Resume & Career Advice

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!


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.

January 10, 2011

How to Increase Your Value While Unemployed


Do you know your best options when facing unemployment?

As tempting as sitting on the couch, watching soap opera reruns and eating microwave popcorn while waiting for calls from prospective employers might be, they’re surely not the best bet to get you out of unemployment.  In fact, your unemployment status might just be the best time for you to increase your value to employers.

The average American stays unemployed for 33 weeks, and unless you do something about it, you could just add “and counting” to that.  When you submit a resume,that eight-month period when you don’t have a job is eye-catching—but not in a good way.  Make sure that that time of inactivity is anything but.

For one, try to find part time or freelance work. Nearly thirty million others do it, so it’s not about the lack of part time jobs.  But even if you are unable to find one, you can also sign up for numerous volunteer work and activities.  Especially when relevant to your skills and qualifications, part time jobs and volunteer work could actually be more than time-passers and resume space-fillers; they could actually convince employers that you want to be productive, and would thus be a valuable employee.

During your “extended vacation” from work, you could also enroll in a few classes or take certain courses that would improve your knowledge. Depending on your industry, there also are certifications and affiliations that would help you advance in your career.  You will probably be hard-pressed to spend on these, but simply consider them investments for your future.  If you are strapped on cash, you could rummage through the web for tutorials to improve your skills.  Take advantage of the time by improving something as simple as your Excel skills, your typing speed, or something else you wouldn’t have time for if you had a full time job.

Also, don’t allow your time off to render yourself obsolete. Keep up with the current trends in the field you belong in by reading industry news, visiting websites, subscribing to blog feeds, or writing blogs yourself.  You wouldn’t want to go to your first interview in almost a year, armed with outdated keywords that would give away your time in the living room.

Finally, use your time unemployed by reconnecting with your networks. Aside from getting news about the prom queen or hearing how your college roommate is doing, you could use your connections to get a job.  After all, eighty percent of jobs are found through networking.  Relying on job postings alone will not remove you from the 9.8%.

In the end, always remember that just because you’re unemployed, doesn’t mean you should be inactive.

December 28, 2010

New Jobs for a New Year

Time to Start Another Job Search

Hot Jobs for 2011?

With the start of every new year, people often make up certain resolutions to fulfill. Some plan to be more patient, while others intend to lose weight. Another common New Year’s resolution for people is to get off the couch and get a job. Just like other promises, the commitment of job seekers to find employment is often broken. However, aside from the formulaic objective of starting the year right, there are more reasons to find a new job by the time you have to change wall calendars.

For one, more people tend to quit in January than in any other month on the average. Perhaps employees are content to take their holiday bonuses, and just find another job or rest for a while. Hence, it’s the best time to show prospective employers why you’re a better fit anyway.

The downside would be the competition that the people who just quit pose. Still, this is compensated by fresh graduates who enter the job force in January. If nothing else, this lessens the number of young blood one will face in looking for a new job.

Should you wish to include “Get a job” in your list of New Year’s resolutions, be reminded that three particular industries tend to have more job openings in January: Finance, Health Care, and Information. If you look at the numbers for those three in January, you will find 78,000 more jobs than in any other month. Computer software engineers (who make more than $40 per hour), and registered nurses (which is still one of the steadily growing occupations) are two of the best bets.

Find a new job for 2011, and you’ll be on your way to a truly prosperous new year!

November 22, 2010

Resume Writing with Zero Work Experience

Finding a Job With No Work Experience

Can you get a job with no work experience?

People have the mistaken notion that a resume should be made up mostly of work experience. This becomes a problem when someone without any work experience tries to write a resume to get his first job. With almost nothing to write, should he just list his education, address, and phone number, and hope he gets a call?

Creating a resume is like making an advertisement for yourself. If you’ve worked for a couple of big name companies, then those could be your best selling points. However, they are not the only details that would get an employer to buy. If you have no work experience, you could instead write something about your academic life. Put the clubs you’ve joined or led. If you took electives that relate to the job you’re applying for, then that would work too. You could also include your academic achievements or awards. If you are a member of the student council or have won competitions, you may list those as well.

Outside school, you might be involved in volunteer work or community groups, which you could also write in your resume. If you have completed certifications or trainings—especially those in connection with your potential job—then those would also be beneficial. If you maintain a blog or have put up a website, you could write that too. That doesn’t end there. You can even include certain abilities that relate to the job. Find out what the employer is looking for, and write in your resume how your character and qualities answer that call.

Nevertheless, your resume shouldn’t look like a jumbled list of everything you’ve done since you were thirteen. List down everything you can—following the suggestions above—and pick the “experiences” that relate most to the job you want. The fact that you were a hit on karaoke night would not exactly help you get the attention of potential employers. Determine which ones actually show that you’re the perfect fit for the person the company is looking for, and illustrate them in your resume using experiences that you might not have been paid for, but you have definitely learned something from. You may have no work experience, but these experiences would certainly work too.

September 13, 2010

Resume Formats: Choosing the Right Style for your Specific Job Credentials

Selecting the Right Resume Format

Does your resume format complement your career strengths?

A resume is an important marketing tool. It is the first glimpse of your potential employer about how qualified you are to be given the job you are applying for. So out of the hundred resumes an employer checks every day, yours must stand out. Your resume must highlight your accomplishments, skills and experience related to the job you are applying for.

If you are a fresh graduate and lacks related experiences for the job vacancy, don’t fret. You can make use of a resume that highlights your educational background and trainings you underwent while still in the university. This type of resume indicates the schools you have attended, the date you graduated, earned or pursued degree, and most importantly, your GPA. Emphasize on the courses you have taken or major in that makes you qualified for the job. Indicate the strongest and the most pertinent information on the top of your resume. You can also indicate the languages you are proficient with, certificates or licenses, computer or software programs you are good at and on-the-job trainings you have attended. Did you also attend any organization in your school, or joined any voluntary work? Include this information on your resume, so that your employer would know that you are responsible and trustworthy person.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of working experiences or other job-relevant information, you would want to make use of a resume that highlights these experiences. You can jot down your related work experiences from previous to the most recent. Include work, volunteer positions, appointments, assistantships, internships and any other activities applicable to the job you’re applying for. However, do not include everything. Note which of the work-related experiences are relevant to your goals and what is required from the ad and qualifications. You can pick one work experience and write a short description of your key responsibilities and accomplishments in the job. Always organize your content according to the most important and make use of verbs and professional words and correlate job-specific terms.

Remember, your resume is the first glimpse of the employer regarding your potential for the job vacancy. Make sure it stands out by making use of formats applicable to your experiences and skills.

August 23, 2010

What to Wear to a Job Interview

Dressing for a Job Interview is Crucial to Getting Hired

First impressions last… so wear it right the first time.

First impressions are lasting impressions. This is particularly true in job interviews where the first judgment of an interviewer will be based on how you look and what you are wearing. Therefore, your appearance is vital to making a good “first impression.”

For both men and women, it is better to dress too formally than too casually on an interview. Although the job industry has been more casual these days, interviewers would expect you to wear formally on interviews. Casual clothes like khaki pants and button-down tops must be reserved when you already landed the job. Remember, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed especially that you don’t want your outfit to get in your way of getting the job of your life.

For women, dress modestly and use cosmetics sparingly. Wear hose and dress shoes that would complement a conservative outfit. Job interviewees are advised to go for neutral than colored clothing as they are easier to mix and match with other outfits, especially if one is doing multiple interviews but do not have a whole wardrobe of suits.

Keep your accessories minimal and wear a hairstyle that stays in place. Your hair must not distract you or the employer during the interview. If you are still not sure what to wear, why not visit the office a day or two before the interview and observe what the employees are wearing.

If a clothing guideline has been given prior the interview, make sure you also take note of it. There are some cases that companies would ask interviewees to wear comfortable, casual clothes as the interview process might run the whole day. If this is the case, wear appropriately based on the guideline.

Lastly, avoid bringing coffee or soda, your Ipod and your other techy gadgets to the interview. If you can’t help bringing your cell phone, make sure you turn it into silent mode.

August 11, 2010

Top Companies to Work For

Top Companies: Want to Know the Company That Performs Best?

Check out 2010’s top companies as rated by Fortune Magazine.

The latest list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune Magazine has been released. Topping it are SAS, Edward Jones, Wegmans, Google, Nugget market, Dreamworks Animation, NetApp, Boston Consulting Group, Qualcomm and Camden Property. The results make for an ideal checklist for any applicant; but more importantly, they inform job seekers of what to look for in an employer.

So what does a “best company” have? Among those that made it to the list, an obvious answer is how the company continues to grow. Google, for instance, which ranked fourth from Fortune’s list, is on a continuous hunt for new employees this year, with demand reaching thousands; while the Boston Consulting Group, which is on rank eight, is famous for offering superior incomes and benefits to its employees so that even new consultants get as much as $184,000. These companies are doing very well in the market, and it reflects on what opportunities they provide. Another important characteristic is the growth that a company offers their employees, including the professional and the personal. In DreamWorks Animation, which ranks sixth on the list, the animators enjoy an atmosphere of creativity and openness, instead of pressure and strict deadlines; and in SAS, which occupies the topmost spot on the list, employees enjoy perks such as accessible and top-of-the-line services in health, child care, and recreational centers – to name a few. Finally, one observes the best companies to work for are those that genuinely care about their employees. 94-year old Wegman’s Food Markets, which ranks third, never let its employees undergo layoff. Similarly, Edward Jones, which is at top two, had never laid off any of its tens of thousands of employees – even during the recession . Fortune’s list has spoken: the best companies to work for are those that truly value their employees.

June 28, 2010

Common Errors and Misconceptions in Resume Writing (The Overconfident Resume)

A job seeker sits proud as a potential employer reviews her job resume.

How should you stand out in the job market – appropriately?

Writing a resume could be considered as a starting point for anyone who is about to launch his or her career. As much as possible, job seekers would want to include all information that speaks off nothing but admiration about themselves. But too much information becomes a common pitfall in resume writing and instead of impressing; would-be employer would only regard the applicant as someone who is only full of his or herself.

There are numerous instances when applicants tend to include information that are not pertinent anymore to the job they are applying for. Examples of these are the overwhelming entries into the “work experience” subheadings and a long enumerated list of skills. Everyone would always want to be regarded as someone well-accomplished and well-skilled but bombarding a resume with unnecessary entries makes it unfocused. It should be considered that a resume serves as a checklist that would mirror a hundred percent match between the applicant and the requirements of the job vacancy.

Aside from overflowing information, applicants try to put elements in their resume that might catch the fancy of an employer. Such tactic involves the use of an intricate layout and diverse font faces. A good layout could catch the attention of an employer granted that it is done by someone who has a sound background as regards design. But to those who do not have any idea at all in what they are doing, it is best for them to stick to the basics of resume writing.

Any useless information and complicated designs produce clutter. Be aware that hiring managers tend to scan through resumes for the reason that they could not afford to read entirely every paper submitted to them.

The best resume writing tips that could be given in order to avoid an over confident resume include minimizing the pages to two; highlighting important achievements, experiences, and skills that are pertinent to the job vacancy; and picking up a predefined template from resume writing examples found over the Internet.

An overconfident resume speaks of nothing but of a conceited applicant. While the lack of confidence always endangers applicants, too much of it is nevertheless the same.

May 24, 2010

The Cover Letter, Follow-up Letter, and Thank You Letter

Cover letters, thank you letters and follow up letters are great reinforcements of a well-written resume. In fact, an outstanding resume is most possibly useless if submitted without a cover letter, so are your chances of getting hired insufficient if you’re not used to submitting a thank you or follow up letter. These correspondences make you engage closely with the employer that could either make or break your chances on landing on that coveted job.

A cover letter serves as your employer’s motivation to consider your application – it is your introduction. It reflects whether you have read the job ad carefully and your resulting interest for the position. Hence it should be optimistic, to the point, and concise. An ideal cover letter has three to four paragraphs with an introduction, body, and closing. It should not be a repeat of the information already present on your resume. Most importantly, every cover letter must be personalized in that it should be tailored exclusive to a specific position. Never submit the same cover letter for all your job applications.

Thank You letters must be sent to interviewers shortly after an applicant completes a job interview – preferably within 24 hours. Just like the cover letter, thank you letters must be personalized to the point that you can actually opt to have them handwritten rather than typed. Assess the personality of a company by reflecting on your interview then decide the writing that will suit your thank you letter best. Aside from your expression of gratitude, thank you letters also strengthen your interest for the position and leave the interviewer with a good impression of you.

Follow up letters may be sent when job seekers do not hear back within two weeks concerning their application. Remember: never send a follow up letter when the job post specifically stated that applicants should not do so. Things that may be incorporated in a follow up letter are inquiries such as whether all applicants will be notified of passing or of not passing the recruitment process. You may also ask if there are other steps in the hiring procedures that you must fulfill to continue your application, or if there are other requirements that need to be submitted.

Creating a cover letter, thank you letter, and follow up letter is as important as tailoring your resume. A deserving applicant must be able to introduce his credentials, express his gratitude for an interview, and follow up and show his strong interest for a position. He may also seek for a professional resume writer’s assistance to ensure that his sincerity to get employed is conveyed in the best professional manner on paper.

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