Category Archives: Resume

Make Yourself Easy to Hire


It’s not that recruiters aren’t capable of thinking and remembering. Of course they are! But, smart and successful job seekers focus on being easy to work with which makes them easy to hire!

You Must Tell Them What You Want to Do — What Job You Want

Don’t expect a recruiter or employer to look at your resume and figure out what you can do and where you could fit into their organization. Most employers and recruiters have way too much to do to provide you with career coaching and/or mind-reading services.

Networking contacts, no matter how well-intentioned, won’t be able to connect you with a job without knowing what you want to do. They can’t read your mind any better than an employer or recruiter. Make it easy for people to help you by helping them know what you want.

If you don’t know what you want to do, spend some time figuring it out first. Buy or borrow a copy of the classic book, What Color Is Your Parachute — if there’s only one “career book” in your library, this is the one.

Clearly Align Your Experience With Their Requirements

When you are submitting your resume or application for a job, don’t make the person reading it wonder why you applied for their job. Tell them why. You do that two ways:

1) Only apply for jobs for which you are a good fit.

Look at the job’s requirements and the skills, experience, and education they they want in an applicant. Don’t waste your time, or the recruiter’s, applying for something that’s not a good match.

When you apply for a job that’s not a good match –

You’re thinking: “Why not give it a try, just in case?” 
They’re thinking: “Can’t this idiot read?”

Apply poorly often enough with the same recruiter or employer, and you’ll be training them (and — maybe – their applicant tracking system) to ignore you.

2) Tell them how you are a good match in the cover letter, and show them in the resume.

In the cover letter, list the job’s requirements and match those requirements specifically with the skills or experience you have that are appropriate.

Yes, many cover letters are ignored, but, for some recruiters, a resume submitted without a cover letter demonstrates a lack of true interest in the opportunity and/or a lack of professionalism. So, on the better-to-be-safe-than-sorry theory, include a carefully-written cover letter.

Customize your resume so that the relevant skills and experience are highlighted. Leave out the things that aren’t relevant to this job, unless your resume is only one page long. If you haven’t had much response to your resume, have a friend look at it, or get professional help.

Follow the Directions

Duh! Who doesn’t follow directions? You’d be amazed! Job seekers in a rush, apparently…

Recently, a recruiter put a sentence in a Monster job posting asking applicants to include a one-paragraph description of their most significant accomplishment of the past year.

Only 20 percent of the applicants included an accomplishment, and only 25 percent of those described an accomplishment that was relevant to the job they were seeking.

So, only one out of every 20 applicants got through the initial screening. By actually reading the entire posting, following the directions, and aligning their response to the needs of the job, they jumped over 95 percent of their competition!

Polite Persistence Is Powerful.

After you have had a job interview, ask for permission to stay in touch, and for the name and contact information of the person you should be in touch with. Then, when you have permission to stay in touch, DO stay in touch. Politely. When you said that you would, or when they told you you could.

Follow up. But NOT daily! And, for many employers, not weekly either. Find out what’s happening with the job you want. Remember filling a job almost always takes longer, sometimes much longer, than the employer thinks it will.

Keep things in context — tell them your name, the job you applied for (job title and requisition number, preferably), the dates of your job interviews, and who interviewed you in every contact. Don’t expect them to remember you, although by the third or fourth phone call or email with the same person, they may.

If you liked the people and the place, ask them for other similar opportunities if this one falls through.

Bottom Line

It always seems to take too long to land a job, but it will happen. If you have a good network and LinkedIn Profile, you many not need to go through the job application and resume submission process again – your next job may find you.

cross posted from

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A Guide to Perfecting Your Resume


You know that you should edit your resume before you send it off in the world, making sure it’s error-free.  But to make sure that resume is in the best possible shape? You should really take the editing process a few steps further.  Here’s the thing: Editing is more than just giving something a once-over to eliminate egregious typos and grammar mistakes. It’s really about looking at something with a critical eye, then making changes to ensure it’s the best it can possibly be.  And that’s what you want for your resume, right? From someone who edits all day, every day for a living, here’s a five-step editing plan that will take your resume from good to full-blown awesome (and—of course—eliminate the typos, too).

 Step 1: Consider the Big Picture

When I look at an article for the first time, I have to resist the urge to fix typos or make style changes (and believe me, as an editor, it’s hard). But it’s important—the first thing I need to determine is whether the piece is working as a whole. Is this right for our publication? Is the message of the article the one we want to send? Are there any major gaps or sections that are superfluous?  On that first read of your resume, try to do the same thing. Ignore typos or formatting issues, and think about the overall message your resume is sending:

  • Does this sell you as the perfect candidate for the types of roles you’re seeking?
  • Are there any gaps between the experience on the page and the experience required for the job?
  • If so, are there ways in which you could bridge those gaps?
  • What makes your experience stand out among other, similar candidates?
  • Does the top third of your resume serve as a hook to get the hiring manager to read more?
  • Is there anything on your resume that doesn’t need to be there?

Pro Tip: Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people at your level in your field, and see how they tell their stories. Which ones are most compelling or stand out the most? See what you can learn from them and how you can apply those lessons to your own resume.

Step 2: Scrutinize the Bullets and Details

As editors, we ask constantly ask ourselves if each word is the best one, if a sentence structure is right, if there’s anything that could be said more clearly, effectively, or quickly. And oh, do we add examples! Why say something if you can show it? It makes for better writing and a more interesting read.  Walk through your resume again. Your job at this point is to look at every section, every sentence, and every word, and determine if there’s a better way to get your point across. For each bullet point, ask:

  • Is this the strongest possible language you could use?
  • Can anything be said more clearly? Or in fewer words?
  • Is there any language that someone outside of your company or industry wouldn’t understand?
  • Could anything benefit from examples?
  • Can anything be quantified? Can you show a benefit?
  • Are any words used over and over? Can they be replaced with more creative language?

Pro Tip: Have a friend who’s not in your field read your bullet points, and ask what he or she thinks your strongest achievements are. Do you agree? If not, adjust so the most important ones really stand out.

Step 3: Fact Check

Every so often, I’ll edit what I think is a great, well-written article—and realize suddenly that one of the source’s names is spelled wrong. I’ll take a closer look and see that—wait—a book title is incorrect, research numbers are not quite right, and that other “facts” in the article need a second look.  It’s a good idea to do this for your resume, too. It can happen even with the right intentions—I, for example, recently realized that my resume said “3 million” on a figure that most certainly should have been 1 million. Whoops.  Read every word on your resume again, this time asking yourself:

  • Are the companies you worked for named the same thing? Still located in the same city?
  • Are your position titles accurate?
  • Are your employment dates correct?
  • Are all of the numbers and percentages you use to describe increases, quotas, budgets, savings, and achievements (reasonably) accurate?

Pro Tip: In the editorial world, we have to make sure every number we print is 100% accurate, but you have a bit more leeway with your resume. As long as you’re reasonably sure that you increased customer satisfaction, fundraising numbers, or sales 25%, don’t worry about having the “official” numbers to prove it.

Step 4: Proofread

As I well know, you can work intently on a document for three hours and somehow not notice that you’ve used “their” instead of “there” or mistaken “bran” for “brand.” So, proofreading one last time is a step you can’t skip. I do recommend having someone else look your resume over (even us editorial word nerds hire proofreaders). But before you do, proof word by word, asking yourself:

  • Are there any typos? Wrong word usage?
  • Does each bullet point end with a period (or not)? Either is fine, just be consistent.
  • Are you using the serial comma (or not) throughout?

Pro Tip: When proofreading, it’s helpful to temporarily change the font, or to read your resume from the bottom up—your eyes get used to reading a page one way, and can often catch new errors when you mix the format up.

 Step 5: Make Sure it Looks Nice

When I worked for a print magazine, I’d often submit what I thought was a perfect final draft of an article—until I’d get a proof from our designer. More often than not, my masterpiece would need some adjustments to look right on the page: shortening the copy so that it didn’t require a miniature-sized font, or lengthening a paragraph so that one word didn’t hang over on a line by itself, for example. Because part of great writing is making it look great, too.  While you don’t have to send your resume off to a graphic designer, do keep in mind that presentation is important, and that a few adjustments to your text can make a big difference in how it looks. Give it a final once-over with a designer’s eye, considering:

  • Does the page look visually appealing?
  • Is the page overly cluttered?
  • Is the font size too small? Is it difficult to read?
  • Is the font size and format for each section consistent?
  • Does the layout make sense?
  • Is your contact information easily findable?

Pro Tip: Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections. Check out section three of this great guide to resume formatting from LifeClever for instructions.

As a final note, I recommend editing your resume again and again—adding in your new accomplishments, shifting the way you talk about an experience based on something you’ve seen someone else do, and making sure there’s nothing you’ve missed. After all, as any writer or editor will tell you: The best masterpieces are never done.

cross posted from

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Word Choices For Your Resume


On average, a hiring manager will look over a resume for only six seconds, and if they don’t see something that stands out, you may not end up landing an interview. Knowing this fact can add even more stress to the job search process, but don’t let it. Resume writing is easier than you think. Writing a precise resume is key to securing a job, so it’s important to pack the right words in your resume to showcase your skills and abilities. Your resume doesn’t need to tell your life story, but it does need to get the hiring manager’s attention.

Resume Word Choices
It’s important to use words in present tense when writing about your current job and use past tense when referring to a previous job. Employers aren’t only looking for skills, but also certifications, degrees, job titles, and company names. They are also looking for keywords that highlight your experience, personality, and abilities. Some of these keywords include:


  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Compared
  • Compiled
  • Gathered
  • Organized
  • Prepared
  • Recorded
  • Researched


  • Coached
  • Coordinated
  • Consulted
  • Evaluated
  • Instructed
  • Managed
  • Negotiated
  • Persuaded
  • Scheduled


  • Arranged
  • Assembled
  • Created
  • Inspected
  • Maintained
  • Operated
  • Repaired
  • Sold
  • Tested

Be careful not to be repetitive in your word usage. You can easily spice up your resume to convey similar actions by using different words. What are some keywords you’ve used in your resume? Share with us in the comments section below!

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8 Things Your Resume Does NOT Need

The expression “less is more” is good advice to follow in your everyday life. In most situations, you will find that the less you do the more successful you will be, and this is especially true when it comes time to craft your resume.

You might think you are bolstering your case for the job by adding more information to your job application, but in reality you are doing yourself a disservice. Employers receive countless resumes and cover letters every day so the last thing they want to do is read something that is full of content that is irrelevant to their needs. It sounds simple enough to stick to the basics when writing your resume, but what exactly are the basics?

Information that seems irrelevant to the hiring manager might seem important to you, making it difficult to edit your resume. With this in mind, here are the eight things you should always leave off your resume:

  • Your picture
  • Interest and hobbies (unless they are specifically asked for in the job description)
  • References
  • Minor tasks you performed at previous jobs
  • Decoration (plain font will do just fine)
  • Negativity
  • Objective statement
  • Your family history


cross posted from the Nonprofit Times

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3 Steps to an Attention Getting Resume


Your resume is the most important document in your career and the essential tool to help you get your foot in the door for an interview. If you are not getting calls for interviews, then you should review your resume to see if you are missing essential items that are causing it to be less effective. In short, the resume has to clearly answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Your answer comes in 2 parts: your SUMMARY where you state “Here is what I can do for you” and your EXPERIENCE section where you prove it by highlighting your accomplishments.

1. Does Your Opening Tell An Employer What You Have To Offer?

Your opening summary is the ONLY part of the resume that everyone will read. They will scan it and place you in a YES, NO, or MAYBE pile. As a result, you need to capture their attention up front – quickly. It’s easy to state what you are looking for, but what an employer really wants to know is what you have to offer to them. A good tip is to simply identify the 3-4 things that they are looking for and state that you can deliver them.
For example:
Manufacuring Prouction Manager with a consistent track record of exceeding productivity, safety and quality goals. Sales Professional – Ranked in the top 5% for sales performance for over 10 years.

2. Describe Your Background

You just stated that you can deliver what they want. Now, describe your level of experience doing that. There is a big difference between the project manager who has three years of experience and managed five projects versus the one who has over 10 years of experience and has managed dozens of projects. So indicate your credentials and be sure to drop company names if they are well known, especially if they might not see the company name on the first page.
For example:

  • Over 15 years at global leaders Accenture and KPMG leveraging proven methodologies and leading multi-million dollar projects for blue chip clients. 


  • Over 10 years overseeing logistics and distribution including optimizing the efficiency of a 50,000 square foot warehouse with +10,000 SKUs.

3. Highlight Your Relevant Accomplishments

You have told them what you can do, so now prove it in the EXPERIENCE section. This is where you highlight your achievement against goals. Make sure these are in bullets so they are easy to see in the 10-second glance of your resume.
For example:

  • Increased on-time delivery rate from 77% to 98%. 
  • Increased productivity 22% against 10% goal while reducing safety incidents over 95%.

That’s it! Tell them you can deliver what they want, state your level of experience doing it, and infuse the resume with proof statements. How can anyone resist such a resume?

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11 Common Grammatical Mistakes You Must Avoid


Nervous Wreck

You might consider grammar an annoying technicality, a minuscule detail of speech and writing not worth much effort.


But a study last year from the Society for Human Resources and Management shows that 45% of employers plan to increase training for grammar and other language skills (meaning they’re unhappy with the levels now).


So what you say does matter as much as how you say it, especially in a professional environment. We’ve compiled a list of the top mistakes people make whether drafting an office memo or just chatting with coworkers around the water cooler.


1. “Fewer” vs. “Less”


Use “fewer” when discussing countable objects. For example, “He ate five fewer chocolates than the other guy,” or “fewer than 20 employees attended the meeting.”


Use “less” for intangible concepts, like time. For example, “I spent less than one hour finishing this report.”


2. “It’s vs. “Its”


Normally, an apostrophe symbolizes possession. As in, “I took the dog’s bone.” But because apostrophes also usually replace omitted letters — like “don’t” — the “it’s” vs. “its” decision gets complicated.


Use “its” as the possessive pronoun: “I took its bone.” For the shortened version of “it is” use the version with the apostrophe. As in, “it’s raining.”


3. Dangling Modifiers


These are ambiguous, adjectival clauses at the beginning or end of sentences that often don’t modify the right word or phrase.


For example, if you say, “Rotting in the refrigerator, our office manager threw the fruit in the garbage.” The structure of that sentence implies your office manager is a zombie trapped in a chilly kitchen appliance.


Make sure to place the modifying clause right next to the word or phrase it intends to describe. The correct version reads, “Our office manager threw the fruit, rotting in the refrigerator, in the garbage.”


4. “Who” vs. “Whom”


Earlier this year, “The New Republic” published a review of Mark Leibovich’s “This Town.” Regardless of his opinions, the author deserves praise. The title reads, “Careful Whom You Call A Hypocrite, Washington.” Yes, Alec MacGillis. Just yes.


When considering whether to use “who” or “whom,” you have to rearrange the sentence in your own head. In the aforementioned case, “whom you call a hypocrite” changes to “you call whom a hypocrite.” “Whom” suits the sentence instead of “who” because the word functions as the object of the sentence, not the subject.


It’s not always easy to tell subjects from objects but to use an over-simplified yet good, general rule: subjects start sentences (or clauses), and objects end them.


For reference, “who is a hypocrite?” would be a perfectly grammatically correct question to ask.


5. Me, Myself, And I


Deciding when to use me, myself, or I also falls under the subject/object discussion. “Me” always functions as the object (except in that case); “I” is always the subject. And you only use “myself” when you’ve referred to yourself earlier in the sentence. It’s called a reflexive pronoun — it corresponds to a pronoun previously in the sentence. For example, “I made myself breakfast” not “my friend and myself made lunch.”


To decide usage in “someone else and me/I” situations, take the other person out of the sentence. “My co-worker and I went to lunch.” Is “I went to lunch” correct? You’re good then.


6. “Lie” vs. “Lay”


Dear everyone, stop saying: “I’m going to go lay down.” The word “lay” must have an object. Someone lays something somewhere. You lie. Unless you lay, which means lie but in the past tense. Okay, just look at the chart.


Present Past
Lie Lie Lay
Lay Lay Laid


7. Irregular Verbs


The English language has quite a few surprises.We can’t list all the irregular verbs, but be aware they do exist. For example, no past tense exists for the word “broadcast.” “Broadcasted” isn’t a word. You’d say, “Yesterday, CNN broadcast a show.”


“Sneak” and “hang” also fall into the category of irregular verbs. Because the list of irregular verbs (and how to conjugate them) is so extensive, you’ll have to look into them individually.


8. “Nor” vs. “Or”


Use “nor” before the second or farther of two alternatives when “neither” introduces the first. Think of it as “or” for negative sentences, and it’s not optional. For example, “Neither my boss nor I understand the new program.” You can also use nor with a negative first clause or sentence including “not.” For example, “My boss didn’t understand the program, nor did I.”


9. “Then” vs. “Than”


There’s a simple distinction between these two words. Use “then” when discussing time. As in, “We had a meeting, and then we went to lunch.” Include “than” in comparisons. “This meeting was more productive than the last one.”


10. Ending Sentences With Prepositions


First of all, don’t do it — usually. Second, for those who don’t know, prepositions are any words that a squirrel can “run” with a tree (i.e. The squirrel ran around, by, through, up, down, around, etc. the tree).


“My boss explained company policy, which we had to abide by” sounds awful. In most cases, you can just transpose the preposition to the beginning of the clause. “My boss explained company policy, by which we had to abide,” or better yet, rephrase the sentence to avoid this problem: “My boss explained the mandatory company policy.”


11. Subject (And Possessive Pronoun) And Verb Agreement


This rule seems a bit counterintuitive, but most plural subjects take verbs without an “s.” For example, “she types,” but “they type.” The pronoun agreement comes into play when you add a possessive element to these sentences. “She types on her computer,” and “they type on their computers.”


As a caveat, the pronoun “someone” requires “her or his” as the possessive.


Feel free to email your boss with any questions. The Wall Street Journal thinks he or she will appreciate it.
cross posted from Business Insider.

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At Work: Be logical, methodical in job hunt



There are two things you never want to be as a job hunter: illogical and desperate. Being in these states of mind will cause you to do all types of, well, illogical and desperate things.

One of the most common illogical thoughts that can run through the mind of someone preparing to embark on a job hunt is this: The more jobs I apply for, the more likely one will pan out.

This kind of thinking will get you in a heap of trouble. In essence, you’re seeing a job hunt as a number’s game. So you crank out a hundred cover letters and resumes a day without thought as to whether or how you’re qualified.

What you’re not considering is the employer and his or her state of mind on the receiving end — which matters more than anything else.

For example, when one of the many employers gets your information and letter that says, “I am applying for the position of designer” followed by a few points about your experience in a totally different field — say sales and marketing — here’s what he is thinking:

“Why in the world is this person writing me? She has no background or experience as a designer. Obviously, she could care less about the job and is looking for a paycheck until something in her field comes along.”

Hiring rule No. 1: Employers love people who are really, truly excited about the job and the industry. (They often even hire the person most excited about the job and their company over a candidate who has the “right” qualifications.)

The crank-out-as-many-cover-letters-and-resumes-in-a-day technique will also lead to sending out careless, impersonal letters with no reference to the job you’re applying for or reasons you’re qualified. Examples employers have shared with me include:

“Here is my resume for consideration.” That’s it.

“I’m applying for the open position.” End of story.

“Saw your ad on Craigs’ list. I’ve attached my resume. Thanks.” I cleaned up the grammar on this one.

The crank-out-your-resume drill will also make you frustrated and angry that after weeks of nonstop resume-letter-sending to every opening you find, you get nowhere.

Finding your next position is not a number’s game. It’s about targeting and discovering the right person then connecting with them by speaking their language and precisely pointing out what you can do in the particular job you want.

You’ll never do that if you send correspondence that screams: I don’t know who you or your company are, nor do I particularly care. I don’t value your time. I don’t pay attention to details nor take pride in my work. I’m just looking for a paycheck.

The other thing you never want to do is act desperate. This may work well for say, my dog, who has perfected a look of desperation by flattening his ears, hunching over slightly with his head pitched forward while his pleading eyes meet mine.

But desperation is not a good thing in a job hunt. It will have the opposite effect and scare employers away. “It’s a bad sign when people start taking about why they need this job so bad,” one employer told me.

These reasons include: I’ve got a sick mother. We don’t have medical coverage. I’ve got two young kids. My husband lost his job. We’re trying to put our kids through college.

What do these kinds of desperate pleas tell the employer? You’re not really interested in the job or the company. Just getting a paycheck.

It may also seem like a good idea to tell an employer: “I can do anything.” This too appears that you’ll take anything just for the paycheck. Saying this shows you haven’t thought about where you can make a difference. Employers want to hire people who can show them how they’ll do that.

To get your next position, there’s only one way to think: like the employer.

Career consultant Andrea Kay is the author of Life’s a Bitch and Then You Change Careers: 9 steps to get out of your funk and on to your future. Reach her atandrea@andreakay.comTwitter: @AndreaKayCareer.

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The Ways Your Resume is Boring


Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

5. It Doesn’t Focus On Hard Skills

And the championship goes to… hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill.

6. It Tells Vs. Shows

Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past.

WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

7. It’s Passive

Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like “served as,” “duties included,” “promoted to,” “worked with”…choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results.

The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.

Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. Therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview.

Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments today.

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Your Job Search: Who to List as Employment References



“I’m applying for a job, and it says I have to list two references. Do I have to include this? I’m not sure who to put.” – Lee from Reno, NV


Thanks for your question, Lee. If the job you’re applying for requests references, you shouldn’t leave that space blank. Employers who receive large numbers of applications or résumés will often give each one only a quick glance before deciding whether to advance that candidate to the next round. Any omission in your application could cause you to be passed by.

What Do You Need to Prove?

Think about the position for which you’re applying – what qualities does that person need to demonstrate? Maybe they need to know how to manage others, how to solve conflicts or be detail-oriented. If you’re responding to a job advertisement, review the words the employer has chosen to describe its ideal candidate.

Next, consider the characteristics that all employers like to see in their staff. No matter what job you’re applying for, you want to demonstrate that you’re responsible, dependable, honest, a team player and someone who shows initiative, just to name a few.

Brainstorming Potential References

Now that you have your list, you want to think about the people you know who can speak to an employer about the ways in which you demonstrate those qualities. While former job supervisors are the first people many job seekers think of in terms of references, you can also consider asking these kinds of individuals:

  • Professors or instructors
  • Coaches
  • Church or volunteer group leaders
  • Coworkers
  • Professional contacts who are familiar with your work

If you have a challenge in your background such as a criminal history including someone as a reference who can speak to your journey and positive qualities — such as a case manager or social worker — can be important.

Avoid listing family members or close friends as references – employers may perceive them as giving a biased opinion of your work. You should also avoid listing anyone who might have anything negative to say about you.

Contacting Your References

Once you’ve determined who you’d like to list as your references, reach out to them and ask them if it’s okay to list them on your job applications. You also want to make sure you have the most updated contact information – such as a phone number and email — for them.

If they say yes, brief them on the jobs you’re applying for and the qualities you’re looking to demonstrate. You may also want to provide this information to them via email, so they can refer to it if they receive a call from an employer.

If they say no, don’t get discouraged — after all, you only want references that are comfortable and willing to talk about you with potential employers. Be sure to thank them for the consideration and end the conversation politely.

 cross posted from

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Resume Blunders

Goodwill Professional Center Director Randy Wooden speaks on the local Fox affiliate about what can send your resume to the bottom of the pile, or even worse, to the circular file.  Click on image to watch video.

Randy Wooden is a longtime Triad career consultant and director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC’s Professional Center. You may reach him at

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Filed under Resume, Skill