Clearly, there is no end to amount of advice offered on resume writing. However, every day I read resumes that have glaring mistakes. Not simply grammar or spelling. There are resume pitfalls that can cause doubt to arise about you. It may seem unfair. At the same time, can you really expect a perfect stranger to know how well you fit the job if you’re conveying a different message?
Although there are many who can provide advice on resumes, including professional resume writers, I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the common errors I see. Check out my latest article at Job-hunt.org to learn more. Feel free to add your own advice by commenting on this article within my blog.
When an employer asks you what your salary expectations are during the early stages of the interviewing process, you are trained to say you are open-minded on salary and are more concerned about the overall opportunity. Many say, “I look at the entire package and opportunity before I make decisions about salary.” And from there, the conversation may go in a few directions, hopefully leading to an ideal result.
When working with an external recruiter, the process is slightly different. Read this article I wrote for Job-Hunt.org to learn more about how to manage this aspect of the interviewing process when a recruiter is involved.
Article: The Starting Salary Question
Have you noticed I’m on a little bit of a rant lately with my posts about job seekers. I absolutely hate to pick on them as their job is so difficult and I don’t expect them to be experts. After all, if they were experts at job searching and interviewing, that would imply they do it often (not a good indicator of a loyal employee).
But, some recent events have prompted me to identify more pitfalls job seekers fall into. Practically on a daily basis from my perspective. If you are applying for jobs, talking with recruiters, or interviewing, please read my latest article for AOL.
Article: Are You Sure You Want This Job?
Recently, I’ve had several discussions with colleagues and candidates about the value education plays in their candidate selection. There is no doubut that formal education enhances one’s standing amongst candidates. In past articles, I’ve even mentioned going back to school during the job search to show you’re proactive about keeping skills sharp or learning new talents.
Brian Jenkins, a member of the BrainTrack.com, offered to share his insights on the topic of online college courses and provided several resources in the guest article below.
Online college courses provide a great way to enhance your resume and improve your chances of getting a job. Taking the courses shows prospective employers that you’re making an effort to increase your value to a company. They help you stand out from the rest of the job pool, which is probably full of people just as qualified as you. For example, engineers seeking a management position can greatly enhance their report and memo writing skills by taking free online writing courses. Once you’ve completed a course, you can include it in the “education” or “specific skills” section of your resume.
Taking relevant free courses also gives you a competitive edge over co-workers for higher-level jobs. Besides the additional skills you’ll acquire, taking the classes shows initiative and a strong desire to learn as much as you can.
Through OpenCourseWare, many colleges and universities offer free access to courses taught during previous semesters. OpenCourseWare provides actual materials used in classes, suggestions for reading material, and lecture notes. Some classes include audio or video lectures, and others offer quizzes so you can test your knowledge before taking the next course.
To see a list of the colleges and universities that offer free courses through OpenCourseWare, check out the OpenCourseWare Consortium’s web site. Some of the schools that offer free classes in a wide variety of subjects: Yale University, UMASS Boston, Utah State University, UC Irvine, and Notre Dame.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT offers a a great deal of free courses in Business; Engineering; Architecture and Planning; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Health Sciences and Technology; Science; and Management. MIT’s Sloan School of Business Management also allows you to take many of its popular undergraduate business courses free of charge.
Columbia University’s Seminar in Branding
Branding is important to many businesses. Columbia University’s Columbia Interactive provides a three-part series on Brand Leadership. Part one of the e-seminar, Brand Identity and Strategy, includes a video lecture, visual examples of strong brand identities, and guest speakers from the private sector. The second part of the series focuses on experiential branding while the third part delves into branding and the creative organization.
Free Writing Classes
Many employers complain that employees lack good writing skills. This can be a major problem for those seeking management positions due to the need to write reports and memos. MIT’s Advanced Writing Seminar exposes you to the various types of writing you may encounter in a professional career. The UK-based Open University offers a free class called Essay and Report Writing Skills. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) makes available its Technical Writing Course which combines theory and practice to prepare people to become technical writers. NJIT also provides a free Proposal Writing Course.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has become extremely important for many businesses with an online presence. Laura Lake, a marketing consultant, social media marketing strategist, and About.com guide, provides a free, seven-day Social Media Marketing Online Crash Course.
Many small businesses would like a strong online presence but may not be able to afford an expert web designer. Also, even if a company has a web site, management needs someone to maintain it. You can get the skills to create and maintain web sites at w3schools.com, an organization that claims to be the world’s largest web development site. Training is available in HTML, Browser scripting, XML, server scripting, web services, multimedia, and web building. These types of skills make you valuable, especially to small businesses that don’t have a Web expert on staff.
Savvy job seekers can take these free online courses to enhance their resume and to get an edge on the competition. And since you can take these courses online, it’s easy to work them into your busy schedule.
You likely have heard that interviewing is like dating. Or interviewing is a complex dance with lots of steps. The translation: Interviewing is a unique conversation where there seem to be many rules and traps that could lead to failure. You can interview almost perfectly and still not get the job. So this prompts the question: If I’m a superstar on paper and meet all the requirements, why didn’t they hire me? Perhaps, it was the other major requirement: Because the boss has to LIKE you.
Read more on this reality in interviewing in my latest article for AOL:
These days, it seems I’m often advising unemployed job seekers on how to approach having an unemployed stamp on their resume. Most employers realize that it hard to have a career path that doesn’t hit a bump in the road somewhere along the way, especially with the economy the way it is right now. The key to overcoming the bias associated with being unemployed is to paint your picture with the brightest colors possible. Whether in interviews, resume submissions, or networking, there are key approaches to keep in mind. My latest article for Job-Hunt.org dives into this touchy subject.
Article: Overcoming the Unemployed Bias
For those in an active search for a new job, a new year can be refreshing. Or it could be more of the same. It is up to you.
Many job seekers are frustrated with the process, the advice, and the results. I can’t say I blame them. It is a tough process. And one we don’t necessarily want to become an expert at through repetitive practice. Unfortunately a long job search can lead to a bad attitude about the search itself. And then, you’re in a downward spiral as the bad attitude can dictate a poor performance.
So how does one break out of the viscous circle? You must try something different. You must begin with a positive attitude and see the new year as a fresh start. My first article of 2011 for AOL shares some things to think about as you progress your search in the new year.