Resume & Career Advice

June 6, 2011

Summer Job Strategies

Summer Job

Looking forward to a career this summer?

As summer approaches, you’re probably already thinking about that trip you want to take. You contact people and tag them along to make it more fun! Are you going with your friends or with your family? Then you decide where to go and what to do. Should you go hiking at the Grand Canyon, explore the beaches in Southern California, experience Vegas, or enjoy the theme and water parks in Orlando? After that, you prepare the things you need for the trip—sunscreen, clothes, cash, camera and more cash. Finally, you fly or drive to your destination.

Interestingly, to find a summer job, you must follow pretty much the same steps.

1. Contact your friends and family: Your network is perhaps the most important tool in finding a summer job. Ask them if they know someone from some place that is hiring. Announce on Facebook or Twitter that you’re looking for a job. Update your LinkedIn profile to show your skills and abilities. It helps to be referred in getting a job, and you won’t be referred if you don’t ask your friends.

2. Think about where to go and what to do: Do you want to babysit, wait on tables, or flip burgers? Do you want to be a lifeguard, a camp counselor, or a movie attendant? A lot of businesses boom in the summer. Some company somewhere is going to need the extra help. Frequent campus job fairs or online job sites to get an idea of what’s available. It’s a matter of knowing what you can do, what you want to do, and where to look for a job that might need you.

3. Get ready: Prepare your resume (make sure it’s professional-looking and error-free) and a list of your references (make sure they know you listed them). Practice for the interview with a trusted friend, so that you’ll ace it when you go through the actual thing. It takes work to find work. You won’t find a job by playing Xbox games all day. And no, I’m not saying that you should switch to PlayStation 3.

4. Head on out to your summer adventure: Looking for a summer job is an adventure. Only one out of every 4 job seekers will find work this summer, but don’t give up easily. Remember, you’re a jobseeker. You’re looking for a job, and certainly jobs won’t look for you. You can’t bring your summer getaway to your doorstep. You’ll have to go there yourself. The same goes for a summer job.

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May 16, 2011

Establishing Professional Online Identity

Employment: Professional Online Identity

Can your professional online identity get you hired?

The internet is a very powerful tool for communication, commerce and even for marketing oneself for employment. However, one must be aware that internet is both professionally constructive and destructive depending on how a person uses the internet and whether or not he or she practices discretion and moral ethics in his or her online activities. The modern day practice of Human Resource executives, who are tasked with doing background check as part of the recruitment process, includes checking an applicant’s online identity. When applying, one should keep in mind that the internet may make or break future employment. There are many ways to establish a professional online identity that would serve as a good reference to a person’s character, professionally and personally. These are:

1. Discretion and prudent use of networking sites. Popular networking sites such as myspace, multiply, twitter, friendster and facebook have become so prevalent that almost all people with internet access have at least account on at least one of the mentioned sites. These sites are very much trendy and fun, however, self-restriction and prudence must be practice in posting photos, blogs and comments. Photos wherein an applicant is drunk or nude and comments that are racist and insensitive are not the way to establish professional identity online.

2. One good practice is to join professional forums where one can air professional opinions and polite exchange of thoughts and ideas. Presence of these will imply that the person is intelligent. Another similar approach is development of an intelligent, prudent blog or contributing to online publications.

3. Make an online portfolio or a web-based resume that can be easily searched by employers and that can easily be referred to when hiring and recruitment are urgent. The trick is to develop as professional looking web-based resume that uses language excellently and that could market personal and professional strengths.

May 2, 2011

Royal Weddings – How Many Jobs Do They Create?

Royal Wedding Jobs

How many jobs does a “royal wedding of the century” create?

The wedding of Prince William of England and Kate Middleton has created a worldwide extravaganza that practically no one could escape. But aside from the feel-good atmosphere it creates in London and elsewhere, the Royal Wedding is also, as one writer calls it, “a Royal Flush for Jobs.” Indeed, lavish events such as the recent Royal Wedding are actually good for the economy.

For one, if you were in Britain, you could have applied for a couple of Royal Wedding Job Vacancies: a coffee room and a wash-up assistant. Locals also had the advantage of possibly being providers of the food, flowers, security, and other event necessities.

Whenever a Royal Wedding takes place, people all around the world typically scramble to produce event-related souvenirs and trinkets, from Royal Wedding commemorative coins, to teabags and refrigerators with the likeness of the Royal Couple. Particularly with the holidays created by such affairs, the tourism industry also gets a jolt. With the influx of well-wishers and spectators who flock to the location to witness the event, travel agencies abroad, as well as local businesses, benefit from the spike in the number of clients.

During Prince William and Kate’s wedding, one woman had an instant dose of fame and employment when she was shortlisted to be a citizen reporter representing USA Today in the Royal Wedding. In fact, the news industry in general would need additional, if temporary, workforce to cover such an event.

Finally, the Royal Wedding created a situation where businesses encountered two successive four-day weekends. A Silicon.com report suggested using the extra down time for system upgrades, patches, or test runs. In retrospect, IT professionals could have offered their expertise to businesses, benefitting both sides.

Royal Weddings are a goldmine for employment and business opportunities. These prospects might not be long-term, but they are plentiful. If nothing else, something like “Ensured timely service to the future King and Queen of England and their 1,900 guests” might just look good on your resume.

April 4, 2011

Drafting the Summary of Qualifications in Your Résumé

Summary of Qualifications

Can your resume’s summary of qualifications catch the attention of a potential employer?

So you’re already hyped up to create a résumé draft. You’ve already listed the names of the companies that you worked in, prepared job descriptions and list of accomplishments in every position you have handled and information about your education and some professional development activities you’ve had. However, in the process, you realize that you’re having difficulty with the summary of qualifications. According to an informal, unscientific yet practical survey employing random sample of 100 job seekers, the most difficult part of writing a résumé is the summary of qualifications.

The difficulty in drafting a summary of qualifications in a résumé is commonly not because of the lack of qualification but the lack of knowledge to discriminate the qualifications that matters for the specific job target. As all professional résumé writers would say, as much as possible be specific with the direction of your résumé. Having the knowledge of what position or at least field or industry you want to apply for. In drafting a summary of qualifications, answer the following:

1. What similar and valuable experience can I offer to the company?
2. What are my strengths that the company would benefit from?
3. What are my accomplishments in my past that is worth mentioning?

Funny, but true though, I.T. professionals tend to have the longest summary of qualifications. In fact, some can even produce a 100-page summary of qualifications because they either do not want to let go of some of their qualifications or they do not know which qualifications are relevant. Only choose relevant information. Below is an example of a badly written summary of qualifications.

Summary of Qualifications:
I am an intelligent sales professional with two years of professional experience in sales and am looking for a position in sales that can help me grow professionally in an environment that appreciates talent. My qualifications include proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and ability to handle pressure. I am athletic and member of the varsity team. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. I have been also recognized for excellence in organizing corporate parties.

If you’re current summary of qualifications reads similar to the example, either draft a new one or seek professional help.

March 28, 2011

How to Determine a Good Job Offer

Determining a Good Job Offer

Are your hopes high with the job offer?

A few months ago, Sam submitted copies of his résumé to several random companies he could think. He believes that just as long as he has the skills, experience and similar specializations of the professional the company is looking, the job would be good. Sam even posted his résumé to an online employment database to get his application to a wider number of recruiters, headhunters and possible employers. Sam is a good example of how many people find employment. Sam was successful enough to have been offered jobs from three different companies. Unfortunately, Sam is also of those who are not very keen in what makes a good job offer.

There are many aspects of a job offer that need to be reviewed before responding to it. The most obvious is the financial aspect of the job. How much is the salary or wage? This is undeniable the key consideration by most people. In this light, there are many questions that must be objectively answered. There are questions like: Is the offer salary competitive enough in the type of profession or field? Does the salary/wage offer make you feel insulted or pleased? If deciding on multiple offers— which job offer offers higher pay?

Another important consideration which people often overlook is the job description. Are you capable of the demands and challenges of the position? Is the job too demanding? One very important consideration is the organization. In determining a good job offer, one should not be limited to the job description and the salary alone. It is very crucial for people to look into the organization— the stability of the organization/company, its credibility and how it treats its employees. Do they provide good benefits? Furthermore, location and proximity of home to work should also be a paramount determinant. This will affect additional expense, which should affect perception towards the salary. If the job offer requires to relocation, ask yourself whether you want to and if it is worth it.

Nobody can point out which job offer is best for an individual— this is because there are emotions and preferences that are part of the decision making. However, in determining a good job offer, one must stay as objective as possible.

March 21, 2011

What You Should Know About Character References

Character Reference Letter

What’s there to know about character references?

You should know by now not to put “References Available Upon Request” in your resume.What you should do instead is write down your references on a separate sheet of paper, which you can hand out to prospective employers if and when they ask. But that’s not all there is to it.

More often than not, hiring managers would specifically ask you for work references—in which case, your list should include former supervisors, managers, colleagues, business acquaintances, or clients (if you own a business). For fresh graduates, your character references could be your teachers, professors, or academic advisors. Also, you may want to consider members from an organization you belong to, or someone of good standing in your neighborhood or community. Anyone who isn’t a member of your family would do. And although it should be a given, considering that more than one in four people falsify their references, it seems prudent advice to list real people with their actual job titles!

The important thing is for your references to be able—and willing—to put in a good word for you. They should be able to attest to your qualities, skills or abilities, whether you’re punctual, diligent, or an expert in spreadsheets. As such, make sure that you contact them beforehand, and ask permission to include them in your list of references. Don’t forget to ask them how they prefer to be contacted—through email, phone, or snail mail.

Sometimes, your references, especially the busy ones, might find it too time-consuming to write a character reference letter (as they sometimes might be asked to do), or they might not be sure what to say when someone calls them. You could offer a draft of what you would want them to say, or even just a list of your achievements to refresh their memories.

Finally, make sure that you maintain the accuracy of the information on your list of references. In fact, even if you’re not applying for a job (yet), it doesn’t hurt to keep yourself updated about your professional contacts. After all, with LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networking sites, it takes little more than a click to connect with them. Just make sure it’s not a fake account!

March 14, 2011

Does Resume Submission (to Job Databases) Really Work?

Resume Submission

Is there any advantage with submitting your resume to job databases?

Because times are tough and competition in landing jobs are tougher today, job seekers are looking for alternative ways to get their résumés to as much employers as possible— the internet is the most powerful tool in making this happen. Prospective employers and job seekers have now capitalized on the internet technology in announcing job openings and in hopefully landing jobs. The proof of this is only keying in ‘jobs’ in any browser and hundreds of job databases appears on the result. Many of these job databases require job seekers to post their résumés so that possible employers will have access to these applicants. Does this work? Yes.

Although it is true that not many online applicants, particularly those who have submitted their résumés to job databases, are successful enough to have landed jobs or have been contacted by interested employers, many could attest that they have secured a job because of this system. There are credible databases that pass submitted résumés to companies. One consideration of this assertion is that ‘job databases’ are businesses that provide service to job seekers and employers.

The discouraging assumption that résumé submission to job databases does not work comes from the fact that there are too many applicants and only very little employers and/or number of vacant jobs. Also, most of the submitted résumés are not strong enough to be noticed by employers. These types of résumés may have not the correct format. It is very important to understand that electronic résumé submission requires specific format— the scannable format, which uses keywords are intended to match jobs in the databases.

In order to land jobs employing the method of submitting résumés to job databases the format of the résumés must be correct. It is a good career investment to ask for professional help if you are not capable of this.

March 7, 2011

Video Resume: A Job Search Advantage

Video Resume

Should we start using video resumes in our job search?

A video resume is a video, with length usually ranging from one to three minutes, where a jobseeker sells himself to potential employers. It has been catching on lately, as evidenced by many job and career sites allowing users to upload their video resumes. However, do video resumes actually help more than they hurt your chances at getting a job?

For one—at least for now—a video resume has the advantage of making one stand out. In a sea of text resumes floating around, video resumes are a haven of uniqueness, a respite for employers from the monotony of black and white. The important thing, then, is to make sure that your video resume makes you stand out for the right reasons.

Too often, a jobseeker would appear either artificial or awkward. Sometimes, video resumes would seem gimmicky or unprofessional. However, when properly made, a video resume shows employers what Arial on white background cannot: creativity and imagination.

Also, video resumes can effectively highlight your skills more than italics or bold typeface. You can write about your excellent communication and presentation skills or your command of the latest technology in your paper resume, but in your video resume, you can show them. It is no longer a formulaic description; it is the skill in action.

Ultimately, a video resume is an innovative supplement to your paper resume to give you an advantage in your job search. After all, a hiring manager would more likely watch an interesting video than read through mounds of paper resumes. The key word, of course, is “interesting.” Also keep in mind that a poorly made video resume could just as well ruin your chances, perhaps even more than a bland resume would. If you do it well however, a video resume could be your ticket to being a 36pt font size in a page of 12s.

February 21, 2011

How to Level Up Your Job Search

Job Search

What does it take to level up a job search?

Writing a resume is a big part of the job hunting experience, but it is, by no means, the only part. There are other things that need to be done before you land your dream job—and it’s not just sending your resume to thirty companies and hoping for the best.

1. Contact your references. Now, this should be a given, but it is often overlooked. When an interviewer asks you for your references, you should be prepared with their details, and your references should know that you’re listing them as such.

2. Update your profiles. If you are like most jobseekers today, you have a LinkedIn account and membership in more than a few job search engines. If you don’t, then you’re missing out on a lot. Your networks could be the key to getting the job you want.

3. Create your own website. It neither takes nor costs much to put up your own site. It brings tremendous benefits in showing your prospective employers how you’re keeping abreast with technological advancements. Plus, it’s a venue to show off your skills, talents, and achievements that do not make the precious real estate that your resume is.

4. Research about the companies you’re interested in. You’ll never know when you’ll get a call—which is basically an impromptu interview. Of course, it’s better to research about the company before applying, but particularly in job boards, where employers can view your resume without your knowledge, it would be beneficial to know a little bit about the companies that are currently hiring.

5. Practice the interview. You may not be scheduled for one yet, but instead of cramming for an interview that is scheduled the following day, practice your pitch beforehand. Ensure that you know the overused buzzwords from the industry keywords.

Just because you’ve written an excellent resume does not guarantee that you’ll get the job. Follow these tips and level up your job search in no time.

February 14, 2011

Modern Resumes: Old Practices That Need to Be Left Behind

Resume Strategies: Now and Then

How have job search strategies evolved from traditional to contemporary resumes?

The term “old school” is often viewed in high regard—whether in sports, music or fashion. It mostly allows the older generation to reminisce in fond admiration of the old days, and the younger ones to marvel at the past. This, however, does not work too well in resume writing.

For one, old school resume writing involves buying the best quality paper you can find, and using your Smith Corona typewriter—okay, electronic typewriter—to create your resume. Good luck finding one nowadays. Still, letters typed over whiteout is not the only way your resume would look outdated.

1. Resume writing tips from the 90s allow for the word “Resume” in the beginning, and “References Available Upon Request” in the end. It cannot be stressed enough that people should NOT do that anymore. Everyone knows it’s a resume. Everyone knows your references are available upon request.

2. As late as 2004, some professional resume writers advised job hunters to include street address and fax number as essential to resumes. This is no longer the case. With the current emphasis on privacy, your city and state would suffice. On the other hand, fax machines are so outdated that you might as well just send your resume via pigeons.

3. Further, unless you want hiring managers to envision you as wearing a suit of armor, make sure you include your email address. These days, it’s almost as essential as your name.

4. Contrary to traditional resume rules, abbreviations are okay. Just make sure your audience knows what you’re talking about. To be sure, spell it out the first time you introduce it, then, use abbreviations thereafter. If, for example, you keep on writing “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer,” it not only wastes space, you would also sound like a toddler who just learned a new word.

There’s nothing wrong with being traditional, but you’d want to stand out from the rest of the applicants in a more flattering manner than to appear like you’re from ancient history.

 

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