Cover Letter Tips: I-Banking

 

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Are you looking for a job in Investment Banking? In addition to a great resume, you’ll need a strong cover letter to stand out from your competition.  Careful choice of words, tone and aesthetics are essential to creating an outstanding cover letter.

THE “WRITE” STUFF

Because firms may use cover letters to evaluate writing ability, make sure your grammar is flawless and you’ve spelled all names correctly. As with your resume, proofread for typos.

LOOKIN’ GOOD

To increase the professional look of your application, use the same paper, contact information, header, and font style in both your cover letter and resume. It’s also acceptable-and often encouraged-to email applications. Don’t let the informality of email change the way you put your documents together.

A WELL-TUNED TONE

The tone of your cover letter should be professional and persuasive. Banking recruiters tell us they want letters that show candidates to be aggressive and knowledgeable. Use concise sentences and be direct.

At the same time, inject plenty of enthusiasm and genuine interest into your letter.

COVER LETTER INGREDIENTS

There are two basic types of cover letters: those responding to a specific job opening and those serving as letters of introduction. The latter is sometimes called a broadcast letter, and it can lead to opportunities where no job opening presently exists. Broadcast letters can play a more important role than those responding to specific openings or required for on-campus recruiting.

While your cover letters should follow a basic structure, don’t write a form letter. Develop an outline. Then write a clear, concise, and well thought-out summary that shows you offer exactly what an investment bank needs.

THE BASIC COVER LETTER FORMAT

When it comes to cover letters, you can follow a general outline. You can vary your approach to suit each position, industry and employer.

Every cover letter should include:

. Your contact information

. Date

. Employer’s contact information

. Paragraph 1-introduction (reason for writing)

. Paragraph 2-what you offer them

. Paragraph 3-what happens next

[Photo Source: Businessweek]

Resume Checklist for Recent Graduates

Your Resume Checklist

Ah, the resume: one piece of paper, such enormous power over your future. On the surface, a resume is simply a list of qualifications for a position. But to stand out from the crowd and score face time with recruiters, it should serve as a strategic marketing tool that screams, “I am perfect for this job!”

Creating an effective resume can be a daunting task, especially for entry-level candidates with little to no full-time experience to flaunt. But have no fear: Armed with the following checklist, you can learn to make the most of your one-page pitch and enter the running for the positions you want.

TRY A FUNCTIONAL FORMAT.There are three key elements to every resume-contact information, education, and experience-and many ways to organize them. Although the chronological format is most common, a functional format, which lists skills above places of employment, is perfect for job seekers with little work history.

GO EASY ON THE EYES. Use bullets and bolding to make your resume easy for recruiters to scan. Just don’t go overboard: Keep the formatting consistent and bulleted sentences concise.

PLAY UP YOUR STRENGTHS. Make your most impressive accomplishments the most prominent. If your volunteer work required or led you to gather more relevant skills and accomplishments than your part-time job, put “Volunteer Experience” before “Work Experience.”

INCLUDE ALL RELEVANT EXPERIENCE. Paid jobs and internships aren’t the only way to gain skills. Courses, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and interests all count as qualifications-as long as you include the relevant skills you picked up.

SHOW, DON’T TELL. It’s one thing to say you gained excellent marketing skills as a club coordinator; it’s another to prove it by saying you increased the club’s attendance by 10 percent. Always include numbers and tangible accomplishments to back up your work.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. When it comes to formatting and word usage, basic is best. Use action verbs when possible (“organized files” is better than “kept files organized”), and don’t use flowery language where simple terms would suffice.

TAILOR, TAILOR, TAILOR. Mass-mailing one resume may be easy, but real results come with customization. Create a master resume listing everything you’ve ever done, then pick and choose what to put on each individual resume and adapt the language to fit the job requirements. This can also help keep your resume to one page.

PROOFREAD. This seems like a no-brainer, but applicants often forget it. Read for typos, misspellings, and wordiness. Also be sure to use active voice (“answered telephones” instead of “telephones were answered”) and consistent tenses.

CONSULT THE EXPERTS. In addition to proofreading, take advantage of your school’s career center and any adult contacts willing to review your resume and provide advice. Additionally, you can consider hiring a Professional Resume Writer to get your resume in shape.

LIVE IN THE DIGITAL AGE. You will likely need to submit your resume several ways online. To avoid headaches, save four copies: a PDF and Word doc for attachments, formatted plain text for the body of emails, and unformatted plain text for online submission forms.

Recruitment Software: Why It Doesn’t Pick the Top Candidates

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Recruitment software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are must-haves in today’s recruitment world. We rely on technology to increase efficiency in nearly all other aspects of our lives, so it only makes sense that we now have software to automate recruitment tracking by handling job applications and resumes electronically.

Using an online recruitment system or ATS allows companies to better organize and streamline the hiring process. But while recruitment software is designed to help save time, reduce errors and ensure proper tracking, it is still unable to perform the single most critical part of the hiring process — picking the top candidate. Technology can only take us so far. In the end, the hiring process will always require a human element to pull the most qualified candidate from a stack of applications.

Email applications still carry an advantage over recruitment software and ATS. They require personal interaction from both sides throughout the entire hiring process. While accepting email applications requires additional time and organization from the employer, in the end, it helps you to more easily pick the top candidate for the job. Employers and candidates alike should take note of the following limitations of recruitment software and ATS:

They act as a funnel

Each new job posting will trigger an average of 1,000 resumes submitted. That is a staggering amount of paperwork, especially if you’re hiring for multiple positions at any particular time.

Recruitment software and ATS act like a funnel, taking in a large amount of applications in the beginning, but quickly narrowing them down to a mere few. This may sound great, but the limitation lies in the software’s ability to accurately determine what qualities and soft skills would make a candidate the best suited for the job. As a result, you end up eliminating qualified applicants who may not have used the exact words or descriptions the system was looking for, sending good talent right out the door.

They force candidates into boxes

People aren’t made to fit inside boxes, and their resumes don’t translate well into such rigid form fields, either. An online recruitment system breaks down the information on an application and organizes it into different “buckets.” If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get recorded, and it is never seen by the employer for consideration.

Sometimes the most unexpected information on a resume is the hidden gem that really makes a candidate stand out. For example, maybe a candidate is a certified yoga instructor or holds a national title in chess, but they’re applying for a marketing job. Holding a title in chess displays critical thinking skills, and being a yoga instructor shows the candidate works well with others. But if ATS don’t know to look for these words and identify them as valuable skill sets, they’re sure to be overlooked. One of the most important components to bring to the hiring process is an open mind. ATS do quite the opposite. They use a set of blinders to only focus on the exact keywords that have been pre-established.

They lack the human element

Many of the limitations of online recruitment system is is lack of human interaction. Nearly three-quarters of resumes will never be seen by human eyes.

In order to choose the best person for the job, candidates need to be evaluated much more personally. This is yet another reason why recruitment technology will never be able to fully replace the human element within the hiring process. A computer will tell you who looks best on paper, but only you can decide who possesses the interpersonal skills and personality that makes them the right fit for your company.

They encourage candidates to play the system

When it comes to applying for a new position, the emphasis has shifted. Candidates now want to know how to carefully craft an application that avoids recruitment software and ATS pitfalls. Learning how to “play the system” has taken precedence over simply submitting the most positive, honest representation of yourself.

Worse yet, ATS reward such tactics by bumping candidates with phony, keyword-laden resumes to the top of the stack, regardless of whether they are truly the most qualified. This is yet one more reason why recruitment software doesn’t pick the top candidate.

They discourage great candidates from applying

We can’t overlook the limitations of recruitment software and ATS that so many companies rely on for their hiring process. Sure, they make accepting and sorting applications a breeze, but
picking the top candidate is a subjective decision that no amount of technology can accurately automate. This will always remain up to the employer. Hopeful applicants should also be concerned with these limitations, as they affect whether their resume ever makes it before human eyes.

In the HR world, the hands-on approach still proves to be the most accurate. Stay involved in the hiring process and don’t rely on recruitment software to make one of the most critical decisions for your company!

What do you think? What limitations have you experienced using an online recruitment system as either an employer or a candidate?


About the Author:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

How to Prepare for Your Next Job Interview

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It’s always important to do well on a job interview, but especially in a struggling economy. The market is still tight and there are plenty of unemployed folks looking for work, which means there’s a lot of competition out there. In that kind of environment, you have to give yourself every advantage you can. Do the necessary research and prepare accordingly so the next time your phone rings with an opportunity, you can really knock it out of the park.

1. Plan to Arrive Early
Show up late to the interview and you may be out of the running before the conversation even starts. Get your directions from both Google Maps and MapQuest. If there’s a discrepancy, research it to find out which route is best. Make sure you give yourself an ample amount of time to shower and dress, and a few extra moments of relaxation certainly can’t hurt. Add an additional 15 minutes onto your estimated travel time in case you hit any traffic. If you do arrive early, give yourself a last-minute pep talk and try to relax and get in the zone.

2. Know What to Wear
A job interview is not the time to make a fashion statement or try out your latest trendy outfit. Think conservative in all areas – solid colors, limited jewelry and accessories, and nothing flashy. Your attire should be professional and should not in any way distract the interviewer from your most important feature – what you have to say.

3. Research the Company
A time comes at the end of every interview when the person sitting across from you asks if you have any questions. If you don’t, it’s an immediate red flag. Use the Hoover’s website or Dun & Bradstreet, or go directly to the website of the company to learn more about it. Look for recent achievements or areas the organization is looking to expand. There’s nothing wrong with introducing what you’ve learned during the heart of the interview, but definitely keep a few nuggets in your back pocket for the conclusion. Speak intelligently about the company and you’re going to show that you’re serious about landing employment.

4. Practice Your Responses
If you don’t already know some of the more common interview questions, do some Internet research and get yourself a list. Practice your answers with a friend or even in front of the mirror to sharpen your performance. Just be sure that these responses don’t come across as rehearsed during the actual interview.

5. Carefully Review Your Resume and Cover Letter
Take some time beforehand to carefully review both your resume and cover letter for stylistic issues and grammatical errors. A less-then-perfect resume likely means you can kiss your chances goodbye. If you’re not as well-versed in grammar, ask a skilled friend to help you out.

6. Touch Base With Your References
If it’s been a while since you’ve spoken with your references, now is a good time to check in with them. Let them know where you stand on your employment search and that you appreciate their assistance throughout the process. The last thing you want is for an employer to check references who are caught off-guard.

7. Address Your Red Flags
If your resume has no red flags, you’re in great shape. For most of us, however, it’s important to identify and decide how to address them. For example, if you were out of work for a long period of time be sure to have an explanation prepared. And don’t shy away from these issues during the interview. Address them head-on and make sure you communicate them clearly and confidently.

One key talent you need in order to perform effectively during an interview is self-confidence. Obviously, however, simply being told to “be confident” doesn’t necessarily make you so. Focus on your professional achievements and other successes, and always keep these in mind during the interview. We’ve all got certain talents and assets – it’s just a matter of learning to articulate them during an interview in order to boost your self-confidence, impress the interviewer, and land that job.

What preparation tips do you use for job interviews?

 

How Your Career Can Benefit from a Professional Portfolio

professional portfolio

When you think of a portfolio, you usually think about career fields such as modeling, art and writing. However, it doesn’t stop there. Every professional, no matter if they work in the consulting field or the engineering field, can reap the benefits of the portfolio.

Creating a professional portfolio does not mean that you have to have the perfect looking template with visual images of your past work, but rather that you have taken the effort to show how you have been successful throughout your career. Whether you create a professional portfolio website and submit it with each job application, or you put together a sophisticated binder to present at certain times throughout your career, having a professional presentation of your work will help get you to where you want to be.

Your portfolio can also help you market yourself. While jobs can come and go, your portfolio remains constant. Your experience is what gets an employer to hire you, and a portfolio can back up the claims you make about your skills, accolades, certifications and experience. You are highlighting what you’re great at and offering it up for current and future employers to take advantage of.

It is inevitable that you will end up in the following scenarios throughout your career, and the time you put into making a portfolio will get you positive results:

Job interview

Career professionals stress that there’s no better place to provide proof of your experience, skills and knowledge then a job interview. Employers can look at your resume as a quick summary of who you are as a professional, but they look at your career portfolio for a depiction of each accomplishment you have had. While discussing your experience for each of your past positions, refer to your portfolio and show them exactly you contributed to the success. Everyone can say that they turned around a client’s sales numbers, but not everyone can show it, and you can prove that you can through your portfolio.

A great portfolio also gives off the impression that you are a candidate who is passionate about your career and motivated to succeed.

Reviews at current positions

A career portfolio is not only beneficial during your job search; it can also be useful during performance reviews at your current position. They provide you with a source to look back on to highlight how you have made a positive impact while at your position. You’ll be able to go beyond just saying that you’re a great asset to the team by being able to show and remind your employer that you’ve done certain things that have added to their success as a business.

Salaries and promotions

Often, one of the most uncomfortable parts of your career is when it comes time to negotiate a salary or asking for a promotion. In order to even be considered, many employers ask that you explain why you feel you deserve it, and that can be difficult when your heart is beating a thousand miles a minute and your mind is racing. Many people leave the meeting wishing they remembered to say certain things, but career portfolios prevent this from happening. By using your portfolio as a reference, you’ll be able to provide your employer with an endless amount of reasons as to why you should receive a certain salary, raise or promotion.

 

Making a career portfolio is one piece of advice that you shouldn’t ignore, and not having one may cause you to miss out on numerous opportunities throughout your entire career. Therefore, make your job search noticeably easier by backing up your claims with proof and showing that you are determined and motivated to excel at what you do.

 

6 Tips for Landing a New Job

Job searches can feel contradictory and confusing at times as you try to cover all the bases while simultaneously targeting a specific industry. In these tough economic times innovation is often necessary to land a job.  At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as too far removed from the mainstream when trying new approaches.  Balance is helpful in strategies and personal responses throughout the ups and downs of a challenging job search.

1.  Target Large and Small Companies

Don’t just pander to the Fortune 500 companies in your job search. As most economists note, small and mid-sized businesses do most of the hiring. Maintain a balance of the large companies and smaller regional businesses in your targeted job search.

2.  Consider a Temporary Position

Taking a temporary position doesn’t mean you will always be in a temporary slot.  The contacts may lead to full-time employment or another project with other businesses by further expanding your network.  Temporary positions can also lead to full-time positions, depending on your performance record and personal relationships while in the position.  Act like a full-timer in terms of big-picture planning and personal investment, and you’re likely to find yourself in that full-time position.

3.  Pursue an Internship

If you are interested in a career shift, consider an internship. These positions are no longer just for those finishing up college. Internships now accept established professionals who want to make a significant change in career direction. And an internship – at any stage in one’s career – serves the same purposes.  The internship will help you make contacts while you establish a skill set in a new industry.

4.  Follow up Judiciously

If you have posted your resume on a job site, be certain to follow up. Check email carefully for related job postings or additional leads. Cold call new prospects and conduct appropriate follow-ups. But remember the fine balance between being persistent and being a pest.  Anxiety or desperation about your job search can be conveyed in following up too frequently, appearing too eager or asking too many questions about the projected time-frame for interviews and hiring. Your best business suit is your confidence.

5.  Adjust Your Expectations

Balance your expectations with the reality of the job market. You may be ready to move into an upper management position, but find those jobs are unavailable. Look at the demographics of those currently in the job you desire. In many companies, those positions are held by folks who may have weathered the recent downturn and could be looking toward retirement over the next few years. Although it is hard to be patient and you may certainly feel you are over-qualified for a lower-level position, it can be important to simply get into the organization.  Once you have been accepted as part of the team, it is likely that you can move up quickly and perhaps that plum position will open up sooner than you anticipate. Moving into key positions is often more likely to occur from within the organization, so place yourself in a position to take advantage of eventual opportunity.

6.  Balance Traditional and Emerging Job Search Strategies

Networking is a tried and true method, but it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face.  Use social networking sites – appropriately – for your job search.  Professionally oriented sites such as LinkedIn provide a great place to start, but be sure to clean up questionable postings on Facebook to improve your chances in a competitive job market.

Dream big and balance your expectations with the economic reality. Maintaining a healthy combination in your approach and attitude will move you toward your ultimate career goals!  Balance is the key to your interactions, plans, and attitude in creating a successful search and landing that job!

Author: Alesia Benedict

4 Steps to Secure Your New Job

 

Shifting the focus of your resume can make a more powerful impact on hiring managers. A positive new attitude can help open doors to a new job. Try the following few simple steps:

1.  Focus on Accomplishments

A strong resume highlights accomplishments.  It can be easy to forget achievements if you have not included them in past resumes or kept a separate file. Build your confidence by brainstorming positive results you achieved in past positions.

Give yourself time for this activity and think about what you can measure.  For example, what did you produce for your last employer? Not every industry will have sales numbers, but perhaps you managed the United Way Campaign more successfully than prior leaders. How many junior associates did you coach toward promotion?

You may need to “think outside the box” to identify tangible results of your skills and talents.  Once you have your list, add those accomplishments to your resume. Now tell potential employers how your skills will transfer to their environment and benefit the bottom line!

2.  Target your Industry

The target for your job search may be different from what you have done in the past. As a result, you may have a broad range of skills or a diverse professional background.  This can be a strength or a detriment, depending on how you present yourself.  Research basic skills expected for a candidate in the position in which you are interested. Then expand to the next level by identifying qualities that define an outstanding professional in your target field. Next begin matching your work history with the basic and expanded skills in the new industry.

Look for common skills in your background that will be an asset in the industry where you are currently targeting your efforts.  Broad experience may help if you are working with a diverse clientele, such as in sales or healthcare.  Re-frame your wide-ranging experience as strengths rather than a lack of focus or inconsistency in job history.  Finding that common thread will provide insight into your values, and believe it or not, employers are definitely interested in candidates who share their values in support of the corporate mission.

3.  Keywords

Keywords are critical in any job search today; not only for capturing the attention of hiring managers, but also in rising to the top of electronic searches. Translate your skills into just a few buzz words that are likely to get attention. Use powerful language in your resume by selecting descriptors that capture your strengths!

Research companies of interest to you. Most corporate websites will include a mission statement, and perhaps a description of their community involvement.  Not only can you mirror the language of the vision statement in your own resume and cover letter, but you may also discover opportunities to network informally with staffers and executives involved in community campaigns.

4.  Practice your Attitude

Job searches are challenging and can wear down the most positive of attitudes. Change is difficult, but don’t let it get you down. Pessimism never landed anyone a job!

Enlist family or friends to practice your elevator speech and interview skills.  The more you repeat these brief descriptions of your strongest skills and values, the more comfortable you will be in an interview or networking situation.  Don’t just save it for the interview. You never know who you may bump into in the corporate lobby or on the way to HR. Everyone in the corporate environment is a potential advocate for you in the hiring game!

Project enthusiasm into your networking and resume. A fresh year coupled with fresh perspective may give you just the boost you need to energize your search and re-organize your resume. Use your research skills to match your experience with the companies in which you are interested. Re-package your skills, rev up your job search, and then get ready to listen for opportunity’s knock!

 


Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)

6 Great Tips to Landing an Interview

 

Private Equity Research Associate

Financial Analyst / Associate

Fund Analyst

Investment Banking Associate

Financial Analyst

Venture Capital Analyst

Find Local Jobs In Your Area

The emphasis for most job seekers is on how to clearly communicate strengths to the potential employer.  While that is critical, the way in which you focus on skills, experiences, and talents has to appeal to the needs of the hiring manager and corporation in order to get an interview.  One of the most productive strategies to facilitate this “match” between you and the company is to do a little background research.

1) Research the Company

Use the Internet and local resources to find out all you can about the organization.  Most communities have a business section of the newspaper or perhaps a separate publication. The Chamber of Commerce may also have company profiles.  It’s not just major corporations you want to investigate; it can also be helpful to analyze changes among small, local businesses.  Which ones may be expanding? Which ones are on the decline?  Target your energy toward those most likely to render positive results.

2) Local Networking

Expand your research to look for networking opportunities.  Most papers continue to have local news about social events and the “movers and shakers” in attendance.  Perhaps there are some opportunities for you to become involved in the same organizations and meet these individuals outside the office.  Most sources still report that networking continues to be a job-seeker’s strongest key to opening employment doors.

3) Cold-Calling

Okay, you’ve identified the best potential prospects within your target market.  Now, you must get ready to start calling.  Be organized. Rank your contact list from those companies that are most appealing to those that are least interesting.  Include phone numbers, email, snail mail, and the identified contact person.  Set it up like a log so you can keep notes about conversations, such as the day you called, the outcome, and any follow-up plan.  You don’t want to appear disorganized by calling the same person within a couple of weeks!

Prepare a script for phone calls, including your selling points, but more specifically, have responses ready for potential objections. That’s the beauty of phones – no one can see you’re referring to your notes.

Typical examples of objections include:

“I’m very busy” or “We’re not hiring”…

I understand, however, in researching your organization, I feel I can positively impact your bottom line perhaps without the investment of a salaried position, at least at the outset.  May I send a proposal?

“You need to talk to HR”…

Whom should I contact? I’m happy to provide a resume and an outline of my proposals to improve sales or maximize employee productivity to keep on file.

4) Dropping by

Take a resume and a brief bio of your highlights that align most closely with the organization’s current mission.  Here is where your research pays off.  Brainstorming about potential special projects or ways your unique skill set can benefit the company’s new direction can set you apart.  This approach is an expansion of old ideas about cover letters – showing the company you have gone beyond just “doing your homework” to actually envisioning yourself within their corporate mission.  Companies typically need people with vision and initiative, and they will take notice.

Don’t try to make an impression by leaving your glossy 8×10 headshot, using fancy fonts, and colored paper.  Take a professional approach. Attach your business card and make certain you use your best contact information – which means staying away from anything related to a current place of employment or an informal email address.  Include your bio or project proposals.

5) What is your brand?

Think of yourself as a product. What are you trying to “sell” to the employer? What is it about your “brand” that can optimize the company’s bottom line?  These are points to emphasize in any brief contact you have with the organization.  This can be the brief bio you provide, a voice mail, or an email message, all of which should contain a consistent message about strengths, skills, or that special project you are offering. This is not a time to be secretive, coy, or too concerned about proprietary rights.  If you have a great idea and the company actually usurps it, you have dated documentation of when you provided this to the company.  In that event, you have a very different scenario on your hands.  What you want to focus on is your initiative and willingness to be a team player even before you become a part of the team.  Hopefully, you can lessen the odds of any negative outcome by conducting thorough research that includes some information about the company’s ethics, relationships with staff, and orientation toward innovation and intellectual property.

6) Stay Positive

Keeping up your energy level and a positive attitude are important aspects of your job search, though a bit less tangible.  Be aware of the energy you project when you enter a room.  Even though it can be easy to slip into the doldrums if you have not been able to achieve the results you want as quickly as you would like, it is critical that you maintain a positive attitude.  Perhaps doing research about the company has energized you about new possibilities.  Remember to keep up your exercise program, leisure activities, and friendships for rejuvenation.

Your positive attitude is the strongest asset you can display to potential employers.  If contacts at your target organizations remember their interactions with you in a positive way, you are more likely to get a return call.  Do your research and put your plan in motion to get that interview!

Private Equity Research Associate

Financial Analyst / Associate

Fund Analyst

Investment Banking Associate

Financial Analyst

Venture Capital Analyst

Find Local Jobs In Your Area

Author: Alesia Benedic

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

More Great Jobs on Doostang

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

1. Email Errors

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

2. Mechanical Mistakes

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

3. Fluff Phrases

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

4. Too Much Information (TMI)

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

5. Too Little Information (TLI)

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

6. Passive Voice

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

7. Functional Format

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

8. Personal Information

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

9. Poor Design

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

10. One Page Length

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

Author: Alesia Benedict