as Job.com and others are database-driven but sometimes people unfamiliar with the intricacies of modern job search assume they avoid the database if they email the resume as an attachment. “I didn’t upload it – I emailed it to the recruiter” is a common comment.

What these job seekers do not realize is that everyone uses a database to manage resumes, including recruiters. Most of the time, when a resume is sent to a recruiter, the resume is loaded into the database before the recruiter even sees it. Recruiters prize their databases as valuable depositories of potential candidates. Just as a receptionist or an administrative assistant might have collected resumes in the past, the database serves that purpose now. Filing cabinets used to store paper resumes for mandated periods of time, but now databases store them electronically and automatically purge old resumes after the legally mandated “on file” period expires.

The change in gatekeeper has two impacts on job search. First, it makes it incumbent upon job seekers to have a database-friendly, e-resume version of their resumes. The resume fails if the database cannot read it or if there are not enough relevant keywords for the database to notice it. Most job seekers have a Word format resume but they don’t realize that an e-resume can make their efforts in getting past the database much more successful.

Second, the use of databases has made job search much more of a numbers game. Job search success is still to some degree a matter of “who you know” but it is also a matter of “how many contacts” you have. That means getting the resume to as many potential companies, recruiters, and hiring managers as possible. Sending the resume to a couple of recruiters will not realize good responses.

Finding a new job can be tiresome and often frustrating but it’s the same basic core process that it has always been – job seekers are trying to beat other job seekers for open positions. Recruiters are seeking good candidates to place at companies. Companies are looking for employees who bring value and productivity to their operations. People communicating with people. The difference is at least one of the “people” in the process is a machine.


About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Four Ways Your Resume Should Show Off a Career Progression

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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 GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Putting Your Education to Work on Your Resume

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Associate Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Investment Banking Analyst Intern, New York, NY
Research Analyst (Business Valuation), Irvine, CA
Associate – Hedge Fund of Funds Investment Team, New York, NY

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You’ve spent lots of money on tuition and endless hours studying to earn those degrees. Now it’s time to put that time and money to work for you to land a lucrative new job. Finding the best way to showcase this information on your resume, ensuring you make the most of your credentials isn’t so easy.

Even the most brilliant and educated candidate can readily get confused by the conflicting information offered by career experts. Rather than banking on educated guesses, use this quick “study guide” to test whether you’re maximizing your education background on your resume:

Where to Place the Education Section on Your Resume

Before even trying to assemble this information on your resume, a key step is to determine what type of candidate you are.

If you are a job seeker remaining in the same field and have at least five years of experience, emphasize work experience. This means detailing your work history first, followed by your education information.  Employers greatly value contributions you’ve made to current and/or former employers, since they are the best indication of your potential in a workplace environment. Your studies, while important and often mandatory for consideration, are typically secondary to experience.

Entry-level candidates who recently finished college usually have little work experience. Employers are fully aware of this, so while they are interested in any related internships or experience, their primary interest lies in the candidate’s education. The best option for entry-level candidates, therefore, is listing the education section first.

Another type of candidate who would list education before work history would be a career changer who recently completed a degree or course relevant to the new professional path. For example, if a retail manager just completed an MBA in accounting, passed the CPA exam, and is now seeking an accounting position, the education section would be placed before work experience on the resume.

Listing Coursework

Entry-level candidates could expand upon some practical experience acquired in the course of their studies. Yet for more experienced job seekers, such details are not only unnecessary, but inadvisable. A more experienced job seeker offering specifics about coursework could inadvertently lend a lower-level feel to the overall resume presentation. There are exceptions, however. For instance, candidates seeking academic positions would list relevant coursework and publications.

Stating Year of Graduation

Only recent college graduates need to list the year of graduation since the candidate will want to account for lack of work history. It will make sense to an employer that the resume doesn’t go beyond 2008 if the candidate received a degree the same year.

Otherwise, it is not a good idea to include a year of graduation, as this will give employers a sneak peek of your age. Let your credentials speak for themselves and avoid any potential for age discrimination by omitting the year you completed a degree.

Using Designations

Some candidates include a representation of degrees and certifications earned following their names. This can be a great tool to convey a credential without taking up much room. Since one’s name appears first, at the top of a resume, it immediately highlights your professional qualifications, especially for industry-specific credentials.

However, there are some pitfalls you want to avoid. If too many designations follow a name, the overall impact is lost. It’s great if you have five professional certifications, but you don’t need to list all of them. Try to limit it to three for maximum impact.

Listing a very common degree could also turn off a reader. “John Doe, BA” really won’t impress the same way “John Doe, PhD” will.

Maximizing a Professional Summary

If there are facts you want to emphasize but you don’t want to risk an employer missing it in the education section, feel free to make a mention of it in the professional summary. As an example, you may need an MBA in order to apply for a particular position, so you want to make sure the employer sees right off the bat that you have one. If your extensive work history has pushed your education section to the bottom of page two, the perfect solution is to briefly mention your MBA in your professional summary.

The professional summary is also a great way to include a fact that really has no place in the education section. For example, if you went to an Ivy League school, you can easily incorporate that into your professional summary without sounding pretentious.



Of course, these are general guidelines. The best strategy to present your educational credentials is as individual as you are, so make sure you do your homework when it comes to preparing your resume.



About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, 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. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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