Resume & Career Advice

June 21, 2011

Is Career Objective Still a Good Resume Strategy?

Resume Career Objective

Will you still employ a career objective on your resume?

No. Definitely not. Human Resources Managers and Recruitment Officers will say the same:
“Indicating career objectives is no longer considered a good resume writing strategy.” May this short post help you understand why you should no longer employ the outdated resume strategy.

The resume reads: “Career Objective: To be able to enhance my professional skills in a dynamic and stable workplace and to grow with company.” Admittedly, this doesn’t sound as bad as it may seem. However, HR specialists and hiring executives are now more critical than ever. Read again and identify whether the text is company-focused or personally-focused. Recruitment specialists have found out that most career objectives are centered towards what the applicant wishes to get from his or her possible employment for the company. While ‘to enhance professional skills’ and ‘to grow with the company’ are positive objectives, they do not indicate what the applicant’s objectives are for the company. Because majority of non-professional resume writers write similarly text to the above example, experts suggest that applicants should no longer use career objective in their resumes.

The alternative to ‘career objective’ is the presidential message, which is also called as banner.
Presidential message, unlike career objective that tells what they want to achieve in the company, tells the employer ‘why should the employer hire the applicant.’ Presidential message is quite more difficult to draft though than their outdate career objective. However, the presidential message provides stronger impact because it tells the prospective employer what his/her company can expect from the applicant and what the applicant’s professional strengths that will benefit the company. The best ways to write the presidential message are: (a) Point out the strength of experience (number of years in the field/industry); (b) Point out greatest accomplishments within the field; (c) Point out the professional strengths that are required for the position. For presidential message to be more effective though, it needs supporting statements.

Career Objective is no longer a good strategy to make your resume standout. Presidential Message is the new and more effective strategy for your resume. Seek professional help if you have difficulties in coming up with the presidential message that would carry your qualifications in your resume.

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May 9, 2011

Techniques in Shortening your Resume

Condensing the Resume Draft

How do you keep your resume short without cutting your job chances?

So you’ve had quite a few stints in numerous companies since graduating from college. Perhaps you’ve been working for twenty years, jumping from one field to another. Whatever your background, you end up with a three to five-page resume that lists all your skills and accomplishments. You’re just about ready to take the first step to getting your dream job. But then you find out (and if you didn’t know, I’m telling you now) that most employers prefer to read resumes that are one to two pages long. Your resume turns out to be too hefty. What do you do?

• If your resume is just a little over two pages, the first option will be to experiment with the fonts. Times New Roman is thinner and occupies less space, and you can use a smaller font size, but remember that anything less than 10-point might be unreadable. Also bear in mind to keep the type and size in your sections consistent.

• However, the most important thing to do is to trim your resume. Tailor your resume to fit the job you’re applying for. Anything that is irrelevant to your objective is excess fat. You can do without it. You might have been a sales executive for 10 years, but if you want to get a job as an IT professional, it just doesn’t help your cause.

• Use bullet points with clauses instead of complete sentences and paragraphs in the list of job responsibilities. It saves space and looks better. While you’re at it, remove unnecessary indents in your sections.

• Further, you don’t have to list all your responsibilities in a position. Highlights of some of your achievements and accomplishments do the job better. Employers normally take 20 seconds or less to scan your resume more relevant and more readable often ends up shortening it. It doesn’t hurt that you’re making your prospective employer’s life easier even before you get the job!

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 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.

February 7, 2011

Why Health Care Jobs are Most Promising for 2011

Health Care Jobs for 2011

Health Care industry in 2011

Health care jobs are most promising for 2011. According to US News, all of the health care jobs on their list from 2010 are still on their list for this year, in fact with a couple of additions. The health care jobs that are in top careers for 2011 are: Athletic trainer, Dental hygienist, Lab technician, Massage therapist, Occupational therapist, Optometrist, Physician assistant, Physical therapist, Physical therapist assistant, Radiologic technologist, Registered nurse, School psychologist, and Veterinarian.

This 2011, the health care industry can only be expected to grow. New patterns of living also demand new patterns or frequency of certain types of health care services. For instance, Al Lee of PayScale.com observes that “As baby boomers continue to get older, health care needs continue to grow.” This is supported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which claim that this trend will increase the demand for home health aides and physical therapists due to the aging population. Similarly, the increasing trend of working at home will also increase the need for home health aides and personal care aides.

The numbers also prove the claims. According to the US BLS, nurses’ jobs will increase by 582,000 or 22% until the 2018; similarly, 460,900 jobs are expected to open up for home health aides; while 378,500 personal and home care aide jobs are up for grabs. An interesting increase is expected or dental hygienists, for which 237,000 more jobs are expected to open up until 2018, marking a 36% growth rate.

And when it comes to salaries, the figures remain competitive for health care jobs as well. For instance, physician assistants earn a median salary of $85,000 while physical therapists’ median salaries are pegged at $70,000; and registered nurses generally earn between $44,000 and $93,000 every year. With the increase in demand for such services, there can only be increase in these numbers as well.

January 31, 2011

Finding and Quitting: 2010 Career Lessons

Career Lessons

Which of the many career lessons of 2010 should you carry on to 2011?

It was the low and the high times, the best and the worst. Series of events happened that with all its varieties, certain lessons have to be learned and remembered in order for us to move forward. The year 2010 has just left us, but what are certain insights that remain?

Lessons for the profession are important to remember and the events regarding career in 2010 will allow us to reflect on what could be done in the new year. Below are news related to career in the past year with valuable lessons to treasure.

•   Mothers who are considering working while having an infant child isn’t such bad idea after all. In July last year, a Columbia University study indicates that mothers or parents basically should not feel guilty having to work while attending to children since it does not have any effects on their performance. Now that seems to be such great news especially when parents have to find a career in order to meet the demands of their children’s needs.

•   Choosing a career carefully is also one of the greatest lessons of all times. In a survey of The Conference Board research group, 45% of the Americans are unsatisfied with their jobs. Relative reasons would include their loss of interest about the job, the stagnant income due to rising inflation and the towering cost of health insurance adds to their burden of having very low take home pay. Showing low interest for a job can be a lesson to job seekers on finding the right career; but the two latter reasons can also be a call for ways on how the economy should be improved so that labor trend can be considered as stable.

•   Relative to the unsatisfied Americans with their job, quitting can be an option but it is also notable that finding a new one is very important. A Business Insider survey says 57% of their 225 participants have quit a job and have still not found another one in the past two years. This is actually depressing especially that today’s economy is experiencing a tough time. As we face 2011, we are faced with the challenge on either staying with our unhappy jobs or just quit.

January 24, 2011

How Long Should A Resume Be?

Resume Length

How long should a resume be to effectively showcase your career strengths?

With the competition on the job market getting increasingly competitive, an applicant must not compromise the presentation of his abilities just to save space. After all a résumé sells you as the product, so it must catch the attention and interest of the buyer. Most of the time, only applicants with very impressive résumés only get to the interview, so résumé length must not get in the way of landing the job you want.

Gone are the days when one-page résumé is a must. According to Grant Cooper, president of Strategic Resumes, “Brief resumes are simply no longer effective in today’s increasingly competitive job market. . . The advice that ‘They only want to see one-page resumes,’ is perhaps the single most outdated and incorrect statement job-seekers hear today.” Résumé length truly depends on the applicant’s experience and position he is applying for. Usually, though not always, new graduates and entry-level job-seekers often write one-page résumé while most executives at the highest levels need résumé that exceeds two pages. The thing is, if an applicant does not have enough experience to include onto a second page, one page is enough. If a single page is not enough, however, to sufficiently communicate the depth of their experience and skills, it is safe to go for two pages.

Remember to put only the most vital and helpful information about yourself in your résumé. Never submit a document that looks more like an autobiography than a résumé. Stick to career objectives, relevant job experiences, years of experience, industry, title/position, educational and special trainings and accomplishments.

Needless of length, an applicant must remember only to include relevant information for the position one is applying for. Word conservation must be practiced and the formatting must be crisp and clean. One must not cram all the information to follow the one-page résumé rule. Some even resort to using 8- or 9-point type to “cram” everything in a page. Experts say that many companies are perfectly fine with well-written, concise and well-formatted two-page résumé that is easy to read and includes all the information they need. Also, it is very important to remember that a resume must capture attention on the first page. The use of powerful objective (headline) and strong summary of qualifications (executive summary) will make your résumé impressive at first glance whatever the length is.

January 17, 2011

Writing a Résumé for Jobs in the Healthcare Industry

Health Care Jobs

Are you ready for a healthcare job this 2011?

Reliable job-watch and career websites seem to agree that the Healthcare Industry will prove to be an industry of most number of and best employment opportunities in the year 2011. According to AOL Jobs, the top 10 most secure jobs in 2011 are: (1) nurse, (2) physical therapist, (3) pharmacist, (4) physician and surgeon, (5) computer systems analyst and administrator, (6) computer software engineer, (7) biomedical and environmental engineer, (8) accountant, auditor and financial advisor, (9) veterinarian, and 10) lawyer, paralegal and legal assistant. Ranked top are healthcare related jobs. The U.S. News Money Career says that “Healthcare continues to offer excellent opportunities for job seekers, and not only positions that require a medical degree. Occupations that call for fewer years of study and offer more moderate salaries are also in demand”— what could these news mean? Healthcare jobs are in demand this year.

To land a healthcare job requires a résumé that is formatted towards the healthcare industry. Generic résumés will NOT be of much help. It is highly important for an applicant to identify which healthcare job he or she is applying for. Knowing the specific position to apply for is like the guiding line on how to construct the résumé. A doctor’s résumé should not sound like a résumé of a nurse.

Make sure to highlight pertinent professional skills that are required in the healthcare professional. These professional skills and strengths should also be termed in the jargon highly accepted and used within the healthcare industry. Examples of strengths that must be highlighted are: Knowledge of medical terminologies; Nursing Aptitude— Neonatal, Medical Surgical, OR and ER. Use jargons according to relevance. Present background and work experiences that are relevant to positioned being applied for.

For those who are applying for entry-level positions, they should supply educational information first, especially if there are healthcare related, before presenting non-industry related work experience. Entry-level applicants and career changers/shifters may find it very challenging to identify their strengths and experiences that would allow good transition towards the healthcare industry. Professional help is always a good option.

December 20, 2010

Why You Need an Updated Resume to Start the Year Right

Updated Resume for the New Year

Have you already updated your resume in case you need to submit one this new year?

For many people, a new year represents a fresh start: a new look, new gadgets, new relationships, new attitudes. Many companies also follow this lead and take the opportunity to reexamine their goals, restate their objectives, reorganize their structure or reevaluate their workforce.

In line with these, it is not uncommon for hiring managers to revisit their files to look at the people who applied but were not hired. Who knows? These people could fill positions that have since been opened. Perhaps they could bring more value to the company, or they could replace people who left or plan to leave. The good news is that one of those people could be you.

With the escalating reliance of companies on online resume databases, it is prudent for a jobseeker to update their resumes. Ask yourself: What have I done since I last submitted or updated my resume? What certifications have I received or projects completed since then? Aside from what is currently in my resume, what other skill have I gained or improved on that would be valuable to employers? Write them down before you forget the impressive details.

Now, the assumption in answering these questions would be that you actually achieved something after you last edited your resume. If this isn’t the case, all the more would you need to update it. Your objective, if you have one in your resume, is expected to change after a period of inactivity. After six months of not getting that “supervisory position in an established organization that would utilize [your] skills,” now what? Sticking to a formula that isn’t getting results doesn’t seem to be the best way to go.

Also, even if you do not have an online resume (and I recommend that you make one) you should update yours, if only to prepare for the steady increase in job opportunities that a revitalizing (or revitalized, depending on whom you ask) economy presents. The bottom line is we’re definitely better than we were during the recession, and this could mean, among other things, more jobs and more applicants. Get a head start by improving your resume or seeking the advice of a professional resume writer.

Complete the “new you” today by updating your resume to start the year right!

October 25, 2010

Managing Stress at Work

Work Stress Relief

Will a stress test show that you’re working at your best?

Imagine yourself as a young professional trying your best to climb the career ladder by working long hours, taking in new projects and missing out on those fun family weekends. But despite these efforts, you feel that your immediate supervisor fails to notice your relevance in the company.

Stress at work is commonplace. It affects everyone. From rank-and-file staff to top executives, all experience stress in different points of their professional lives. But stress should never be the reason for someone to buffer and bank off all those career plans. While stress is inevitable, there are a couple of ways to manage it.

The simplest way to handle stress is to organize your surroundings. At office, you can arrange the papers and other office stuff at your desk. Organizing a workspace serves as a constant reminder that you are in control of everything despite how the situation may appear bad. Another easy way to cope with stress is to find way to break the ice. You can crack jokes with your officemates during break times or share any funny stories with them. Finding humor at a stressful situation defocuses the mind from work and mirrors your ability to look for the brighter side. But the easiest way to cope with stress is to talk about it with friends and trusted workmates. By sharing stories about the challenges of life (and work), people around you will develop a special bond with you that will surely ease the burden of the odds ahead.

On a more serious note, stress can be managed with proper mind-setting. You must be able to weigh the importance of your goals so that a mere stressful episode at work would not get in the way of your career plans. Moreover, you should be able to build a good working relationship with the people at your workplace. Such working relationship, aside from the fact that it embodies professionalism, can serve as a reason for you to keep on doing your job. After all, it is not actually the salary and the job that makes people stay, but rather, it is the bond with those people. In addition to this, a handful of friends at work can also help you with difficult tasks.

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