Leverage Education to Land a New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Junior Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Boston, MA
Associate, Los Angeles, CA
Marketing Specialist, New York, NY
Investment Banking Analyst, Burlington, MA

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Getting additional training is a critical part of job preparation throughout your career. Packaging that information effectively in the resume is not always as clear-cut. Based on how much time and money you have invested, training experiences may be more important to you personally than they are critical to landing a job. You may need some assistance in objectively placing the training where it belongs on your resume. Consider these tips to effectively present education and training experiences in your resume.

Placement: Where do I put my education?

The current format for most resumes does not lead with education.  In fact, it is not wise for someone with a solid career — and who recently obtained a degree – to lead with his/her education. Doing so may give the mistaken impression that your education is your strongest asset, implying that your experience may not be as impressive, is sketchy, or falls short in some fashion.

Emphasis:  How much should I include about my education?

Similar questions about your work history may be raised in the reader’s mind when extensive training experiences are included.  In fact a lengthy list of training may obscure your talents, again giving the reader the impression that your training overshadows your work experience or is even meant to obfuscate actual details of your career. In other words, the question may form in the reader’s mind – what is she / he trying to cover up?

Education Dates:  Should I include graduation or training dates?

Unless you are a recent graduate, it is not necessary to include specific dates of graduation.  In fact, including dates on early degrees may actually make you vulnerable to ageism. Including dates of education and training also clutters the resume and takes up valuable space that could be used for outlining other strengths.

No Degree: How do I handle the lack of a degree?

Including extensive training experiences can also be an attempt to over-compensate for the lack of a completed degree. Of course, a degree is an important credential, but if you don’t have one or didn’t complete all the requirements, don’t attempt to hide that fact.  It will only “come back to bite you”.  An option for managing the lack of a degree is provided below.

Education

Business Coursework (non-degree)

ABC University, Anywhere, USA

Annual Training: How do I decide what to include?

To manage extensive training or even annual certifications that you want to include, but don’t want to take up all the valuable real estate on the resume, group similar trainings together or indicate successive years for annual licensure or certifications, such as with first aid or safety training.

Professional Development / Certifications

First Aid Training (Annual Certifications 2005-2010)

Management by Proxy / Supervising Remotely

Future Education Plans:  How do I handle my intent to apply?

You may also be tempted to include additional training or education that is part of your future plan, but for which you have not been accepted.  Don’t succumb to the temptation.  Only include educational experiences you have actually completed or that are in process.  If you just began the program and feel self-conscious about stating that you won’t graduate for another 3 years simply include “in process” or the date of matriculation into the program.

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Business Management (in process)

ABC University, Anywhere, USA

Bachelor of Arts in Business Management (matriculated into program 2010)

ABC University, Anywhere, USA

Time Off for Education: How do I handle work gaps for education?

You can also add an educational note in the midst of your work history to explain any gaps for school-related activities.  Place the note chronologically as if it were a position, exactly when it occurred.  This serves to explain the offending gap in your employment, answering the question in the reader’s mind before they have a chance to ask it, and highlights your commitment to continued professional development. That blend of education and experience is typically the strongest presentation for any job candidate.

Tailor your resume by including your most important attributes and experiences early in the resume.  Remember, placement of education later in the resume doesn’t diminish its importance.  The education then becomes the foundation, consistent with its place in your career progression.  Because of your personal and financial investment in the process, you may be over-valuing the importance of educational and training activities because they are important to you personally.  Try to be objective or ask a trusted colleague or professional service for feedback if you feel too invested in putting your education first on 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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Doostang News March 7: Small Things that Make a Big Difference in Your Job Search

Associate – PE, New York, NY
Consultant, Boston, MA
Investment Banking Analyst, Greenwich, CT
Project Manager, Chicago, IL
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Sometimes the path to your dream career isn’t about the big moves you’re supposed to make, but rather, is riddled with the little ones.  The great thing about small steps is that you have no excuse not to take them – you can always find a moment to work on your job search.  Here are a few minor things you can be doing to land your next position:

Create an Email Account Designated for Your Job Search

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an email address solely for your job search.  The first thing you should do is to choose an address that is professional – this will look far better on your resume and when you reach out to employers.  Doing so will also allow you to keep all your job search materials in one place, and will prevent your personal emails from posing a distraction.

Review Your Resume

Take a few minutes of down time to scan your resume and make sure that it’s polished and up-to-date.  You may not have caught all of the typos when you originally put it together, so pay particular attention to spelling and grammar.  Also check that your dates and current contact information are correct.  It’s especially helpful to have an outsider review your resume to catch all the small (or big) issues that you might have missed, so ask some friends for feedback or get a professional critique.

Revise Your Facebook Page

Because so many employers are now turning to social networking sites to see what additional information they can dig up about each potential hire, it’s important to put your best foot (or face) forward.  Make sure that you have appropriate privacy settings in place, and take down any pictures that you wouldn’t want your next boss to see.

Practice Your 30 Second Interview

It’s important to practice your 30 Second Interview, or elevator speech, when you have a moment.  This will ensure that you’re less likely to trip up the next time you’re in a situation where someone takes an interest in your career path.

Network

Take a few moments to find some key contacts that can help you in your career search.  Consider your alumni network or find the contact information of someone at a company you wish to work for.  Send out a quick email to set up a time to ask for some advice, or simply try to establish rapport by reaching out with a question.

Enroll in a Class

If your dream job requires knowledge or skills that you don’t yet possess, enroll in a class that will bring you up to speed.  Once you make that initial commitment to go, you’ll be one step closer to the career you want.

There are a multitude of little things you can do throughout the day that will advance your job search.  So when you have some free time, be proactive and do something small that can make a big difference.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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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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How to Show Employers You Are the Perfect Fit!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Retail Market Analyst, New York, NY
Financial Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Vice President of Sales, Boston, MA
Financial Analyst Intern, New York, NY

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Observing others in the job search process may make it seem as though everyone else has all the luck in making the right contacts and easily landing a coveted position.  Upon closer inspection, you can just as readily identify many small steps that may help you become one of the elite, landing plum positions in a competitive market. Review the steps below to adopt approaches to carry your job search beyond mere chance and show employers you are the perfect fit!

Clearly Communicate Your Strengths.

Paint a picture of your talents for the employer.  How do you fit into the team?  What talents do you bring to critical projects?  Make a clear connection between your previous accomplishments and potential contributions for the prospective employer and they will understand why you are clearly the best candidate.

Be Assertive and Confident.

Approach companies of interest and inquire regarding openings even if none are listed.  Everyone is aware of the “hidden job market” online, however long before the Internet that same market existed in the minds of hiring managers and CEOs. Letting your interest in a company drive your efforts by initiating contact with key personnel will set you apart from the large pool of candidates.

Keep Good Records.

You certainly don’t want to embarrass yourself by following up with the same person more than once.  This organizational strategy also helps you remember important names and keep track of any personnel movement within and across organizations.  In addition to helping with the current job search, think of each of these individuals as part of your network over the long haul.

Outline Your Job Search Plan.

The spreadsheet of contacts, conversations, and resumes submitted will provide one part of the record while new prospects can make up a separate portion of your plan outlining goals.  By listing each aspect of your plan, not only will you create a comprehensive record of your job search, but you will also feel more in control of the endless string of tasks associated with the typical search. Making the search feel more manageable can help you monitor your stress and energy levels throughout the process.

Know Your Limitations.

Seek professional assistance for parts of the job search that are not strengths for you. It may seem that you cannot afford to spend the money right now, but perhaps you cannot afford not to do so.  If the job search has become so daunting or has drained your resources to such a degree that you feel devoid of ideas about the next step, then you definitely need to seek professional help. Feeling depleted of energy and ideas is a clear indication that you need a fresh perspective to help you create momentum for yourself in the search process.

Re-package Your Skills.

Researching industries similar to your experience or those with comparable positions may help you expand your targeted job search in a productive way.  You maintain the efficiency of targeting while identifying additional opportunities for yourself with a little creative thinking.  Certain skills transfer across industries, such as management, marketing, and sales.  Perhaps you have a solid track record in these basic areas or can describe your contributions to an employee morale campaign as part of your personnel management skills.

As you can see, the road to success is often paved with small steps. By building your confidence with clear goals, a strong organizational system, and key support, you can chart your own path to success. The solid image potential employers see will help you land that job!

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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6 Internet Traps that Stall a Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

High Yield Analyst, New York, NY
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Using the Internet is clearly the “go-to” approach used by most job-seekers today, but be certain you don’t treat your online search efforts casually.  Any mistakes could be broadcast to a wider audience than you imagine. Not all publicity is good publicity when it comes to your personal branding enterprise or online job search. Anything posted online tends to take on a life of its own, including job postings. So be certain you maintain as much control as possible of your own information and job search avoiding these 6 traps.

1.  Posting personal contact information.

You need a balance here between being able to be contacted and making yourself vulnerable to identity theft.  When posting your resume, follow each site’s posting guidelines, and be aware of how “public” your contact information will be when your resume “goes live”. Check the settings to see if employers have a secure portal for the site, or if your resume is available to anyone on the Internet.  The more secure the better in targeting your job search and maintaining your privacy.

2.  Using inappropriate email addresses.

Make sure you have selected an email account that is appropriate to your job search. One that is too personal definitely sends the wrong message, suggesting that your boundaries between work and play are not in place.  Similar concerns may be raised about your judgment if you use your current work email.  There are many options to open free email accounts online.  Consider one of those resources to set up a dedicated email account just for your job search.  It may also help you organize your job search efforts.

3.  Opening your job search up to your current employer.

There are many ways your current employer may learn about your job search, but you can take a few precautions to lessen that possibility.  Avoid using any contact information from your current place of employment. Be selective about where you choose to post. Wallpapering the Internet with your resume is likely to create more problems than positive results for you. Do not use work stations or equipment at the office to launch your online job search.

4. Failing to match your qualifications to those required in the position.

It is tempting to send out resumes to interesting positions, particularly if you are ready to explore a new area or feel stuck in your current industry.  Using the “old shot-gun” approach of sending the resume to multiple sites is relatively easy and inexpensive, but such an indiscriminate approach may diffuse your efforts and paint you as desperate or lacking focus. Don’t diminish your strengths by responding to “everything”!

5.  Limiting your job search to online efforts.

Not all jobs are posted online.  Depending on your geographic parameters, you may want to get out and search local job sources as well.  Networking continues to be a strong source of jobs for diligent and well-connected candidates. Don’t rely just on Internet contacts – give your phone number and physical address when you personalize these responses.  Remember, don’t use company time or equipment in sending things out or identifying contact information.

6. Not researching companies to which you are applying

By finding out about the corporate culture for positions of interest, you are more likely to be successful in aligning your job search efforts and resume with those of the company.  And of course, use the Internet to find out basic contact information to take control in reaching the right person.


The Internet is definitely a strong resource in any job search these days. Take a bit of time to check your “appearance” by using an appropriate email account, make sure any attachments are virus-free, and maintain a business-like approach in your email correspondence.  Ensure the first impression of you the potential employer will be viewing, printing, and circulating around the office is the one you want. Using these strategies will help you maintain your online job search momentum!


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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