5 Hidden Resume Killers!

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

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

1.  Highlighting Political or Religious Affiliations

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

2.  Explaining Employment Gaps with too much Personal Information

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

3.  Broadcasting Weaknesses

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

4.  Too Many Positions within the Same Time Frame

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

5. Over-emphasizing Periods of Self-Employment

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

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

Author: Alesia Benedict

10 Most Common Resume Goofs

Private Equity Research Associate – Princeton, NJ

Financial Analyst / Associate – New York, NY

Fund Analyst – New York, NY

Investment Banking Associate – New York, NY

Financial Analyst – New York, NY

Venture Capital Analyst – Redwood City, CA

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

1. Email Errors

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

2. Mechanical Mistakes

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

3. Fluff Phrases

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

4. Too Much Information (TMI)

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

5. Too Little Information (TLI)

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

6. Passive Voice

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

7. Functional Format

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

8. Personal Information

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

9. Poor Design

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

10. One Page Length

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

Author: Alesia Benedict

6 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Resume’s Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Private Equity Senior Analyst – New York, NY

Fixed Income Portfolio Manager – Stamford, CT

Jr. Consumer Analyst – Boston, MA

Credit Research Analyst – Newport Beach, CA

Equity Research Associate – Jacksonville, FL

Junior Equity Derivatives Portfolio Manager – Santa

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By Alesia Benedict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Does Your Resume Send the Right Message?

 

What message do hiring managers get when they read your resume?  Without realizing it, you may be sending mixed messages.  Aligning your job search with your current goals is a part of the resume-writing process many people don’t even stop to consider.  As a result, resumes can sabotage your job search due to a presentation of mixed skills and conflicting messages about your goals.  Be honest with yourself – what are your job search goals? Are you looking for more creative opportunities? A career switch? More money?  What’s most important to you right now?

Whether you are aware of it or not, your resume communicates your feelings about the job search, present situation, and future goals.  “Uncertainty” may be the strongest message hiring managers will get from your resume – a message not likely to instill confidence.  In fact, such “confusion” will probably land your resume in the “slush pile” where it will not be read at all.  However, careful analysis and simple organizational “tweaks” can make all the difference in getting your resume read and transform potential deficits into strengths.

Clear Job Goals – Where’s the Money or Self-Fulfillment?

Consider some basic questions about your job search.  Are you asking “where’s the money”?  Are you feeling unfulfilled and perhaps even unappreciated in your current career situation?  Do you long for a change in your career or are you seeking more flexibility in your schedule?  Do you have dreams of what you would really like to be doing but feel “stuck” just earning a living?

As a society, work expectations have changed drastically over the last couple of decades.  It is assumed most people will have a minimum of 7 different positions throughout their work-lives. Realistically, it is probably twice as many – although that reality doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. What it actually represents is the culmination of the slow mentality shift away from “corporation as caretaker” that used to be part of a life-long career.

That change can give you greater flexibility, but with freedom comes responsibility – as the saying goes. Your responsibility is to figure out what you want for yourself – it’s never too late to decide what you want to be when you grow up (smile).  Crucially, if you have not figured out what is most important to you in your search right now, your resume is likely to reflect that indecision.  Take a few minutes and think about what you really want to do and then identify what you can do at this point in your career search.

Diverse Job Experience

Now, let’s get down to looking at your work experience.  How consistent has your work history been?  Do your positions demonstrate a clear progression of increasing responsibility or seem more like a “mash-up” of seemingly unrelated job experiences?  The latter description can certainly work against you if not carefully crafted into a cohesive resume.  These diverse experiences can become strengths and increase your value to an employer if “packaged correctly”.  Diversity can be an asset in today’s complex work environment.  If you are able to “connect the dots” for the employer by presenting a common thread that includes your passion for excellence, curiosity, and drive to make things happen, you can immediately move to the top of that pile of resumes on the hiring manager’s desk.

A varied work history – whether across industries or simply a number of different positions within the same field – doesn’t have to become an obstacle to the perfect job.  A bit of planning can help determine optimal presentation at this point in your career.

 

Transfer of Skills

A practical place to begin is with skills that can easily translate as strengths across industries.  Common examples include communication, leadership skills, and strategic planning.  You can start by thinking about how these “transferable skills” have been part of previous roles.  Those are areas to emphasize as that common thread mentioned earlier – think about your strengths and make those skills the core of your resume and job search.  Once you have done that, it is similar to decorating a family tree around the holidays – the ornaments in our analogy become those unique accomplishments you want proudly displayed in each specific position, while the “common thread” holds everything together.

Provide structure for your job search by presenting a resume to potential employers that sends the right message. Clarifying the purpose of the resume at this point in your life will present a cohesive “package” to hiring managers.  An authentic representation will land the job because of the consistent clear message about your strengths and skills.

Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

8 Interview Clichés to Avoid

The point of an interview is to show off to the hiring manager how wonderful and unique of a candidate you are.  So why would you waste precious time and words answering questions with clichés?  Unfortunately, when put in a nerve-racking situation, people often freeze up or stumble over their words, and these standard lines are the first things that come to mind.  Here are a few clichés to look out for, and some alternate ways to respond:

1. I’m a Team Player

The ultimate cliché, this one pops up in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.  But what does it really mean?  If you’re a “team player” and really want to get this point across, don’t say this line.  Explain what it is that makes you so great to work with.  Focus on your excellent ability to communicate or your willingness to both lead and follow directions.  Talk about a few instances where you have picked up the slack for someone else without having to be asked.

2. I’m the Perfect Fit

Ultimately this is up to the hiring manager.  Instead of wasting your breath telling them this and expecting them to believe you when they know nothing about you, barrage them with examples of why you’re a great fit.  Then they’ll come closer to making this conclusion on their own.

3. I’m a Hard Worker

Aren’t we all?  Again, saying this really means nothing to the interviewer until you provide concrete examples.  Tell them about all those times when you stayed late, turned work in before its due date, anticipated what needed to get done next, etc.  Make the interviewer really believe that you are a hard worker, because just saying so is not enough.

4. I’m Willing to Do Anything

Often this is the road many people have to take, especially when starting out in entry-level positions.  And while it’s great to have that sort of mentality, you don’t want to sound too desperate in a job interview.  And worse than sounding desperate, you don’t want to imply that the job itself is something you’re “willing to put up with” until you advance on to something better.  Mention specific parts of the job that excite you, and instead of focusing on your willingness to do anything, focus on your desire to do these specific things.

5. I’m a Fast Learner

When you say this, Hiring Managers hear, “I don’t know how to do this“. Saying this makes you sound like you are inexperienced, and that you may be underestimating the level of understanding it takes to do the job.

6. I’m Good with People

That’s exactly what the interviewer is trying to determine in the interview. It’s not just about determining if you have the skills and qualifications to do the job. The interviewer is trying to determine your general demeanor and personal skills, so let them see you in action, don’t simply state it.

7. I’m a very Loyal Person

People who say this are usually overcompensating for holding many jobs in the past, but not staying at any particular job for very long. Candidates who say this are typically concerned that the interviewer will think they’ll get bored and leave soon after taking the position. Instead of saying this, stress how you see this potential employer as a long term career path.

8. I really need this job

Some people think it’s a good idea to talk about their personal life in an interview, and how important it is for their family that they get this job. Even if this is true, do not say it. It only makes you look desperate. The less it seems you need the job, the more valuable you seem to the employer, because other employers want you too.

Clichés hurt you not just because they make you sound less credible, but also because they take away the chance to go into depth and provide specific examples of why you’d be a great hire.  Don’t do yourself an injustice by speaking vaguely with a hiring manager – the specifics will get you much farther.

8 Social Media Blunders that Sink a Job Search

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Let’s say you are looking for a new job or a promotion at your current job.  If your prospective new boss pulls up your Facebook page, will he/she see photos of you drinking scotch from the bottle and a caption that says “Drink till you die”?  Or will your current employer see a post that reads: “I hate my job, the boss is a jerk!” on your Facebook page?

These days, social media can be a help or a hindrance to your job search. Social media sites are not hidden.

Anything you post is likely to be seen.  Most hiring managers search candidates’ online presence and that includes social networking. You will want to do the same.

A basic search of your name is a good place to start. What does the search reveal?  How deep are the results?

Do you find one or two pages, or one or two lines?  What does the search reveal about you? Remember, just because your Facebook posts don’t show up in the initial search doesn’t mean information posted there is inaccessible.  In fact, for some companies, that may be where the search begins. Be smart about your online presence and you will outsmart the competition.

1.  Wide Open Profiles.

This is the kind of mistake that makes the others mistakes relevant. Keeping a closed or mostly closed profile on your non-career social media sites while job searching is a good idea.

2.  Friend Requesting Your Interviewer.

Don’t send a friend request to your interviewer. Maybe your the type of person who friend requests everyone you meet. Maybe you think it will help your chances of getting the job. Unfortunately, friend requesting your interviewer is more likely to work against you, since very few of us will look more professional on facebook than in the interview.

3.  Inappropriate Language.

Remember your old English teacher’s admonition that you must pay attention to the written word?  That remains true for writing on the web.  Writing how you talk is not the best advice in the midst of your job search.  Think of any written communication as a tiny billboard communicating your assets to hiring managers investigating your online presence.  Inappropriate language definitely includes profanity, so clean it up to strengthen your job search.

4.  Non-PC Statements.

Your social media pages may feel protected or hidden from the general public, but as with anything on the Internet, once it is there, you lose all control of the information.  “Think twice and type once” might be a good reminder the next time you are posting.  Any Internet-based communication is open to the world and may be misconstrued.  Think about the last time you tried to tell a joke or explain a sensitive situation via email.  The recipient of cyber-messages may not interpret what was meant as a short-hand explanation in the same way you intended.

5.  Negative Comments about your Current Employer.

The supposed sanctity of social media sites can lead many people to develop a false sense of security. As mentioned, social media sites are not completely private.  If you are ranting about your current place of employment, the consequences of doing so “in print” are likely to be much more negative for you than the employer.  Hiring managers typically avoid anyone whose posts suggest a difficult disposition, rather than the appearance of a team player.

6.  Unflattering Photos.

Everyone knows drunken holiday party photos will sabotage your job search, but you should be cautious about the content of all photos you post.  Public displays of affection, nudity, or any documentation of “unusual” behavior are likely to halt successful job leads.  Check with your “friends” on Facebook as well to make sure there aren’t photos on their pages that may cast you in an unflattering light.

7.  Off-color humor.

The Internet is not the local bar or pub.  You’re not just making jokes with people who already know you well and will forgive slips of the tongue.  If negative comments are all that the hiring manager knows of you, you are likely to be seen negatively.

8.  Conflicts between your profile and resume.

Make sure there is no major differences between your career oriented social networking profiles, and your resume. This can be as simple as updating a former employer’s company name to its new name if it was changed. Check the details thoroughly on both, making sure the dates match, the company names match, and the responsibilities and accomplishments match

 

Don’t jeopardize your job search by ignoring potential negative impressions from your online presence.  Social media sites are routinely accessed as part of the screening process so get rid of any questionable photos or posts. Beware of social media blunders by taking a smart look at your online presence as if through the eyes of the hiring manager, and you can remove barriers to your next position.

 

Corporate Development – M&A Associate – Los Angeles, CA

Investment Banking Intern – San Francisco, CA

Private Equity Analyst Intern – New York, NY

Investment Operations Associate – Los Angeles, CA

Pre-MBA Investment Banking Analyst – Boston, MA

Analyst – Washington, DC

Associate Equity Research – New York, NY

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7 Ways to Turn Up the Heat on Your Job Search

 

Don’t take a vacation from your job search simply because it’s summer. By acting against the myth of a summer slowdown, you can heat up your job search and scorch the competition! You may be surprised to find that there is often less competition because the rest of the pack is acting on the outdated assumption that companies don’t hire in the summer. Follow these tips to put some sizzle in your summer job search.

1. Don’t Let Vacation Mentality Sabotage Your Search

A job search is daunting and summer is a traditional time for vacations or time away with families. However, if you succumb to temptation and set your job search aside, you will lose valuable momentum and are likely to miss opportunities. Job seekers tend to follow a traditional academic schedule and put their efforts in full force in the fall. Getting a jump on the competition by maintaining a steady effort over the summer puts your name at the top of the list for interviews now.

2. Don’t Miss Important Calls

With mobile devices, you can still make yourself available even if you do take a few days away from home base. Just remember to be professional when answering your phone and get in the habit of excusing yourself from the fun to take those important calls. You can continue your phone and email follow-ups from the road and get right back into your job search schedule upon your return.

3. Business as Usual

Recruiters and hiring managers continue to operate on typical business schedules during the summer months. Though scheduling interviews may be more complicated because of staff and search committee vacations, the timing may actually work to your advantage. Hiring decisions may be made more quickly than at other times of the year as staffers scramble to complete deadlines before their summer break. Hiring in the summer often contributes to an efficient business cycle by allowing training time before a busy fall season.

4. Attend Seasonal Community Activities

Summer is a prime time for festivals, fairs, and other types of community events. Attend as many of these as you can to network and spread the word about your job search. The casual nature of these events often gives you the opportunity to approach important hiring contacts that may be less accessible at other times of the year. Be prepared with a business card in your pocket and your updated resume ready to be sent out. You may even use these casual contacts to build a network of like-minded job seekers for support and sharing information about available job leads.

5. Update Your Resume and Online Profile

If your job search has slowed, summer is a great time to revamp your resume by removing older entries and adding industry keywords that highlight your strengths and make your resume pop during electronic scanning. Be certain to post the updated version of your resume to websites. If you notice any skill gaps during your resume review, summer is a great time to build skills with a workshop, training, or independent study. Classes and workshops also offer great networking opportunities.

6. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Interview

Summertime is not an open invitation for flip flops, khakis, or bermuda shorts. Regardless of the heat outside, be professional! Don’t blow an interview by being too casual. Pull out your best professional wardrobe for an interview or when dropping off your resume. Make the same choices for professional attire when interviewing via Skype as well.

7. Stay Current

Maintain subscriptions to online sites to remain abreast of the latest job openings as well as company expansions in your region or industry. Although the competition may seem fierce online, many of those likely candidates may be unable to attend an interview. Your diligent monitoring of varied sites will put you at the top of the interview list because of your qualifications and availability.

Update your resume, expand your network, and maintain your momentum by staying consistent with the job search. Heat up your chances of landing an interview during the final days of summer while the competition takes a vacation!

Milestones for a Successful Job Search

Manage your job search just as you would a well-organized project and you will be able to place yourself in a new position! By meeting milestones you will feel more in control of your job search.

1.  Identify Target Companies

Use traditional and Internet strategies to identify companies of interest. Network with professional and community organizations to gather information about potential openings, new projects, and names of key personnel. The hiring manager may be the gatekeeper, but isn’t the only contact who may be helpful in the organization. Use Internet sites to expand beyond your geographic area and get a sense of the current market for positions of interest to you.

2.  Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Apply the research gathered about companies, key personnel, and positions to revise your resume and cover letter for each position if possible.  Although this may sound daunting, a complete overhaul is not required for each position. Emphasize skills and accomplishments in your resume that align with corporate needs. A slight adjustment may be all that is necessary to present yourself as the perfect candidate. Don’t rely on references to float your resume to the top of the pile. The cover letter and resume must stand on the merits of your experience, skills, and potential for contributions to the company’s bottom-line.

3.  Follow-up

When you follow up, remember to use a number of different strategies. Traditional thank-you letters and e-mails can both be appropriate. When managing group interview situations, you may prefer to use email and a brief phone message to keep your name and credentials fresh in the mind of each interviewer. You will also want to follow up with the initial contact person for your cover letter. That individual may become an important point-person in keeping you apprised of the interview process and keeping your name at the top of the list!

4.  Keep Going

Even after the interview, keep in contact with your network and maintain your job search efforts. Part of the challenge in current job searches is how protracted the process has become in a tight job market. Think of the process as a marathon and pace yourself. Rejuvenate yourself to keep up a positive energy.

5.  Maintain Good Records

Set up an organizational system to record your progress and include all the details! Keeping a comprehensive record of all names, dates of contacts, and outcome will prevent following up with the same person twice when you did not plan to do so. The record can also give you a sense of accomplishment and control as you monitor milestones in your job search project. Good organization leads to good results and helps you present a positive image in all your contacts.

Monitor job search milestones just as you would for a complex project. Exercising those skills keeps you on your game and moves you toward a new position. Use the milestones to maintain your focus and a positive energy to stay on track to a timely delivery in your job search project!